Tag Archives: Deliverability

What does the Gmail Priority Inbox mean for email marketers?

With Google’s new Priority Inbox Gmail feature being released to users over the next week or so, the landscape for email marketers just changed.

The cute video Google has put together (see it here), nicely shows the different levels of emails users can receive – spam, marketing emails and emails from friends and family (at around the 50 second point in the video).

The way the algorithms work is based on:

1. How often you read the email

2. How often you reply to the email

3. Manual adjustments using the increase or decrease importance buttons

I am sure there are other factors not disclosed – potentially this might include whether your email address is in the contact list.

This all means that if you want your emails to appear high up in the priority list, you are going to need to deliver content that are consistently worth opening.

This makes the mantra of providing content that is in someway valuable to the recipient more important than before. Sending an email with a bunch of products in it that bears no relevance to what the user wants is likely to result in obscurity.

A couple of  keywords to think about to ensure your  emails are engaging or worth reading:

1. Valuable – the recipient should feel like it is in his or her interests to open the email – an offer, unique content etc

2. Interesting – if you are delivering content, make sure it is relevant to the recipient. Interesting content that makes the recipient look good if they forward it on is a definite bonus! The recent music video that went viral is illustrative of this – it allows you to place your home street into the music video itself.

One potential side benefit is that we might see a potential decrease in unsubscribes as more emails are just demoted rather than unsubscribed or worse from a deliverability perspective – marked as spam.

Sidenote: Microsoft also released a feature in its Hotmail platform which allows you to see only those emails from people in your address book. This means it is even more important to encourage your recipients to add your email address to their address book.

[update] An interesting conversation on Twitter with @iamelliot led to another point around unsubscribes decreasing – there is a potential negative. Being lost in this new in between world of being de-prioritised and being unsubscribed could lead to a scenario where your email is no longer seen at all and with no way for the sender to know that this is happening.


Top 6 email mistakes – and how to avoid making them

Email errors can be  a turnoff – don’t let mistakes affect your response

Even in the age of textspeak, instant messaging and social media chitchat, people still care about quality control in communications of an even slightly more formal nature. They may write “lol” and “CU tonite @ 8” on facebook or their mobile, but they don’t like it when spelling mistakes and errors creep into a letter from the energy company or even a restaurant menu. Or, come to that, a marketing email.

In these contexts, poor quality control can quickly undermine brand credibility and – as research repeatedly shows – even lead to loss of business. After all, would you give someone a job who couldn’t spell your name?

Many emails err alike…

Here at Alchemy Worx, we’re up to our necks in email. Hundreds of messages flood into our accounts every day as we monitor what’s going on in the world of email marketing. And guess what? Loads of them contain errors. And loads of those errors are the same. And all of them could easily be avoided.

To err is only human, of course, and often only too understandable. For most marketers, an email send means tight deadlines, quick turnarounds and last-minute changes. All of which can open the door to errors. But none of that will count for anything if a subscriber leaves your list in disgust because you’ve emailed them twice. And got their gender wrong both times. About an offer that’s already expired…

Catching the glitches

So what can be done? Increasingly ESPs are adding tools and functionality to help you avoid sending poorly constructed emails (after all poor emails can upset ISPs – relationships that good ESP rely on). But there are still some areas that even the best software struggles to catch. With our help, you can still fix that glitch and save the day…

How to avoid the top 6 mistakes your Email platform won’t spot

Dreaming about deliverability

The plot of the science fiction film ‘Inception’ centres on the interesting concept of planting ideas in the dreams of the unwitting dreamer, the objective being that so that when the ‘dreamer’ awakens the idea is freshly planted in the subconscious.
This imaginative concept set my mind racing on which ideas, specifically related to deliverability I would plant in some marketer’s minds as key thoughts so that when they awaken the ideas might crystallise during waking hours:

1. Move away from the thought process that all emails that are sent make it into the inbox. Not true! In fact, ISPs, filtering companies and consumers all block, filter and report email as spam, meaning that only a subset of all mail sent is actually delivered to the inbox.

2. Focus on improvements; be obsessive about understanding what the metrics are that can improve overall response, start to think about Inbox Placement Rates (IPR), seek to improve, make it a KPI. Challenge all comers who state ‘delivered’ or ‘accepted’ is a reliable guide to what makes it to the inbox, because it is not. The fundamentals of reliable calculations require the accurate use of a broader collection of metrics.

3. Think about deliverability, not as a terse-technical subject dominated by those responsible in the technical team, or that someone else worries about so they the marketers don’t have to .Think about it as something that everyone in the organisation should be aware of and have some insight of.

After the dream the marketer will awaken with these three thoughts at least somewhere in the mind and when met with the word ‘deliverability’ their eyes won’t glaze over or worse still ignore one of the most important aspects and barriers to success.

Richard Gibson, Channel Relationship Manager at Return Path and Chair, Email Marketing Council. Twitter: @RichardGibson.