Ask the Experts: Holiday Sending Do’s and Don’ts follow-up

Posted by Henry Gutierrez 

Thanks to those that joined us on our recent Ask the Experts: Holiday Sending Do’s and Don’ts webinar. If you missed your chance to sit in on it, please take some time to do so. We discussed some of the more important questions senders had as they prepare for the critical holiday season. Topics for questions included:

  • Best practices for holiday sending
  • How to minimize risk when sending to a bigger list
  • Key factors and metrics to focus on during the busy holiday season
  • Mailbox providers’ practices during the holidays
  • Dealing with increased frequency

We did not get a chance to cover all of your questions, so you’ll find a few more below.

Question #1
Very interested to understand any new filtering that ISP’s may be implementing as the holiday season approaches.

This question was answered during the webinar, but I did want to give you the link, Advice from Mailbox Providers for Holiday Mailing, which covers the all the MBP’s responses.

Question #2
Our Gmail spam box rate went up from less than 6 percent to 20 percent without us increasing sends and changes in our sunset policy. What’s the issue and how can we tackle that?

A few questions :

  • Did you notice a spike in spam complaints?
  • Have you considered a more aggressive sunset policy? If you’re afraid of cutting your list down drastically, then perhaps a more aggressive sunset policy coupled with a re-engagement strategy is easier on eyes.
  • Was there anything different that you did with the subject line or content?
  • Did you make any changes on your acquisition sources or process?
  • Did you send to a particular segment that didn’t perform as well?

There are plenty of additional factors to consider outside of the sunset policy. Mailbox providers are also known to continuously adjust algorithms based on what they’re seeing from abusive senders, so that is a possibility as well. Before reaching that conclusion, I would do some heavy digging on the points made above and review recommendations made in the blog post—Are You Having Problems Delivering to Gmail? You’re Not Alone. 

Question #3
We are seeing our Microsoft junk votes increase as well as our complaint rate. We’ve tried pulling back to only email our more engaged customers, but we’re still seeing this high rate. What else can we do?

It all depends on how you define an engaged user. Be careful if you’re considering metrics outside of opens and clicks. I would also look for specific trends if it’s happening more on certain mail types/brands. If it’s happening on your initial campaigns, then that may point to vulnerabilities in your acquisition process.  For more thorough recommendations on complaints, I highly recommend Guy Hanson’s 4-part blog series Moan, Moan, Moan – All You Ever Do Is Complain! Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Hope the holiday season treats you and your email programs well!

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About Henry Gutierrez

Henry is an Email Strategist for Return Path's Professional Service team. His current role includes executing client-specific projects to maximize ROI and deliverability. Overall, he has worked in the email industry for almost 12 years, with experience both as an analyst for an ESP and on AOL's postmaster team.

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