Black Friday

Common Mistakes To Avoid during Black Friday – things that you can take care of right now

EmailLabs Team, 13 November 2019

black-friday-email

Wanna avoid email communication problems on Black Friday? Check out the following article and learn what are the biggest challenges for your e-commerce during this hectic sales period and what to do to overcome them.

The American sales tradition is gaining more and more influence on the Polish market every year. Pushes hundreds of marketers annually to prepare and communicate specially tailored promotions for this holiday to attract customers to their stores. To speak of full sales success, it’s not enough to send effective marketing content and make a purchase, but also to provide further professional customer service on the client-side transaction process

A Campaign Monitor research found that as many as  116,5 milion emails, are sent on Black Friday, more than on any other day.

Black Friday: the challenges of the E-Commerce industry

From an email communication point of view, stores face two main challenges:

  • to reach your potential customers effectively with your email communication in a timely manner and interest them enough to make them want to buy from your store;
  • to handle higher transactional traffic, including successful delivery of transactional emails

It is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver emails effectively. In recent years, less than 20% of mailings performed on Black Friday made it to 90% of the primary inboxes.

Grab customers’ attention during Black Friday mailings and Cyber Monday.

Think about sending speed of your marketing e-mails

First step to success is to deliver information about our promotional offer on time to all users from whom we have consents to send marketing offers. During high-volume email activity, which concerns Black Friday season, it’s more difficult to reach the inbox. We should then provide high throughput on our sending tool’s side as early as possible, so that messages arrive in time and without queuing.

What else affects the time of sending messages? It may happen that the IP address from which we send emails is ‘overloaded’ with numerous mailings coming from the companies with which we share it. Choosing a dedicated server, and thus separating our traffic from other senders, we don’t expose ourselves to unnecessary message queuing or delays during delivery. Therefore, using an individual IP instead of a shared one will work well over a time like Black Friday or holidays.

It’s thanks to a dedicated infrastructure that we are able to maintain our own reputation as a sender as well as performed email sends. What’s more, our communication becomes more reliable for the anti-spam algorithms used by ISPs, resulting in proper message classification. If you would like to learn more about the advantages of individual IP address, take a look here.

email-black-friday-offer

E-mail announcing Black Friday offer.

 Ensuring e-mail deliverability

Despite what many people believe, sending emails doesn’t equal their delivery. During marketing harvest season, mailbox providers’ algorithms are especially vigilant for any spammy elements. Before an email hits the mailbox, it’s at the mercy of SpamAssassin, a filtering program that runs on mail server. It scans message headers and its body looking for any words or phrases that may suggest spam. It assigns spam score for each such item. Once a certain score limit is exceeded (default is 5.0 points), the message is given a spam status.

Check using Mailchecker.net , which is based on SpamAssassin scoring, whether your message may contain spam characteristics suggesting unsolicited nature of your email communication.

What does SpamAssasin award spam points for?

  • text-to-image ratio – don’t include too many graphics, and certainly the entire mailing in the form of a single image; as for the text, there is no reason to worry if the email contains at least 500 characters. (Based on Emails on Acid tests);
  • if our e-mail generating system does not attach the text version to the html version of the message , we may expose ourselves to additional penalty points;
  • we should also be careful about the attachments we send;
  • the system has become sensitive to phrases called clickbait:  “if you don’t want to …, click here”, “click here”, “unsubscribe”, etc.
  • be sure to have an HTML title, but don’t forget to remove the “tbody” tag – most of the messages sent by spammers have very modest code;
  • stop shouting in the email – turn off CAPS LOCK.

An important element to be evaluated is the title of the E-mail.

Words that appear to us highly persuasive and encouraging to click may be used by professional spammers just as often. Therefore, if we want to achieve high deliverability, we should forget about phrases such as: “100%”, “Click here” or “Promotion”. That’s right, the word “promotion” is what spam filters are sensitive to in particular. Fortunately, there are actually quite a few other phrases that will suggest the same thing to users.

One more thing we should pay attention to, which can cause weakening of our marketing activities while running large campaigns, is an excessive use of symbols and emoticons in the subject line. Despite appearances, this practice, instead of helping us, can have the opposite effect. Thus, we recommend limiting their use to a minimum. Some anti-spam providers assign negative scores to a message if it contains too many ‘decorative elements’, such as emoticons, colorful fonts, writing with Caps Lock or multiplying question or exclamation marks.

Bet on professional infrastructure

Once we have done everything we could on our side to professionally prepare our mailing (we have taken care of the base hygiene, and email design is created according to best practices) it’s time to reach for a reliable email infrastructure.

So what will the integration of our emailing tool or marketing automation class solutions with a system such as EmailLabs bring us? By choosing professional infrastructure with in-depth know-how of mailbox requirements, we can be sure our messages reach all addressees and be placed in the right folder. More importantly, it’s properly secured and authenticated, ensuring our email correspondace comes from a reliable source.

10 questions you should ask when choosing your ESP

Make customers come back to your store for hunting next year.

Purchase satisfaction is not just about the product we receive, but about being pleased with the entire service behind the transaction. Imagine when a customer, acquired with a certain amount of effort and budget, finally decides to make a purchase from our store. Can we congratulate ourselves on our success already? Not really.

At times, only after the order is placed comes the hard part, effectively discouraging clients to return. Post-purchase email support is crucial here. After all, customers expect order, payment and receipt confirmation, or information about product shipment. When they receive such messages with a significant delay or not at all, they begin to feel anxious, and doubt whether the whole process succeeded.

During such busy mailing period as Black Friday, every store should make absolute sure that no obstacle stands in the way of transaction-customer email. Therefore, to avoid exposing ourselves to possible problems, our email communication must meet certain requirements. Besides a properly maintained contact list, the basis in the world of emailing is message authentication using SPF, DKIM and DMARC records. Without these security measures, our correspondence may be rejected or sent to spam by inbox providers right from the start. Also, while accepting inbound traffic, ISPs’ receiving servers are more likely to handle messages from authenticated senders, which can ultimately help avoid queuing as well as slowing down the delivery of our emails to users’ mailboxes.

What is the easiest way to avoid delays in transactional email delivery?

By splitting marketing and transactional traffic on separate IPs, so we won’t encounter a situation in which a large promotional mailing will block important transactional messages. The next advantage is that it clearly signals incoming servers which messages should go to the main or notification folder, and which should be placed in the offers tab.

email-tab

 

To sum up, what deliverability factors should be taken care of to rest easy?

  • high IP reputation and dedicated IP address *
  • high throughput;
  • emails sent by servers which have partnership with mailbox providers (such as EmailLabs);
  • no blacklisting;
  • email authentication (minimum is SPF and DKIM, DMARC is worth considering, especially when sending to Gmail and foreign mailboxes);
  •  recipients engagement i.e., opening and clicking on links;
  • low bounce rate from previous campaigns;
  • correct HTML code
  •  consistent message volume.

* Sharing IPs with other users means their reputation and actions will have a direct impact on our deliverability. When choosing a shared IP, it’s even more important to make sure it has a good reputation (all IPs at EmailLabs are properly prepared for customer sends, i.e. tailored to handle business mailings and monitored in terms of quality).

Wishing everyone a successful Black Friday campaigns and a problem-free transaction service!

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Avoid mistakes with e-mail deliverability on Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

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