Relevancy is a big buzzword in email marketing. Innovations such as priority inbox have been around for a while, but what does relevancy really mean in the context of email?
How does the web’s general move towards relevance impact the inbox?
A couple years ago Mark Zuckerberg famously said “a squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now, than people dying in Africa.”
The big online organisations like Facebook, Google and Yahoo! have been making millions from relevancy, closely tracking user behaviour and building up that ever sought after ‘single customer view’. Then, based on this data, delivering what their algorithms determine to be the most relevant content to you.
We’re not just talking about ad banners displaying products similar to criteria you have searched for, but organic search results, editorial content and friend status updates based on everything a server knows about you. This data is collected automatically: the type of subject lines you open most frequently, the links you most often click and the type of content you share.
So how does this translate to our inboxes?
It’s not as simple as saying: ‘If you email John a lot, it’s likely that your emails will be marked as important’. It’s essential now more than ever to have multiple marketing channels to allow your customers to interact with your company.
I have been hearing a lot lately that KPIs such as open rates, clicks and shares don’t matter, it’s all about ROI.
I think to discard these figures entirely is incredibly short sighted, because all the elements of a more ‘relevant web’ are a part of the conversation with your customers online, and this is based on interaction, not sales.
How to make your emails more relevant
So what are the key things we should be implementing to make sure our emails have the best chance of standing out in the inbox?
- A welcome program – If you haven’t already implemented this, make sure you do. It’s really important to make sure when someone opts in to received your emails, they receive a welcome message to start the relationship you want to be building with them. Welcome campaigns significantly improve your chances of an instant important ranking in Gmail’s priority inbox.
- Find out more about your customers – So you’ve got that welcome campaign out, the emails marked as important, let’s strike while the iron is hot and the inbox priority is high, and start to find out more data. You’ve got their attention, now use it to make sure future campaigns are as relevant as they can be.
- Think about the time you send – One of the most important metrics that Gmail uses is how long has the email been sitting in the inbox before it is opened. Make sure you know who you’re sending to, especially if you’re emailing multiple time zones, and understand when will be a good time to catch them at their desks.
- Keywords from search marketing – You know what search terms people use to get to your website. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could push that data into the subject line of their next email? With the right dotMailer integrations, you can, so speak to your account manager.
- Can your email be shared? – If your content is being shared it is a clear sign that the subscriber values the content of your email. The biggest thumbs up you can get! So make it easy for them by including easily visible share buttons.