FOR EVERY SIX COMMERCIAL MESSAGES SENT WORLDWIDE, ONE NEVER REACHES THE SUBSCRIBER S INBOX. - Return Path

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1 B2Best Practice

2 FOR EVERY SIX COMMERCIAL MESSAGES SENT WORLDWIDE, ONE NEVER REACHES THE SUBSCRIBER S INBOX. - Return Path Measure Your Performance... Clean Your Data... Ask Permission... Send Welcome Messages... Conclusion You can have award-winning creative and copy, but it won t generate ROI if your s never reach your prospects. deliverability is a critical component of your marketing strategy. Yet it s also one that is most often neglected. Salesfusion compiled this list of Deliverability Best Practices to help ensure your s make it to your prospects inbox and your Internet Protocol (IP) reputation stays clean. 2

3 Measure Your Performance Deliverability rules, like SEO algorithms, are constantly evolving. You might experience a dramatic drop in your engagement without changing anything in your campaigns. This is a signal that you need to evaluate your deliverability. B2B marketers should use a deliverability assessment tool to monitor reputation and inbox placement rates. This can help you assess minor fluctuations before they become a problem. Some marketing automation platforms, like Salesfusion, have built-in spam diagnostics tools. If you re not yet using marketing automation, it s even more important to track basic metrics like bounces, opens, and engagement levels. Low performance in those areas can indicate deliverability issues. 3

4 Clean Your Data It s critical that you continuously maintain the hygiene of your list. Not only will this ensure your prospects remain active and engaged, it will also help maintain the integrity of your tracking metrics. Inactive and low quality addresses will dilute your delivery and campaign performance scores. This will make it more difficult to identify high and low performing assets. Additionally, list hygiene directly relates to your sender reputation and overall deliverability. Unclean lists expose you to spam filters and lower your deliverability rates. You ll also run the risk of marketing to people that don t fit your buyer profile, wasting valuable resources on leads that will never convert. 4

5 Here are some simple rules for filtering records in your database: Check addresses up front, prior to any first send. Look for malformed addresses bad addresses and role accounts such as to eliminate bad records from your list prior to sending. Focus on quality over quantity. Make sure that your methods for collecting leads are opt-in and producing quality results. Clearly state your opt-in permission request. Ensure all addresses in your database have provided affirmative opt-in permission to receive ongoing messages from you. Be up front and set the expectations of why you are capturing the address and how you plan to use it in future communications.»» Provide incentives within the first so that recipients will provide a valid address. Don t force people to give an address to access free information or just browse your site this type of address collection yields fake addresses that will not provide quality results. Even after setting up these rules, you will need to maintain your data through these practices: Mail frequently enough to your database so that your list will normalize by continuing to remove bounced addresses. Plan for a routine review and inventory of your database. Devise strategies to re-engage or remove addresses that have not opened or clicked in some time. Periodically reevaluate your sign-up process and metrics to ensure your list sources are capturing quality results. Make your opt-out request simple and easy. Remove opt-outs and abuse complainers immediately. Provide preference centers to enable contacts to adjust frequency and content of sends rather than unsubscribe. 5

6 Ask Permission Remember that old adage, Ask forgiveness, not permission? It doesn t apply to marketing. In fact, you can consider it a hoax invented by your competitors to get your IP on the infamous blacklist. One of the worst mistakes made by marketers today is to buy and market to purchased lists. Not only is this a violation of laws in some countries, it s a surefire way to get you blacklisted and blocked. In the best case scenario, you will decrease your overall deliverability, drive up complaints and unsubscribes, and deteriorate your reputation. Instead, follow these best practices for obtaining permission to communicate with your prospects: Always ask for permission to when you collect addresses. Be clear and specific with your permission request and explain why you intend to communicate with them. Use opt-in check boxes to gain express permission. Do not pre-check the box. Be up front in setting expectations for what providing an address will get. Communicate what you will be sending and how often you will be sending. Organically grow lists. Never purchase or rent lists because permission is not transferable. Never be deceptive in your permission request don t hide the permission in fine print or in a terms of service notice.»» Enable choice and provide subscription preferences to best meet your contact s needs. 6

7 Send Welcome Messages First impressions are everything. A confirmation message, or a series of welcome messages, is a critical component of an effective strategy. It provides the ability to set the foundation for your marketing relationship with the prospect or customer. You can reinforce how you got to know this contact and map out how they expect to hear from you in the future. For example, you attend a trade show and capture a large number of leads. You need to consider your first engagement with these leads. The first contact you have with them can make or break your ongoing relationship. If you simply drop them into your regular cycle of messages, without any acknowledgment at the start of the relationship, you miss a critical opportunity to set the stage for a long lasting commitment. Even better, go beyond the single welcome and map out a series of initial s specifically designed to warm new contacts before they get thrown in with the rest of your list. This initial step will help you create a real connection with your subscribers. This will improve their engagement in the future. Engaged recipients are excited to hear from you. Leverage this interest to set the foundation for a long-term relationship. Send a welcome message as soon as possible. They may not remember you if too much time passes. Create a welcome message template and subsequent introductory content for each unique acquisition source. You may have templates for leads acquired through trade shows, website traffic, a referral partner or another source. Establish your brand in their inbox. Clearly brand your messages and From: line so your contacts will recognize you in the future. Educate your contacts on why they are getting your and what to expect from you in future s. Include specific language that speaks to the funnel through which the contact entered. Include a call to action that provides clear value to them. While this may seem like a lot of effort for each subscription source, it is an investment well worth your time. If you engage your contacts early-on, and provide value, you ll develop higher engagement. Higher engagement leads to higher conversions over time. 7

8 Conclusion Following good deliverability practices is often a battle in organizations that suffer from slow lead acquisition. Many marketers face internal pressure from sales to deliver new prospects, as well as executives who seek higher lead counts. Those pressures will always be present. It s important to incorporate these best practices into your existing marketing strategy so you can build relationships, improve conversions and help drive greater ROI over time. 8

9 About The Author Nancy Harris Senior Deliverability Manager Nancy Harris currently manages the deliverability practice at Salesfusion, overseeing deliverability and ISP relations. Nancy brings over a decade of experience in the deliverability space, enabling her to help Salesfusion s clients proactively tackle deliverability and compliance issues. Nancy is active in several industry organizations, and is CIPP certified. Nancy holds a MS in Information Technology from The George Washington University and a BA from Brandeis University. 9

10 Salesfusion is a leading provider of marketing automation software that is designed for B2B companies who are committed to driving more revenue by aligning marketing and sales. Salesfusion anchors around the belief that a well integrated CRM and Marketing Automation pair is the foundation of all B2B marketing. See A Demo Contact Information: facebook.com/salesfusion plus.google.com/+salesfusion linkedin.com/company/salesfusion twitter.com/salesfusion youtube.com/user/salesfusionmarketing pinterest.com/salesfusion 2015 Salesfusion Inc.

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