Get into the inbox

5 Tips for Getting into the Inbox

Matt Hoggatt Blog, Delivery

People have been saying that email marketing is “dead” for quite some time, but with a quick look at some statistics from 2014, it becomes obvious that email continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools available. In fact, it’s reported that 95% of consumers use email, and 91% of users check their inbox at least once a day. That’s a pretty convincing argument as to why you should be using email marketing to further your business.

However, just because a lot of people are using email daily doesn’t mean it’s getting any easier to get your brand’s message in front of them. Irrelevant, bulk messages put email clients on the offensive, trying to stop bad marketers from infiltrating their users’ inboxes. With that battle against irrelevance raging on, many marketing messages get confused or identified as spam and never actually reach their intended recipients, even if they’ve opted-in to receive your messages.

It creates an obvious challenge for marketers: getting past spam filters and into users’ inboxes. And when it comes to email marketing, the challenge doesn’t just stop there—once you’ve finally been granted access to the inbox, the next step is getting recipients to open your messages and take action.

So, how do you accomplish that? Simply put, be relevant. We can help you do just that—plus capitalize on email marketing and generate more revenue today—with these tips.

<b>1. Start with the List</b>
Before you can start sending your email marketing messages, you have to first build your list. There are multiple ways to go about doing this, but the safest is to make sure you use a double opt-in process, meaning that your users have confirmed they want to receive your email marketing messages. It’s important to get users to double opt-in because it will increase the relevance of your messages, which will improve your inbox delivery. Otherwise, email service providers could “blacklist” your sending domain and essentially shut you down.

There are some businesses that choose to buy email lists or share them with colleagues or collaborators, but this can sometimes backfire because when users receive unsolicited marketing messages from an address that they don’t recognize, they’re likely to mark it as spam and send it directly to their trash without hesitation. Email service providers will certainly take this into consideration when evaluating your sending domain, and will likely identify your domain as spam for future messages.

How can you get people to opt in to your list? One of the best ways is to offer them some sort of incentive or value, send them a message, and ask them to confirm that they want to join your list a second time. This will ensure that your users have authorized you to send them email messages, and expect to see them in the future.

<b>2. Personalize Your Messages</b>
The reason email marketing is so successful is because it provides a one-to-one experience for brands and consumers alike. The ability to personalize email marketing messages is unlike any other modern marketing channel, so it makes sense to take advantage of that.

There are a number of ways for you to personalize the end user experience of your email marketing campaigns; segmenting your list is the first step. When users opt in to your list, be sure to ask them a few identifying questions such as age, hometown, gender, etc. Don’t bombard them with questions, but try to capture as much information as possible so you can send them only the messages that they would want to receive.

Using detailed subscriber information, you can dynamically cater the contents of your message to be as relevant as possible for the reader. Trying to boost ecommerce? Personalize your email by showcasing products specific to gender or location. It boosts engagement when you customize other aspects of your message to better suit your recipients, as well.

With people inundated every day with email, they’re only going to open the ones that look important or interesting, so you should do whatever it takes to create a unique, individualized experience for each of your recipients.

<b>3. Focus on Your Subject Line</b>
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, which is why the subject line of your email is vitally important to getting into the inbox and persuading recipients to open your messages. Your subject line is the first thing users will read when they come across your message, so it must grab their attention and be clear and concise all at the same time.

Writing an intriguing subject line is something of an art form—you have to make sure it’s short and sweet and makes the readers believe that they need to open your message. If you fail to write a catchy subject line, you can almost guarantee that your open rates and conversion rates will be low.

Spend some time crafting an enticing subject line before sending your message out. A good idea is to split test different subject lines on small segments of your list to see which one performs best before sending your email to your entire mailing list. By split testing subject lines, you not only increase your chances of winding up in your users’ inboxes, but also increase the likelihood that they will open your email and take action.

When you’re writing your subject lines, be sure to avoid using all capital letters, too much punctuation, or specific trigger words like “act now,” “all natural,” “100% free,” “attention,” etc.

<b>4. Abide by ISP Rules</b>
The ultimate goal of an ISP is to protect users and ensure they receive relevant messages. Because of that, email marketing messages are often subject to filtering before they even make it to their destination. That means it’s incredibly important to understand what ISPs look for when identifying spam messages and to avoid those things at all costs. Align the goals of your message with the goals of the ISP — aim to be relevant to the audience you’re reaching to escape filters and boost delivery to the inbox.

It can also be important to maintain consistency in your campaigns, as this is another factor ISPs look at when evaluating the authenticity of a sender and its messages. Using the same sender name, including the same links, similar greetings, and formatting with help ISPs recognize your messages more easily and help improve your deliverability.

<b>5. Be Entertaining!</b>
Perhaps the most important part of ensuring a good sender reputation and to generate action from recipients is to keep them engaged and interested in your messages. Your messages should be entertaining and give your recipients something to look forward to, rather than being an annoyance.

Include short videos, cool graphics, funny photos, or offer special deals or discounts your recipients can only get via your newsletter or marketing messages. By doing this, you’ll provide something of value that doesn’t feel like an explicit advertisement or a sales pitch.

At the end of the day, email provides a direct line for brands to connect with existing and potential customers alike. The individualized nature of email allows you to develop a unique relationship with recipients that, when done right, will encourage brand loyalty. However, before you can turn a one-time buyer into a long-term customer, you must first win the battle of getting into users’ inboxes.

Remember that the goal of email marketing is to build unique relationships with each one of your customers, and the only way to do that is to provide them with something of value. Be entertaining, share targeted content and information, and play by the rules. When executed correctly, your email marketing campaigns are bound to see a welcome boost in open rates, clicks, conversions, and sales.

This post originally appeared on the Adknowledge blog.

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About the Author
Matt Hoggatt

Matt Hoggatt

Matt is the General Manager of AdStation, overseeing our list management, API and partner network solutions. He's been in technology and marketing services management for more than 15 years.