Deliverability — Things to Consider During Holiday (and Beyond!)
Deliverability: The landscape during the holidays
‘Tis the season! In the weeks that comprise the traditional holiday season (November through early January), the volume of marketing emails being sent increases greatly. Mailbox providers will have even more mail coming to their servers to process than during the rest of the year. These receivers will be even more vigilant about protecting their customers (mailbox owners).
If you have a preference center, now is a great time to dive into the data you’ve collected from there. Send even more relevant and engaging content to subscribers who have expressed the different types of communications they want to receive from you (makeup, jewelry, shoes, etc.). Batch and blast segmentation can lead to lower open rates and lack of interest in your emails. Be targeted — speak to the customer’s needs and wants.
Make your subject lines pop! There is a lot of noise in the inbox around the holidays. Make sure your subject line delights the subscriber and encourages opens and engagement (for example, “12 Days of Christmas,” with a special offer each day). Make them look forward to each email in the series. Also, consider running A/B subject line testing to see if certain subject lines garner higher open rates. Take those learnings and apply them to the rest of the holiday season.
Strategies for mitigating risk in your subscriber lists
Smart email collection and acquisition
Ensure that the new email addresses you’re collecting are real, valid, and interested in hearing from you. If you’re not already sending confirmed opt-in (aka double opt-in) campaigns, it is a great way to ensure that you’re adding addresses that are valid and not typos. The more typo addresses you have on your list, the more potential to be hitting typo spam traps. Validating addresses ensures that you’ve got the right email address and not someone else’s, or one that belongs to a trap network.
Proceed with caution on mailing unengaged subscribers
If you mail subscribers who have not engaged with your email program in more than 12 months, do it several hours after your main segments have deployed. Also, check open and bounce rates very closely. If bounces exceed 5 percent, consider pulling back on mailing these unengaged subscribers for the holiday season. Keep a close eye on opens and bounces, and lower the frequency to this group if you start to see a sharp decline in your overall opens and a rate of 5 percent or higher hard bounces. Do not mail subscribers that have not engaged with your brand’s emails in 15+ months. Recycled spam traps lurk the deeper into the file you go!
Key takeaways for deliverability success
- Best practices are year-round, and do not get tossed aside between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1.
- ISPs are overloaded with email onto their servers during the holidays. Don’t give them a reason to block you because of poor data hygiene.
- Check your IP sender scores in the weeks leading up to Nov. 1, if you’re not regularly checking them all year. Watch closely for any anomalies.
- Keep a close eye on your open rates and your bounce rates.
- Honor unsubs in a timely fashion.
Have a happy and safe holiday season!