You can write the best most awesomest email ever, but if it doesn’t get into your subscribers inbox it won’t help change their lives one bit. If they never see it, they won’t become a customer, and that won’t change YOUR life one bit.
Deliverability is key for email
Recently I had the opportunity to attend ONTRAPORT’s Certified Consulting training in Santa Barbara, California. (In case you’re curious, yes I passed the test and I’m now certified by ONTRAPORT. YAY!) One of the topics we discussed in great length was deliverability.
According to ONTRAPORT’s email delivery expert and postmaster (yes he really calls himself the postmaster), Brendan, email providers are getting more sophisticated in their efforts to keep junk out of our inboxes. Providers like Gmail and Yahoo are leading the way.
It used to be that everything was dependent on your ISP address. Email providers would run your ISP through their database and compare it to all their known ISP addresses. If your ISP was known to send a lot of SPAM and garbage then Gmail was less likely to put your message in the inbox. If it’s really bad you were going straight to the SPAM folder. Today things are more dependant on the domain name associated with your email. In an effort to cut off the ‘churn and burn’ SPAMMERS, Google has gotten smarter and looks at the domain name as well as the ISP.
What does this mean to you? It’s kinda like having a ‘permanent record.’ No longer can you have a bad reputation and just move your list to a new server. Your domain will follow you and signal that your email is less than desirable. The consequences of poor email engagement are becoming serious.
Big Google is Watching
But the really scaring thing coming is list ‘fingerprinting.’ Google is building a database of email lists and noting how their clients interact with them. When a list of 8,592 emails hit their server all at the same time, and it’s always the SAME 8,592 emails, Google knows that it’s the same sender. They then note how many of those emails are opened, how many SPAM complaints are registered and how many times those recipients hit reply. Google is beginning to build a history of your email list. Once they perfect their algorithm, there will be no getting around them.
Does it really matter? Yes! Where Google goes, other email providers will follow. Besides, almost 50% of emails are now opened on Gmail anyway! So you bet you need to pay attention to Google if you want your subscribers to get your emails.
What’s a list owner to do?
Here are three things you can do to keep you delivery rate high.
Make sure people WANT to be on your list
Don’t just randomly add people to your email list. No one wants that. Just meeting someone at a networking event is NOT them saying they want to be on your email list. Personally nothing bugs me more! I’m going to, at the very least, ignore your emails or I’m going to tag you as SPAM. Neither one is doing you any good. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Having a big list is far less important than having your emails get read.
Your list should be made up of people who said, “I want your stuff.” The only exception would be current and past clients. But I guess you could argue they have opted in as well.
Don’t believe what they SAY, believe what they do
If you have an email list and you’ve had people ASK to be on it, I’m sure you’ve noticed it doesn’t mean they are hanging on your every email. In other words, have you seen your open and click-through rates lately? Most business owners I meet tell me their open rate is in the 10-15% range. Not good enough!
That means 85-90% of the people receiving your email JUST DON”T CARE! Their actions are telling you they don’t want to be on your list. So why are they there?
Again, BIGGER is NOT better.
Here is where you should start a re-engagement campaign. If a subscriber hasn’t opened one of your emails in the last 90 days (and you’re sending regular emails) it’s time to ask why.
Send them two emails.
- Send something along the lines of “Hey, I miss you. Do you still care?” Give them the option to click a link to show they are still interested in being on your list. Let them know if you don’t hear from them you are going to cancel their subscription.
- This email might say “Sorry to see you go.” Let them know you’ve dropped them and if they would like to re-subscribe give them a link to do so.
In this age of deliverability, it’s important to be proactive. Just like a high school crush, you don’t want to be the one getting dumped. It’s much better to make the first move.
Write something interesting
Most emails I receive from businesses are BORING! With hundreds of emails in my inbox why would I choose to read the boring ones?
Wow, that kinda hurts. But the truth sometimes does.
I recently opened an email that had to be over 1,000 words long of solid text. All informational text. BORING!! I might as well get out my old college chemistry text book. At least that might have a thread of a story in it.
Keep your emails brief. If you have a lot to say, send them to a blog post or include a link to a PDF download.
Make your emails fun. Tell a story – be yourself. Local businesses are supposed to be fun! They are supposed to have the personality of the owner/s. Yet, when most businesses write an email they become GE Capital.”Dear Sirs, I am writing you today to request…..” Yech!
By implementing these three strategies in your email marketing, you’ll keep your list squeaky clean and greatly increase your chances of finding your subscriber’s inbox.