The last email deliverability blog I wrote was about how communicating to everyone in your lists needs to be done strategically, and that email may not be the best path. One of the seasons where senders feel pressure to expand their email audience is fast approaching.
Sometimes that pressure focuses on legal arguments.
To re-iterate from last time: Making sure that what you are sending and to whom is legal, is something I cannot advise on. Most often, when having a conversation on email deliverability, and specifically when I’m giving advice on who to send to, I get the response: ” but it’s legal”.
Please leave the legal conversation for the lawyers. For me – and this may seem harsh – I don’t care. The legal argument is just that – an argument. And it misses the point and moves the whole focus away from what the conversation should really be about.
Email deliverability: Wanted vs. unwanted
The focus of the conversation should be on: do the recipients of the emails you’re sending want to receive those emails?
Consent and setting expectations are both key to having a successful, revenue-generating email program. As we come up to the busy holiday period, it’s easy to let the pressures that come with it change this key part of the message. But there are no exceptions because of timing.
Mailbox providers have a job to do: to make sure that the emails being sent to recipients are wanted. They measure whether or not an email is wanted through many different indicators. Some of those include:
- when recipients mark a message as spam
- sending to an email address that’s being used to identify senders collecting email addresses without consent or continued consent (a.k.a ‘spam trap’)
- sending to recipients that no longer exist at that mailbox provider
Once you reach one or more of those thresholds, mailbox providers (such as Gmail and Yahoo) can see clearly that you’re sending emails that their users – the owners of the email addresses you’re sending to – do not want.
Re-focus on email deliverability
If your biggest argument for sending an email is, “oh, but it’s legal”, then you need to re-focus. Because you run the risk of alienating people who actually do want to hear from you. These are the contacts that drive revenue or any other intended outcome of your email program.
Build a robust sending plan
Building back your reputation is hard; it’s better to build your sending plan for the busy upcoming holidays. Here are some email deliverability tips:
- Use past years’ data to understand how your recipients interact with your emails. Look at the demographics of your recipient base and what they want to know.
- Continue to respect recipients that have shown they are not interested. Consider carefully before sending to inactive contacts who may still be opted in. Whatever value you might get from sending a campaign like that is not worth the risk to your email deliverability. Find the data point where revenue drops. At what age of inactivity does the lack of revenue make sending to that data set irrelevant? Remember, the answer to this question will be different for each sender.
- If there is consent and data to show a larger audience wants to hear about your Black Friday deals, then plan any volume increases accordingly – slowly build to the volumes where you need to be.
Who should I be sending to?
Want more advice on email deliverability during the busy festive period? Get in touch with your account manager to set up a consultation.
For more killer insight, download our email deliverability guide here.