Nine Steps to Reaching the Inbox

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March 18, 2016

Before a reader can engage with your content…they need to receive and open your message. So what does this take? It is a mixture or both ART and science.

• The science of Delivery/Inbox Placement is about the technical:  how your email content (html) is coded and how your email sending infrastructure (MTA = mail transfer agent) is configured
• The ART of Delivery/Inbox Placement is about the ‘right brain’ part of the puzzle: creativity/design/formatting/message

Step 1: Focus On Engagement
• An engaged audience is one that opens email regularly and interacts with the message (in a positive way).
• To have an engaged audience, a successful marketer must deliver RELEVANT CONTENT. The RELEVANT CONTENT must deliver VALUE (either in information, education, entertainment, or meaningful currency).

Step 2: Focus On Permission
• Ensure that your program is permission-based
• Follow relevant legal requirements in spirit as well as the letter of the law:
– CAN-SPAM compliance (US)
– CASL compliance (Canada)
– The rest of the world

Steps 3: Focus On Authentication
• SPF – Sender Policy Framework
• DKIM – Domain Keys Identified Mail
• DMARC - Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance
This veritable alphabet soup is all about proving your identity. That emails that say they come from your organization really do.

Step 4: Focus On Your Introduction
• Have a Compelling Subject Line

Really. Seems simple enough, right? Are you testing yours? Could they be better? Can you afford NOT to be testing? Are you looking at opens? Clicks? Conversions?

You can find may articles on line that discuss the right length for subject lines of the right time of day to send. While that information is useful, this is the ART portion of the equation.

Step 5: Focus On Your “From”
• Recognizable is key

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Step 6: Focus on Your Code
• Leverage current ‘best practices’ for appropriate html coding guidelines (can be found @ W3C –WorldWideWebConsortium:
• Did you know SPAM filters often flag sloppy code?

Step 7: Multi-part Is Not Out Of Style
• Send both HTML and TEXT versions SPAMMERS don’t use multi-part

Step 8: Focus On Your “Fingerprint”
• Does your content look like spam? That can be enough to cause problems. Your FREE OFFER! may cause your emails to get pushed into the junk mail folder

Step 9: Focus On Mobile
• According to Litmus, 51% of all emails are opened on a mobile device
• When looking at web-based accounts (like Gmail) the  number jumps to 61%. Gmail itself is 68%.
• Email IS mobile. Whether it be mobile-optimized or responsive design, if you email does not provided a positive user experience on a mobile device, your message will get deleted.

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