Email is a rockstar tool for engaging with fans who sing your brand’s praises. But if you’re not following common email best practices, there’s a chance you may be Rickrolling your subscribers.
For those not familiar with meme culture, Rickrolling involves tricking someone into listening to Rick Astley’s 80s pop song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” While Rickrolling is an effective way to troll your friends, it will only disappoint your email subscribers and cause them to tune you out.
Let’s take a look at how Rick’s lyrics apply to creating an effective email marketing strategy. Feel free to sing along.
It takes time to build a substantial subscriber list, so it can be hard to give up on addresses. But many major mailbox providers (MBPs) use engagement metrics like opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and spam complaints to determine your legitimacy as a sender. At a certain point, it’s better to give up on disengaged addresses before they damage your sender reputation.
If we’re looking to Rick for email advice, he’d remind us not to give up without a fight. Re-engagement campaigns give subscribers a second (and sometimes a third or fourth) chance to show they’re still in love with your emails.
Follow these steps to create a re-engagement campaign:
The best marketers know email is a conversation: It involves speaking and listening. Every campaign is a chance to engage your audience with content that matches their needs and interests. Don’t let your subscribers down with campaigns that ignore what their behavior is telling you.
If you aren’t already tracking subscriber preferences, there are plenty of ways to gain insight:
Offering content that delights your audience keeps them clicking and helps your deliverability, since many MBPs look at engagement when determining inbox placement.
Sending emails on an unpredictable schedule gives subscribers the runaround because they never know when you might reach out. As a result, they’re less likely to anticipate your messages.
You should have different cadences for your various email streams. Here are a few examples:
Keep an inventory of every email stream to show how often you’re contacting individual addresses. Your most active recipients may engage with promotional emails, rewards program messaging, newsletters, and account statements.
Your less engaged audience may only open one newsletter per month. Give subscribers the option to receive fewer messages. This helps you maintain a regular schedule and lowers the likelihood of complaints.
Email subscribers may want to break up with your brand if you don’t have a secure infrastructure. Over 90 percent of cyberattacks start with email, and improperly configured authentication records leave you more vulnerable to spoofing and phishing attempts.
If private data is compromised, your subscribers won’t be the only ones singing the blues.
Your brand reputation can be damaged and you may be held financially liable. Regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) hold companies financially responsible if personal information is exposed in an attack.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep your emails safe from spoofing. Start by focusing on these three authentication protocols:
For example, a DMARC policy set at p=quarantine tells MBPs to send emails that fail the SPF and DKIM checks to the spam folder. If a spammer tries to impersonate your domain and fails DMARC, their message won’t go to the inbox. With a DMARC policy of p=reject, MBPs will block emails that aren’t specifically from your domain.
Email addresses that damage your deliverability and hurt your reputation deserve a big wave goodbye. We’re talking about spam traps, or addresses that are set up for the sole purpose of identifying spammers.
MBPs see spam trap hits as a sign of poor list hygiene, and they’ll dock your deliverability accordingly. Send a high percentage of spam traps and your domain could be blocklisted.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to ensure you’re practicing good list hygiene:
Once you’ve identified bad addresses, remove them from your sends. You should start to see improvement in your Sender Score and inbox placement over time as MBPs learn you’re a responsible sender.
It’s important (and in some regions, legally mandated) to respect subscriber privacy and preferences. Make sure you’re requesting permission as part of your opt-in process.
Opt-in forms should clearly indicate what subscribers will receive and subscriber benefits. Follow opt-in best practices, including:
L-Astley, the wonderful thing about email is it doesn’t have to be the same old song and dance every time you hit send.
Whether it’s improving engagement, re-engaging inactive subscribers, or strengthening your infrastructure to prevent scams, there’s always something you can do to avoid Rickrolling your subscribers. Keep delighting them and they’ll never want to give you up!
To continue learning about email best practices, check out our eBook, Secrets of Best-in-Class Email Senders.