The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic brought about an email renaissance. And there's no sign of it stopping anytime soon.
A report conducted by my company, Validity's "State of Email 2022: Mastering the New Email Landscape," found that as retailers pivoted to online sales and marketing strategies, email activity increased by 60 percent from March to April 2020. Global email volume stayed at this elevated rate throughout 2021, increasing 14 percent from 2020 to 2021 -- and 2022 will be no different.
As if email marketing wasn't hard enough already. Now email marketers are competing for attention in inboxes cluttered with promotions from retailers, software companies, and everything else under the sun.
The good news? Email has emerged as a singularly relevant marketing channel. But that means you need to work even harder to drive clicks and conversions. Here are three tips to make sure your email marketing campaign stays a cut above the rest in the new email landscape.
1. Maintain a top sender reputation.
Your sender reputation is how mailbox providers measure the trustworthiness of your emails. This will influence whether your mail is delivered and placed in the inbox, instead of blocked or in your recipients' spam folders. An increase in global email volume means protecting your reputation is more crucial than ever, as you're competing with an unprecedented number of other senders.
One major detractor from a stellar sender reputation is spam trap volume. Marketers need visibility into the age and types of traps they're hitting (pristine, recycled, or typo) and should keep an eye on trends over time. This will help diagnose and resolve issues that damage your reputation and prevent you from getting in front of your recipients.
This goes hand-in-hand with measuring your bounce rate -- a high volume of unknown users will negatively impact your reputation and make it more difficult to achieve strong deliverability.
Blocklists are another common woe of the email marketer. If your IP or domain has been added to a blocklist, this can dramatically impact the performance of your campaigns. By investing in tools that monitor these lists, you can react quickly and understand the root cause, request removal, and resolve any underlying problems that make your emails block list-worthy.
2. Offset scheduled sending times.
As found in our report, 70 percent of all email traffic occurs within the first 10 minutes of every hour. It's easy for email marketers to schedule their bulk sends for round numbers like 12 and 1 p.m., but if every marketer thinks this way, that means your recipients are getting dozens of impersonal, automated emails in the same chunks of time throughout the day. The odds that they'll pick your email out of the bunch are slim.
Shifting your sends by just 10 to 15 minutes means your emails won't get lost in the hourly influx of messages. If you really want to set yourself up for success, make sure those emails are personalized, too. In 2021, my company found that personalization was the single most effective email marketing tactic used by respondents, leading to overall higher inbox placement and open rates.
Tailoring your emails to each individual recipient or a segmented group of recipients will boost your retention rates, conversions, positive engagement, and ROI. But all that hard work will go to waste if your emails are deleted or skimmed over with the rest of the hourly wave -- make sure you're standing out in both email content and timing.
3. Embrace the weekend window
The report also found that email volume is 25 percent higher during weekdays. As if bandwidth and patience weren't stretched thin enough during work hours, now folks are sifting through unwanted marketing emails at their desks too.
Consider hitting send on Saturdays and Sundays to avoid the weekday rush. This may seem counterintuitive, particularly for those in the B2B marketing space -- who wants to think about work on the weekends? But this is a tried-and-true method of distinguishing yourself from the crowd. If inboxes are relatively quiet during off-hours, you're more likely to get noticed. As global email volume continues to ramp up, marketers who extend their campaigns to the weekends will be ahead of the curve.
The world of email is constantly changing. In addition to the explosion of email marketing due to the pandemic, increased regulations like Apple's Mail Privacy Protection mean marketers have to be ready to adapt their campaigns at a moment's notice.
If you want to stay on top of these trends, you need to rethink your email strategy in this new, high-volume landscape. Prioritize your sender reputation to ensure you're getting in front of your intended targets. Send personalized messages to your recipients during windows when they aren't already flooded with emails. These simple methods will help you stay out of the spam folder, avoid the unsubscribe button, and ultimately drive more conversions.