Email Deliverability, Part 2: Best Practices
A few weeks ago, I discussed the fundamental aspects of email deliverability, including database quality, segmentation, engagement, and sending best practices.
This week, I’m sharing hands-on tips to increase the chances of your email marketing messages getting delivered, with the help of compelling subject lines, attractive layouts, and localization. Let’s get started!
It’s simple. If the subject line doesn’t appeal to the recipient, the email isn’t going to get opened. And if your emails don’t get opened, future emails won’t get delivered. Here are recommendations for writing subject lines that encourage engagement:
- The shorter the better! According to an analysis of more than 7 billion emails sent in 2017, Yes Lifecycle Marketing found that subject lines between 1-20 characters generated a 31% higher open rate than the average for all emails
- Personalize subject lines by using guests’ first names and words like “you” and “your,” i.e. Darya, thank you for your loyalty. From the same analysis above, personalized subject lines saw a 50% higher open rate. You must ensure your contacts have first names on file before you add a name merge tag (which automatically adds the recipient’s name). This is mostly safe with a reservations database, as all reservations have guests’ first names. However, keep in mind this can get tricky with contact lists that have been uploaded separately if first names weren’t captured.
- Anything described as “Exclusive” and/or “Special” immediately grabs our attention. Make your recipients feel special by using phrases that give the impression of exclusivity, such as, You’re invited, An exclusive offer just for you, and Our gift to you.
- Use numbers as they jump out in a crowded inbox. 3 ways to spend Labor Day weekend or Save 30% on your next stay are both great examples.
- Write the subject line last (before pressing send) to make sure it matches the content of the email. You don’t want to lose credibility by promising something in the subject line that you don’t actually cover in the email.
Just as important as your subject line is the email layout. Mailbox providers check for specific email components they like to see in good sender emails including:
- Text-to-image ratio: Stick with the 60% text, 40% image rule. Large or many images with little text can appear spam-like to mailbox providers. The best practice is to include at least 500 text characters. Transform your embedded text into plain text as much as you can.
- Alternative text: Since many mailbox providers don’t display images by default, alternative text is ideal so recipients know what the images represent. Alternative text is also how screen readers scan images for malicious content, and it can make or break your email.
- Unsubscribe link: Although Revinate won’t let you send an email without an unsubscribe link, there are still some formatting and layout tips you should know. The link must be easy to locate and the process to unsubscribe has to be simple. For example, a font color that blends in too much with the background may look like an attempt to hide an unsubscribe link. If recipients can’t figure it out, you risk frustrating them and they may report your email as spam. This hurts your sender reputation and directly increases spam filtering and blocking of all your emails.
- Proper links: Shortened links mask the true identity of URLs, making it a popular technique among spammers. Avoid using shortened URLs as mailbox providers will check if a link is on a URL blacklist or has received a high rate of complaints. If not, your email may be blocked or re-routed to the spam, bulk, or junk folder.
- Physical address: Having a physical address of your property in the footer makes your email more trustworthy for mailbox providers and customers, so make sure you have the right contact details and address on all your emails.
There are many important factors to consider in global campaigns. What language does your audience speak? How does their time zone differ from yours? The answers to these questions make a big difference in engagement and deliverability. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when sending global campaigns:
- Language: Make sure you’re communicating in the language of your recipients so they can best understand your message. Don’t forget to also localize forms, landing pages, and unsubscribe options. You want to stay consistent.
- Time zones: This goes without saying that recognizing different time zones is essential to optimizing your email marketing performance. You never want to email a U.S. audience at 4 PM while your overseas audience receives it at midnight.
- Local tastes and habits: Do you know which local experiences and offers are available? Your email should include relevant content that will appeal to your segmented audience.
Take a look at this great example from MS MILENIUM Hotel. Located in Mexico, MS MILENIUM Hotel segmented their holiday campaign for their English-speaking guests versus Spanish-speaking guests. They also added a name merge tag to their subject line and email body.
Now that you are equipped with a complete arsenal of deliverability best practices, you are ready to create effective email campaigns that will land right in the inboxes of your recipients.
Email marketing is one of the most effective, reliable methods to increase direct bookings and guest engagement, and with Revinate Marketing, it’s never been easier. Interested in learning more? Please don’t hesitate to reach out!