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HighRoad U Webinar: Election & Holiday Email Extravaganza

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Email Extravaganza! Sending Election & Holiday EmailsJenny Lassi, Director of Operations

Jenny Lassi is the Director of Operations for HighRoad Solution and is the resident expert at email marketing deliverability best practices. @[email protected]

#deliverability #emailchat #emailmarketing#emailforensics #emailengagement#authentication #emailpreferences#assnchat #abtest #emailstrategy

Todays ContentQ4 ForecastInbox OptimizationEngagement OptimizationResourcesEmail is huuuuugggge.-Mr. Trump

Q4 Forecast

Q4 2016

Increasing Internet Security Protocols like TLS and SSL and default filter settings requiring TLS and HTTPS links to consider emails safe enough to inbox.

Q1 2015Q2 2015Q3 2015Q4 2015

Previous Election Year

Q4 Delivery Non-Election Year 2015

Q4 Delivery Past Election Year 2012

Did I lose you?

DifferenceDelivery Rates Decreased by 0.94% - Not so badBounce Rates Increased by 0.7% - Not so badInvalid Rates Increased by 0.18% - Not great but not horribleOpt Out Rates Stayed the Same - Sweet!Click Rates Increased 2.24% - Wow this is actually goodOpen Rates Decreased by 7.64% - Ouch!

Why?ISPs are flooded with an even higher volume than usualISPs tighten inbox algorithms more in Q4 because of volumeIncreasing security protocols for email server filters factor in if sender uses authentication with systems sending email on behalf of their domain

What does this mean for you?Q4 negatively impacts delivery rates a bit but not too badQ4 primarily impacts engagement rates as email senders compete with more volume to get the recipients attention

What has the biggest impact on open rates?

Reaching the Inbox

What has the biggest impact on reaching an Inbox?

Authentication & Email Reputation

What is Authentication?

Its a digital signature servers use to determine if the email sending service has permission to send email on behalf of the domain.

Platform Authentication ConfigurationSPFDKIMDMARC

Authentication StatisticsOnly 26% of associations have DKIMOnly 41% of associations have a passing SPF recordOnly 50% of the 41% have a passing record that also includes the email platform sending email on their behalfISP filters look at authentication first - Blacklists secondSet up all authentication methods

Platform Authentication Configuration

What about DMARC?

Platform Authentication Configuration

Co-developed by Return Path and a consortium of mailbox providers and security vendors, the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance DMARC specification aims to put an end to domain-based consumer email threats.

By leveraging existing email authentication technologies (SPF and DKIM), DMARC lets email senders work directly with mailbox providers to quarantine or reject any email that fails authentication.

Authentication Demystified

You can have as many DKIM txt record on your DNS as you want and it doesnt interfere with your office email in any way shape or formYou should only have 1 SPF record in total that includes all or as many platforms that send email on behalf of your domain. If your SPF record fails due to too many DNS Lookups (too many systems sending email) explore using a subdomain as your Sender Email

Domain vs. a [email protected]solution.com

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

For Association Marketers: Your best efforts to be an amazing marketer, get in front of your constituent, drive revenue, write amazing content, craft the best subject lines are ALL FOR NOTHING if youre sending without authentication.

Email ReputationWorldwide, just 79% of commercial emails land in the inbox. This means that one out of every five emails never reaches the intended recipient. Instead, its either sent to a spam folder or goes missingmost likely blocked by the mailbox provider.Engagement filters look at the ratio of active vs. inactive email accounts that receive promotional emails. In this case, engagement is defined as how frequently a user logs into their account, as well as how active they are when they log in. Mailing to a large number of addresses that appear to be nearing abandonment is a negative signal to mailbox providers and factors into their spam filtering algorithms.Create a default exclusion list that suppresses non-opener/clickers beyond 180-days

Email ReputationKnow your Return Path Sender Score and always try to improve it.Segment versus Batch & Blast.Clean lists quarterly.Ask for permission, not forgiveness in email or you WILL BE BLOCKED.

Must blast my membership in Q4-Clueless Creepy Email Zombie Guy/Girl

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Ahhhh noooooo..-Poor Defenseless Association Member

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Ok so authentication is set up and our Sender Score is greatnow what?

Before you CAN reach an inbox:

Platform Authentication ConfigurationData SecurityEmail ReputationList Hygiene, Segmentation & Suppression

List Hygiene, Segmentation & SuppressionFrom Name, Subject Line, CTAContent CurationTemplate Design & Rendering

List Hygiene & SegmentationThe average invalid rate at point of collection is 6.7 percent.Of invalid email address lists analyzed, 50% were true invalids, 12% were role accounts, 29% were accept all accounts. Running your Invalid email addresses through an email validation tool

List Hygiene & SegmentationIf you havent used a list in a while (>3mo) run it through an email validation tool before you send an email to it. It will pay for itself almost immediately.Segment your audience for best engagement/performance but at the very least, suppress non-engaged. Be restrictive in Q4 but also in Q3.

Q1Q2Q3Q4

You did it! You looked fabulous while making it through the painful part! Give yourself a round of applause!

Sender Name & Sender EmailConsistency is keyDont use Q4 for experimenting on Sender Name/Sender Email changesSender Name should be something your subscribers are familiar with and Sender Email shouldnt be a [email protected]

Subject LineIf inspired to be creative, in Q4, AB test with your audience to see what performs and learn from itReview previously deployed emails to see which have highest open rates and see what messaging/tone that subject line hadDynamic personalizationMeasure twice, cut once: sticking with what works for most in Q4

But Jenny, how do we stand out if we should play it safe?

Subject Line Safe Bets per HubspotQuestion about [goal][Mutual connection] recommended I get in touchOur next stepsDo not open this emailX options to get startedHi [name], [question]?Know this about [topic of interest]?A [benefit] for [prospect's company]X tips/ideas for [pain point]You are not alone.Idea for [topic the prospect cares about]

Subject Line CreativityThe only way to ensure that special characters render properly/consistently in a subject line is to encode in UTF-8. Copy the desired character from a program like Start>Accessories>Character MapThen go to a string conversion tool that will encode a string to Base64/UTF-8 like:http://coderstoolbox.net/string/#!encoding=base64&action=encode&charset=utf_8Then create your subject line using your character from step 1 in the "input" text box.Copy the string of characters the tool gives you in the "Output" boxPaste the UTF-8 string into the following where indicated by brackets but paste over the brackets: =?utf-8?b?[string]?= Example: =?utf-8?b?VGhpcyBwcm9kdWN0IMKuIGlzIGF3ZXNvbWU=?=

Put the entire string into the subject line when launching an email through the UI. On the receiving end, you will see your desired subject line. See screenshot examples of the use of the (r) mark as well as one with many different types of characters.

Content CurationCurate content that is unlikely to contribute to a complaintCurate content that is relevant to recipient or written to speak to the persona/demographic/segmentation of recipientCurate content that speaks to the persona directly or where they are in their journey with your organization

Content CurationThe role of email is to direct the recipient somewhere to do something. Use teaser text and read more links. Dont giveaway the kitchen sink in emails or the html file size may reach a threshold that nets you more bounces.Relevancy

Template Design & RenderingAs of September 2016, IOS devices join Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft for adding their own List Unsubscribe to the top of emails which is the first thing your subscriber sees, bypassing yours in your footer so add your Manage Preferences/Unsubscribe links to your emails pre-header to minimize subscribers using theirs and not yours.Know who you are designing for (demographic, member status, age).Know what email clients they are using.Always use Responsive HTML. Know what performs best with your audience.

Template Design & Rendering 2017

Template Design & Rendering 2017Accordion Menus in Email -With native mobile app support, now more verbose emails can have an accordion menu for mobile so they don't get arthritis in their finger scrolling through all content to find what they want.

Scratch & Flip-Provides a cool way to allow email recipients to consume the email on their mobile device and using a scratch effect, they can scratch off offers/promotions.

Graphs-Interactive graphs increase engagement and this is a very cool option for lists that are primarily mobile as this doesn't work well for Outlook and Lotus users.

Rotating Banners-Don't be limited to 1 header graphic when there are so many ways you can visually grab the attention of email recipients. Again, native mobile apps work, Outlook probably doesn't.

Animated Gifs-The tried and true method of using gifs to imitate video in email. Outlook shows only 1 frame of gif but this is pretty universally supported at this point.

Template Design & Rendering 2017

Pitfalls to Avoid:Harsh Colors: Stay away from colors that are overly bright or fluorescent. Tone them down so they dont compete with your words.Too many colors: Choose just one or two colors for your emails. The fewer colors you use, the cleaner your design so the reader wont be distracted from your message. Pick colors that your brand uses elsewhere.Light text on a dark ground: The most readable combination is dark text on a light ground, so stick to that whenever possible.Cultural Association: Colors are not universal to all humans in all cultures. In the United States, black is associated with death; but in other cultures, colors like white, purple, and gold are used during the mourning period.The urge to be dynamic frequently: Once youve got the design looking good, resist the urge to keep changing it. Choose a look and stick to it for a while so people recognize your mail in a quick glance.Color Blindness: Almost 5% of the entire population is color blind - the most common type being Protanopia (red-green color blindness). Such people do not see a complete lack of color instead; they have a harder time distinguishing the two colors from each other as the red color will look like green.

DeliverabilityMonitor bounce logs within 48-hours of the deployment to address issues.Address platform authentication config to make sure that is not the root of a deliverability issue.

Deliverability - InvalidsSpot check the email address for obvious mistakesUse the systems Invalid syntax report during import processReview the bounce logs routinely to look for ISP issues that may have invalidated the record

Deliverability Opt OutsInclude an unsubscribe link in the email pre-header area tooMake sure there is an easy to see way to manage preferences or unsubscibeAlways honor the unsubscribe when launching emails

www.highroadsolution.com

www.highroadsolution.com

Reporting MetricsPoop in, poop out. I said poop and now I have your attention. Metrics are a direct result of the sum of all parts we have discussed. If you dont like the outcome, you must address everything and not point the finger at one thing.

Thank you for participating in the Email Extravaganza! Sending Election & Holiday Emails Webinar!Did I Miss Anything Extravaganza-ey? Q&A Time!Tweet me @highroadjenny using #emailextrav#deliverability #emailchat #emailmarketing#emailforensics #emailengagement#authentication #emailpreferences#assnchat #abtest #emailstrategy

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Thank you!Other questions for Jenny?

eMail = [email protected]

Twitter = @highroadjenny @jennylassi

Resourceshttp://www.leadspend.com/

http://www.emailstatcenter.com/Authentication.html

http://www.idtheftcenter.org/id-theft/data-breaches.html

https://senderscore.org/

http://www.dmarc.org/overview.html

https://www.lucidchart.com/

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33901/The-Ultimate-List-of-2012-Email-Marketing-Stats.aspx#sm.00181haph1bm0e1jz051aea38cfz3

https://litmus.com/blog/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-email-in-ios-10

http://blog.highroadsolution.com/blog/subject-lines-with-special-characters

http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-email-subject-lines-that-get-prospects-to-open-read-and-respond#sm.00181haph1bm0e1jz051aea38cfz3

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/07/pop-color-make-email-design-stand-out.html

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