Five Ways to Get Emails to Your Customers

Email Marketing
Customer Experience
Well-prepared marketing efforts don't always make it to customers' inbox. Responsys' Daniel Deneweth explains how marketers can get their emails to customers.

Marketers spend a lot of time and energy preparing content to entice their customers to do business with them, and emails are a major mode of delivery to reach these individuals. But these efforts are useless if the messages aren't opened by the intended target, or, worse still, if they don't even make it to a customer's inbox.According to Return Path's latest Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report, only 76.5 percent of emails reach the inbox, meaning that almost a quarter of them end up as wasted opportunities. Daniel Deneweth associate director of deliverability strategy at Responsys, said by taking control of their email strategy, companies can achieve higher deliverability. Speaking during last week's Responsys Interact 2012, Deneweth shared the following five tactics that marketers should follow to increase their chances of getting to their customers' inboxes, as well as what they shouldn't do.

1. Target active subscribers: Deneweth said this is a key tactic and can help organizations avoid having their messages filtered into the spam folder. "Keep engagement in mind," he said.

- What to do: Send emails only to the most engaged and focus on engagement metrics.

- What not to do: Mail to inactive customers and ignore open and click data.

2. Make the cadence connection: The one-size-fits-all approach rarely works, and it certainly doesn't in email marketing. It's therefore imperative to understand how many messages individual customers find appropriate and then respect their wishes.

- What to do: Customize the frequency of messages according to the engagement levels of each individual.

- What not to do: Ignore engagement data and keep sending the same frequency of messages to customers who aren't engaging with your content.

3. Avoid spam traps: Deneweth warned that some customers might provide an email address that they no longer use. He pointed out that if a particular company has a high rate of emails that aren't opened, the ISP can block all emails.

- What to do: Reduce mailings to inactive customers and quarantine new signups until you make sure the email address provided is still active.

- What not to do: Keep mailing to old addresses that have shown lack of engagement and dump all signups into the general pool.

4. Make unsubscribe easy: Although no company enjoys seeing its customers unsubscribe from its content, customers will still find a way out by hitting the spam button. "List quality is more important than list size," Deneweth stresses.

- What to do: Move your unsubscribe link to the top of the email and raise awareness about your preference center.

- What not to do: Hide your unsubscribe email at the bottom of the page in small, light font.

5. Establish a deliverability review process: Organizations should examine their metrics and make sure they're reaching their targets.

- What to do: Carry out regular monitoring of key deliverability metrics and compare them to industry benchmarks and make sure that there's a person responsible for managing deliverability.

- What not to do: Remain on autopilot and ignore warning signs.

Finally, getting to the inbox isn't enough. It's important that the messages organizations send to their customers are relevant or they might find themselves relegated to the spam folder.