You may spend a lot of time and energy designing your weekly email newsletter, it’ll look really pretty, all the links will work and you’re happy to press send because there are no typos after a thorough proofing. Once it’s left your email platform it’s then out there in the big wide world and at the mercy of the ISPs. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t influence how quickly it lands, and more importantly, if it lands in your customer’s inbox or junk folder.
Each of the ISPs will have spent a significant amount of time developing an algorithm to help them determine whether the incoming emails are relevant to the individual recipient. But how do they determine what is relevant to each individual inbox holder? This will be done based on the individuals interaction with emails from the many millions of companies out there involved in email marketing. Ok, so not millions, but the few hundred an individual has signed up to and agreed to receive email marketing from!
So how do you influence your customers’ behaviour? How do you make sure they open your emails? You send them the right message, at the right time by segmenting your data and communicating to your pots of segmented data in a relevant manner. This is done with both content and frequency. And the best place to start is at the beginning of your customers email journey with you.
Think about your sign up process. The web page(s) will have been optimised to ensure you’re collecting exactly the right amount (and type) of data you need to determine whether your customers are interested in men’s fashion or women’s fashion, just as an example. Don’t forget to apply that attention to detail to the email journey your brand new and freshly signed up customers will go on. Have you got a different creative design for males and females? That’s pretty standard, I’m sure you do. But is it enough?
Take it to the next level and overlay whether that customer signed up and purchased at the same time, or whether they simply signed up and browsed. If it’s the latter, you may want to take them on a dedicated sign up conversion programme detailing your USPs, maybe including some customer testimonials, or a link to something like Feefo. You probably shouldn’t include them in your weekly newsletter emails for a period of time, there’s nothing worse than a pushy sales message 5 minutes in to your relationship.
These targeted messages sent at the start of your customer’s email journey will show the customer that you’re thinking about exactly what they need from you. You’ve put them at the heart of your customer journey right from the outset and not applied a broad brush approach to include them in your main pot of emailable data. This will lead to them engaging and interacting with your emails so the likes of Hotmail or Gmail will put them in their happy algorithm and ensure the emails land in this customer’s inbox, and quickly.
It doesn’t stop there though; you’ve done a great of job being relevant at the start of the sign up process, don’t forget about the communications which are sent once they’ve completed this journey. Try not to lump them into a generic sales message about men’s fashion when they were only interested in women’s. The continued segmentation of your database, whether that’s based on preferences collected at sign up, or based on your customer’s interaction with email, will ensure that they continue to engage and interact with your emails and therefore maintain your reputation with the ISPs.
You can use their interaction to help assist with ongoing email communications. If a customer opens an email twice a week, then they seem happy to receive that number of emails so keep emailing them at that frequency. If this behavioural data is overlaid with purchasing data, you can easily identify your VIP customers and this segment could be extremely rewarding in terms of conversion. Be careful though, don’t jump from 2 to 5 emails in a week or you risk switching them off. Consistently monitor the volume in your segments to ensure they’re not falling out of the engaged pot and landing in to an unengaged segment.
If you have a segment of customers who are unengaged with your weekly newsletters and you find that they only purchase during a sales period, think about segmenting them into a pot of data whereby you only email them 3 times a year during your sales period. This will ensure that they hear about content they’re interested in, and you won’t run the risk of them getting fed up with receiving an irrelevant email every week and potentially unsubscribing, or worse still, marking you as spam.
You’ve now established a targeted communication programme of emails with your new sign ups and you are maintaining a relevant and timely email conversation. Why wouldn’t the ISPs see you as a friendly face and therefore give you a good solid reputation?!