Email Deliverability Must-Haves in Times of Crisis
Image source: Adobe Stock / tonktiti.
by Nissa Henslee
posted on 03-30-2020
Email deliverability, a critical component to every sender’s marketing program success, is characterized by ever-changing criteria and rules. While it may not be top of mind during a crisis, it is actually an important consideration.
ISPs have a continual need to prevent spammers, so they’re obliged to develop sophisticated filtering techniques to protect their customers. Email senders can become unintentionally ensnared in those efforts. Effectively navigating in this digital world requires regular tuning of your email strategy, with consideration to key deliverability trends, to best reach your audiences.
During a challenging time, Adobe customers can count on our deliverability experts to provide support. Here are three key email deliverability strategies to protect your sender reputation and ensure inbox placement.
cancellations, health precaution measures, and other COVID-19-related information. While that is important to do, it is also important to ensure that you do this strategically so that your reputation isn’t negatively impacted.
Tips to avoid deliverability issues for large sends:
- Do not exceed your daily volume maximum by more than 20% in order to avoid experience delivery issues with internet service providers (ISPs) like Google or Yahoo. Spikes in volume can cause ISPs to place restrictions on delivery of your email as it is a common spammer tactic to suddenly increase volume.
- If you need to contact an email list size that exceeds your typical daily volume, consider sending email over several days to prevent a surge in volume from triggering ISP restrictions on delivery of mail.
- Break large sends into smaller segments. Let some time pass in between email sends to prevent processing-time issues.
- Consider organizing your segments to align with the engagement strategy that’s beneficial for your brand. That is, intentionally balance low- and high-risk segments or use engagement-based front-loading.
Sending permanence is the act of maintaining consistency in your send volume over time. Due to store closures, economic instability, or other reasons, you may be tempted or required to halt some communications. For example, you may decide to freeze offer or promotional emails.
Be aware that ISPs base reputation on consistent sending patterns, including frequency and volume (ISPs use sender reputation to rank the legitimacy of an email before it goes to an inbox). It may take time to reset a good standing reputation for your brand if any significant changes are made to your volumes. If you must halt email communications, it is crucial you work with your deliverability consultant to prevent a decrease in IP address reputation and to rebuild that reputation.
Large email volume fluctuation can also lead to complaint hangover. Complaint hangover is when multiple subscriber complaints from previous campaigns continue to register without new campaigns to keep complaint rates in check. The result is a spike in complaint percentage rate, which ISPs use as a preferred reputation indicator.
Protect your reputation by:
- Introducing a reduction in frequency versus a total stop period.
- Reducing sending through IPs effectively by slowly siphoning off volume and/or frequency. This helps protect against complaint hangover.
- Working with your deliverability consultant to rebuild reputation after a reduction period, which may include withholding certain messaging or targeting email sends to highly engaged subscribers or campaign types.
Subscriber fatigue and relevancy
Naturally, marketers across most industries are dedicating a lot of focus to COVID-19. This results in high amounts of mail about a single topic sent to subscribers. You can’t prevent what all senders are doing, but you can stick to best practices to drive engagement.
To avoid subscriber fatigue and prioritize relevancy, consider the following:
- Evaluate if sending a COVID-19-specific communication is necessary, provides helpful information to recipients, and that it makes sense to be coming from your brand.
- Monitor subscriber response. If opens and clicks are on the decline, consider adjusting frequency, channel, or content to elicit engagement.
- Adjust or introduce new segmentation to maximize engagement and keep sending reputation high.
- Monitor and develop creative, relevant ways to differentiate your brand in the inbox that are brand- and audience-appropriate.
In summary, while best practices will remain true, cultural, marketing, and business changes will always have implications for email. Test, measure, and adapt!
You may have other unique concerns or issues during this time. Please consult our resources below to address any deliverability concerns or questions.
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Topics: Email Marketing, Campaign Management, News, COVID-19