The Quick and Dirty Guide To Engaging New Subscribers
Best practices for email deliverability start as soon as you receive a new email address for your list. In the game of email acquisition, you must ask permission and make sure the subscriber understands what they’ve signed up for.
Deliverability problems are derived from the actual signup process. This is particularly problematic for retail companies taking signups in-store, but it can plague just about any business in the process of building their list. Adding new email addresses to your list can present challenges for even the most scrupulously maintained list.
Take for example, when you want to go on a date with someone. You first have to get their permission to contact them by asking for their phone number. Adding email addresses to your subscriber list has the same concept. If you were to contact your date (or subscriber) without their permission, they will be angry, appalled and alarmed. It is to your benefit to only collect emails that are organically and manually collected.
On this first date, it’s normal to set expectations, goals and long-term plans. How else could you find out if you were a good fit? Email marketing should be viewed in the same way. Tell your new subscribers about what they should expect in future messages from you, what you hope to accomplish and how you expect your relationship to develop.
New Signups: Proceed With Caution
According to experts, sending email to a new email address runs a high risk of your message ending up in the spam folder, since the sending address isn’t yet vetted and recognized. This is why it’s important to stay up-to-date with your email welcome campaigns. Experts say sending email to new signups always carries an elevated risk of triggering spam filters, due to the unproven nature of the new email address. If you have a back log of new email addresses, we recommend spreading out your welcome emails over a period of time (usually 7 days to 3 weeks is considered the safest). Emailing them all at once might get your messages blocked and filtered. Sending over a period of time will keep a low volume of welcome messages compared to your regular email messages. It will also limit the negative impact on your delivery rates and reputation as a sender.
The following is a list of bad email acquisition practices that you must avoid to lower the risk of ISP blocking and filtering:
- High rate of hard bounces (invalid addresses)
- High rate of spam complaints
- Low rate of subscriber engagement and response
- Unaccepted opt-ins
- Triggering spam traps
- Spikes in email volume
There are two strong, proven methods of email acquisition: Double Opt-In and Opt-In Confirm. The two most common methods that marketers use to confirm email these signups are Opt-in and Checked-Box Opt-In. Using these methods is a must when using high-risk channels of email acquisition such as POS collection. Subscribers that confirm their sign-up with one of these messages are notifying you that they truly want to receive your messages. This creates a good rate of subscriber engagement for upcoming campaigns and keeps bad emails off of your list. A welcome email is not required, but still encouraged, if you use the Double Opt-In or Opt-In confirm methods.
Collecting email addresses via offline channels aren’t very reliable, and put you at risk of lowering the quality of your list. With offline methods, you’re more likely to collect incorrect addresses and get more complaints of spam.
Avoid Acquiring Lists You Didn’t Create Yourself
Appends, rentals, and purchased lists can ruin the name of a brand and create disastrous deliverability issues. Typically, a brand will experience low open rates and click-through for these lists for a lack of targeted messaging. Also, since the receiver isn’t expecting to receive an email from the sender, your emails can trigger spam filters, induce a high bounce rate, and receive high volumes of unsubscribe requests and complaints. This means that your reputation is at risk of being sullied and the damage can take a long time to undo.
Since there is no way to verify the reliability of the addresses that have been collected, it’s more than likely that the sender’s IP address will become blacklisted. If your IP address becomes blacklisted, all future messages you try to send referencing that ISP will be automatically blocked.
In summary, to avoid being blacklisted and we strongly recommend not purchasing any email lists and focusing on collecting emails organically.
Create a Solid Email Welcome Program
If you decide not to use the Double Opt-In or Opt-In Confirm methods, it’s important that construct a solid welcome program. For your new subscribers, we recommend that you send a series of emails welcoming them to your list and inviting them to explore what you have to offer. Explain your opt-in policy, insight to what your future emails will contain and what you hope to see develop throughout your campaigns. Include how frequently they can expect to hear from you and how to unsubscribe or change their preferences, if desired. Establishing your expectations and goals in this simple welcome email will form a solid foundation with your new subscribers.
Long-Term Inactive Email Addresses…. Should I Keep Them?
Now, let’s talk about the myth concerning long-inactive addresses. Should you keep them? Remove them from your list? You might assume that such addresses have no value when it comes to acquisition. We disagree!
Yes, you should be aware people do sign up for email lists with addresses that they haven’t used in forever. You should also keep in mind that if they make a typo in their email, that address might happen to match a spam trap address. In addition to that, consider that the rate of email churn is 20 to 30% per year. This means that there’s a good chance an email address will be invalid just a year after the user signs up for it.
All of this may sound discouraging and intimidating. Why spend you time on something that may fail you? Believe it or not, studies show that email campaigning still produces the most response and ROI than any other digital marketing method out there. To protect the time and money you dedicate to email marketing, you must know the possible obstacles and how to dodge them.
When you send emails to a lot of invalid addresses, there’s an increased chance that your messages will be blocked and filtered – removing your message from most (if not all) inboxes. To prevent this, take some time to clean up your list before sending out your next round of emails. Check your user reports to see who has unsubscribed, complained or bounced, and respond accordingly. For inactive subscribers, adopt a re-engagement strategy. To help prevent future hard bounces and spam traps, consider using our email address validation services.
Subscriber Tips Continued
- Use a Double Opt-In or Opt-In Confirm method to validate new sign-ups
- Send welcome emails to new subscribers to reiterate your expectations and long-term goals.
- Clean out your email list before sending your next campaign. You might want to consider using our email validation services to clear out invalid email addresses. This will delete duplicate emails, emails with typos, dead domains, emails with formatting problems, wireless blocks and emails that are included in the “Do Not Email” records.
- Avoid offering incentives for email signups. Customers may provide a faulty email address to receive the offer, leading to low quality entries that will damage your email deliverability. Customers may not realize they’re signing up for an promotional email list and mark your messages as spam.
- Avoid purchasing lists at all costs! Organically collect emails for the best response and engagement.