The following blog post originally appeared on September 29 and comes to us from Listrak client AddThis. Stay tuned for more!
How We Increased Our Email Deliverability from 50% to 99%
Email is an essential part of how we, at AddThis, communicate value to our community. One of the most difficult challenges we were facing was that over half of our emails were not being delivered to our subscribers. Among many things we did, one of the most important steps we took was cleaning our list—a practice you should consider doing regularly.
Cleaning Our List is a Must
I knew list hygiene was important, but I didn’t know how important. In one sense, repeatedly sending emails to invalid addresses or (even worse) spamtraps can hurt your IP’s reputation, which can lead to a worsened reputation and deliverability lowering. In the end, your emails may not be reaching as many inboxes as you wish.
Deliverability is a big game, especially as your email list grows. The bigger your list gets, the more you have to pay attention to these details to keep your deliverability high. Not all the emails you send will necessarily arrive in the individual’s inbox.
Over a year ago, we had an approximate 50% deliverability rate—yep, that means about half of our emails weren’t making it to the inbox. And that sucked. What’s worse is if you’re using a third party (which most people do), you’re paying for the emails sent—not the ones being delivered. I’ll let you do the math on that one.
So I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your list nice and tidy. To start, we hired an independent company to clean up our list, ridding it of any obvious invalid addresses and hard bounces, without having to experiment under our own IP.
We also knew that doing this every so often would be a nightmare, and not cost-effective, so it was important to have an email service provider that has the ability to keep lists clean as a basic feature for all customers. This means it automatically unsubscribes hard bounces, soft bounces (after a set amount of time), and those who manually unsubscribe from the list.
We’re not in the perfect state yet; we’re still learning how to best maximize our campaign sends and messaging. But as we learn interesting nuggets, we’ll be sharing them with you to help you in your own campaigns.
Are there any other tips you’ve learned in your own email campaigns?
Earlier this week, Listrak CEO Ross Kramer presented a Digital Bootcamp session entitled The Strategy and Tactics You Need for a World-Class Email Marketing Program at Shop.Org Summit 2014, and Melinda Walker of OneSquigglyLine.com translated it into this fun infographic:
Today the Online Trust Alliance Academy presented 2014 Email Unsubscribe Best Practices and Audit. During the hour-long webinar, OTA Exeuctive Director Craig Spiezle was joined by Listrak Chief Privacy Officer James Koons and Innovyx CEO Derek Harding to talk about unsubscribe best practices beyond CAN SPAM and CASL compliance, as well as the results of OTA’s audit of the unsubscribe practices of leading eCommerce merchants.
Below is some of the information that was shared:
- It’s been 10 years since CAN-SPAM went into effect.
- CAN-SPAM is the minimum required. The goal is to surpass CAN-SPAM and adopt unsubscribe best practices.
- Unsubscribe practices and regulations are an international issue, so there is more to consider than CAN-SPAM and CASL.
- Opt-out links must be clear and conspicuous and visible from the last sentence of an email. They can’t be buried in copy.
- Unsubscribe links must be readable both in terms of color and font size.
- Senders must provide an easy opt-out for all email, not just the specific email program the recipient has clicked on.
- Use a link directing users to a combination preference center to unsubscribe, opt down or make other changes.
- It is an unsubscribe best practice to eliminate confusion by branding the unsubscription landing page.
- Serve an unsubscribe confirmation web page, not a confirmation email.
- On the unsubscribe page, the sender can include a link to resubscribe or link to a preference center.
- Although CAN-SPAM and CASL permit senders up to 10 days to remove an unsubscribe, it is a best practice to remove the address and add it to the suppression list immediately.
- Senders must comply with the regulations of where the recipient resides (or is opening the email), not where the sender is located.
- It is a best practice to adopt a list-unsubscribe mechanism within the header of each message.
- While the sender may not make completing a survey a requirement of unsubscribing, including a survey is a best practice to provide a more positive experience.
- Results of the 2013 Unsubscribe audit reveal that 10% of the largest eCommerce brands are not in CAN-SPAM/CASL compliance.
- The audit also showed that many of the largest eCommerce brands do implement best practices, however, the outliers overshadow the industry.
- Nearly 70% of the brands in the unsubscribe audit scored 80% or better on their use of the top 10 unsubscribe best practices.
- It is imperative that senders test their unsubscribe practices on a regular basis both to ensure that they’re effective and that they’re compliant.
To read the OTA 2014 Unsubscribe Audit report, visit https://otalliance.org/news-events/press-releases/unsubscribe-best-practices-moving-stewardship.
Last week it was reported that retailers will begin promoting the holidays even earlier this year, and judging by my inbox, that includes Halloween, too. It’s not even October, and this is what I’ve begun to see:
On 9/19, with the (Halloween-less) subject line Smart HDTVs from $368 and more super savings,Walmart sneaked in its first mention by featuring this at the very bottom of the email below.
One week later, on 9/26, Halloween made its way to the top of the email (with the same creative as above) and into the subject line Get spooky with it - from $2.50!
Also on 9/26, Pick Your Plum sent this creative email with the subject line Get Your Spooky On!
And on the same day, this one, with the more curious subject line Bone Up - 69% off!
Then on 9/28, I received this from Listrak client Naturopathica with the simple subject line Treat Yourself. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure that it’s a reference to Halloween, but I would not be surprised, as it is in line with the understated, elegant style that is this merchant’s trademark.
On the same day, I was a bit surprised to receive this from ideel with the unbelievably long subject line Holiday Preview, Cosabella Up to 70% Off, Kenneth Cole, Dresses Under $30, Structed Shoes & Accessories, Chelsea Crew, Jack Spade Tory Burch, and more
It seems that ideel, which previously dropped the “i” from the end of its name, may have decided to drop Halloween this year, too …
What are you seeing that’s interesting in your inbox?
September, 2014 - Listrak, an innovator of omnichannel digital marketing solutions for retailers, was recently named a Magento Gold Technology Partner. Magento, an eBay Enterprise company, serves more than 240,000 merchants worldwide and is the leading ecommerce platform for fast growing retailers in the Internet Retailer 500. Magento also powers 26 percent of all ecommerce sites in the Alexa one million sites list; more than any other e-commerce platform.
Listrak has partnered with Magento since the company’s inception in 2008 and has built a reputation for having a solid and easy integration with the Magento platform. Prior to become a Gold Technology Partner in July, Listrak had been a Magento Silver Technology Partner for three years.
“Listrak’s focus is on helping online retailers reach optimal engagement with their customers, and our partnership with Magento allows merchants to benefit from a single, integrated digital marketing platform that helps them gain insights into their customers’ behaviors, as well as solutions that increase revenue,” comments James Williams, Listrak director of global channel sales.
“Listrak’s been partnering with and growing alongside Magento since the beginning,” he adds, “and we’re proud to meet the requirements necessary to attain Magento’s top technology partnership status, because it means that we are both offering our mutual clients the very best applications and services to engage with their shoppers and customers and to grow their businesses.”
Williams also notes that Magento merchants comprise 55 percent of Listrak’s current retail-specific client base.
Magento’s Marty Armstrong, head of technology and hosting partnerships,adds, “Both Magento and Listrak are committed to helping merchants optimize the profitability of their online channel. Our partnership with Listrak will continue to focus on providing the highest quality commerce solutions for our joint merchant clients.”
Listrak is an omnichannel digital marketing solutions provider that works with retailers to drive revenue growth, profitability and increase the lifetime value of customers. Founded in 1999, the company’s solution suite boasts analytics technology that enhances campaign performance, shopping cart abandonment solutions that help recoup lost revenue, post purchase solutions to increase lifetime value, seamless integration across multiple platforms, as well as email, mobile, social and more. Listrak has more than a decade of digital marketing experience and works with leading U.S. online retailers, including Deb Shops, Waterford, Swell, The Grommet and La-Z-boy. For more information, visit http://www.listrak.com.
We’d like to share the great news that Listrak was recently named #4 on the Central Penn Business Journal list of Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in the Region. It is our fourth time on the list and first time being in the top five. Previously we held spots 47, 40 and 39.
It’s quite an achievement and a testament to the hard work and dedication of each member of our Listrak family!
Take a look at the entire list.
Today we presented another webinar in our holiday series featuring Listrak Customer Relationship Manager Kaye Peloquin and special guest Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research.
Below are some key takeaways that were tweeted during the presentation. A link to the webinar on-demand will be posted shortly.
Last Friday night, we enjoyed our annual Listrak Family BBQ. It was a night full of great fun, food, drink and conversation, as well as an opportunity to raise money for our local Human League.
For retailers, Halloween might be called the unofficial first “holiday” of the holiday season. But what if you don’t sell costumes, candy or seasonal decor? With a little creativity you can still take part in the fun, delight your customers and bring in some revenue:
No costumes? No worries! In this creative promotion, Aerie urges the shopper to be her “boo-tiful self” and sets the percentage off and timing of the sale to match the date.
Rather than relying on “scare-city,” Lands’ End gets shoppers’ attention with a big BOO! and then treats them to a promotion that continues for days after jack-o-lantern candles have gone out.
In another great example of “No costumes? No worries!” AEO merchandises outfits that eerily resemble some well-known spooky characters.
Although they likely don’t have caramel apples or candy corn on the menu, On the Border still finds a way to get in on the Halloween action with this genius promotion.
We love how Little Caesars uses reverse psychology to “frighten” visitors into subscribing. Just think how many busy parents are looking for a quick and convenient dinner to serve before their little goblins hit the streets.
And finally, AC Moore simply uses the occasion as a reason to reach out to subscribers with nothing more than well wishes, which is sometimes just the perfect treat.
For some additional tricks, check out this post from SEO PowerSuite.
Today, Multichannel Merchant published an article penned by Listrak CEO Ross Kramer that explores a few of the many uses for browse data.The opportunities he outlines include:
- Triggered remarketing campaigns
- Marketing emails
- Back in stock alerts
- List segmentation
You can read the article here and find out even more details in Listrak’s latest whitepaper, Bringing Browsers Back: How to use Browse Data to Create Personalized Recommendations.