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How to maximise the success of your first email campaign

9 September 2016
by Adam Oldfield

In our last blog we touched upon the holy grail of email deliverability and the reasons why some marketing automation platforms struggle to ensure campaigns reach recipients’ mailboxes. The topic proved incredibly popular, with demand for further information higher than usual. So, to continue with the theme, we thought we’d offer an insight into how we, at Force24, tackle email deliverability.

And it all starts with the first campaign we ever prepare for a client.

Sending campaign number one can be quite nerve-wracking. How will the data behave? How many bounces will we see? And how many emails will end up in the junk folder? The list of queries goes on.

Luckily, we’ve devised and perfected a process to minimise these concerns. So, follow our best-practice tips to deliver a successful campaign, from day one, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results…

What we consider:

1.)   Quality of Data:

When we first start working with a client, we don’t have a clue how good the data is. Even if we are told that the list is made up of good prospects that have performed exceptionally well in the past, it is still a new batch for the client’s warmed IP’s and the sending domain. So what do we do?

Recommendation 1:

Use a data validation vendor beforehand. This will eliminate potential bad or invalid data and known spam trap addresses from the list.

Recommendation 2:

Use a different send server for the new data. The idea is to separate the IP’s and prevent them getting damaged due to the new data set.

This new data send server will use a different IP pool which is set up specifically to handle new data. It will help eliminate any bad data whilst assessing how the campaign is performing and identifying potential issues that we will face in the future.

Once we are confident that the data is cleansed, we can use the warmed up IP’s or dedicated IP’s that are assigned for the client. This way, we build a good reputation with the receiving ISP’s, less bounces.

2.)   Content of the email:

We all know how much first impressions count! This applies to emails too. The content of the email will set the tone and capture attention. But it needs to follow certain standards too.

Recommendation 1:

Make sure the content complies with the CAN SPAM Act / CASL Act and try to include:

  • A valid physical address

  • An ‘unsubscribe’ option in the header

  • Precedence: bulk/transactional headers for Gmail.

These elements will authenticate the legitimacy of the email content in the eyes of the receiver. They apply even to plain text emails and are particularly helpful when sending to US/Canadian contacts.

NOTE: The advisory image to text ratio is now a myth. As long as the email doesn't contain any attachments, and strong engagement stats have been achieved in the past, they will be fine.

Recommendation 2:

"From" and "Reply-to" addresses should be accurate and consistent, especially throughout the early stages of Campaign send. Changing the “From” name from time to time is OK, but separate sender domains are preferable as they help to clarify the types of emails being sent.

ISPs are becoming increasingly concerned about domain behavior, so domain based segmentation and consistency will help to build email reputation.

3. Sending Patterns:

This is crucial. If we don’t know the most appropriate sending pattern, we’ll conduct research among our clients’ competitors – or even some similar organisations that we have on board – to find out!

Recommendation 1:

Check the engagement patterns of any existing contacts to try and determine the right time to send the campaign. Is there a specific time or a day in the week that emails get opened? These tiny clues will help to shape specific times for specific groups, and wider campaign strategies moving forward. Apply the findings to the engaged contacts and then to the unengaged.

Recommendation 2:

If the plan is for an IP to become a dedicated IP, consider warming it up with email throttling. This will help to reduce the risk of it becoming treated as a spammer, particularly when initial volumes are high. Some organisations conduct 2-3 weeks of warming up, before sharply increasing the send volumes. This is risky – SPAM filters may think the sending server has been compromised in the event of significant spikes during short periods of time. Incoming emails will therefore be blocked as a precaution and the campaign will fall flat.

So, try to avoid sharp increases of email volumes at all times. Any uplift should be gradual, even with a warmed up IP. At Force24 we have strategies in place to ensure best practice in this respect, which have paid dividends for our campaigns in the past.

Want to know more? Contact us 


Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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