The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email
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Trend: Email Deliverability Rates Becoming Stagnant: How To Beat The Priority Inbox

Despite enormous efforts on the part of marketers, email deliverability rates have halted after the first half of 2011, coming in at 81%, according to a study released on September 20th by Return Path. 

Although reasons for this are numerous and often situational, a certain amount of blame in this case can be placed on “priority inbox”. This lovely little tool, created last year by Google, essentially puts a brain within your email account. It sees and records every action and configures message placement accordingly. So what we’re seeing are high reported delivery rates that don’t necessarily reflect the number of messages actually delivered. Technically the provider may have accepted it, but it doesn’t mean it’s landed in the customers’ inbox.

Email is no longer simply permission based. Marketers have the ability to expand on the content options they give their customers. Instead of a simple “subscribe” “unsubscribe”, customers are now able to select which type or correspondence they wish to receive in the future. These days, customers are opting in to receive information from several retailers/businesses each day. Think in terms of how many daily deal sites there are out there, or how, even if you want to research a certain topic, you are often required to complete a sign up form in order to enter. People give out their information every day and if marketers wish to remain relevant in their inbox, they have to give their customers options in order to avoid bombarding them. The alternative to this will be list attrition. Of course, messages will continue to be sent to customers’ inboxes, but with “priority” settings, they’ll most likely only remain because they are unnoticed. Eventually customers will clean house and chances are if you’ve been low on their priority list and they haven’t interacted with you recently, you as a marketers are going to get a big fat “unsubscribe”.

How To: Give Them Something To Talk About!
The key to improving your inbox rank is relevancy. Now this can come in several forms, but content and targeted offers are good places to start. Being intensely aware of your customers habits will make this a walk in the park. Essentially we want to answer two questions: 1) “What can I as a marketer teach you today that will improve our relationship?” or 2) “What offer will entice you to buy?”. If you can answer these two questions effectively based on empirical data, you’re well on your way to a higher delivery rate.

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