Email is one of the most effective marketing methods that exist. It can build rapport, educate, inform, entertain, motivate, and more. However, for dealerships, it takes creativity to understand how to leverage email to advance your business. Before jumping into email marketing, it’s worth understanding the current status of SPAM. The reason? SPAM filtering is the nemesis of getting into a prospect’s inbox. It stands between your message being consumed and never being seen.
In this article, we’ll explore who is responsible, and who is penalized for SPAM email as well as how to ensure you can communicate with your target audiences. Understanding this concept is the difference in having an effective email marketing campaign.
Control…Get Your Email into Their Inbox
Email marketing has changed drastically in recent years. What few people understand is that the email delivery infrastructure in the USA is a market maintained system. Europe, on the other hand, is a rules-based system with governmental oversight and penalties.
Under the US system, email delivery is the responsibility of the sender’s Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP’s reputation is at stake when they send any SPAM email. This responsibility is not to be taken lightly – if a recipient ISP considers another ISP as a SPAMer, they will start to block that rogue email server. Why would they do that?
SPAM versus Solicited Opt-In Email – No One Wants To Receive SPAM
If you are an ISP, one of the most important things to you is your server processing time. If your servers are consumed processing tons of junk email, that means they cannot be servicing your valid customers’ requirements. In other words, bogus emails bog down an ISP’s bandwidth, which affects how quickly they can present websites they host.
In addition, if one of their clients is a SPAMer, it will impact many others. When customers want to send a legitimate email, they want it to make its way to the target recipient and not get blocked. Failure to send emails successfully from an ISP is very bad for business since web services are typically bundled (website hosting and email).
People receiving email do not WANT any SPAM. However, senders frequently believe that their emails are not SPAM.
Just because someone does not believe they are sending SPAM or junk email does not make it fact.
The main difference most consider between SPAM and junk email is SPAM is thought of as bulk email while junk is often considered undesirable email. When a salesperson sends me a promotional email on their sale, and I have never heard of the company or person, I might consider that email to be SPAM.
So what is SPAM?
In short, it’s really anything that the recipient considers as SPAM. For example, even though someone opt-ed in to receive some email it does not automatically mean they remember and want to continue accepting your messages. They have the liberty to mark it as SPAM anytime they wish. This is a harsh reality of the current system.
To make matters worse, there’s also a subset of SPAM that is nefarious and may have code embedded in it that can cause virus infection or worse. There is also a range of techniques utilized by hackers called phishing (linked story illustrates how easy this is) that has been effective at stealing passwords and personal information from unsuspecting email users. This is yet another reason why getting customers to willfully opt-in to your emails is important to earning their email trust.
Email Is The Most Effective Marketing Tool
If you do not have a strategy for email marketing you are missing a huge opportunity.
“59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.” – emma
Get a no-cost consultation to identify how you can turn email nurture into a hands-free customer delivery system.
CALL NOW: 800-709-3240 or email [email protected]
What About Legitimate Email
As noted above, even an email that is totally legitimate can be marked as SPAM. Some email platforms even sort emails for the user using an automated rules-based systems analysis of emails. For example, if you are using corporate email there may be multiple filters.Then a user may be creating their own filters, and prior to that, your ISP may be doing filtering as well. If you use Google’s mail, you have likely noticed how they have become more aggressive in blocking email. Even “seemingly” valid email can have a hard time getting to the inbox (or getting seen in a subset folder).
It is getting harder to know where to look any more when emails do not make their way to our inbox.
It’s good to know that corporate filters (also used by ISPs) can do a range of checking on email. One type that is widely used is content examination. The use of certain keywords can be seen as signaling SPAM. For example, “get free”, “buy now”, etc. Either combined words or these words combined with other signals can lead email to be labeled as SPAM and blocked.
The objective of these various methods is to keep illegitimate email out of the inbox. In reality though, often legitimate email can be blocked.
Intensive SPAMers over the years developed an array of methods to bypass filters, so now, these filters often examine for signs of unusual activity. High volume bursts of emails sent from a single source or a rotating IP address for the same exact content can be flagged by these filters.
How To Ensure Deliverability of Your Email
By now, you may be feeling like it’s pretty tough to get your marketing emails in front of your customers. The good news is that one-off, low volume email typically is not a huge challenge. It’s really volume emails that get examined closely. But to send legitimate emails to prospects, you will have to craft a careful strategy, which means no shortcuts and being patient.
Building an Email List
If you wish to bulk email, you must build an opt-in list. The best way to build this list is to utilize a content marketing strategy so prospects are excited and willing to sign up for your opt-in list.
Taking advantage of the roadblocks in email marketing
Instead of seeing SPAM filter as a road block, we see it as an opportunity to better align your content with what your customer needs. This approach gives your customers value and keeps them coming back for more. It is a movement from selling to matching. It is a switch from self-focus to prospect-focused.
The model is built around the Buyer’s Journey, pictured below. The goal is to provide valued content at each stage in this process: awareness, interest, consideration, purchase and delight. The content can be anything (video, webinar, infographic, report, etc.). The key is to HELP your prospects make a better buying decision. In doing so, we obtain many benefits, including relationship building and changing the perception of our organization from a seller to a partner.
Does this seem like a long way to go to get an email into an inbox? It’s not!
Most companies take a very short-term view of their business, but marketing is a macro long-term game. It requires a strategic big picture approach. It requires patience. Of course there are micro and quicker efforts marketing can take to grow your business (such as advertising), but developing reliable communication with your customers and crafting a content marketing strategy are long-term efforts with big payoffs.
From SPAM to Valued Content
The short version? If you want to get to the inbox, build valued content that shoppers will appreciate and want to receive.
Here are a few more of the methodologies that we utilize as part of a communication and marketing structure:
- Content that motivates prospects to submit their personal information
- Content targeted at buyers in different stages of their buying experience (evaluation and engagement process)
- Manageable and segregated email lists for targeted and ongoing messaging
- Email nurture content designed to move prospects through a buyer’s journey
- Blog content as the backbone for newsletter and social content
- Measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the success of email marketing efforts
Need Help Getting into Your Prospects Inbox?
We utilize opt-in content to build a robust connection to your prospects. By building content around the buyer’s journey and structuring ongoing communication, you’ll have a completely automated and powerful system to assist prospects in moving from unknown site visitors to customers – and ultimately, advocates.
Want more information?
Contact us at [email protected] or call 800-709-3240 and we can help you navigate modern email marketing.