Email volume has grown by 9% in the last year, while unique click rate has dropped by 14%. The higher email volume and lower email engagement have led to a consistent inboxing challenge for most marketers. At the end, it’s simple: the more you send, the smarter you need to be about how, to whom, and from where you send your mailings. A good way to do that is to implement best practices for optimal inboxing.”
Simply put, inboxing is the rate at which an email makes it to its intended recipient’s inbox. Logically, the lower a campaign’s inboxing rate, the fewer the number of subscribers who see your email and the lower the open, click, and conversion rates.
To me, inboxing is the most important component of a marketer’s mailing program and here is why. Regardless of how great or, alternatively, not-so-great your email campaign is, every facet of it can *always* be improved through testing – from subject line, pre-header text, and design, to copy, offer type, etc. But none of these improvements can take place without the email actually making it to the recipient’s inbox. Even the most carefully crafted email becomes irrelevant and ineffective if it’s never seen by the subscriber it’s intended to convert into clicker/buyer/social media follower.
Different ISPs have different algorithms to determine how well (or poorly) your emails will inbox. Most of these algorithms take into account the following:
ISPs weigh each component of that algorithm differently. For example, AOL puts a lot of emphasis on engagement (calculated with weighted averages of open & click rates) while ISPs like Yahoo! rely more on predictable mailing volume.
Clean subscriber data is key; in order to ensure your mailing list doesn’t contain any spam traps or invalid accounts (closed down, poorly formatted, or incorrectly spelled email addresses), you need a clean opt-in process, know the origins of the data you mail to, and be cognizant of how it was collected and validated.
The other 3 components that help you achieve optimal inboxing – subscriber engagement, predictable mailing volume, and consistent mailing frequency – depend exclusively on how you execute your mailing program. If you plan on changing your mailing volume and frequency around peak season, you should gradually start increasing them the quarter before so ISPs have enough time to adjust their expectations and allow your campaigns into your subscribers’ inboxes.
To promote high subscriber engagement:
While deliverability is not the sexiest component of email marketing, it’s arguably the first and most important step to ensuring your mailing program does its job - reach your subscribers, engage them, and eventually, convert them to repeat purchasers.