In the grand list of email marketing KPIs, deliverability - or inbox placement - is one of the fundamentals. To improve any of your other metrics - sales, conversions, clicks, opens - your message first has to land inside the subscriber’s inbox. To improve your inbox placement, follow these five best practices for managing your database:
1. Use subaccounts for email list segmentation
I have yet to meet an email marketing professional who is served well by sending all subscribers the same message. We all segment email lists to a certain degree and keeping our email list clean is an art (and a science!) in and of itself. Many email marketers use subaccounts to manage different segments of their business. For example, an email marketing consultant may set up a subaccount for each client. A clientside email marketer may use subaccounts for transactional emails vs marketing messages. By using subaccounts for segmenting clients, business units, or mail streams, you can offer a different email marketing strategy to each subaccount. Personalizing your sending cadence, subject line and preview text strategy, sending domains, and other elements makes your messages more relevant to your subscribers and thus improves your reputation and deliverability.
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2. Use microsegmentation for higher placement in inboxes
There are many ways to slice your email database for better segmentation and improved deliverability. Consider segmenting by demographics (location, age, gender, education level), persona, or company information (for B2B email marketers). Or, you could segment by activity like past purchases, buying frequency, or content types that have interested your subscribers in the past. Doing so enables you to deliver the right message at the right time to the right person and leads to trust-building and loyal engagement.
3. Optimize ESP management
Often, inbox placement can be improved by optimizing IP routing. In other words, send messages to your most engaged users with the IPs with which you want to build credibility and create the best sender reputation. One surefire way to improve inbox placement overall is to match audience engagement with the chosen SMTP/ESP IP. You may find a need to switch ESPs or simply employ multiple ESP/SMTPs for maximum deliverability.
4. Learn by tracking unsubscribes
In a previous post, we explored how unsubscribes are not to be feared because they have value that email marketers sometimes neglect. One benefit to having a very clear unsubscribe option is that it limits spam reports. When users who do not want to receive your messages unsub instead of marking as spam, your reputation remains intact and deliverability is not affected. Moreover, it has recently been proven that having more active subscribers improves inbox placement. Keeping only engaged subscribers on the list means you will inbox more messages. Thinking of your unsubscribe funnel as a journey will help you optimize it to better serve your users and help them customize their options to best serve them so that they remain engaged with your mailings.
5. Implement DMARC Authentication
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is an Internet standard authentication technology designed to ensure that senders are verified and authentic, thus diminishing inbox penetration for fraudsters. For example, using DMARC authentication, a receiving provider like Gmail can assure its users that that an email received from Ebay did indeed come from Ebay.com By implementing DMARC Authentication on your sending domain, you maintain a “gold standard” of authentic email marketing - in turn, the receiving ISP knows that your messages are protected by SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and/or DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) standards. This gives them the assurance that your emails are authentic, thus greatly increasing their ranking and reputation for inbox placement.
The Steps Toward Deliverability
Recognizing the importance of improving inbox placement is an important first step. Following best practices like email list segmentation, DMARC authentication, and all those listed above is the journey you need to follow to ensure your messages are inboxed so that they can be opened, clicked, converted, and sold!
“No matter how old it gets, email marketing will still be relevant.” -Para Arora
Social media is the shiny new object. Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Twitter (to name a few) have become must-have tools for companies to communicate with prospects and customers. Given this “shiny new object” syndrome, let’s not forget or doubt the power of email.
Times have changed since the days of “You’ve Got Mail.” On average, the 2.6 billion email users receive 88 emails per day. That’s a lot of email. So, the question comes to mind, with the large number of emails that people receive every day and the rise of social media, should I use email marketing to help my business acquire new customers?
The answer is a big YES. And here are 3 reason why using email marketing will be an advantage to help drive your customer acquisition efforts.
In some instances, email is better when it comes to reach. The organic reach on Facebook dropped to 49%, lingering at around 6% of your fan base according to a 2014 study by Social@Ogilvy. This is compared to the average email open rate of 21.7%. This means if you send 3,000 emails and have 3,000 Facebook fans – 651 people will open your email and only 180 Facebook fans will see your post.
The Almighty Automation
Automation has taken email to the next level and makes email marketing even more effective. No more one-off campaigns to a whole list in one send. Marketing automation has given us:
the ability to automagically nurture prospects with highly personalized and useful content
allows for dynamic content based on an individual’s specific user profile
helps to develop optimal marketing patterns (such as send time, subject headers)
categorizes customers and prospects by common behaviors, demographic information and interests
The first step in optimizing an affiliate email marketing campaign is to engage in agile email marketing. By engaging agile principles you will:
Anticipate your audience’s interests with relevant, dynamic content
Automate opt-in forms and unsubscribe requests
Use data to pinpoint content and iterate email campaigns
Read below for the basic principles and best practices for micro segmentation in affiliate email marketing and the easy third party integrations you can use to employ them.
Segmentation is a Starting Point
According to their recent article on segmentation, IBM found that segmented campaigns had “94.1 percent more click-through rates and 14.63 percent more opens than non-segmented campaigns.” Segmenting your audience by location, vocation, and interests is a no-brainer in today’s affiliate email marketing ecosystem. Most recipients are inundated with emails with subject lines like this:
Katerina, Your Business Cards Need a Makeover
5 Entrepreneurship Tips for you, Deray
While personalization increases engagement and segmenting has measurable benefits over non-topically divided emails, the top affiliate email marketers are using micro segmentation to create dynamic, targeted content in emails that lead to increased clicks and conversions, and loyal email fans.
Advantages of Micro-Segmenting
Micro segmenting: layering segmented groups in a data-smart manner for optimization of available email marketing data to exponential ROI.
Targeted campaigns to groups with up to 150 customers had at least a $1.90 uplift per customer, while target groups of 1,500+ had an uplift of at most $0.50 (almost a 4:1 ratio).
The bottom line: micro segmenting in affiliate email marketing campaigns ROI has exponentially beneficial results for your bottom line.
The Best Micro Segmentation for your Campaigns
The more specific and relevant your content, the higher return on the investment of time and resources in sending an email.
Here are four main areas to focus on in micro segmentation, recommended by Jordie van Rijn:
Geotargeting: Personalizing content based on location is a goldmine for affiliate email marketing with job search engines
Behavior: Intent, buyer stage, life cycle stage, engagement (past, recent, opens, clicks, and other post click engagement data, areas of particular interest based on engagement data)
Cross Channel Marketing Data: from your website, social media, and other marketing channel data you might have on your clients that would determine the type of specific dynamic content they should receive
Each of these segments aids in targeting your audience, but just as a missile uses velocity and temperature to hit its target, micro segmenting your list will help you hit just the right people with your affiliate email marketing campaigns.
Dynamic content is one of the more powerful and efficient tools marketers can employ to target micro-segments with tailored specific content for each micro-segment.
For example, to target job-seekers, you might segment of all recipients who opened a job-offering campaign you sent them in the last week. That behavior (opening the previous message) may signal that they are actively looking for a job.
That segment of active job seekers can still include 100K or maybe even a million subscribers. This is where dynamic content saves the day.
With dynamic content, in the same campaign, you can serve tailored job listing content to a micro-segment of coders seeking programming jobs in San-Francisco, while another micro-segment of RNs seeking nursing jobs in Dallas gets a completely different set of job offerings in the very same campaign.
In the end, your campaign to 100K subscribers might end up targeting 10K micro-segments in the very same campaign some.
The highly dynamic level of serving up tailored content for each micro-segment will do wonders for streamlining your email marketing operations and resulting in tremendous lifts in performance.
3rd Party Content Integration
In a smart affiliate email marketing tool like Ongage, third party content integrations are simple to implement for all of the measureable results described above.
Job Boards and More
Ongage offers a variety of 3rd party content integration to easily serve up tailored content to micro-segments. From AdStation to many of the leading job-board feeds, to CreditAndLoan.com Mortgage Insurance XML Feed, Ongage offers easy setup and usage of highly dynamic content for micro-segmenting
The cutting edge Ongage platform instantly transforms email marketing by offering multiple ESP and SMTP providers, improved deliverability and redundancy, and a variety of 3rd party integrations and plugins. The Ongage platform was designed to optimize email marketing performance and effectiveness, reduce sending-costs, automate email marketing tasks, and boost ROI. With Ongage, email marketers can easily switch between delivery vendors in order to ensure that each campaign meets their business needs and budge
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