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How customer-centric is your email marketing (and deliverability approach)? According to Dan Stone, Email Strategist, and Priyanka Roy, Sr. Manager, Tech Account Management at Return Path, there are three main hurdles to email:

  • From send to delivery (ESP)
  • Getting into the inbox after delivery
  • Staying in the inbox (depending on how subscribers feel about your brand)

But email still produces the strongest ROI of any channel — an email address is worth $37 or £28. In their Revolution 2018 presentation, Return Path’s dynamic duo explain hidden metrics of email, how to personalize email, how to use data to tell a story, the intricacies of subject line optimization, gamification, seasonality, and more.

Watch the full-length, 30-minute video:

Hidden Metrics in Email Marketing

Anything you’re not measuring today might have hidden value. Most email marketers measure metrics like open rate, click rate, open-to-click rate, unsubscribes, and the like. But where else can you glean insight? Want to know something? Mailbox providers like Microsoft and Gmail don’t care about those metrics. In fact, they’re helping users unsubscribe from brands that they haven’t engaged with in a while.

All they care about is how someone engages with your message in relation to other brands. They ask, “What is someone’s engagement level with Brand A versus all the other brands sending emails to that individual’s inbox?” If that individual doesn’t respond favorably, messages are determined to be spam and automatically sent to the spam folder. Some hidden metrics to begin looking at include:

  • Inbox placement
  • Messages read
  • Messages deleted before reading
  • Messages replied to
  • Messages forwarded
  • Messages marked as “spam” and marked as “not spam”

Email Personalization

One-size-fits-all emails aren’t as engaging as personalized emails. Netflix, for example, sends personalized emails that don’t even feel like emails:

Email Personalization
When it comes to personalizing emails, you’ll have to balance what’s most effective versus what’s most impactful for your customers:

most impactful for your customers
What else goes into personalizing emails?

  • Subject lines. 47% of recipients open an email solely because of the subject line; 69% report an email as spam based on it, too. Emojis can work, but be careful with them — make sure you’re still differentiating how you use emojis because it seems everyone is starting to use them.
  • Timing. Each brand is different — test different times and know your customer.
  • Gamification. What kinds of animation, engagement, and immersive experiences can you build into your emails? Forever 21 created an animated “scratch-off” lottery-style email for its subscribers.
  • Recommendations. Help customers find what else they might like.
  • Countdown Clocks. Instill a sense of urgency!
  • Holidays or invent-your-own-day. Take advantage of holidays… or create your own promotion if it suits your brand.

Final Thoughts

The customer journey begins by getting into the inbox, and staying there. Deliverability and engagement are both increasingly important factors for customer-centric email marketing. If you can monitor the key metrics described here in conjunction with your ISP partners, you’ll be on the fast-track to email optimization!

As Priyanka ends with, “Take the tension of getting into the inbox out of the equation altogether. At the end of the day, everyone needs to be customer-centric. If you’re not providing your subscribers what they really want — what they want to look at or giving them a good experience — they’re not going to engage with your brand. If they don’t engage, it’s going to visibly impact your inbox placement and ROI.”

Check out our key takeaways to learn more about what we learned from this year’s event.

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