What are the biggest challenges to email deliverability and how can marketers address them?
Dennis Dayman, chief privacy and deliverability officer at Eloqua, provides expert commentary on how today's marketers can solve some of their biggest deliverability issues using the latest tools, technologies, and processes.
The Rise of Email Marketing
In a bid to attract and retain customers while cutting their advertising spend, global firms are increasingly turning to email as a marketing tool. Our recent research revealed that 75 per cent of companies plan to increase their expenditure on email marketing this year. However, the growth in email volume, new regulations, and sophisticated filtering software has made it increasingly difficult for marketers to rely solely on email to get their message through. For optimum results it is important that marketers do not simply employ ‘batch and blast’ tactics, but instead market their prospects in a way that is personalised, powerful and relentless.
Email Marketing and its Challenges
There are several challenges that marketers face in ensuring an effective campaign. While the deliverability of emails was once largely dependent on list management and content, today deliverability comprises a set of complex variables based on three primary criteria: 1) authentication or having the sender’s identity verified; 2) reputation or having the sender’s trustworthiness verified by recipients, and 3) accreditation or having the sender’s trustworthiness verified by a third-party - thus determining if a marketer is following laws and best practices guidelines associated with emailing and privacy.
The email deliverability process is similar to a credit approval system. Once the service provider authenticates or identifies the company sending the email, they look at the reputation associated with that identity, for instance whether any complaints have been filed against the company. Other factors such as the size of the company, its marketing activities and its target markets also have a role to play.
A common mistake marketers make is focusing on how to avoid content filters. Instead, they should examine their marketing behaviours, policies and procedures. Unfortunately there’s not a simple checklist companies can go through, but by examining a few areas such as data quality and depth marketers can determine if deliverability is a problem they need to address.
Ensuring List quality and content
List quality and content relevance remain important for effective deliverability. Companies should look at their prospects’ lists on a regular basis to ensure email addresses are current and relevant. They should then segment their lists so targets receive only the type and frequency of emails their customers specified. A simple quarterly reminder of what they requested with offers for additional types of emails is fine. But by not adhering to prospects’ requests, companies jeopardise their reputation and may end up in the junk mail folder because of complaints.
The Digital Body Language
Finally, for the timeliness and relevance of email marketing strategies marketers should pay close attention to a prospects’ “digital body language,” or the way they interact with the company. By positioning their corporate websites as portals of relevant content, smart marketers can transform their sales and marketing processes to take advantage of the behavioural information that the Web provides. By looking at signals such as whether a person has visited the Website, requested a phone call or information, downloaded materials or attended a webinar, marketers can make better decisions about how best to market to these individuals and what email offers to make.
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