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Now that you’ve successfully audited your email performance utilizing our free guide and workbook (here if you missed it), you are ready to refresh your email strategy for even greater success throughout the new year.
Email deliverability is an ever evolving animal, so if you are not growing and refreshing your strategies with the most up-to-date resources then you are likely missing out on revenue opportunities with your existing audience.
A strategy refresh can help ensure you’re maximizing every opportunity in the new year and beyond.
In a “strategy refresh” focused on email deliverability improvement, there are several areas in the email marketer’s setup worth reviewing and upgrading:
Filling technical gaps and identifying appropriate upgrades:
Verify SPF/DKIM authentication is implemented on sending domain
Utilize domain alignment for tracking links where available (Ortto’s Custom Subdomain setup)
Check internally that the ideal domain vs subdomain strategy for insulating certain mail streams from more volatile ones is implemented (think marketing mail vs sales outreaches)
Focus on content/strategies that work most effectively and drop the stuff that doesn’t:
Review content approach for your audience and industry (flashy doesn’t work for all audiences)
Replace spammy, promotional-sounding content with personalization and organic communication, wherever possible
Adjust send-time strategy with timeframes subscribers are most likely to engage with that piece of content (from send in timezone optimization to triggered automations)
Find ways you can utilize email to give back and make a connection rather than focusing solely on promotional content
Identify and activate regular maintenance practices around list-health:
Implement a regular list-cleanup schedule (at least every six months)
Identify long-term unengaged subscribers and remove them from your regular traffic
Build out a win-back/sunset strategy for older unengaged subscribers
Set up win-back automations to catch cooling customers and nurture them back into activity with your organization
Identify ‘work-smart-not-hard’ tool opportunities in your sending platform that you can start using:
Evaluate zero/first/etc. party data-opportunities and how your email platform can utilize them for a more personalized experience (learn more about capturing and leveraging zero-party data here)
Replace as much generalized sending traffic as possible with personalized traffic patterns
Regularly review your platform’s recent product releases and ask yourself how your send-strategy could benefit from its new tools (keep an eye on Ortto’s latest releases here)
While each one of these statements and topical-areas deserve some focus each year, it can feel overwhelming trying to evaluate all at once.
You can (and I definitely recommend) use this as a checklist to work through as and when you can. But as an initial step, let’s look at how you can take a first pass at refreshing your strategy based on the data you uncovered in your email performance audit.
The most logical place to start is with the areas you’ve observed underperformance in.
Look for these types of affecting losses and learn how to fix them::
Check frequency and content relativity
Roll back frequency for cooling subscribers and create focused content to win them back
Audit content approach and imbue it with as much personalization and dynamic content as possible, while keeping it simple and focused
Utilize subject-line and content A/B testing to understand and act on your audience’s preferences
Use our AI subject line writer to craft higher-performing subject lines
Elevate the click opportunities to a more accessible place in content
Evaluate your content’s pitch and make sure the sell is really worth the click
Review your audience with your content to make sure what’s of interest to each is being offered
Identify bounce/deferral reason trends and work with Support to resolve
Verify custom domain authentication is properly in place
Double-check all signup sources are secured with some form of CAPTCHA and are transparent about what the user is subscribing to
Replace any document, public link-shorteners, and third-party links from your content with data hosted on your own domain’s landing page
Check for a historical pattern of dropping engagement to identify any change that is the likely cause
Decrease frequency and increase personalized focus of regular content
Implement advised list-cleanup practices
Look for opportunities to elevate more data-sets with your available platform tools
Use Ortto’s activity-tracking to connect your purchase data with your marketing activities
Utilized personalized discounts and deals to connect with shoppers and their marketing history
Another approach is to see if there is anything you can do to further optimize based on your successes, or take what you’ve learned into another area to improve overall deliverability.
Start by asking what separates your best performing campaigns from your worst. Look for these elements and evaluate their success based on their context:
Is it highly personalized?
Is it uncluttered?
Is it tasteful and engaging?
Is the copy and subject line direct and appealing to each recipient?
Does it make sense for the recipients and the information?
Is it helpful rather than just promotional?
Is it within a relevant time-period?
Is it related to an action on the recipient’s part?
Is the recipient’s time of day taken into account?
Is email being used for communications it works best for?
Is SMS or any other supportive channel operating at its best capacity to continue the conversation appropriately?
Is preference or lack of engagement being honored and acted on?
As you identify these winning reasons, find ways to incorporate them into other campaigns:
How can you make your weekly newsletter more personal and direct to recipient interests in your business?
How can you automate what is manual?
How can you ensure relevancy and timeliness in communications using activities as triggers?
And so on
Once you’ve audited and optimized, I’m sure you’ll be wondering how to know what’s a win or loss (outside of the obvious cases, of course).
Setting KPI thresholds for email marketing is relative to industry and audience, so the most reliable standard for improvement really ends up being your own performance.
The focus should be to out-perform last year, improving engagement rates along with volume as the year goes on.
With that said, here are some general engagement metrics that can be a sign an issue may be occurring (or starting to occur):
Open rates below 20%
Bounce rates above 5%
Unsubscribe rates above 1%
Complaint rates above .05%
Refreshing your email strategy at the beginning of the year while things are slower is a fantastic way to set yourself up for success.
Deliverability, however, is not on a yearly timeline for change, so it is important to make space and plans for regular check-ins throughout the year.
Your own engagement metrics are the best tell on what’s working and what’s not.
As the year progresses, we’d encourage you to revisit this blog and check in with your email deliverability dashboard to help keep your strategies crisp and clean all year long.
Build a better journey.
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