Blueshift’s Holiday Guide to Email Deliverability Success

This guide was originally posted in November 2019 and was updated in October 2021.

Take a deep breath — another holiday season is here. Email service providers and marketers are preparing for the busiest quarter of the year. Though holiday demands change every year, this holiday season is unique since we still find ourselves in the time of COVID. Factoring in the changes marketers made last year, it’s essential to focus on what did and didn’t work to determine the optimal approach today. Here at Blueshift, the deliverability team has prepared a list of best practices for the 2021 holiday season.

Let’s start with the basics. The goal of every marketer is to make sure their emails are hitting customers’ inboxes. From a deliverability perspective, here are a few tried and true methods proven to boost engagement, maximize revenue, and optimize email deliverability overall when creating campaigns.

KEEP LISTS FRESH

List Validation

Always start with a fresh list before you begin sending your holiday content. The volume will drastically increase during this time, and targeting the most active and engaged users will help minimize deliverability issues. In addition, maintaining a positive reputation will decrease the chance of being flagged as spam.

CAPTURE CUSTOMER ATTENTION

Segmenting Your Audience

You want to provide your customers with valuable content. Segmentation will allow you to break down your target audience (active, inactive, major ISPs, geo-mapping, etc.) into meaningful categories. Once you have the breakdown of your lists, you can start sending a welcome email to grab the attention of new subscribers. Next, review the emails you sent throughout the past year that have proven successful (i.e., higher open rates and strong deliverability).

Once you’ve reviewed your emails, stick to a consistent send schedule for these particular campaigns and send to the most active audience. Double-check your list and make sure you are not sending the same email to duplicate customer emails in one week. Breaking out your content will provide a better click-through rate and higher opens overall.

AVOID MIXED SIGNALS

No Email Warmups

As most marketers know, an email warmup establishes and builds a new reputation for an IP and subdomain. Doing this during the holiday season will add more chaos and not benefit from proving your identity with the major ISPs. You should already have a brand voice and identity before the holiday season begins. Warming up IPs mirrors a testing phase that isn’t resourceful for this time of year. If you’re looking to migrate ESPs or kick off new content streams, the best time for success would be during the first three quarters of the year.

DOUBLE- OR TRIPLE-CHECK

Check Your Technical Settings

Are all of your technical settings set up and ready to go? The last thing you want is for your settings to be misconfigured and in disarray. Here are the top four you’ll want to check:

  • SPF records are permission slips for IPs to send on behalf of your subdomain.
  • DKIM records enable encryption to keep email content secure.
  • DMARC records let receiving mail servers know how to handle an email that fails or has misaligned SPF or DKIM.
  • TLS encryption securely transmits communication over an encrypted channel.

Email marketing continues to be vital for ecommerce companies all over the world. You want to get ahead of the curve with holiday marketing content to make the influx of sending as easy as possible for you and your team. Each year brings about new challenges, but COVID and the new iOS 15 update have shifted the email marketing landscape.

As we wrap up 2021, the deliverability team at Blueshift continues to support all of your marketing needs. Contact your Customer Success Manager to learn more about how our SmartHub CDP can help enhance your email marketing strategy.

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