You’re not junk, so don’t be treated that way!
With the average office working individual receiving 121 emails per day, it’s important to ensure your message doesn’t get lost in the volume, end up in junk. Most importantly, your audience needs to get value from your message.
Creating an effective email marketing content strategy isn’t easy (we’ll get to that next month), so let’s start with the basics. How do you ensure your email marketing doesn’t end up in the junk mail of your audience? There are few techniques and items you can monitor to make sure you don’t end up in junk folders.
Here are a few email marketing tips to avoid junk folders:
- Develop a warm up strategy. A warm up strategy can mean two things. One – warm up users to your brand and messaging through an opt-in email and introductory messaging strategy. Two – warm up ISPs (internet service providers) to validate your sender reputation.
- Warm-up message strategy. Depending on how frequent your brand has interacted with your audience, you may want to consider warming up the audience to your messaging. Or if you’ve gone through a recent rebrand you’ll want to slowly re-introduce them to who you are. When you take someone on a first date, you don’t ask them to marry you right away. You let them get to know you, and gradually build their trust. The same approach should be taken through email marketing.
- IP(internet protocol) warm-up strategy. . Depending on your send volume (10,000 emails or more a month – depending on ISPs), an IP warming strategy can be critical in your delivery success. Warming up your IP allows you to gradually establish a good sender reputation, and is a necessary step for users who are adding a new dedicated IP addresses to their account. IP warming is the practice of schedule email delivery by gradually increasing the volume of mail sent via a dedicated IP address. This gradual process helps to establish a reputation with Internet Service Providers and lets them know you are a safe sender.
- Get on white lists. ISPs like Yahoo and Hotmail (yes, people still use those) have approved lists of senders. If you’re able to get on the approved senders list, your message will be delivered to inboxes. The simplest way to get whitelisted is to have users reply to your email. Yes, you might get a lot of emails to respond to, but the value of being whitelisted is worth the additional flood of emails. It is also recommended that you do not use a firstname.lastname@example.org email address, so users can easily reply for any reason.
- Provide an obvious unsubscribe link. Make it simple for users to unsubscribe. If you don’t want them to mark you as spam, keep it simple for them to remove themselves from your list. Otherwise, all that work you spent building your reputation will disappear.
- Maintain your list. A list should continuously evolve. Make sure you remove bounced email addresses, unsubscribes and segment lists so users are receiving content they are interested in. ISPs like to punish for bad email addresses, so again, don’t harm your reputation by being lazy when it comes to your list.
- Avoid poor email layout/content. Utilize quality html coding, and stay away from large amounts of imagery (until you’ve established your mailing list and users are responding to imagery – again warm them up to heavy image use).
Now that you’re well equipped in how to get your message to users, and stay out of junk folders, you can work to deliver quality email content. Stay tuned for tips on how to develop a value driven content strategy.