22 INFRASTRUCTURE DMNews • E-mail Marketing Guide 2008
Overcoming inbox angst: How to build consumer trust
The effect of relevance on your e-mail’s deliverability
By Carmen Curran espite declines in reported identity theft and spam, increased media attention and a stream of unwanted e-mails have left people feeling increasingly fearful about e-mail security and privacy. Though companies advertise the security of their e-mail and actively combat threats to customers’ security and privacy, Americans still harbor doubts about their inboxes. Companies that want to use e-mail for effective brand, product and service marketing need to break through these fears to convince people that e-mail communication remains safe, secure and desirable. Mintel’s research shows that Americans’ online security concerns are growing at a significant rate. Our latest consumer survey revealed that nearly 65% of adults have more concerns about online security Carmen Curran than they did five years ago. Mintel Comperemedia Also, 53% said they’re less likely to open any type of email solicitation today as opposed to just one year ago. As consumers worry about identity theft and online security, it’s no surprise that they’re protective of their privacy. The study revealed that 58% feel the amount of spam they receive is increasing. Many tie this to companies sharing their personal information, and 80% of Americans believe companies share personal information. With people increasingly reluctant to disclose personal information online and through e-mail, direct marketers need to find new ways to re-establish trust and confidence online. Knowing the e-mail sender remains an important factor for consumers. A Mintel survey revealed that 50% of Americans rank knowing the sender as the most important factor in deciding whether or not they’ll read a personal or business e-mail. Marketers should take this cue and use e-mail primarily for current customer communication. Working with a partner who has a pre-established relationship with the e-mail recipient may increase trust and open rates. This strategy depends on practicing responsible affinity direct marketing. Work only with partners that abide by the CAN-SPAM law and honor unsubscribe requests. Viral marketing is valuable way to reach new clientele. Refera-friend and forward-to-a-friend links can increase a campaign’s success while easing consumers’ security concerns. Companies should employ innovative tactics within their e-mails. Including recognizable features such as an account number, using a “SiteKey” for familiarity, sending only certified e-mail and sending educational e-mails help marketers convince recipients that their e-mails remain safe and secure.
By Kevin Senne elevance is an e-mail buzzword we hear almost daily. How can we apply this buzzword to e-mail deliverability? Relevance means building a lasting relationship with your customer. This relationship takes many forms, whether based on content or simply trust. It doesn’t have to mean 500 individualized pieces of content. It just has to mean something of value to your customer. Look at the direct effect of relevance on e-mail deliverability. Your complaint rate (the ratio of customer complaints vs. the number of e-mails sent) is the most important metric in deliverability today. Large ISPs give recipients the option to report unsolicited e-mail as spam. Recipients simply highlight an offending message and click some variation of a “this is spam” button. ISPs also give senders the opportunity to participate in “feedback loop” programs so they can receive these customer generated complaints. When you join a feedback loop program as a sender, you agree to the terms set forth by the particular ISP. The terms usually require your agreement to unsubscribe all complainers immediately from your subscription lists. When your complaint rate goes up, your reputation score goes down. If an ISP sees high numbers of complaints, they assume your recipients don’t want your delivered messages. Relevant messaging remains the way to keep your customers engaged and away from those “Report Spam” buttons. Here’s a look at some specific ways to increase user interaction. Consider your subject line Do you have a subject line that clearly identifies you and states your intentions in the e-mail? Does your From name clearly identify your company? Remember these two pieces of information determine the reader’s open/no-open decision. What happens after the user Kevin Senne opens the e-mail? Does the Premiere Global Services layout of the content meet a reader’s expectations? Does the content contain value for the reader? Will the reader be engaged to open and read your next communication? Frequency is a top priority when planning your overall long-term e-mail communications strategy. Ask yourself: Do you overwhelm your audience with too much e-mail? Many great programs fail due to too many communications. A great subscription management program with multiple content and frequency options for the subscriber can be used to great effect. Relevance doesn’t always mean content. Think about your daily e-mail reading habits. Do your communications fall into that “must-read” category? Improving these factors will lead to long-term success in your e-mail programs.
Carmen Curran is an e-mail marketing specialist at Mintel Comperemedia. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Senne is global director of deliverability and product services, e-marketing solutions at Premiere Global Services. Reach him at kevin. email@example.com.
Published on Oct 23, 2008