Using your toolbox

As someone who likes to do various projects around the house, I learned a long time ago that it is important to have the right tools to get the job done. The problem is that too often we get comfortable with our favorite tools and don’t realize that the job could be easier if we use a different one. I am guilty of always trying to use my hammer to pry things apart. If I were smart, I would pull out the crowbar, and it might take me less time and energy to finish the job.

So what does using a hammer versus a crowbar have to do with email marketing and deliverability? It is all about using all the tools you have to produce the best product as quickly as possible. In email marketing, there are a number of tools I often find many people are not using in order to better understand what is — and what isn’t — working effectively within their email campaigns.

You can use a number of tools to evaluate the success of your campaigns. Most marketers are using the reports that are available from their sending platform, or ESP. These reports are the first step toward understanding what your overall reputation is with the domains you send to. From the reports, you can gather information on how much of your mail is being accepted at the Internet service providers (ISPs), what clicks your customers are acting on, and which users no longer find your information relevant to their needs and unsubscribe.

The next important email marketing tool is seed listing, which can help you understand what happens with your emails once the ISPs accept the messages. You can receive a statistically significant sample of what the ISPs are doing with your messages based on default antispam settings. While a seed list that shows a 100 percent inbox rate doesn’t guarantee that all of your mail actually landed in the inbox, it does give you another way to understand the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

Finally, the latest available tool allows you to see where your email was opened on a user-by-user basis, helping you to understand how each individual interacts with your brand and your marketing campaigns. For example, let’s say I received a message from your company. If you were using one of these diagnostic tools, you might see that I opened your message on my iPhone at 7:30 a.m. (while getting the kids ready for school) and then again at 10 a.m. in Outlook. This type of information helps the marketer understand a number of things — most importantly, who the most engaged users are and how they view messages. By knowing that I opened it twice on two different devices, you now know that I found the message compelling enough to go back and open it again. You also know that in the future if you optimize your messages for the iPhone or have a new app available, you can segment me into the iPhone group and send me a specific targeted message.

So by using the tools in your email marketing toolbox, you can not only better understand what is effective and what isn’t, but you also can utilize the information to improve on future mailings and continue to increase your return on investment.

Good luck and good sending.

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