Build your online reputation with engaging emails
Online reputation management has changed over recent years and has come to be known mainly as management of the perception of yourself, or your company brand, on the web and especially in social media. For most email marketers however, reputation management is a critical process and is far more tangible. In essence it’s the difference between sending large amounts of emails and having entire domains blacklisted because they consider you a spammer.
In today’s world it’s not sufficient to merely to have your emails delivered, opened and not marked as spam. Most of the major email service providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, and AOL are increasingly adding user engagement as a significant factor into their measurement of a sender’s reputation and email marketers need to respond accordingly.
Why click-throughs count
Today a brand’s email sending reputation is mostly assessed based on the behaviour of subscribers once they have received the message. Have they clicked on links? Have they forwarded the email to friends? Have they added your sender email address to their address book?
This form of “active user engagement” is currently seen as a critical vote in the favour of your content by major ISPs, and will greatly increase the chance of your email making its way to the intended recipients – as well as ultimately resulting in a conversion.
However, with the plethora of email marketing consumers receive on a daily basis, eliciting genuine interaction from subscribers is becoming increasingly difficult. A recent study indicated that as much as 77% of US consumers are not willing to provide their email addresses to companies any more, and of that percentage a significant 18% of those who were polled, never bother to open any type of email marketing content at all.
So with the audience scepticism at the highest it’s ever been, how do you carve a spot amongst through the inbox clutter and make sure that you deliver engaging emails, relevant email content that ensures your subscribers will keep clicking?
1. Understand your customers
Don’t make a mistake by assuming that every one of your customers will share the same interests. Also don’t make an assumption based on their demographics either. You should instead segment your audience correctly, this will ensure that you are delivering tailored content based on the information your customer has requested from you, their past behaviour as well as their purchase trends.
2. Manage your databases
You can also enjoy a much greater chance of engagement from your subscribers if you practice proper list hygiene, this is done by removing subscribers who have never bothered to interact with your content, as well as re-confirming your subscribers’ opt-in status and clearing out bounces and unsubscriptions regularly.
3. Stay focussed While it may seem tempting to embark on a mass conversion campaign, it is also the most likely way to guarantee that your emails make a “bee-line” to the bulk folder. By instead focusing all your efforts on the users who have actively opted to receive your content, you’re far more likely to get the high levels of engagement you should be aiming for.
4. Maintain trust
Delivering your email marketing to your customers on their terms is mainly the most effective way to establish good levels of trust and ensure that you maintain high levels of subscriber response. By having your list of subscribers opt-in or double opt-in from the start of your email practice you will immediately create a significantly more favourable impression, also, offering your customers the opportunity to decide on the frequency of your correspondence with them will let them know that you’re respect their needs and are mindful of their engagement.
It’s also extremely important to stay clear of “cheap ploys” designed mainly to trick your audience into clicking in large numbers. Vague offers and ‘too-good-to-be-true’ promotions that are coated with terms and conditions might end up giving you an incredibly high click rate, however they are just as likely to cause mass unsubscription. If you decide to make a promise, follow through with it and you’ll stand a good chance of retaining an engaged customer base and set yourself apart from the bulk junk they are used to getting.
5. Employ Metrics
Keeping track of your subscribers’ engagement patterns, will put you in a far better position for ensuring that your content remains tailored to their needs, interests and behavioural patterns. Analytics software gives you easy access to a broad range of advanced metrics, effectively allowing you to identify a subscriber’s location as well as their device preferences, it also allows you to analyse the amount of time they spend actually reading your emails.
It’s vital to keep your finger on the pulse of this information, not just on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but also with a more holistic point of view. It’s very unrealistic to expect that every customer will engage on a daily or weekly basis, so it is best advised to look mainly at their long-term engagement, which will give you a much broader scope of which emails have best echoed the desires of your subscriber base.
When all is said and done, it all comes down to the customer. By simply identifying, understanding and catering to their needs, you’ll get them to actively engage with your emails, both maintaining your online reputation, as well as ensuring that your email marketing campaigns hit the intended mark each and every time without fail, rather than being tossed in the trash heap otherwise known as the spam folder.
By Luke Wingfield Digby, CEO Total Send
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