I have been building and managing email delivery systems for over 11 years, and have worked on everything from CRM, acquisition marketing, to re-engagement systems. The one client question that I field all the time is, “How can we improve our inbox placement”?
The top 5 factors to consistent inbox placement are
- Truly Opt-In Email Lists
- List Hygiene and On-going Email Verification
- Authenticated Email Delivery Infrastructure
- Well targeted list segments
- Relevant content with compelling call to actions
To achieve and sustain strong inbox placement, marketers must obtain a high level of recipient engagement. Marketers must make sure to pay special attention to the 5 factors stated above. First and foremost marketers must ensure that they have permission to communicate to their recipients. However there is a difference between “request” and “concede” opt-in. When a user signs up to receive a newsletter or fills out a form to request additional information about a company and its products, then they are “request” opt-in. On the other hand, when a user makes a purchase or registers on a site, they may not necessarily want to be inundated with marketing promotions from the site and or its third party affiliates. This is what is called “concede” opt-in. Request opt-in will rarely yield any spam complaints, and thus protect your sender reputation.
Another factor of significant importance is the quality of your list. I am not just referring to the email address, but to all the details of your customer or prospect. Ensure that you are performing on-going data hygiene and verification of your lists. When applicable, this includes but is not limited to email address verification, postal address validation (CASS certification, national change of address “NCOA”, and DPV validation), contact name completeness, gender, and age. A clean, complete, accurate and up to date list will ensure that you are targeting the appropriate geographic and demographic segment desired. Additionally, a verified email list will reduce the risk of your domain and IP reputation being penalized due to excessive hard bounces.
To ensure that the major free email providers accept your emails, your delivery infrastructure must conform to all current email authentication guidelines. Your email delivery system must be properly configured with rDNS “reverse DNS”, sender policy framework “SPF”, DomainKeys Identified Mail “DKIM”, and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance “DMARC”. These authentication methods let the world know that you are who you say you are.
By taking care of the first 3 factors listed above, you will significantly increase your chances of getting your emails into the inbox. These factors are critical to maintaining a good sender reputation. However, the next two factors are critical to engagement and sustaining good inbox placement.
Well targeted list segmentation will help identify the best possible audience within your list. When you reach the correct audience you normally see higher open and click rates. This engagement is what will allow you to sustain strong inbox placement.
Last but not least, relevant content with a strong call to action will normally yield consistent engagement. Special attention must be placed to key words that should be used, and to spam flag words that shouldn’t be used.
In conclusion, permission, list hygiene, proper email infrastructure, good list segmentation, or relevant content alone, will not ensure consistent inbox placement. However, if you pay attention to these key factors, and follow email marketing best practices, you should be able to achieve and sustain good inbox placement.
By Ray Estevez
You have probably heard of various technology stacks (OSI seven layer model, TCP/IP model, W3C web architecture model). With the advent of so many marketing technology solutions, it was inevitable that marketing technology stacks would evolve. So what exactly is a marketing technology stack? It is a collection of technologies, services and people to manage a company’s customer data and marketing efforts. The set of tool harnesses massages and analyzes the data to allow marketers to create personalized marketing campaigns that are automated and measurable.
Companies have been collecting a lot of customer data, but until recently they didn’t have the right tools to easily harness that data. A marketing technology stack consists of several layers of tools that sit on top of a “Big Data” layer. The other layers include information management, and campaign management tools. The layers may include:
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management (CRM)— technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, and assisting in customer retention.
- CMS Content Management System — technologies that allow publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment.
- Outbound Marketing—email marketing systems, digital advertising serving platforms, social media network monitoring and response solutions.
- Marketing Automation / Campaign Management— technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, mobile, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.
- Inbound Marketing—technologies that use a data driven approach to marketing that attracts individuals to your content/brand in hopes of converting them into long term customers.
- Event Management Systems—applications of project management to the creation and development of large scale events
- Digital Asset Management Tools – software for managing tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets
- Business Intelligence & Analytics—technologies that analyze, summarize and report via dashboards the results of the various tools that stack is producing.
There can be many variations of a marketing technology stack. Some stacks have more tools than others. The latest trend is that of some large vendors offering a complete one-stop-shop bundle enterprise marketing technology stack. Some of these vendors include Clarabridge, Salesforce, Oracle-Eloqua, Adobe, IBM, and V12 Group.
If you are responsible for marketing then you should care about learning all you can about setting up a marketing technology stack. Why? Because when it is done right, it works well. Early adopters are maximizing the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing budgets.
The main purpose businesses are turning to marketing technology stacks is to focus on delivering the perfect customer experience. The challenge of reaching customers and leads and ensuring they have a consistent customer experience across all marketing channels is a daunting one.
There are currently 1,876 marketing technology vendors specializing in over 40 different categories. With so many marketing technologies to choose from, it can be hard to select the right technologies for your business. The products are more advanced than ever before.
The right marketing technology stack is one that helps create the kind of one-on-one experiences customers expect as they engage via all devices and channels. Today’s CMOs need to carefully establish the best technology to facilitate the level of engagement customers expect, and meeting that expectation requires a clear marketing roadmap.