It seems like every year brings new best practices and strategies in the area of deliverability. The Act-On Deliverability Team wants to make sure you’re a step ahead of the competition and on top of the latest advances. We’ve identified what we think will be the three major deliverability trends of 2015 – take a look, and find out how to make sure every email message gets delivered.
1. Engagement will Continue to be Critical
There have been many changes in deliverability, but one thing will definitely remain consistent: engagement matters. Major ISPs are constantly improving and advancing their ability to measure engagement, which means they’re more able – and more likely – to judge your email messages by the quality and quantity of engagement. Google made noise in this area at the end of 2014 with the introduction of their Inbox App. Its “bundle” feature places more emphasis on engagement and further blurs the lines of inbox placement. As a marketer, you can take advantage of these shifts by focusing your efforts on increasing engagement with your target audience.
Engagement begins with your content.
Sending relevant and personalized content can help you connect with your recipients in a more powerful way. For example, a simple first-name personalization in your subject lines may pay major dividends in generating open rates.
Engagement deepens with segmentation.
This is an engagement tactic that helps you build a stronger group of subscribers. It helps you make more specialized offers and use custom-tailored language to speak to a narrow audience instead of a broad one. The beauty of segmentation is it can be deployed in a number of ways. You can go from the simple binary of engaged recipients vs. unengaged recipients (a simple yet effective deliverability tactic) to a complex breakdown based on a person’s actions or interests. Any type of segmentation can generate engagement and improve overall deliverability.
2. The Rise of Mobile Demands Better Optimization
Checking emails on our phones or tablets has become a seamless activity. Whether we are at work, at home, or running out to get a cup of coffee, we have access to email at any time of day. This shift to mobile will continue (and likely accelerate) in 2015. This puts pressure on marketers to ensure their emails are optimized for mobile devices. Emails with small text, dull calls to action, and broken or too-large images will lead to dissatisfied recipients and missed opportunities. It’s important to take the time to invest in responsive designs or templates that allow emails to render aesthetically and properly on mobile devices. Putting time and effort into mobile optimization can pay major dividends.
3. Learn from and Live by the Deliverability Rules
There are many deliverability rules that smart email marketers should continue to follow in the next year. Here are a few of the big ones.
First, there’s the continued need to follow the dictates of the CAN-SPAM Act, a federal law that can trigger serious penalties for marketers who break the rules. That’s not going to change.
Next, there’s the need to invest in list management tools to maintain clean data. Recipients are constantly changing email addresses (I personally have had four different email addresses in the last year), and ISPs turn many abandoned email addresses into spam traps. These traps will become more dynamic and efficient in determining blocks. The best way to mitigate this risk is to clean your lists frequently. The beginning of the year offers the perfect opportunity to review your database, and remove any subscribers that haven’t opened or clicked your emails (we typically recommend six to nine months). Review and remove, so you can focus on that core group of engaged subscribers.
While these three trends were present in 2014, all of them are continuing to evolve and will become even more important in 2015. The members of our Deliverability Team are constantly researching market data to stay in front of new trends in deliverability, so please let us know if you have any questions.
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