Looking for new ideas on how to cut down on excluded emails, strengthen your email performance and impress your marketing team? Here are a few tips and tricks that can result in better and more accurate email statistics.
Clean Up Your Marketing Lists
Cleaning up your marketing lists will cut down on excluded emails, ensuring your listed recipients accurately reflect the total number of messages sent. This will also allow your email to be delivered to the maximum number of recipients possible. Before important sends and on a regular basis, you will want to:
1) Run an advanced find that gathers all contacts/leads that have been blocked due to four soft bounces in a three-month period.
The screenshot below shows how you will want your advanced find to be set up. This advanced find is looking for contacts who are blocked due to soft bounce email events. After creating this, click Results and then export the results to Excel. You can then run the same advanced find again, this time looking for leads.
After exporting this list of contacts/leads, open a support ticket here. Be sure to include the Excel file and we will gladly unblock these individuals for you. This allows the email addresses previously blocked due to soft bounces to receive your content again, ensuring the maximum number of recipients receive your email. If you're curious as to why an email address was blocked, please refer to this blog post.
2) Remove from your marketing lists contacts and leads who have hard bounced.
Hard bounces indicate that a permanent failure occurred when attempting to send to a recipient. These permanent failures can include an incorrect or inactive email address (invalid recipient), DNS failure or instances where recipients physically mark your email as spam. Since hard bounces indicate a permanent failure, it makes sense to remove from your marketing lists all contacts and leads who have a hard bounce. This will allow you to have a more precise idea of how many recipients your email will be sent to, cutting down on excluded emails.
To remove contacts/leads from your marketing list who have been blocked due to a hard bounce, you will want to navigate to Manage Members > Remove Using Advanced Find. The advanced find you will construct is the same as the soft bounce advanced find from above, except you will change Does Not Equal to Equals under the email event type.
More information on the difference between hard and soft bounces can be found here.
Extensively Test Your Email Templates
Performing test sends with your email template is a great way to gauge the spam score and deliverability of your message. However, to thoroughly test your template, one test send will not be enough; you will want to perform at least two:
1) Performing a test send via the traditional method below allows you to see the spam score of your email template. If your recipients have particularly strict email clients, any score above three may result in your email arriving in spam/junk folders. However, if you have any FreeMarker (dynamic content) in your template, it will not populate when performing this test send.
2) For this second test, you will actually perform a send, instead of just using the test feature. You will want to create a test marketing list that contains your own email addresses or those that belong to colleagues, representing each of the major email providers/clients (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Apple Mail, etc.). Take some time creating this test list as it can be reused for every new template you create in the future.
Once you have the test marketing list set up, you can create and send the template to this test list. If none of your test recipients receive the email, there is most likely an issue with the FreeMarker in your template. This is called a render error. You can look at the email events for this send to get a better idea of what went wrong.
If some, but not all, of your test recipients receive the email, you can look at the email events to see which email addresses didn't receive your email. This will give you a better idea of which email clients are having a hard time accepting your message, and can help you troubleshoot the issue.
If you are using the ClickDimensions Drag and Drop email editor, you can take advantage of a new feature that is currently in beta testing. Simply click the Check FreeMarker button within your email template.
More information on keeping your email from being delivered to junk folders can be found here.
Use Subscription Management Instead of Global Unsubscribe Snippets
When creating your email template, you are required to include a way for your recipients to opt-out of your emails. There are two ways to approach this: a global unsubscribe code snippet or a subscription management page. Subscription management pages have the advantage of allowing individuals to only receive the kinds of messages they want, rather than opting out of all email communications from your organization. In addition to decreasing your unsubscribe percentages, offering a subscription management option should also increase your open and click rates because recipients are now receiving content that they find of interest.
Ask Others to Whitelist Sending IPs
If you have major customers, parent or sister companies, industry partners or other organizations who will always want to receive your emails, it may be a good idea to reach out to them regarding whitelisting sending IP addresses. This will ensure that they always receive your emails, eliminating any concern of your emails being caught in spam quarantines. The ClickDimensions IPs to whitelist are here.
Use Split Tests on Previous Sends
Performing an email split test allows you to send two versions of your template. This presents you with the opportunity to test varying subject lines, sender names and email addresses, and email content to see what your recipients respond to the most. It may be a good idea to utilize split tests on smaller or less important sends, so you have a better idea of what generates more opens and clicks when it comes time to set up those really important sends.
For a complete checklist of items to go through before sending your email, take a look at this checklist.
Written by Kevin Kelbe, ClickDimensions Marketing Success Manager