Maintain great email hygiene during a crisis.

Max Edwards, Marketing Manager, Concep 

At Concep we understand the situation firms and marketers are currently in, a reduction in spend with an increase in workload and responsibility. This can prove particularly difficult when working from home.

But you are not alone! Everyone in the industry will be facing the same challenges as yourselves, we are all in this together. From our data we have seen an 88% increase in sends during Covid-19 against the same period in 2019 in the professional services industry. But what risk does this bring and how can this have a negative impact on your email performance? Volume has increased, yet this doesn’t mean you should panic and throw process out the window. Firms should stay vigilant on the metrics from their campaigns, we are seeing a reduction of 8% in engagement rates from this period. Why have engagement rates dropped? The reason we’ve seen for a decrease in engagement is directly correlated with the increased email volume, inboxes have been flooded during this period. What should you be doing to go against the norm and continue to have consistent, high engagement levels?

  • Stand out – During this period you would have received hundreds of emails from companies you have used/worked with over the years, all with the same message. We’ve have seen 1 in 6 email subject lines containing “COVID-19 Update...” Be different! provide your clients with value not just a blanket message to everyone.
  • Make it personal - Create personalized content specific to your subscribers, what will add value? Utilize A/B testing, test what works for your firm. This is a great time for marketing teams to analyze what content works and what doesn’t for your firm and plan for the future accordingly.

Data hygiene

Marketers and firms should be mindful of increased bounce rates during this period of high email sends and the impact that could have. What is the reason for increased bounce rates? Data shows that data goes stale at a rate of 33% every year. This can be attributed to employees leaving jobs on average every 3 years. Are you sending communication out to your entire database without first reviewing whether the contacts are all relevant? What can firms do to maintain low bounce rates during high volume sends?

  • Keep away from spam filters - Most spam blockers are based on words in the sender's name, subject, or email content. Avoid unnecessary use of capitals, symbols, or excessive monetary value. Instead of using ‘COVID-19’ in your subject line, why not use Coronavirus. Think differently to other firms in the industry. Make sure the content is relevant to your audience and translates to the objectives of the email campaign.
  • Keep a close eye on the right metrics - Understand the reason why an email has bounced and know what kind of action to take in response. Don’t put your performance at risk by not analyzing your data efficiently. Marketing teams should be running rigorous reports, particularly during high email volume.
  • Making sure your contacts want to receive your emails - Review your distribution lists. Are you sending to contacts who will find your content relevant? If you are not sure what they want, ask them! Don’t waste sends on old, irrelevant data, make sure you are hitting your target audience effectively.

Deliverability

We at Concep want to stay committed to helping make sure you are continuing to hit inboxes at a high rate. We’ve are still seeing a high rate of deliverability during this period at 98.3% (ahead of industry averages). But are your emails hitting the inboxes? Industry insights suggest that 80% of email traffic reaches the intended inbox, yet deliverability rates are at 98.3%. What has happened to the 18.3%? Marketers will need to regularly analyze the key factor attributing to this:

  • Inbox Placement Rates - This is the percentage of emails that reached the targeted inboxes from a campaign. It is not the same as the metric used for deliverability. A campaign report shows the number of emails delivered, it does not detail whether the email hit the inbox or ends up in a spam folder. This means is that it has made it past the firewalls and that the email has not bounced. Your email can be delivered and never reach the intended recipient which would connect to the 18.3%.

For more information around touching the void of deliverability click here

How can this situation potentially affect your email deliverability? Now that Marketing teams working from home, this could impact the usual process when sending campaigns, firms need to stay diligent with the change in the working environment. How can you continue to get your content to prospective inboxes with the increased volume?

  • Personalization - Personalization reduces the chance that your messages will be immediately deleted or worse reported as junk. Greeting contacts by their first name and sending your email from a known contact, engages readers on a personal level. The content you are sending during this period is critical to your audience, make sure they are receiving it!
  • Links - Test all the links in your email campaigns, making sure they are sending to the desired destination. 404 error webpages will cause a spam filter to flag your email. Your marketing teams need to stay meticulous in the process even with the impact of working remotely, away from colleagues.
  • Know where your data has come from - Ensure that the data has been verified as opt-in, do not send an email marketing message to anyone that hasn't explicitly requested it. Always follow data protection legislation. During this period, it is key for you to be sending out critical communication. Send content to the right contacts, be savvy with your approach.
  • Manage your email/marketing lists - Maintain list hygiene, remove unengaged, bounced, and invalid contacts, utilize your sends to your firm's benefit. Your firm should be scheduling routine audits of your lists, it’s more important than ever during this pandemic.
  • Consolidation - Are you sending too much email communication in a given period and not seeing engagement? Consolidate your content! We've have seen in the professional services space firms sending up to 10 separate emails a day with little to no engagement. We advise to send one email with multiple content articles within. This will have a huge impact on your deliverability and hitting your client’s inboxes.

For more info around deliverability and giving your campaign the best chance of hitting desired inboxes​, click here

Utilize reporting functionality

Utilization of custom reporting will give you a more in-depth insight into your email campaigns. We have looked at specific custom reports that could provide value to firms focusing around email hygiene and their data during this period.

  • Bounce report – This ensures you can log bounces across all users, so you do not waste volume sending to contacts that do not exist. Improve you send efficiently and be cost-effective in your email campaigns moving forward.
  • Domain report - Understanding what firms are engaging or experiencing issues with delivery. This report will highlight potential problem areas for your domain that need to be resolved. This is critical information for your firms, we want to make sure you hit the inboxes of your clients at the highest rate possible.
  • Campaign performance – Monitor your email campaigns on a weekly/monthly basis. Report on engagement levels and detailed campaign performance breakdowns. This is essential information for marketers and firms to understand the success of their hard work and to develop their eMarketing strategies moving forward.

If you have any further questions or if you don’t have access to these reports, then contact us

What are Concep doing to help make a positive impact during this stressful time?

We are currently in the process of upgrading our mail server infrastructure, moving from physical Windows Server infrastructure to cloud-hosted Linux infrastructure. How will this benefit the service we provide?

  • Improved deliverability performance and monitoring 
  • Enhanced server stability, resiliency, and security 
  • Greater flexibility in sending IP and domain configurations, reducing the risk and impact of potential IP blacklisting

To find out how Concep can help guide you on the right path during this crisis, contact us.

Concep is here to help you every step of the way!