As my colleague Tom Sather discussed in Part 1 of this post, the key component of Hotmail’s Windows Live Sender Reputation Panel data is sender recognition, as every “This is junk” and “This is not junk” vote results from the panelist’s ability to quickly identify familiar senders. Since panel members are presented a variety of email that is delivered to both the junk folder and the inbox, it’s a prime opportunity to influence how your mail is delivered across the Microsoft network. Are your email messages designed to optimize branding and recognition? Although it may seem as though your company’s delivery is at the whim of these select panelists, the power is ultimately in your hands. Use these tactics to help evaluate your existing branding strategy, and consider implementing a few changes to help spur brand recognition, subscription recall, and more positive panelist feedback:
Consistent From Line – The From Line is email real estate that is often overlooked in its importance to drive opens (as a result of brand recognition). Since the from line is the first indicator of your email that a subscriber receives, be sure it accurately describes your brand. Refrain from using a person’s name, as it is tough for subscribers to connect the name with the brand (unless, of course, you are Martha Stewart). And remember that the from line can truncate, so keep it as short as possible. Then, use the same From Line consistently across ALL your email to deliver a consistent brand impression that is easily identified.
Clear and Prominent Branding – Branding in the content of your email message, regardless of the type of message it is (transactional, newsletter, or promotional), must be clear and prominent in order to quickly connect with the subscriber. Feature your company’s logo in the top third of the email, and include that same logo and placement in every email message. Additionally, consider using your company’s brand name in the message preheader or headline copy in order to design around image suppression.
Subscription Source – Particularly if you collect subscriptions through means other than a direct email subscribe form (such as lead generation, print subscriptions, or store collection), it’s important that you connect the dots for subscribers to help them identify the origin of their opt-in. Use the message preheader to remind subscribers how and why they are receiving your email to reinforce the fact that it is permissioned and not spam.
Steady Cadence – While branding certainly plays a significant role in sender recognition, it’s not the only factor. Once you begin an email conversation with a subscriber, be mindful of how you continue it. Stay in regular contact by implementing a steady mail cadence. Even if it’s just once a month, consistent timing builds anticipation – and expectation for your next message. Be aware that large gaps in sending time may cause a subscriber to forget their opt-in choice, and inadvertently mark your company’s email as spam.