Email marketing is exceptionally effective, but you can’t be sloppy about it and still expect good performance. When you have a good email marketing message, you have to make sure it arrives in people’s inboxes, which is not always straightforward.
Deliverability is not the whole story, however. You must also make it easy for people to unsubscribe.
That’s right. Providing a hassle-free way to unsubscribe makes your company appear gracious and concerned about the recipient’s experience.
Sometimes just knowing they can unsubscribe easily is enough to keep people hanging around for a while longer — perhaps long enough to start engaging with your marketing emails again.
Keep your email marketing strategy sound both coming and going and you can count on better effectiveness and happier subscribers. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Email Marketing Deliverability?
Deliverability is not the same thing as delivery rate when it comes to email marketing. Your delivery rate is based on how many emails are bounced back.
Deliverability represents how many emails land in people’s inboxes rather than being rerouted to a spam folder. You can theoretically have a high delivery rate but low deliverability if a lot of your messages go to spam folders.
Fortunately, you can do a lot to ensure your email marketing enjoys high deliverability.
Verify Your Email Marketing List
Did you know that on average, 22% of email list data “goes bad” over the course of a year? You need to periodically check the validity of the email addresses in your list.
Ask inactive subscribers if they want to continue to receive your emails. If they don’t delete them from your list. Your email marketing platform can tell you who is and is not opening your messages.
Check the validity of emails that are bounced back to you. Some addresses may simply have typographical errors that are easily corrected. Others, however, may no longer be valid.
Keeping your email marketing list data clean and current improves deliverability and ensures your messages go to people who want to get them.
Perform Deliverability Testing
Inbox placement testing tools exist to prevent you from doing things with your email marketing messages that erode deliverability.
The presence of “spammy” words, the use of link shorteners, and inconsistent sending schedules tip off these testing tools that your deliverability may be in danger. This gives you the chance to correct problems before sending your messages.
Use Email Sender Authentication
Sender authentication reassures subscribers that messages indeed come from your business. When you use sender authentication, spoofing and phishing scams are easier to detect.
After you authenticate your email address, email clients like Outlook can use your online reputation data to decide whether to block or allow messages or to send them to the spam folder. And customers can be more confident that their emails come from legitimate sources.
Some email marketing tools have their own authentication protocols. But even if yours doesn’t, you can use one of these authentication protocols to authenticate your email address:
Always Have Permission Before Emailing
Don’t cold-email people. They don’t like it. Always have them opt into your email list.
Simply having permission before sending emails demonstrates professionalism and is less likely to trigger a hasty “spam” designation from the recipient.
Use a Consistent Email Marketing Schedule
If you only send out marketing emails when you feel like it, you’re doing yourself and your customers a disservice. Make a schedule and stick to it.
If you tell subscribers that you will be sending them weekly tips via email, then that is exactly what you should do. Sending email marketing messages haphazardly indicates that you don’t have your act together.
Make sure your schedule is not over-eager, though. If you’re sending more than one email per day, you are far more likely to annoy people into unsubscribing than if you send one or two messages per week.
Incorporate Segmentation into Email Marketing
Segmentation of your email list is smart. It increases the possibility of reaching people who are genuinely interested while decreasing the possibility of annoying people who are not.
There are countless ways you can segment your email marketing list. Smart segmentation can ensure the right marketing messages reach the right targets.
Why You Should Make Unsubscribing Easy
If you work hard to build up a sizable email marketing list, why would you want to make it easy for people to unsubscribe? Because it shows you take customers and their time seriously.
If you include an unsubscribe link in your marketing emails, you demonstrate that you look at your subscribers more as partners and less as captives. Just knowing that there is an easy exit strategy can reassure people.
And Why You Shouldn’t Make It Too Easy
At the same time, you don’t want to make unsubscribing too easy. For example, an oversized unsubscribe button that, when clicked, unsubscribes the clicker with no confirmation can cause genuinely interested parties to unsubscribe accidentally.
Your unsubscribe link should be visible, but not dominant. And it should include a confirmation step so that the user will have to click one more time to complete the process.
Always Be Professional and Courteous
Don’t be pathetic or jerky to unsubscribers. After all, there’s a 99% chance that it’s just business and nothing personal.
People change jobs or retire all the time and find that they no longer need certain email marketing messages anymore. Confirm that they’re unsubscribed and send them on their way.
Offer an Optional Unsubscribe Survey
You can offer unsubscribers an optional survey to complete before confirming their status. It should be as brief as possible.
For example, it could say, What was your primary reason for unsubscribing from our email list? And then it could provide a list to choose from, such as
- I am leaving the industry
- Emails were too frequent
- Emails do not contain products/services I need
- I have a preferred vendor for this product
Email marketing enjoys excellent ROI. It has been a go-to marketing tool through many cycles of technological revolution.
But doing it well requires “clean” data, excellent messaging, a smart schedule, and empathy for the customer at every step. Making sure recipients receive their messages and giving them a simple opt-out step are two important demonstrations of this empathy.
If you need assistance with email marketing or any other type of digital marketing, why not set up a call with our team? We would love to put our digital marketing expertise to work for your company, so you can enjoy the growth you have worked hard for.