It's time to take a good look at your engagement scores (opens and clicks). Has there been a noticeable decline over the past few months? You may be unintentionally defining yourself as graymail to the detriment of your placement rates. We'll define gray mail in just a second. There has been a recent but momentous shift from simple IP reputation to engagement history when it comes to filtering email. Email inboxes are getting smarter, and are able to recognize and predict patterns in viewer interactions with email from the same sender. If a recipient always deletes the email quickly, without looking at it, filters will remember that down the line when the next email comes in. Proactively managing your interactions with your customers is now the
most important step in ensuring the best possible outcome.
Marketers should adjust their strategy to focus on relationship building. While your contact may have legitimately solicited email from you at one point, they may no longer be interested, and instead of unsubscribing entirely, they may hedge their bets by only looking at emails rarely, or clicking the "This is Spam" button. The term for this legitimate but unwanted mail is Graymail, and it's been the target of major concern for ISPs trying to control it. This has unintended consequences for you, the marketer, as recipient actions can now create a loop on their network that affects not only their
inbox, but all other inboxes on the same network.
Unfortunately, there's only so much our reputation can do to help you out. We work hard to keep positive relationships with ISPs around the world to keep the emails going to the inbox, but you as a company can do a lot more than we ever could through targeting your audience and focusing on relevant, engaging content. The way to avoid being graymail is to become the email "You want to read," and stop being the email "You want to read, but not right now."
Here are some tips on how you can do this:
1. Segment your engaged and unengaged recipients from each other and treat them differently.
We're seeing more and more frequently that marketing effectiveness with unengaged contacts affects the results with your engaged contacts. Use your engaged recipients to your advantage by offering special offers that promote engagement with your emails - the more often subscribers click through links and the faster they do so, the more likely your emails will continue to reach the inbox.
2. Mail your engaged subscribers first.
Continued mailing to non-responders can negatively affect inbox placement, so mail your most engaged contacts first to increase the likelihood that the message will be considered relevant when you attempt to engage your previously unengaged subscribers.
3. Try an interesting re-engagement campaign.
Get your subscribers to open your email and interact with it - encourage replies, and If you cannot re-engage your contacts, it may be wise to stop marketing to them.
- Encourage an incentive to reply:
"Reply to this with a joke for 25% off"
"Reply to this message for free shipping.
- Add their customer service email address as the reply-to for the campaign and encourage subscribers to "Contact our customer service anytime by replying to this email".
- Offer to field feedback - even a simple, all encompassing "We'd love to hear from you!".
Of course every case is unique, but the bottom line is to get your subscribers to get engaged with your email campaigns.