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AgVoice | The new evolving email deliverability ecosystem

Marketing has undergone a tremendous facelift in the last decade with web 2.0 taking the marketing world by storm and sendingit into a frenzy of innovation. In the midst of this, most marketers side-stepped the humble e-mail as a tool of the past; an ill-timed move as little known to them, the docile e-mail was undergoing an extraordinary makeover.

E-mail marketing has come a long way since the days of mere e-mail blasts. Today, feature-rich email marketing platforms offer marketers the ability to customize their communication and receive direct feedback from their consumers regarding their products and services. Promotional offers are tailor-made to suit the varying requirements of each individual consumer in the target group. The ability to engage with consumers using dynamic content, and the ease of measuring the effectiveness of the campaign, ensures a plump ROI.

Though email has evolved as an effective marketing channel, the biggest challenge that many marketers face today is to ensure that marketing emails land in the inbox of the targeted receiver. At the same time ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are focused on making the inbox more efficient for the end user.  Large ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail are constantly evolving their UI and filtering criterion to offer their subscribers an enhanced user experience.

To this extent Google introduced recent enhancements to its Gmail interface. The introduction of the organizational tabs weighed down on the marketing world as a sign of the possible downfall of promotional emails. However, this may work in the favour of marketers. As we get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more, Gmail sees this as helping users achieve greater efficiency with less clutter.

Additionally, instead of deleting retail and other promotional emails from the main inbox because it’s distracting, this allows a user or customer to check out that email when the time is right or they are in the mindset to shop or browse.   Therefore, instead of panicking, marketers can look at the below measures to better address the situation.

  • Review your email ‘From’ name, subject line and pre-header text to ensure that it catches the attention of the consumer as they scan through their inbox
  • Monitor response rates by ISP and run historical response rates by domain for thelast 6-12 months to establish a larger window foranalyzing downward trends with other domains
  • Consider potential impact on real-time emails as subscribers may miss time-sensitive emails
  • Inform and educate subscribersabout the changes asking them to organize the message intheir ‘tab of choice’ to avoid risk of missing the email. You can also add this information to your onboarding messages where you explain about how to whitelist messages

Similarly, in June, Yahoo announced that they would de-activate a large number of email addresses due to the lack of any user activity in the last 12 months; and re-issue them to new users. A good rule of thumb for marketers to tackle this situation would be to look at historical email activity data from their email platform and suppress addresses that have never interacted in the last 15-18 months. They could also ask these subscribers to update their email ids. Evolved email platforms like Experian CheetahMail track email responses and with the help of their advanced segmentation tool, develop behavioural segmentation to identify active and inactive subscribers. Additionally, the below measures on a regular basis would help marketers keep their lists relevant and clean.

  • Reassess existing email strategies including retention programs, win-back campaigns as well as requirements for transactional emails
  • Monitor, track, and measure feedback to ensure all bounces are being properly suppressed
  • Make use of identity verification options such as security questions to ensure that new owners of these user IDs are not able to access the former owner’s accounts and credentials

The deliverability ecosystem has evolved over the years. Earlier, the criterion for a ISP looking at filtering genuine senders from the spammers was to look the reputation of the IPs and number of hard bounces. Over the years, ISPs have become smarter and are working towards giving their email subscribers a better customer experience. They are now looking at the quality of data i.e. number of invalids coming through, the authentication criterion including DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) or sender ID reputation along with the content and engagement metrics. It is difficult to hide bad reputation with IPs.

Therefore, it all comes down to optimally managing the message and the medium. Marketers can choose to send out large amounts of unsolicited emails to irrelevant databases. But the customer disregards the email with as much nonchalance as it was sent. It is important to build meaningful relationships with your customer. This could involve seeking their permission to engage with them periodically, enabling them to define and refine their preferences and sending out communication that is relevant to their needs rather than what you would like them to hear. | By Bhavneet Sekhon, Head Operations, Marketing Services, Experian India

About the writer:

Bhavneet Sekhon currently heads the account management, client servicing, pre-sales and technology teams for Experian’s digital Marketing Services (EMS) SBU in India. With a rich and diversified marketing career spanning nine years, she adds valuable insight and expertise to Experian India’s Marketing Services team. She is well-versed in marketing communications, digital marketing and sales enablement.

She has worked in diverse marketing roles with renowned technology companies such as TIBCO Software, Rave Technologies- part of Northgate Information Solutions Limited and Kale Accelya. Bhavneet holds a Masters degree in International Business from K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai and graduated from Delhi University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect in any way of Adgully


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