Inbox Examiner is a video series featuring leading industry experts discussing proven solutions to the many challenges email marketers face. In this video, our experts discuss email deliverability challenges during the holiday season and what you can do to overcome them.
Narrorator: Welcome to the Inbox Examiner video series; a discussion around the many challenges in the email marketing industry, with proven solutions from leading industry experts.
The topic for today's episode is "Staying on the Deliverability Nice List this Holiday Season." Our industry experts will discuss deliverability challenges during the holiday season and what you can do to overcome them.
Joining us for this discussion is Andrew Kordek, Chief Strategist and Co-Foudner of Trendline Interactive and Ashley Dern, Deliverability Stragetgist for Inbox Pros.
AA: All right, the first challenge that we face a lot is list hygiene. During the holidays, I've seen this so many times, that clients forget best practices, throw them out the window, and they start sending to older lists, or purchased lists. But we as marketers, we need to remember that ISPs and those spam filters, they're extra sensitive during this time of year. They know what's up, they know that people are going to be sending more, maybe not following the best of practices, so that's why we need to make sure that we're following these best practices, not only during the rest of the year, but especially during the holidays. So clean your list of old email addresses follow those practices, and please, do not purchase list. If you're purchasing them, then those ISPs and those spam filters, they can certainly purchase them as well, and they'll be monitoring and seeing if you're sending the bad addresses, spam traps, or whatever it maybe. Follow those best practices.
AK: Guys, the holidays are a time for joy, and happiness, and parties, so I want you to think, to think about this list hygiene, uh, aspect, as having a holiday party in your email program. And what do most of us do before we have this party at our house? We clean it. This is a part of the cleansing process. So cleaning your old addresses by using something like bar- BriteVerify, to make sure you're not hitting these sort of traps of bad email addresses, is like cleaning dust bunnies up, right? Sending to old lists is like moving furniture around and where people are going to put the food. This is all about cleaning your house and you have to make that an important part of your planning process.
So let's talk about challenge two. Challenge two is like, is what we call list fatigue. And it's really interesting because it you think about, again, this whole party aspect, and this holiday, um, theme, people get overwhelmed at the holidays, and your subscribers can get overwhelmed because guess what, everybody, not just your competitors, everybody is wanting to overwhelm their subscribers with a ton of email. So when you do that, and if you go from, like, zero or 50,000 to 1,000,000, guess what, your, um, your reputation can be damaged. I think the second thing around list fatigue is that sending the same thing over, and over, and over, being a broken record sometimes, will cause them to be pissed, right? It's like angry, old Aunt Emma in the corner, right? Um, she doesn't want to see the same thing over and over again. So you have to sort of set this expectation around frequency and list fatigue with your subscribers.
AA: Yeah, Andrew, I really like how you started it. So many people, I've heard from them that they unsubscribe and they complain because they're getting too many emails. That's why I tell people all the time, put yourself in the receiver's shoes. Do you want to receive multiple emails from the same company in one day? Probably not. And of course, you want your sensor to be strategic. You want them to be targeted. You shouldn't be sending snowmobile emails to people in San Diego. So make sure you're creating emails where people anticipate them, not dread them, because list fatigue, it's a real thing and if it happens, it can bring some serious repercussions to your inbox placement.
Which brings me to my next challenge, is the visibility in the inbox folder. With so many senders out there today, you're fighting to get into the inbox, number one, and then number two, to get the opens and clicks, the engagement you want. So during the holidays, it's sometimes worse. It's like a war zone there. So how can we get that visibility in the inbox? How can we get people to open and click? Well, one thing I really like is implementing an email via a holiday preference center, to have subscribers pick times to have their emails delivered. That's actually a bonus for you as the sender, because it's having the send-, or the user dictate their frequency and preferences. And also, AudiencePoint is very helpful with send time optimization. It's going to help you when sending to different time zones, or it will help you with telling you when you should be sending to your users, because you know they'll be in their inbox folder.
AK: One of the best email programs, Ashley, that I remember, uh, a few years ago, sent me an email, um, right before the onslaught started to happen, right? And they said, "Guess what, we're going to increase our frequency from three emails a week to six emails a week. If you don't want to receive six, click here, right, and give us what your preferences are. What do you want to get? Do you want to get three? Do you want to get four? Do you want to get five, or are you okay with the six?" This boils down, everybody, to if you want to be able to have visibility to the inbox, this boils down to choice. This about, this is all about giving the subscribers the ability to dictate to you what they want to receive. I'm almost positive that if you give these, uh, the subscribers a choice, and picking specific times for them to get an email, or getting less email, guess what? You're, you're not only going to have greater visibility, but you're going to have greater long term engagement well beyond the holiday season.
AA: Yeah, so I think with the holidays upon us, there's a lot of challenges that us as marketers need to be aware of, because we're going to be facing them. But by following these solutions that Andrew and I have pointed out here, that will certainly help you, not only get on the nice list with the ISPs this year, but it just might actually get your viewers opening and reading them, and interacting.
AK: Guys, you're planning now. You're planning for all of the holidays that are about to happen, because planning takes a long time. Keep two things in mind, clean your house before this party begins and give choice to people where you can.
Meet The Speakers | Andrew Kordek and Ashley August
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