Is your better half keeping secrets from you?

Have you ever wondered that if only you knew about certain things well in advance this winter would have been better and rosier?

  • If only you knew that your boss would’ve promoted you as the team leader, had you participated in the team activities during your last official offsite.
  • If only you knew that your wife/girlfriend didn’t ask for a candid answer when she asked “Do you think I’ve put on weight?”
  • If only you knew the reason why your business hasn’t grown at the rate at which you projected it to, you’d now be sitting in that corner cabin you’ve been eyeing for donkey’s years.

Well, the bad news is we really can’t help you with the first two (you’ve learnt it the hard way ;)); the good news is we have something for you for the latter.

The growth of your business depends on how efficiently you segment, target and position your offerings. Now that we’re done remembering Mr. Philip Kotler let’s get down to what’s next once your strategy is in place and you’re all set to go. You’ll get more business only when you engage with more prospects that become a part of your sales funnel which eventually leads to the revenue realization. Having said that, we all know that today digital marketing is picking up really fast and while mobile and social media are contributors to your sales funnel, email marketing still takes the cake in terms of speed, reach and cost effectiveness – and that’s what makes it every marketer’s better half!

So what’s so mysterious about your better half? What are the secrets that she’s holding onto? All you need to do is paraphrase your product benefits, develop a snazzy creative, email it to your list of potential customers and watch customers pour in by the lot – right? My dear fellow marketers, there are a host of things that happen behind the curtains while your email marketing delivers its award winning performance. This is exactly what was covered in netCORE’s first ever webinar on ‘Secrets to Higher Inbox Placement Rates’.

The short 30 minutes webinar threw light on the following critical elements of email delivery:

1. Sender reputation
2. Domain reputation

Sender reputation basically relates to the reputation of the IPs (in the Internet world) that will be delivering your carefully crafted killer marketing mails to your prospects. Usually these IPs belong to an ESP (Email Service Provider) which looks after the emailing requirements of organizations. Many a times, certain organizations also decide on handling their own mailing (if they have that kind of IT infrastructure whit them already). In such cases, the organizations have their own IPs. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) rate every outgoing mail server’s IPs based on a checklist that helps them arrive at a score – the Sender Score. This Sender Score determines whether, an email being delivered through a particular IP will land in the Inbox or Spam folder. It’s something like most of us wouldn’t open the door to collect the much awaited burger or pizza (even when you are hungry enough to eat up just about anything in your sight) if the delivery boy looked capable of robbing you.

Domain reputation on the other hand, relates to the reputation of the brand that is sending you these marketing emails. For e.g. promotions@brandname.com – here ‘brandname’ would be the domain in discussion. ISPs keep a track of mailing patterns from every domain. These patterns in turn determine the domain reputation of every domain and decide whether mails being sent out from these domains will land in the Inbox or the Spam folder. Going back to the previous example, domain reputation would relate to the reputation of the restaurant from where you’re placing your order. If you experience delayed delivery, poor quality food or unpleasant delivery boys, you would eventually stop ordering from the same place.

It’s ok if you have missed out on the webinar. A quick summary of the factors affecting Sender and Domain reputations discussed during the webinar are as follows:

  • Dormant & Unknown users – These are users that were once active and have stopped responding (opening/clicking) to your emails for a very long period of time. Many a times, people abandon their old email addresses rendering them inactive. Hence, it is advisable to clean your database from time to time and remove dormant & unknown users.
  • Complaints – Many companies use purchased or referred databases to send out marketing mails to. As recipients of these mails have not opted to receive emails from such companies, eventually they start marking such mails as ‘Spam’. Even a single abuse notification is capable of spoiling your Sender and Domain reputation.
  • Spam traps – Spam Traps (also known as Honey Pots) are email addresses created and distributed by ISPs into the Internet. These addresses are perfect in syntax and might come across as real but do not have physical owners. Hence, as soon as ISPs detect an email being sent to such addresses, they come to know that mails are being sent to a non opt-in database and start marking such and all future emails from that domain as Spam.
  • Email frequency – It is very important that companies maintain the frequency of emails being sent out. In the event of an ISP encountering irrational dips and surges in email volumes, they begin suspecting the respective domains.
  • Cold IPs – IPs that aren’t used consistently for mailing or that have been kept idle for long durations go cold. When such IPs are subjected to sudden high volume mailing, the mails start landing in Spam.
  • Privacy policy – Companies should clearly mention their ‘Privacy Policy’ on their website, which cites why people are receiving emails from the company’s domain and how has the company collected such email addresses. The policy should also mention if the subscribers will be receiving any third party mailers as a result of subscribing to the emails/newsletters.
  • Bounces – It is possible that there are certain email addresses in a database that have been misspelled or are incorrect. Emails sent to such email addresses bounce back. There should be a mechanism in place that looks after such bounce reports and ensures that the data base is cleaned of such email addresses.
  • Database source – Very often marketers resort to sending emails to procured PR purchased databases with a mentality that this will get them more business. Mostly these mails go ignored and more often than not, receivers of such mails get irritated and mark them as Spam. It is recommended that marketers collect data by ethical means such as website widgets, enquiry forms, contact forms, personal referrals, events and exhibitions only.
  • Personalization – Merely landing in the recipients Inbox is no longer sufficient. ISPs now also rate emails on the amount of engagement they generate. An email that has been crafted and sent to recipients on the basis of their likes, dislikes and purchase history are known to generate much more interest as opposed to those merely offering discounts. Personalization has moved beyond the basic name, age and sex and now encapsulates a much broader scope that requires marketers to know their target segment better and craft communication accordingly.

Dec, 13, 2012

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