Five "Secrets" to Sending Successful Email

Date posted: Mon, Jul 22, 13 | Author: Dan Lukens | Category: best practices, design, email marketing, sending email, tips

Sometimes being "digital marketing" makes email seem like a new and complicated way to market a business, but the truth is that email marketing is by no means a new territory. Marketers have been leveraging email as a marketing tool since the early days of the internet. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts, white papers, books, and every other type of guide on how to send successful email marketing campaigns. Each inevitably gives a different flavor of advice tempered with their own experiences and biases. There are, despite the large quantity of informational sources, basic rules that nearly every advice giver can agree on. I've covered most of them before in this blog, but it can never hurt to reiterate some of the basics. Today I'll reveal some of the "secrets" of sending email marketing campaigns.

Prioritize Deliverability:

The success of an email campaign hinges first and formost of the ability to get that message delivered. Many variables can affect this, in large part it is based on the IP reputation of the mailer. If you're sending email on your own, you should have someone on staff who understands how to set-up and maintain a mailing server and its IPs. Without a properly configured and monitored mailing server and IP, your campaign may be plagued with very limited deliverability that will only get worse as proceeding campaigns damage your IP reputation. has been sending email since 1995 and we have a dedicate staff who monitors our IPs constantly. We protect our IPs with a tiered and rotating IP system to ensure that one user can't ruin deliverability for everyone.

Get to the Inbox:

Deliverability is only the first part in challenge of getting in front of your mailing list. Once an email is delivered, the next hurdle is to get the message into a recipient's inbox. For some mailers, this can be an extremely difficult task. Because of years of unwanted spam, email providers have been forced to adopt many barricades to their user's inboxes. These include, but are not limited to, keyword filters, bayesian filters, and behavioral filters.

  • Keyword filters will examine the text from an incoming email and check for words that may reveal the email as spam. If there are enough red flags, email can be sent to spam folders or outright rejected.
  • Bayesian filters act in a very similar way to keyword filters, checking the email for likely signs that it is spam, often based on what has been confirmed as spam messages in the past.
  • Behavioral filters will look at the entire group of recipients for an email, and based on the actions that users take on it, will decided if the message will go to the inbox, spam box, or be rejected outright.

There are other factors that play in to inbox placement as well. Most spam filters check the HTML code of the email for signs of spam. Sloppy code or missing information can add to the possibility that email will end up in the spam folder or be rejected entirely. In order to reach as many inboxes as possible, all of these factors need to be considered and dealt with. There is no magic solution that will make a message end up in every inbox. All mailings will result in some messages landing in the spam box. If a mailer is responsible with their content and has a good list, they can expect 75% of their email to reach the inbox.

Know Your Audience:

Once you reach the inbox of your customer, you need to know what they want. Knowing your customer should start with with growing your list. Growing your list organically will help you understand why your list members have signed up for your list and what kind of content they expect. It's important to make it clear in the sign-up process what type of email you will be sending, and if possible how often it will be sent. Once you have begun mailing to your list, continue to build understanding of your subscribers through observation and direct surveying. Use reporting and split testing to see what content is most interesting and relevant to your customers.

Keep it Short:

The ability to keep your email content short and to the point is a very valuable skill to have. Recognizing that you only have a small window of opportunity to grab the attention of a recipient has always been important, but it is even much more so today. Currently, email is read on mobile devices around 40% of time. That's a huge number! It's great that email can reach people anywhere and at any time, but when people are on the go, they have even less time to spend reading lengthy emails. They need to grasp what the email is quickly, or they may delete it before it has a chance to get the point across. It's easy to get excited about your own product, business, or organization and this may result in trying to say too much in an email, but it's important to edit content with an eye from brevity. Say what is most important and let users click through to links and media if they so choose to find out more.

Content is King:

It always comes down to this in the end, mailing good, relevant content is the most important thing you can do as a mailer. You will do yourself no favors by forcing out an email that doesn't have an express purpose that relates to your mailing list and provides them with value. Whether that be information they want, sales, or entertainment; the exact format is irrelevant. The important thing is that with each email you send, you must believe that the content of that email is in some way engaging and useful. Forcing out an email devoid of meaningful content with do you more harm then good and hurt your chances of successfully mailing in the future. Craft, revise, and quality control your content before you send it out to your list. Give people good quality content, something they want, and success will not be far behind.