Is your email program ready to handle the demands of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday campaigns? I'm not just talking about having attractive content and crowd-pleasing offers. Rather, have you done everything you can to get those great messages delivered to subscribers' inboxes?
Even if you've already launched your first holiday-themed campaign, you've still got some time to make these strategic improvements needed to help your messages avoid the junk folder or the spam filter.
If you can't bring yourself to move them out of your active database, market to them selectively. Send less often, or sweeten your deals to entice them back.
Regulate your sending frequency and speed
Here, you manage both your cadence -- the rate at which you send campaigns, whether broadcast to your entire list or targeted to specific segments of your database -- and the rate at which you send messages to ISPs during a campaign.
Don't pound your list into oblivion. The danger is clear. You annoy subscribers, even those you acquired through solid-gold opt-in practices. Annoyed subscribers drive spam complaints, unsubscribes, and inactivity. (Review the consequences of those actions in item No. 1 above.) If you plan to increase your message cadence, give subscribers a little warning.
Create a separate list for last-minute deals or other special topics. That can help you comply with harried managers who order extra campaigns to make budget in the waning days of the holiday rush. Or, offer an "opt down" list for less frequent mailings.
Watch your delivery speed. Work with your IT department to regulate speed when sending a campaign. If an ISP detects a sudden flood of messages from a single IP address, it might suspect a virus or rogue spammer has hijacked your server. It can "throttle" your messages (slow down the number it accepts per minute or hour), route them to the spam folder, or block them outright. Monitor delivery reports during the broadcast to identify trouble spots and reduce delivery to ISPs that are limiting acceptance.
These strategies might not be as fun or interesting as designing an attractive message or writing compelling copy. But nobody will see your brilliant emails if they get blocked or land in the spam folder. Some grunt work now can make all the difference in your quarterly and year-end results.
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