ReachMail’s John Murphy recently spoke with Mashable.com about strategies for making the most of Gmail’s priority inbox.
Gmail’s Priority Inbox predicts what e-mails are important to users and categorizes them accordingly. The feature’s algorithm considers information such as who sent the e-mail, how many others it was addressed to (and who they are), which label it falls under and which words and phrases are used, to determine if it is worthy of the “important” marker. If the system makes a mistake, users can correct it, and it improves over time.
Here’s some of the highlights:
Implement a Double Opt-In
Murphy recommends implementing a double opt-in sign-up form for all e-mail communications with potential consumers. Double opt-in is the process by which users sign up via an opt-in form and then confirm via e-mail. While this process can decrease a marketer’s list of e-mail addresses by sometimes up to 50%, Murphy noted, it ensures that those who complete both steps are engaged — well, engaged enough to at least open your first e-mail and click the confirmation link.
“The mindset is going to be completely turned upside down,” said Murphy. “Marketers right now want to get every single last e-mail address they can, just because of the one-odd chance that somebody down the road is going to buy something from them.”
While it’s already a best practice for marketers to emphasize quality leads, (instead of acquiring or buying every e-mail address they can get), this will be even more important moving forward.
Offer Content & Frequency Preferences
Another way to better personalize e-mail communications with recipients is to set up a preference center in which users can choose how often they’d like to receive e-mails. Furthermore, the option to customize content helps target communications based on a user’s interests. The key is finding a way to be relevant and engaging to your audience.
As an advanced step, Murphy recommends offering up dynamic content that changes based on a user’s behaviors on a site. If he or she bought running shoes, for example, serve up content relevant to running in your next e-mail communication with that customer.
Benchmark Open and Clickthrough Rates
Implementing double opt-in procedures and allowing for customization preferences increases the likelihood that e-mail recipients will open and engage with a marketer’s content. To make sure these tactics and others are working, Murphy suggests benchmarking open and clickthrough rates to keep track of changes. “If you see any decline, really examine your program and see what you can do to get those up,” he said.
Furthermore, Murphy urges marketers to strive for high clickthrough percentages based on open rates. “You don’t want to have an open rate of 30% and then a clickthrough rate of 0.5%. That’s not good. You want to ideally get it to where 30-40% of the opens get clicks.”
To do that, Murphy urges marketers to stay away from teasing people with great subject lines that lead to lame offers — be honest in your subject line pitch, and try to reflect the offer as best you can.
Conduct A/B Split Tests
Lastly, it’s advisable to A/B test e-mails, sending out two versions of an offer to small sample sizes to see which performs best. Of course, from there, you send the top performer to the rest of the list.
If creating and testing two versions of an offer isn’t realistic for your team, Murphy suggests another option. “Test a small sample, say 100 e-mails, and see what the open and clickthrough rates are. Make sure that they are at least as good or better than your traditional rates. If they’re much lower, you have to totally revamp that effort until you can get it performing better,” he advised.
Read the full article at Mashable.com