Email trends 2012: Delivarability

By APSIS

2012-09-07

The biggest challenge for you as an email marketer in 2012 is deliverability. There is a strong trend amongst the largest web-based email clients like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo, to protect their users against unwanted email.

All the major web-based email clients seek to create a better email environment for their users. Within the past couple of years, these email clients have worked on their algorithm to deliver only the wanted emails into their users’ inboxes. That creates a greater challenge for marketers to provide that wanted content. An environment where users have the highest control over the types of messages that get into their inboxes. Based on user activity, the email clients are determining which mail will get through in the future.

Anyone who sends out newsletters that provide no value to the subscriber runs the obvious risk of no longer getting into the inbox. The user is fast and merciless with their decision about your email messages.

Bad news? No, not necessarily. It may require more work – but, at the same time, this is a major opportunity for you as a serious email marketer to develop and achieve good results.
The email clients are working to provide value to their users by eliminating the content they don’t want from the equation, creating new opportunities for them to receive those they do want.

Take a look at the new features of some of the largest web clients:

Gmail

• Priority Inbox – optional today
• YouTube films that can be played inside the newsletter itself
• ‘Enhanced email’ – this is currently in beta with a marketer and provides the opportunity to surf around and purchase things directly in the email client

Yahoo

• Rejects mail for every mail accepted by the inbox (source: Yahoo)
• Displays YouTube films and images from Flickr and Picasa
• Displays images automatically, unless the function is switched off

Hotmail/MSN/Windows Live

• Active Views – opportunities to design newsletters more like websites
• Support for HTML5
• Categories for the inbox: personal contacts, networks or group mail
• Displays films from YouTube or Hulu and images in the letter, similar to Gmail.
• Sorts email through contacts and interest through ‘quick views’
• Subscribers’ involvement and your domain’s reputation are of great importance. Hotmail counts any account as inactive after 6 months of no email activity and starts to penalise you (source: Hotmail)
• Hotmail also provides users with the ability to “Sweep” away any unwanted messages as well as unsubscribe directly in their email client to make it easier for them to find their most valuable messages.

All clients have elements that make your job harder. But, at the same time, they all offer unprecedented opportunities. Video has been banned from all email for all these years and, although all solutions developed so far have some technical limitations, the fact that they work is after all a minor revolution.

In essence, this is about you as the sender being required to offer something that your subscribers want to read. The technology will be developed further and give you more opportunities – but there is already a lot you can do today to ensure that your newsletters are interesting, engaging and creating value for your subscribers. Here are five things to consider!

Five ways to improve your delivery frequency

• Stop sending irrelevant information
It may be convenient to send all the information you have to all the recipients in your address list. However, please note that if a user of yours has purchased a pair of shoes for themselves, for example, they might not necessarily be interested in receiving an offer for children’s shoes.

• People buy from people, not from companies
Ensure you bring your employees to the foreground – a company always seems more anonymous. This doesn’t mean changing the from line to a person’s name, it means humanizing the voice of the emails to be more personal versus a cold, corporate language. The more personalised your email is, the greater the likelihood that it will be that subscribers will take action.

• Always reply to the question ‘What does it mean for me?’
The subscriber should always be your number one concern. Not your company, or your internal processer, not even how well you may be doing – your primary concern should always be what your subscribers can gain from your newsletters. Before you send a newsletter, consider whether the mail contains anything that can provide concrete benefits to the reader.

• The perceived value must be greater than the perceived cost
Every time a subscriber opens an email, they pay a small price in terms of time and commitment. If they perceive that what they get is something that is more valuable than that which they paid for it, in time, effort and money, they will be happy – and then they will look forward to your next newsletter. But you only need a few newsletters without any perceived value for your subscribers to disappear.

• Make clear what it is you offer
What you are offering must be made clear. In the subject lines, in the headlines, in the links and in the texts. Your time to persuade people to subscribe to your newsletter is limited, so be sure to be specific and enticing.

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