With all the hours and effort that went into designing and developing emails, finding out that our email messages failed to reach our subscribers can be heartbreaking. After all, if the emails do not reach the inbox, all the effort and planning that go into campaign strategy, email template design, email copy creation and other related tasks are in vein. Email delivery to the inbox is one of the most misunderstood aspects of email marketing that marketers more often are baffled between the differences of email delivery and email deliverability. Though these two marketing terms are commonly used in terms of delivery of emails, but they mean differently. Let us see how…

The differences between email deliverability vs. email delivery

The differences between email delivery and email deliverability can be better understood by with definitions of both:

Email delivery implies to the status that indicates that your recipients have received your mail or not. This delivery notification arises before finding out if the folder is recipient’s inbox or the spam folder where the email has landed, whether the email can be accepted.

Email deliverability, also known as the Inbox Placement, is defined by the location where that email has reached after it has been accepted by the recipient’s ISP. Therefore, the email deliverability helps us identify whether the email has reached the inbox, spam folder or any other folder. 

Therefore, email deliverability can be divided into three sections, which are:

Identification

This is the part that refers to the set of protocols which establishes the sender’s identity when they are sending emails and these protocols include Domain-Based Message Authentication, DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Conformance (DMARC), and Reporting. These protocols work like license or passport that performs background check your sender’s identity while you attempt sending emails. 

Reputation

The next part is the sender’s reputation which refers to the reputation score. This reputation score indicates the trustworthiness of the sender. Different internet service providers (ISP) assign different reputation scores to email senders based on positive subscriber behavior, how engaging their emails are, and if they are being marked as trustworthy senders. Email marketers need to take account of these factors to ensure their senders’ reputation is high and reliable in order to ensure deliverability of their emails. Hence, they should always practice sending only personalized, useful and relevant emails to targeted audience. 

Content

Speaking of relevant emails, marketers must make it a top priority to ensure that 

email messages are personalized to their subscribers. Not only to subscribers’ first names, but the entire message including elements, information, offers and links being shared via messages. At the same time, marketers need to avoid email spam trigger words such as, “100% free” or “100% satisfied”, “Best Price”, “Free consultation”, “Lowest price” and similar to these phrases and words. 

Apart from these, marketers should also check on using too many exclamation marks, shortened URLs, odd email formatting etc. which will raise suspicion and impede email deliverability. Always think from your subscribers’ perspective and optimize email messages to what target audiences will mostly care about and need from your email messages. 

Now that you have learned the differences between email delivery and deliverability as well as factors that make or mar your email deliverability, you need to be aware and be careful of is to guard your holiday email marketing campaigns from these most common mistakes marketers make that hit email deliverability during holidays. 

Three most common mistakes to email deliverability avoid during the holidays

Escalating overnight email sent volume 

One of the most common mistakes is to mounting from a niche, small and targeted list of active subscribers who have signed up, also opened emails and clicked on the links in emails earlier to sending emails to every contact in the email list. Such practices to sudden targeting of large volume of contacts overnight, without following any planned and gradual targeting strategies can negatively impact an email sender’s reputation. The internet service providers or ISPs of recipients can assume this rampant increase in email volume suspicious and start marking emails as spam. ISPs perceive these mass-targeting email practices as spamming behavior and start redirecting emails from inbox to spam folders and blocks. 

Instead of overnight upscaling of email targeting, marketers can adopt a strategic increase in email volume day by day and the volume should not exceed 25% from the volume targeted in the past two weeks. With this compounding volume increase, marketers can achieve a wider range of targeting without affecting their sender’s reputation during the holidays.

Targeting inactive or sleepy subscribers who have not engaged for a long time

Another terrible holiday email delivery mistake to strictly avoid is when marketers start sending holiday email campaigns to inactive contacts who have not opened or engaged with email messages for around last six months or probably from last holiday season. Targeting inactive subscribers can cause mounting hard bounce rates as well as email spam trap hits when email addresses of inactive subscribers especially when they were not contacted. Both the incidences of spam traps and prolific hard bounce rates can lead to email deliverability issues. Targeting inactive subscribers also leads to lower email opens, click rates, subscriber engagement and increased unsubscribe rate and subscribers’ complaints. And all these culminate into email deliverability issues and spam reporting that damage the sender’s score.

Remember that the highest share of revenue is generated from the highly engaging and active recipients. And the best and probably the only route to increase ROI from holiday email marketing campaigns is making sure that all your emails are reaching your recipients’ inbox. 

Rapid Increase of email frequency that subscribers face “inbox noise”

This is another common email marketing mistake that marketers need to steer clear of during the holiday season. Many organizations target customers and prospects with weekly sales newsletters, that they often increase up to 3 newsletters per week or even worse daily to achieve their holiday sales target. Subscribers who have not expressed interest in receiving such frequent newsletters and email communications are likely to be exasperated with the heightened flow of emails and start unsubscribing or marking emails as spam which will prevent future emails from reaching inboxes thus, decreasing the rate of email opens, clickthrough rates, engagement rate and eventually conversion rates. Therefore, the attempt of attaining sales goals by amplifying the email frequency can backfire marketers by increasing unsubscribes and lessening the email deliverability during the holiday season.      

However, one trick to increase proportionately email frequency rates is by providing targeted audience with useful product or service updates, solutions, lucrative offers and valuable content that they have engaged in the last six months or they have specified in the email subscription management centers or email preference centers. 

Hence, marketers need to focus on relevant, attention-grabbing and valuable content to attract and engage their customer segments during the holiday season instead of hitting subscribers with more emails – the main focus should be quality over quantity to augment the prospects of getting their emails delivered, seen, opened, engaged or used as intended to increase conversion rates during the holiday season.

With the holiday season just around the corner and it being one of the most lucrative times for businesses, you need to plan effectively. This is the time when all marketers get set and ready for launching the most attention-grabbing and sales-driven email marketing campaigns. But with all the brands aiming at launching the best campaigns to yield the highest revenue, holiday marketing success will not come easy! 

Here we have created this ultimate holiday email marketing guide with all the creative ideas and tips along with dos and don’ts to implement in your holiday email campaigns to launch those with flying colors. We have selected these following tips which especially help marketers to achieve better results in all key parameters including email delivery, opens, clickthrough rates, engagement, ROI and many other areas. 

1. Enhance interactivity of your holiday emails to make those more vivid

Incorporating interactivity is a great idea to add pizzazz and holiday feel to holiday emails. Attention-grabbing and holiday-themed interactive elements in your emails can easily entice your target audience’s attention during the holidays. You can consider various types of interactive elements that will not add much to the weight of the elements nor will prolong the loading time of emails but will help you to make your emails noticeable during the peak season. GIFs, embedding videos or adding thumbnails of videos [with the link of the video in the text], sliders, holiday countdown timers, rotating banners, etc. are some of these interactive elements will get you stand out amidst thousands of emails in your subscribers’ inboxes. 

2. Segment audience and target based on user profiles

Identifying your customers’ and prospects’ needs and preferences is vital when you are aiming to attract maximum engagement from your target audiences during peak season like holidays. Personalization is the key to connecting with your customer segment; that’s why understanding and grouping them into the right segment based on their interests, previous engagement data, purchase history and demographics are essential to create perfectly personalized emails. Relevant and perfectly tailored holiday emails will attract more engagement and thus, more conversions.

3. Make sure all holiday emails are mobile-ready

With most of the subscribers checking their emails on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, it is imperative to use a responsive email template for your holiday emails to ensure they are not only supported, but perfectly optimized and rendered on mobile devices. Make sure you A/B test all your holiday emails on all platforms and sizes of mobile devices as well as mobile email clients before and after launching emails to avoid any design glitches or distorted views.

4. Send real-time updates to win customers’ trust

Emails with real-time updates, information and live content work a great deal in engaging your target audience. Hence, we recommend incorporating live updates which may reflect real-time changes that occur in the inventory, real-time shopping cart notices, and also location-specific and date-specific offers which may change based on the number of days left till the holidays. When real-time content based on contextual information is delivered at the right time, with the right messages you can win your customers’ trust and build customer loyalty for a long time to come. 

5. Be more customer-driven than brand-driven

During the holidays, marketers can be more winning if they choose to compromise their brand-centric approaches and adopt a more customer-focused email marketing approach. That being said, brands need to focus on a customer-centric (or customer-first) email marketing strategy that will solely emphasize on delivering better customer experience, rather than designing your emails just for aesthetics. Keep the customer in mind and send them content they wish to see during the holidays.

6. Proper planning is the key to holiday email success

As marketers, you need to have a solid plan for your holiday emails early. Creating a plan well in advance can free an ample amount of time for marketers to plan for last-minute changes, optimization and improvements. Hence, marketers need to begin all the planning, resource allocation and execution process early and also start sending emails as well to test and optimize based on initial holiday email responses. 

7. Combine holiday email marketing activities with social media

To enhance the results of your customer outreach with holiday email, reaching the same segment of people via different social media channels where they are most active and engage with similar brands and content. Target them on those social media channels by sharing your holiday offers that you are also sharing via holiday emails so that even if they miss out on your emails, they will still be aware of your holiday offers and information you are sharing with your holiday emails. You can also share posts that encourage people to subscribe for your holiday emails and newsletters to expand your subscriber base. Make sure you start these practices early to accumulate your subscriber base you can use for your holiday email campaigns. 

8. Develop better email strategies with machine learning

One great technique of devising more ROI-driven and customer-focused holiday email marketing strategy is to harness the technology of machine learning. Various benefits of leveraging machine learning technology include continuous A/B testing, consistent A/B testing, creating different email variants for different segment of audience, improved personalization, generating product recommendations based on recipients’ interests and buying history, email trigger when prospects abandon shopping carts among many others. Implementing a machine learning technology with hyper-personalization will keep your brand’s holiday emails way ahead of the competition during the peak season by increasing your reach, automating your email messages and thereby, improving your communication with customers and customer engagement.

Basic guidelines on how to target your recipients during holidays – 

  • Plan free gifts, special coupons and discounts for existing customers to make them feel special by reminding them of products they left in the shopping cart or viewed
  • Remind customers from previous years by updating them on new products and special offers such as free shipping for no minimum value orders, and offers that are available for a limited time period. Limited period offers and specially designed promotional offers create urgency and motivates buying decisions.
  • Include videos of how your product or service works in your emails to speed up the sales 
  • Strike a consistency throughout your emails that are relevant to the product or topic your email message is talking about so that your subject lines, images used, and links would be relevant to the email copy. 
  • Create emails for special product notifications such as special holiday collections, back-in-stock notifications, etc. Distinguish between in-store and online sales and highlight your best deals
  • You can launch combined holiday email campaigns for Cyber Monday and Black Friday along with sending them reminder emails before and after each day has passed. 
  • Launch Christmas campaigns early and keep subscribers updated of your holiday deals by scheduling and automating those well in advance. 
  • Treat customers with as much as possible within your budget with last minute limited offers, gift cards, e-gifts, and after-Christmas sales on 26th of December.

Do you want to these holiday email marketing ideas? Or in case, if you need more emails marketing design, delivery, optimization and other tips, do not hesitate to ask for it – simply drop a comment below with your email address and we can reach out soon!

It’s that time of the year again when all brands gear up and craft compelling holiday marketing campaigns to finish the year on a higher note of sales. Every brand wants to arrive at this holiday marketing race and be the first with the most competitive force across multiple channels and platforms, compelling marketing campaigns and offers by investing significant share of their resources. Moreover, holiday sales can comprise up to 30% of annual sales, and with that no company wants to leave any stone unturned. 

Now accomplishing around one third of the total yearly sales in a span of 30 days is highly challenging and can only be achieved by thorough budgeting, marketing planning and an almost impeccable execution process to make the most of the marketing budget. And all these start with a flawless marketing budget for holiday marketing campaigns, taking account of all the costs, branding and marketing objectives, sales goals and analyzing the current performance of various products or services in the digital landscape, identification of marketing channels to focus for holiday campaigns and many others. But, one thing at a time – so, let us begin with working on following three tips to plan and use marketing budget for holiday marketing campaigns one by one.   

1. Analyze the holiday marketing budget

The first step is to perform a thorough analysis of your marketing budget and the remaining amount of the yearly budget which can used in year-end holiday marketing campaigns. As marketers discern the amount they are left with, they will be able to perform the next stage of analysis – the performance on ongoing and past marketing efforts to determine the revenue generated from current and previous campaigns. Google Analytics can be an ideal analytics tool and marketers will be able to understand the performance and revenue yielded from previous and present marketing campaigns by taking a look at the ‘Acquisition’ tab on the Google Analytics tool. Identify the top performing marketing campaigns, marketing channels where campaigns are performing the most and yielding conversions – where paid campaigns or organic efforts. Channels that are generating more conversions and ROI, should be primary choices for holiday marketing budget. Marketers need to follow what the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends in terms of holiday marketing investment; organizations should ideally invest around 7% of their total revenue on marketing campaigns when they are making less than $5 million in revenue. So, the question is how much is too much or just right for your holiday marketing efforts? 

2. How much should you invest in holiday marketing compared to standard marketing spend?

Marketers often allocate a considerable amount of holiday email campaign budget in order to beat cut-throat competition during this year-end peak season. Therefore, marketers need to be careful of spending excessively in these holiday campaigns to gain higher customer outreach and better engagement than their competitors. However, it is best to wait until Thanksgiving is near before marketers ramp up their marketing spends. So, what is the ideal proportion or percentage in which they should increase their marketing investment? Industry marketing experts recommend that marketers can invest somewhere around two to five times more than their usual year-around investment in marketing campaigns. Hence, they should also have a meticulous plan and strategies to make the most out that swollen marketing budget. That’s why marketers should plan every aspect of campaigns well ahead of the time of launching their holiday marketing campaigns including crafting the most compelling designs, landing pages, forms, messages, time slots, offers as well as the marketing channels where targeted audience can be targeted and engaged. Along with these, marketers should also work around the keywords, including top trending and least competitive ones based on the current and upcoming holiday trends as well as the sales goals and results to expect from the campaigns.

3. Invest more in email campaigns.

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels to heavily rely upon during the holiday season for generating the highest amount of return with the lowest possible marketing spend. Hence, marketers should start working on the holiday email marketing campaigns by strategizing, designing, developing, A/B testing and continue to test after the launch of the holiday campaign to see which group of audience is responding and how they are responding to your holiday campaigns. Use these campaign insights to divide and personalize different variants of the same holiday email campaigns to smaller segments of prospects and customers to more strategically and effectively target your audience. 

We recommend to our clients to design their holiday emails in ways that underline the most popular product or service features and that are most likely to resonate with each group of audience. Also, marketers should remember that emails are found to be relevant to prospects’ and customers’ needs when the messages are highly personalized to their requirements and expectations, beyond just subscribers’ first names. If your emails are still not performing as intended even after personalizing messages, you need to work on the day and time when email open rates are the highest and also take account of subscribers’ preferred email frequency as they mention in the email preference centers or subscription management centers. Marketers need to send emails in the right frequency and at the right timing to significantly improve the prospects of email delivery, email opens and engagement.

Another key factor in determining holiday marketing budget is setting the right goals. You need to set a realistic goal considering various factors of success and ROI such as the amount of investment in your holiday marketing efforts, previous and current campaign performance and market saturation among many others. Once you can identify your goals and metrics, you can start building and developing more ROI-driven holiday marketing campaigns you can build.

If you want your prospects and customers to get more connected with your communications and email messages, but hard to invest adequate time to work on those at your desk, then your business is in need of an email marketing automation software to craft engagement-driven campaigns. Marketing Automation platforms for email marketing can significantly boost email productivity, making it essential for businesses. Why?

Simply put, with automated email marketing campaigns, buyers’ journeys can be mapped, targeted and nurtured with a series of emails scheduled over the course of the journey to progress them toward making purchase decisions. if you are looking for ideas on emails for automated lead nurturing journeys, following examples can give you cues.

Welcome email series

The personalized and automated email journey should commence with welcoming new subscribers to introduce to the brand, latest features, product updates and deals. Hence welcome emails is a must have for any email marketing campaign. Ideal welcome emails can be of different types, whether emails with with welcoming note (“Hello”, “Welcome” etc.,), emails to follow up subscribers with information about the brand, success stories, offerings, and solutions to address subscribers’ problems, and emails with thank you note, most commonly a “thanks for subscribing with us” and even better when added with a special offer for new subscribers to show gratitude.

Special Occasion Email Series

The special occasion series emails are exceptionally handy in keeping subscribers engaged and even accelerating subscribers’ purchase decisions. Therefore, these emails are excellent ideas to include in personalized and automated emails as these emails can be created in several ways such as, birthday, anniversary, congratulatory and many others. For example, you can send your prospects a birthday email with a personalized message alongside a birthday special offer. Further, you can create a followup email asking for feedback on the birthday offer as well as the final reminder on the expiry and advantages of the offer, after a week or anytime near the end of the month. Same thing can be applied for anniversary emails, congratulatory emails etc. These emails are great choices to show how much you care and pay heed to your prospects and customers, their accomplishments, special occasions, preferences, requirements and all the small details that matter to them.

Other types of emails you can use include –

Customer onboarding or getting-started email series which are usually image heavy and may also contain video inside.

Newsletter email series: This series of emails entail the summary of latest product updates that subscribers have expressed their interests receiving and that’s why these emails are mostly text-rich with a few images.

Promotional email series: Such promotional emails are designed to contain special event or product announcements to promote event attendance or product sales. These emails can be again enriched with visual assets such as rich graphics, videos etc. and lesser amount of textual content.

Transactional email series: These transactional emails are usually designed to send updates when purchases are made or any other purchase-based behavior. These transactional emails contain images of products or services that transactional emails feature.If you thinking of including these emails in marketing automation series, you need to ensure consider better personalization beyond first names and last names of your subscribers. Email personalization is the perfect way to individually reach each of your unique subscribers. Personalized campaigns drive 18X more revenue than email without personalization. We have compiled detailed tips and tricks to perform optimum personalization in the next part of this guide 6 Ways to Boost Your Email Marketing Performance with Personalization & Automation [PART II].

A/B testing, also known as A/B testing, is one of the most effective methods to ensure how prospects and customers will respond to email messages. The results of A/B test can assist marketers in determining the effectiveness of future and ongoing email campaigns to achieve a higher impact. The A/B tests enable marketers to separate specific differences between the two versions of the same emails. These tests are performed by splitting the email list into two segments and then, sending one version of the email to one segment and the other version of the email to another segment. As soon as emails are sent to both segments, marketers can monitor, measure and determine the version that is performing better than the other one. 

As marketers, you need to test all the emails you send especially those transactional emails including shipping confirmation emails, product delivery emails, purchase order emails, thank you emails etc. which present greater opportunities of conversion. A/B tests will also help you explore if your welcome emails have potential to convert instead of just merely welcoming new subscribers and if the subscribers want to know more about your products, services or the website or if they are willing to follow your brand on social media pages – therefore, there are many elements you can perform tests and test the effectiveness of emails in achieving the marketing goals. These tried, tested and proven five A/B test techniques will examine if and how your emails can increase conversion rates. 

1. Split the main CTA into deeper Links

Marketers need to always emphasize upon the main call-to-action phrase or button because this element is more capable of increasing sales conversions. You can improve conversions and click-throughs rates of email campaigns by breaking the main call-to-action into multiple series of “deep links” which can allow customer move further deep into the funnel. For example, if you are asking your audience to give rating for a book in one version of the email, you can include the 5-star rating option with a few questions and the option to leave a comment. In another version of the email, you can remove some questions or you may present the option to “skip a step” and help them avoid detailed links to see which versions can amplify the conversion rates. 

2. Test different variants and sequence of links

Many email campaigns, especially emails that contain multiple secondary links, provide customers with various options to get them navigate through different ways through the sales funnel. Marketers need to not only test whether to eliminate some links, but also the sequence and contents of those secondary links to see which can increase sales conversions. These types of tests are easy to build with a gamut of templating languages available to add or remove content based on diverse criteria. Marketers can create variations, one without the links and other set with to find out how each set works. A/B testing performed on the sequence and the format of all sets of email content consisting of links can help a great deal in taking a more well-informed decisions on these areas. 

3. Test mobile-friendliness of your emails 

More than 65% of emails get opened on mobile devices over desktop devices that marketers should take it mandatory to ensure that their emails load and read flawlessly on mobile devices in order to increase their email campaign conversion rates. Hence, it is also important to track which mobile email clients and devices customers and prospects are mostly using. Therefore, they need to set up the A/B test process to conduct tests with a responsive email template to measure the impact of the template.

Use of responsive email templates will allow marketers to boost click-through rates of campaigns as much as up to 10% and it is worth enough to implement a little more CSS to design your email campaign. Get inspiration on creating effective responsive templates from “Get better results with Responsive Email templates”.

4. Test Call-To-Action (CTA)

The CTA is the element that prompts recipients to click the links and buttons in emails – so, we are well aware of the importance of testing CTAs to determine how well the links will perform. There are various good reasons why marketers must consider A/B testing such as, 

  • To determine how effective the CTA is in making the right offers to prospects and customers. 
  • To check if the CTA can guide recipients the action to take? 
  • Is the CTA in the context of the email copy?
  • Can the CTA stand out from the rest of the copy and be clearly visible? 

To test your CTA in emails, consider these test variations:

  • Action words that direct the actions such as, “Sign up”, “Register”, “Download” “Book Free demo” etc.
  • Variants in offers that are made through CTA to monitor results
  • Positioning of CTA whether at the top right corner, in the center middle, or at the very end of the text

5. Test to determine the right time to send emails

After working out the right segment of the email list and crafting the right message, the next thing important for succeeding is to figure out the right time to reach the right audience with the right message. Marketers need to ensure that they are sending the emails at the best time when they will get the maximum engagement from their recipients; that’s why it is essential to define the certain days and certain times of the day when you yield results from email campaigns. Marketers can test emails on these variations such as, day of the week such as Wednesday, Monday, conduct tests on diverse time slots such as 10am, 2pm, 9pm and also, test frequency such as once a week or thrice a week. 

Apart from these tips, marketers should also perform tests on long and short subject lines, test email body copy, such as text only or visual and text, whether to use a personal tone or formal tone and many others.

Remarkable customer relationships can be built by practicing consistent understanding and analyzing prospects and customers to create personalized customer experience for your customers. Big brands like Amazon follow this as a ground rule for achieving their business success. So, how to actually implement this customer-first mantra into practice – how will you be able to connect more efficiently with your prospects and customers with a customer-first strategy? Well, the best and more effective answer is starting with the customer data. So, here comes data-first marketing or data-driven marketing strategy that mandates involves making calculated marketing decisions which can optimize campaigns to customer data. Marketers need to make the utmost use of reliable and accurate customer data in making all the business decisions to ensure they can identify customer profiles better, enhance customer segmentation, targeting and retargeting by delivering personalized messages and experience to boost impacts of marketing efforts.

Then, how do you like to engage with your audience and find things that will be interesting to them by making use of the data? 

Be well-informed of the databases

The first and foremost step is to take account of the existing current condition and position of your database. Consider analyzing the present state to strike a practical and actionable marketing roadmap which will include both current to future marketing and overall business goals. Companies can make use of diverse marketing and data management platforms to store, analyze and deliver personalized customer experiences. Here we have compiled five most effective and all-encompassing marketing tools to implement data-first marketing strategies. 

  1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management System or commonly termed as CRM is the most commonly used customer data sources that store most of the customer data, revenue data, campaign and program data including new leads, lead scores, opportunities, new offers and customer renewals and many more. This data source platform offers the main interface wherein marketers and salespeople can collect, collaborate and use data they need related to new and existing accounts, individual contacts, new leads, use cases, sales calls, event participation, website visits, landing page visits and many customer behavioral and demographic data.  

2. Marketing Systems

Marketing systems are available in wide ranges including email service provider (ESP) platforms, marketing automation platform, account-based marketing platforms, and various advertising and marketing technologies. These platforms are extremely useful in executing all types of marketing programs and campaigns with support for integrating with the existing CRM platforms, thus benefitting users with a 360-degree view of prospects and customers data as well as enabling them to monitor and measure marketing activities, email campaign engagement, customer engagement activities, website browsing activities, and other marketing performance data all from one place. 

3. Data Warehouse or ERP Systems

The key advantages of using a data warehouse system is having a central storehouse or depository of customer data. These data sources include inputs and store customer data to the warehouse from multiple sources including financial applications, sales and marketing systems, purchasing tools, operations platforms etc. After storing, these platforms also assist users to systematize, dedupe and clean data to transform the data sets into usable and accurate form for marketers and sales persons. These data storehouses are exceptionally handy in identifying how prospects and customers are making purchases of products, services, and responding to offers and deals and all other pertinent data related to sales and conversions. 

4. Marketing tech applications and tools

Most organizations are currently making use of a large variants of marketing technology tools to enhance their marketing processes and overall business operations and optimize customer experiences. Though marketing systems such as marketing automation suites act as primary tool for recording data and performing main marketing processes, these marketing technology tools enable users to integrate with the primary marketing systems to further improve and optimize marketing efforts such as social media marketing, account-based marketing (ABM), mobile marketing, website personalization, customer data enrichment, and many others. Martech tools help a great deal in augmenting the effectiveness of data-driven marketing efforts, building marketing technology stack, and manage several marketing systems by offering seamless integration with those systems as well as CRM platforms. 

5. Business Intelligence (BI) and Reporting and Analytics Tools 

If data warehouse platform comes in handy in storing and standardizing customer data from multiple data sources, these reporting and analytics tools and BI tools help marketers to format data in stipulated data pattern, visualize customer data and extracting customer insights. Whether marketers look for wider perspectives or minute details, these tools can significantly benefit users to view data in various readable and usable formats as well as dig out actionable intelligence. So, a paid marketing analyst can use these platforms to look through in different web and social media ad campaigns as well as email campaign specialist can dep dive in campaign performance data and get detailed breakdown of marketing attribution.

With all these tools and systems available, marketers need to build the right and performance-driven marketing blocks to achieve marketing success. The more tools and systems businesses may use, not necessarily will yield more powerful campaign success, but they need to evaluate the effectiveness, use and marketing budget to build the perfect stack of marketing tools that will serve the purposes data-first or data-driven marketing approaches.

Over the last decade, email has been one of the most effective and reliable marketing approaches to reach out and engage with prospects and customers. An Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report has concluded that around 61% of customers wish businesses to reach and communicate with them via email marketing campaigns. Many marketing experts recommend including video content in email marketing campaigns as videos serve powerful means of boosting email list and customer engagement. 

Let’s face it, we all love videos and our inboxes get mostly inundated with unwanted marketing communications. At that, video content gives better prominence to email messages that can clearly stand out from the rest of the messages. If subscribers get informed that the email message includes video content, they feel more likely to open the email and engage with the messages than emails with other visual and textual content.

Why adding videos in email? 

Simply because sending video along with textual and other visual content in the email copy to entice audience in grasping information in a more easily consumable and shareable format. Video inclusion in email has benefited marketers to stay more engaged with their audience who are interested in receiving video solutions and content, thus helping them to grow the email list in leaps and bounds since subscribers are more interested to click the form submission buttons and share their email addresses when they know they can play a video in contrast to textual content.

So, how to use video content that it can significantly increase email opens before even viewing the video content? Here are few tried, tested and effective techniques to include video in email for maximizing open rates and overall campaign performance.  

Video Email: Subject Line

Subscribers prefer email subject lines that are precise, pertinent, crisp and will also include easy to grasp snackable information. Hence, it is best to provide subscribers with the email that perfectly fits to this requirement and also informing them that the email contains a video.  Contacts would love to watch a video of 60-seconds than having to read the entire email copy, even though it is a best written copy. The inclusion of the term “video” in email subject line has potential to multiply open rates as much as 7% to 13%. So, the email subject line must attract your audience’s attention even in the midst of an overcrowded inbox. Most interested subscribers are also known to push bulk of email messages to the spam box to find the messages that interest them the most. We recommend writing the title of the video in the email subject line in order to better able to sell the email content without hesitating to brag about that your email has a video inside. Marketers can use all caps within parenthesis or use bold font style to convey the message such as:

“Check out how to make Christmas dinner in just one hour [VIDEO]”

“Play this VIDEO to turn your landing page into a lead generation machine” 

Turn email more interactive with HTML5

Embedding video directly in an email is not the only way to share video in email. Several email service providers may not support technicalities of play video within an email, even though marketing technologies are advancing to embed videos in email messages. A great way of including videos in email is to embed the video within the html code of the email and in this regard, HTML5 is the best bet. Though HTML5 is known to be the most updated version, but some email services might not feature support of HTML5. 

If you are using HTML5 to add video in email, your marketing team needs one dedicated person who is familiar and expert in coding. You can find an instance of HTML5 video include code here:

<video width=”650″ height=”460″ poster=”http://mnpsite.com/uploads/winbackemail.jpg” controls=”controls”>

<source src=”http:// mnpsite.com/videotitle.mp4″ type=”video/mp4″ />

<a href=”http:// mnpsite.com/”><img src=”http:// mnpsite.com/uploads/winbackemail.jpg” width=”650″ height=”460″ /></a> </video>

This code will help marketers set the width and height parameters for including the video and instructs the email the image it will flash as well as provide a link to the main video source. 

Remember that if the formatting will be off or even worse, the link is broken, the email message will end up appearing disorderly and unprofessional. Moreover, if email reaches to contacts whose internet connection is slow or intermittent, or the email client has disabled images by default, the embedded video will not appear. Though certain email servers may not support HTML5 video embedding then, try a different video inclusion tactic which will work for your subscribers.

Send videos with a thumbnail in emails 

This is a far easier and effective technique which fortunately works for all types of email clients. And the trick is to use a still image which is linked to the video Instead of embedding the actual video. Though the video will not start playing within the email itself, but the email can be linked to a landing page or the targeted webpage or video uploading channel without requiring to take the heavy task of HTML embedding. Check out how to do this:  

  • First, create the thumbnail image which will also include a play button like it appears in the actual video and various formats that can be used for this thumbnail can range from jpg, Jpeg, png etc.
  • Next, you need to hyperlink the image with the URL of the webpage or the link of the video posted in a YouTube channel.

And, that’s all! As soon as your subscribers will click the “play” button on the image, they will be redirected to the intended webpage, landing page or YouTube page wherein they can instantly play the video. This is considered to be more effective, failsafe and flawless technique of adding videos into email messages and getting more people to actually watch the video. Marketers can simply get a vector images of play button and add that on the video thumbnail image. 

Animated video GIFs are also an amazing way to let subscribers preview the video without requiring to embed the actual video in an email, especially in those product demo emails. This method will give a small preview of what the video is about and sneak-peek of  features and benefits.

According to Campaign Monitor, 68% of email campaigns were reported to be opened on mobile devices. Therefore, email having a mobile-friendly look and functionalities do not just seem right, but are a necessity. One of the most common challenges marketers face is ensuring their emails look great on mobile devices. Mobile devices have grown to be a massive media that over one-third of US mobile phone users use their mobile phone to go online–you might be reading this article on your mobile right now–and more than half of Americans check emails using their mobile device, as per a survey findings by the Pew Research Center. The best part is that because mobile devices make it extremely easy to check emails, making people access their inboxes more often than web-based email clients, they are more likely to find and open email newsletters, event invites and promotional communications. Therefore, emails must be fully optimized for various screen sizes and resolutions of various mobile email clients otherwise emails designed for desktop and laptop screens will look so terrible that recipients might not be able to view or read the message.  Hence, email templates must be optimized to the mobile devices to ensure emails will look great on diverse mobile devices and email clients and here are seven ways to make emails mobile-ready. 

1. Pay attention to the email subject line length

Common desktop email inbox displays can contain around 60 characters of email subject line whereas mobile devices cannot display subject lines more than 25 to 30 characters. A study by Return Path has revealed that most subject lines contain about 41 to 50 characters when they have surveyed more than 2 million emails from around 3,000 email senders. Marketers aiming to optimize subject lines for mobile devices should keep the ideal length of email subject lines and the percentage of their email subscribers who are expected to open email messages on smartphones, tablet devices, laptops or desktop devices in order to work out the most fitting subject line length for their campaign. If the major share of subscribers is projected to open email messages on iPhone, Apple Mail, Android Gmail or other mobile email clients, then the subject lines should not exceed a character limit of 25 to 30 to achieve maximum email open rates. 

2. Do not forget the impact of preheaders 

Preheaders come in exceptionally handy when marketers need a slightly longer email subject line to explain the offer. Though mostly underused, these preheader texts are proven to be immensely useful for email messages for mobile devices where longer subject lines are a necessity and a great challenge to include value in subject lines for mobile-friendly emails. Simply put, preheader texts provide the first line in email messages that help extend the copy of subject line in order to add more value and context to prompt subscribers to open emails. Though email users find options to customize the settings to whether view the preheader text but, most users stick to the default settings and view this preview copy just as those are created for the email. The preheader text length can differ from email client to another and from one device to another, so we recommend experimenting with varying lengths to determine which works best for the devices where most of your subscribers are going to open your emails. 

3. The email copy must be concise

When marketers craft email copy to achieve the utmost mobile optimization, they need to remember that they must keep it as short and crisp as possible. Marketers should bear in mind that short, easily consumable, snackable and scannable copies of email content makes it easier for the audience to read and understand within a shorter span. The most effective pieces of concise and crisp pieces of email copies are smaller paragraphs, bulleted lists and segmented content divided in tables and parts so that subscribers can view and grasp the email messages faster and take the intended actions or click the links in the email. 

Since the overall screen size of mobile devices are smaller than desktop devices, recipients are known to multitask when they receive email message on mobile and consuming the email copy. Hence, it is crucial to limit the quantity of email as much as possible by incorporating prominent headers, smaller paragraphs, bullet points, segregated texts to improve the prospects of engaging with the audience as much as possible. 

4. Take a close look at in-mail images and graphics 

Not every mobile device can display in-mail images and graphics as the default option. Marketers need to remember that many email clients enable users to prevent images from loading and displaying when they open emails. Many subscribers may set this option to keep images to be displayed by default with email loading. That’s why it is important to have a plan to provide “images off” email experience to their subscribers and help them understand the email message even when the images do not load or they prefer not to see image by clicking “show remote content” or “display images” option. Blocked email images can be a huge challenge for emails where images are necessities, especially for transactional emails such as product shipment, delivery confirmation emails wherein email copies need to clearly communicate the items that are displayed using the images. Therefore, marketers should consider images as optional elements and heavily focus on textual explanation to deliver the message clearly even when the images fail to load or users do not load images. 

5. The CTAs should take the front seat 

The call-to-action or CTA must be positioned in the front and center while planning email copy to enable on-the-go and busy email subscribers to get to the point as fast as possible. A CTA placed in the center can easily demonstrate and prompt them the action to take within a few seconds. It is best to position the call to action text near the top of email message to make those appear more distinctively on mobile email clients to ensure your emails are the most mobile-friendly and to get maximum clicks on emails, we recommend the CTA buttons to be minimum 44 x 44 pixels.

Along with these tips, there is another way to ensure your emails are the most mobile-friendly and attain the open rates by creating emails with adequate white space near those CTAs and around links to make those appear and clickable at the most, so that there is plenty of space surrounding the link or the CTA button that subscribers do not click something else accidentally and at the first attempt.

As a marketer, you might have found heaps of recommendations and guides advising you to invest considerable amount of time, resources and efforts for creating the ideal email messages. You have read all the guides recommending you to focus on the ideal ratio of text to images, an eye-catching font, line spacing, personalization in terms of content and audience segment, the best time and frequency of sending emails and similar other factors to deliver a successful email. But, how will you make sure that your emails will bypass the spam folder and reach only inboxes. 

Luckily, there are various ways you can actually ensure email deliverability and improve email delivery rates for every campaign you launch. Here are5 tips that, when executed perfectly, will improve your email deliverability. 

1. Validate the email domain

Marketers who are not using an authenticated email domain need to reconsider their approaches to prevent the risk of damaging their email sender reputation. If marketers are not activating Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF), they might run the risk of email spoofing and getting someone to gain control of the email domain which causes weak email delivery rates.

On the other hand, validating email with DKIM and SPF will help ISPs identify you and if the email domain is authenticated to send emails. Though email authentication can be complicated, but the practice is well worth it to ensure email delivery.

2. Keep up good IP allocation

When the email marketing program starts growing, marketers need to remember that they require good email infrastructure when your email campaign starts scaling. As a brand starts sending 30,000 emails on day-to-day basis, they need to send emails using a dedicated IP address. When a brand will opt for a dedicated IP address, they need to set it up properly before starting to send emails to the email list so that the company can gain trust with recipients’ ISPs which will not block you when emails sent from a dedicated IP.

3. Improve email opt-in process

Marketers need to pay attention to how they are amassing their prospects’ email addresses as it plays a vital role in making or breaking the email deliverability rates. A perfectly chosen opt-in method will guarantee that the collected contacts are going to be engaged and interested users. If marketers are sending emails to recipients who were not made aware or have not expressed their interest to receive communications from the brand, then sending emails to them might make them mark your emails as spam. As a result, their ISPs will see your IP as the one that is spamming their customers and all the recipients on the email list, including those who have actually wished to receive email messages. We always recommend our clients to use double opt-in method as it involves two-step verification process to enable contacts to confirm their interest. Thus, double opt-in process is proven more effective in building an email list with engaged subscribers. 

4. Write more compelling subject lines which prove brand as non-spam

Marketeers who are aiming at improving their email deliverability rates need to take serious consideration of email subject lines as theysubject lines play a critical role in determining if the subscriber will open emails. Recipients’ ISPs are growing to be more refined in IP filtering systems and can spot certain phrases which will mark or prevent emails from the spam folder automatically. We recommend our clients to not to include these phrases that are usually get marked as spam, such as “Eliminate your debt”, “FREE!!!”, “Risk-free” etc. Though there is no such strict rule of not using these phrases, but it is advised to exclude these phrases to ensure your emails get arrived in subscribers’ inbox. Instead of using these words, it is better to focus on providing proper value to your prospects without sounding aggressive or salesy.

5. Build an email preference center

As soon as your contacts express and confirm their interest to get communications from the brand, marketers need to build an email preference center to enable their contacts to decide the topics and how frequently contacts want to receive email communications from a brand. Preference centers or subscription management centers will give recipients the control they need to choose how and what messages they will receive and will also keep prospects happy with the content and the email.

In addition to these five techniques of guaranteeing email delivery to users’ inboxes, marketers should also consider other essential best practices. They must consider regular cleaning of email lists to remove inactive, invalid, duplicate or inaccurate contacts. Also, email marketers can avoid spam traps by maintaining a clean email list consisting of engaged subscribers and avoid purchasing an email list.

Email sender reputation is a huge factor impacting what gets to the inbox, what to junk, what gets deleted and what gets rejected. Email inbox providers determines the reputation of the IP address based on several factors that are the quality of information or content shared through email, level of engagement received from earlier email communications sent via that IP address, quality of email contacts whom email messages are being sent, trends and sequence of email sending volume, and many other factors. 

Major email inbox providers including Gmail or Apple check for email senders’ score or IP score or IP reputation or email sender reputation in order to verify if the email from your sender IP address should be delivered to the inbox. Email marketers need to ensure that their emails don’t get redirected to their subscribers’ spam folders and prevent denting the reputation of your sending IP address. Hence, email marketers need to guard against all probable email marketing mistakes to keep this reputation intact and avert the risk of getting their well-designed emails landing up in their subscribers’ spam folders. That’s why we have collated all common email marketing mistakes and how you can dodge those to save your potential resources to be wasted in reworks, lessening opportunities of revenue and yes, protecting your email sender reputation from being marked as spam. 

1. Storing misspelled email addresses

Marketers often mistakenly collect invalid email contact details which result from typo errors while recording contact details. Such typos can damage an email sender reputation or score significantly. How? Email hard bounces contribute to one of the most common causes of hurting an email sender score. If a collected email address is not valid, email delivery will fail to deliver and email service providers will reject the brand sending emails via their server since email hard bounce rates affect their sender IP reputation too. To avoid misspelled or email address type errors, marketers can use a tool to verify email addresses in real-time before adding the addresses to the CRM or the marketing funnel. Users also get notified on spotting an error in the email address helping them to correct the mistakes before sending even after accidental typos were added to the contact data. 

2. No periodic data cleansing practices in place 

Is your email list database containing the old data on your email list? The old data which is no longer valid and outdated cost companies more money by keeping uninterested contacts there. Email marketers should consider periodically to clear unengaged subscribers from the email list. Subscribers who are resisting your communications, not opening or engaging in your emails or content may mark senders as spam and can dent email sender reputation. 

Regular cleansing and maintaining a clean database frequently or on a quarterly basis is imperative to ensure email marketing campaigns are based on subscribers who are actually interested in making a purchase in the future. Marketers who are not willing to remove part of data from the email list, they need to segment their subscribers so that they can separate subscribers who are not interested in receiving specific type of products, offers or content. Additionally, a quarterly database cleanup is important to identify email addresses which might have been inactive so that marketers can create a reactivation program or campaigns to encourage them to start engaging with the brand again.  

3. Refrain from working with data suppliers 

Many organizations often resort to data suppliers to append new leads and customers. However, no matter how easy this method of collecting customer data may seem since it is faster, but collecting data in this process does not result from engaging with people and will not enhance your engagement rate that the organic process of growing an email list would. The organic process of building an email list improves engagement with prospects, open rates and click rates. 

If businesses are sending emails to contacts collected through a data supplier, they are not building leads based on communication, familiarity and without knowing what those people want from their products, thus they are collecting names without having any idea on how they can engage with those leads. That’s why contacts in the email lists bought from data brokers are most likely to mark email communications as SPAM as they have never shown interest in the products, services or the brand. Spam complaints play a crucial role diminishing the email sender score as every complaint raised on sending a message is passed to ISPs directly that their subscribers do not want those emails. 

4. Poor quality of the content

Businesses that compromise on the quality of content of email communications for bulk quantity of email messages – one of the biggest mistakes and must be avoided at any cost! Sending audiences poorly researched and crafted email copies will repel people and continued practices of sending poor content will drive people raise spam alert which result in denting email sender reputation. As part of the practices of avoiding sending emails with poor content, businesses should consider these following dos and don’ts:

  • Make sure the email template is responsive and mobile-ready
  • Make sure that the tone of the content should be useful, do not use aggressive sales pitch
  • Do not use spam words in email copy
  • Do make sure A/B testing all the links in emails and they are hyperlinked to the intended landing pages or web pages.
  • Do resist the temptation of incorporating click-bait in the email copy and witch email subject line.
  • Do make sure that the email copy is well-formatted, easy to read and capture main information 

5. Inconsistent email frequency

This is one of the most overlooked and common mistakes committed by email marketers that hurt their email sender reputation significantly! The email frequency is one of the most crucial aspects to plan and schedule carefully when it comes to ensure your emails are not going to diminish your email sender score. Marketers need to consider a balanced approach to plan their email content calendar and calculate the right email sending frequency. If emails are being sent too frequently, within short intervals, chances are that emails are going to frustrate and even enrage subscribers that they will start placing complaints to their ISPs. On the other hand, if you are sending emails with longer intervals, your subscribers may switch to your competitors who are more regular with their product updates, sales offer and industry updates and you will be missing out on potential sales opportunities.

At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you are practicing a consistent and balanced email sending schedule to prevent users from losing interest in your email campaigns or reporting your emails as spam. Also, marketers need to allow subscribers to choose how often they wish to receive your email communications and adhering to that schedule so they would not feel annoyed. 

6. Spam traps in email list

Spam traps in email lists are another danger to look out for to avert the risk of low email sender reputation. The trouble with email list traps can be as dangerous as being blacklisted. The major two types of traps; one is scraped email list trap and the other is recycled spam trap. The harvested or scraped email list includes email addresses that are created by blacklist organizers or ESPs that share spam email addresses. Your data collectors might not scrape those email addresses, but the data suppliers or data brokers you use may have scraped or harvested those email addresses from the web. The recycled email spam trap includes email addresses that were earlier genuine, but might be discarded by users later when they stopped using those addresses. The marketing systems you use should disable these types of email addresses to avoid the occurrences of hard bounces and the risk of being blacklisted if you continue sending emails to those addresses.