Sending Smarter for the Holidays: 5 Tips to Stay in the Inbox

Chris Kolbenschlag, Director of Deliverability

Just as shoppers are visiting the stores more often this holiday season, marketers are making more attempts to visit the inbox. But this increase in sends can also increase your chances of winding up in the spam filter.

During this busy shopping season, how can you stand out from other brands but also keep the ISPs from flagging you as a spammer? Sending smarter at this time of year can improve your deliverability and help you rise above the rest and into your subscribers’ inboxes.

Permissions Rule!

Are you using effective methods to grow your list? Subscribers gathered through co-registrations, appends and auto opt-ins can be weaker in terms of engagement than subscribers who took the time to opt in by taking an action on your website or during checkout. ISPs want to see that you’re a relevant sender, so sending to your stronger contacts is top priority. If you don’t have the correct permissions, you could fail to engage your subscribers and ultimately fail to make it to the inbox.

Relevance Also Rules!

What good are opt-ins if you send irrelevant content to your subscribers? Personalization is a must right now. Know what to send out and to whom. Targeted marketing drives higher engagement which also helps with deliverability to the inbox. Relevance is key!

Don’t Spike Your Volume

Your engagement rates could suffer if you send more often to subscribers who are less engaged or may even be ignoring you altogether. While sending to those shoppers who only bought from you last holiday season can be a good marketing strategy – hopefully, they’re in the market to buy gifts from you again – it’s still a risk. Segment that group of buyers and measure the results to see if you need to back off. But be careful of annoying your engaged subscribers, too.

Focus on Engagement

Now’s a good time to segment your lists into engaged and non-engaged subscribers. You may want to send slightly more often to the engaged list since they have a record of interaction with your messages. Continue to focus on that group, and avoid trying to resurrect unengaged subscribers. If they weren’t interacting with your emails prior to the holiday season, they most likely aren’t going to now that their inboxes are full.

Perception Determines Placement

Whether you have a triple opt-in or implied consent from your subscribers, their perception and feedback is ultimately what determines if your emails end up in the inbox or the spam folder this season. If your subscribers find favor with your emails, they will engage with them and you’ll continue to land in the inbox. If they mark your messages as spam or ignore them altogether, your future emails will be directed to the spam folder. Don’t send what you think is relevant. Send what will be relevant to the subscriber.

The secret to the inbox this holiday season is simple. Email the subscribers that clearly signed up for your communications with very relevant messages. Ignore this rule, and you could be creating contacts who start ignoring you. Don’t be seen as a spammer! Be thoughtful, relevant and  personalized with your approach. Smart sending this season will help you win your way into your subscribers’ hearts (and inboxes).

For more strategies for a successful holiday season, visit our Holiday Marketing Academy.