A successful digital marketing holiday season takes more than just themed messages and special offers.
Malls are starting to play Christmas music and hang garland — a sure sign that the holiday season is upon us.
That means it’s time for you to start sending out those holiday emails and SMS campaigns you’ve been preparing for the last few months and starting to think about your last mile push.
Capturing the attention of your customers throughout the entire holiday season is important, but that last mile is your final chance to drive customers to your site to complete a purchase. Whether it be the holiday procrastinators or the moms who forgot one last thing, it’s an opportunity for you to increase your sales before the end of the year.
To have a successful holiday season, and last mile push, you need to make sure you have your digital channels cleaned up and ready to go. In this article, we’ll provide you with five ways that you can make the most out of this year’s last mile push.
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll cover.
- Understand and improve your delivery rates.
- Keep track of your domain reputation.
- Use segmentation strategies to improve success rates.
- Stay connected with internal and external teams to keep things moving smoothly.
Then to send you off, we’ll share five digital marketing platforms that are sure to help you reach your goals this holiday season and in the coming year.
5 Ways to Make the Most Out of the Last Mile This Holiday Season
Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us — and soon enough we’ll be in the last mile stretch where we’re trying to reach those last-minute shoppers to land a few more sales.
Of course, you can always run marketing campaigns that are targeted to the shoppers who like to wait until the last minute, but what happens when those campaigns flop?
If you’re not setting yourself up for a successful pre-holiday season, this could become your reality. Even if you have the most creative campaigns out there, if you have poor delivery rates, a bad domain reputation, and poor communication with your platform providers — you may find yourself in a bad position.
To help you avoid missing out on a successful last-mile marketing push, we’ve put together a few things you can do to improve your email and SMS marketing efforts ahead of time. Once you’ve done the upfront work, you can simply maintain these things all year round to see continued improvement.
Understand and Improve Your Delivery Rates
You’ve spent hours tracking customer data, writing killer copy, and designing holiday themes to develop the perfect holiday campaign — but what happens if you hit the send button and your message is only delivered to half of your subscribers?
This can be frustrating and detrimental to the success of your campaign.
To avoid running into this disappointing situation this holiday season, you should be actively tracking and reacting to changes in your delivery rates throughout the year. By doing this regularly, you’ll have a highly engaged subscriber list when it comes time to start promoting your holiday content.
Let’s take a quick look at a few delivery rate basics and best practices to help you keep a happy, healthy subscriber base for both email and SMS.
Email Delivery Rates
When it comes to calculating email delivery rates, you need first to understand how to calculate them. To do this, you’ll want to look at how many emails were sent in total and how many of those emails bounced.
The first step in understanding your delivery rates is knowing how to calculate them. For email marketing, it’s as simple as looking at the number of emails sent and the number of bounces. This will allow you to gain insight into how many messages were delivered.
It is important to touch on the two types of email bounces briefly you’ll encounter. The two bounce types are hard bounces and soft bounces. While each one does impact your delivery rate success, they are a bit different from each other.
The types of email bounces indicate two different scenarios. One that is permanent and you cannot correct, and one that is temporary. Understanding the types of bounces you’re seeing can help you identify list clean-up opportunities and find potential sending issues that can be fixed.
Hard bounces are a permanent reason your email can’t be delivered. A hard bounce may happen because the email address no longer exists or the server has blocked delivery.
Soft bounces are a temporary delivery issue. There are quite a few reasons this could happen, such as an inactive or full subscriber inbox, the recipient’s email service being down, the email itself being too large or the content being blocked by the server.
Regardless of the reason, the more bounces you see, the fewer people receiving your messages. So how do you improve your email delivery rates? Here are a few tips to help get you started.
- Keep your subscriber list fresh and eliminate unengaged contacts.
- Segment your subscriber list to keep content relevant.
- Avoid getting automatically filtered to spam folders.
Understanding your bounce rates will allow you to identify potential issues or inactive customers. This insight will enable you to take action and improve your subscriber list to improve delivery rates.
SMS Delivery Rates
SMS marketing is a great way to connect with your customers. Considering that 90% of all SMS messages are read within 3 minutes and that 75% of people want to receive offers sent via SMS — it’s a channel you can’t ignore.
When you send an SMS message to your customers, chances are good they will open and read it within minutes. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact that some of your messages just aren’t being delivered and how that can bring down the success of your campaigns.
If you’re using SMS messaging as part of your marketing strategy, then you’ll want to pay attention to the number of messages being delivered just as you would email. Although, with SMS messaging, it’s a bit simpler because you don’t have different types of bounce rates — a message was either delivered, or it wasn’t.
To determine the delivery rate of your SMS messages, you’ll want to look at the percentage of delivered versus intended messages.
Determining the delivery rates of your SMS marketing efforts is relatively simple. You just have to look at the number of texts that were actually delivered and the total number that you sent. This will give you an idea of just how many messages aren’t making it to the intended audience.
There are a few common causes of text messages delivery failure that may impact your SMS success rates, including:
- The recipient went over the number of messages their plan allowed.
- The phone number you have on file is incorrect.
- The recipient was out of cellphone range.
- The recipient’s memory was full.
- Your message was flagged and filtered out as spam.
- The recipient didn’t have text messaging enabled.
While these all can be contributing factors, the most common reason for messages not being delivered is related to an invalid phone number.
So how do you improve your SMS delivery rates? Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of every text message you send.
- Clean your subscriber list up and eliminate any bad numbers you have listed.
- Make subscribers double opt-in to your list.
- Don’t send spam messages.
- Don’t send your bulk SMS messages too quickly.
- Avoid sending links from domains that you don’t control.
- Use two-way texting to connect with your customers.
SMS marketing can be a powerful tool when it’s used properly. If you do not see the results you had hoped for, it might be time to take a look at your delivery rates and clean up your subscriber list.
Keep Track of Your Domain Reputation
Domain reputation can have a significant impact on whether your emails make it to a subscriber’s inbox or get filtered to their spam folder. Understanding what your domain reputation is and how it’s impacting your email marketing efforts is another critical step to success.
If you ignore this factor, you’ll see lower deliverability and engagement when the holiday season rolls around — simply because people aren’t seeing your messages. After all the work you put into creating your holiday campaigns, you don’t want this to be the outcome.
To start, let’s define what domain reputation is. It is the health or condition of your branded domain that is determined by ISPs and Mailbox providers. These providers are essentially gatekeepers and control what content is seen and what is tagged as spam.
Your reputation is calculated by service provided in several different ways. They take everything from open and click rates to spam complaints and hard bounces into consideration. That’s why it’s so important to know how your emails are performing.
Everything from open rates to spam complaints helps to determine what your domain reputation looks like. And if you have a poor domain reputation, these key providers will flag your email, and your customers will most likely never see your message.
Understanding Your Domain Reputation
Having a poor domain reputation can be a big problem and lead to many headaches for your email marketing teams. That’s because no matter how hard you try, getting past the gatekeepers is a challenging task.
Many factors contribute to domain reputation. These are just a few to take into consideration.
- Authentication and legitimacy.
- The percentage of unknown recipients or invalid email addresses.
- Users reporting emails as spam or junk mail.
- Engagement rates.
- Sender recognition.
- Sending frequency.
When trying to determine what your current domain reputation looks like, you’ll want to consider all of the email platforms such as Gmail, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and more. Since each platform has its own ranking, you could have a more positive reputation on one versus the other.
If you’re interested in checking your domain reputation, there are various tools available to understand how you rank.
Improving Your Domain Reputation
Knowing that you need to have a positive domain reputation even to make it into your subscriber’s inbox, you’ll want to work to improve and maintain your reputation continuously.
Luckily, even if your reputation isn’t quite where you wanted it to be, there are plenty of ways to improve it. Here are a few tips for building and maintaining your domain reputation to help get you started.
- Keep your database clean and up-to-date.
- Create content your customers want and send it when they want it.
- Optimize sending your messages to improve deliverability.
- Empower all employees to follow good sending practices.
- Monitor your reputation on a regular basis to address any concerns.
Keeping an eye on your domain reputation will ensure that when that last mile stretch approaches, you’ll be able to get your messages in front of the most significant number of people. Finding out too late will result in lower delivery and engagement rates — and fewer sales.
Use Segmentation Strategies to Improve Success Rates
Implementing segmentation strategies is an effective way to improve both delivery rates and domain reputation. That’s because the more relevant and appealing your content is to your customers, the more likely they are to open and interact with it.
Segmentation is the idea of similarly grouping customers in an effort to communicate with them on a more personalized basis.
Segmentation can have a significant impact on the success of both email and SMS marketing. It’s known to improve open rates and clicks while also decreasing bounces and unsubscribes — everything we want to see on these channels.
By sending more personalized messages, your customers are much more likely to open, click, and engage with your content. All of these things can help to improve both the deliverability of your messages and your domain reputation.
Companies that use segmentation see a wide range of benefits, such as.
- 46% higher email open rates.
- 27% increased click-through rates.
- 3-5% more sales.
During the holiday season, segmentation can make creating personalized campaigns for more customers obtainable. You can easily identify similar audience types and put them into groups based on their shared traits.
You can create and share segmentation strategies across email and SMS campaigns. Let’s quickly look at a few segmentation strategies for each channel.
You can segment your email list in a number of different ways, from subscriber demographics and geography to how they interact with your content and behave on your website — the possibilities are endless.
Here are a few email segmentation strategies to try with your own subscriber list.
- Target users based on their lifecycle stage with lead-nurturing campaigns.
- Send messages to subscribers in specific geographical locations.
- Tap into previous purchasing behaviors to share related products.
- Share content based on even attendance.
- Use website activity to identify new products customers are interested in.
Segmenting your email subscriber list with one of these strategies will help you reach more customers with more relevant content. That will result in more opens, higher engagement, and conversion rates.
Similar to email, there are many different ways you can segment your SMS marketing list– many of which are the same. You can still use specific customer data and behaviors to group customers into similar groups.
While the email strategies mentioned above can be adopted into your SMS messaging, these are a few additional ideas on segmentation strategies for your text marketing.
- Identify who your engaged and unengaged subscribers are and target them appropriately.
- Group subscribers based on whether they’ve made a past purchase or not.
- Pinpoint the subscribers that have a high level of interest in your products.
- Use location to your advantage and share timely, relevant content.
- Create VIP content for your most engaged audiences.
Taking the time to build out specific audience segments is something you’ll want to do to not only improve personalization but increase delivery rates and domain reputation. When you put the three together, you set yourself up to connect with your audiences when it’s most needed.
Stay Connected With Internal and External Teams to Keep Things Moving Smoothly
Last but not least — it’s important to keep internal and external teams connected during the last mile to address any issues in a timely manner.
When we talk about internal and external, we mean both the employees within your company working on your email and SMS marketing campaigns and your marketing platform contact.
Having both of these teams dedicated to making your holiday messages a success will allow you to quickly and easily adjust any problems you find as your campaigns are launched. Each will be responsible for a different part of the process, but they both need to work together to resolve any lingering issues.
It all starts with your internal employees. They need to be the ones watching the performance of your campaigns to identify any potential issues. Then, they need to engage your platform partners to find the resolution.
What internal employees need to be looking for.
- Low delivery rates.
- Sending or receiving errors.
- Domain reputation issues.
- Low engagement rates.
- High spam blockers.
Once an issue has been identified, reaching out to your platform partner can help you resolve the problem at a technical level. Whether it’s a weird glitch or a more significant issue that is happening, the sooner you connect both teams –, the sooner it can be resolved.
5 Digital Marketing Platforms
Having a good relationship with your marketing platform team is one of our tips to help you make the most out of your marketing this holiday season.
If you’re finding that the platform you currently use isn’t living up to your standards, whether through capabilities and technology or response time and troubleshooting, it might be time to consider a switch.
In this section, we’ll take a look at five digital marketing platforms that will help you manage your email and SMS marketing to make the most out of every campaign you run.
This integrated digital marketing platform is a great tool to manage all of your digital needs. From creating and sending emails to connecting with audiences across various channels and platforms, you’ll have the tools to do it all.
The team at Listrak is highly skilled and puts the needs of their customers first. Whether you’re looking to use new, advanced technology in your marketing plan or want a platform with an experienced, dedicated team of experts — Listrak has it covered.
The Listrak platform provides you with everything you need to meet your customers throughout each stage of their journey. You’ll have the tools necessary to connect with them on various channels and with the right insights.
- Cross channel marketing tools that make it simple to connect with your customers no matter where they’re most active.
- Behavioral-based triggers that automatically generate based on real-time customer interactions.
- Predictive marketing technology that will allow you to serve relevant content to your audiences before they know they needed it.
- Customer data collection and insights to help you better understand who your audiences are and what they need.
Channels: Email, SMS, social, web, mobile push, direct mail.
Pricing: Pricing is customized and based on business needs.
Braze is a marketing platform for companies that have a customer-centric mindset. You can easily build cross-channel marketing campaigns that put the customer first and drive increased conversions with this platform.
With this tool, you won’t have to rely on your in-house tech teams and will make creating marketing campaigns simpler for your marketing teams. The knowledgeable team at Braze will provide you with a fresh perspective and the technical support you need to continue to grow your digital marketing channels.
Connecting with your audiences doesn’t have to be hard. With the help of the Braze platform, you can easily create targeted campaigns that send your customers messages when it’s most relevant. And the more relevant your campaigns are, the more likely your audiences are to engage with them.
- Connect with your customers at the right moment, with the right content based on their interactions and behaviors.
- Engage new audiences and nurture existing with automated campaigns that span multiple channels.
- Integrate dynamic segmentation into your strategy to improve targeting and increase engagement rates.
- Continue to learn more about your audiences and improve your marketing efforts with AI-enabled insights.
Channels: Email, SMS, mobile and web push, in-app and in-browser messaging, content cards
Pricing: Pricing is customized and based on business needs.
This platform is an all-in-one messaging tool that allows you to connect with your customers across various channels. From email and SMS to WhatsApp and voice, you’ll have the ability to communicate with your audiences where they’re most active.
Moonmail has the tools you need to optimize your delivery rates and monitor your domain reputation to ensure you’re making the most out of every send. With this platform, you won’t have to stress about the success of your campaigns because you’ll know exactly how your messages are performing.
Creating campaigns with this platform is simple. You can quickly build a new campaign, identify the audience you want to send it to, and then launch it all from one area. With A/B testing capabilities, you can even test different elements of your message to understand better what resonates with your customers.
- Send time optimization to ensure you’re sending messages to your audiences when they’re most likely to engage with your content.
- Advanced segmentation capabilities that include behavioral and event-based segmentation.
- Web forms with machine learning technology that are powered by Dynamic email validation.
- Sender reputation management and monitoring to help ensure your domain reputation stays positive.
Channels: Email, SMS, voice, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger.
Pricing: There are four plan options: the Lite plan for $44 per month, the Starter plan for $186 per month, the Professional plan for $374 per month, and the Enterprise plan with customized pricing.
Act-On is a marketing automation platform that allows you to harness customer data and insights to drive tailored experiences across various marketing channels. This platform will enable you to connect with your audiences through relevant channels and at scale.
Whether you’re looking to grow your business, build a better brand experience, or improve engagement with your offerings, Act-On can help you reach your goals. This tool can service businesses across various industries including banking, insurance, manufacturing, SaaS, and more.
Act-On has all the tools you need to continue growing your business. From the automation tools you need to decrease manual work to the integrations that can bring all of your marketing platforms together — you’ll have access to it all.
- Dynamically segment audiences based on specific traits and behaviors to send personalized messages that improve engagement.
- Automate your entire marketing process from attracting new audiences to nurturing existing.
- Create messages that resonate with your audiences and connect with them on various messaging channels from one platform.
- Track and measure the success of your marketing campaigns with analytics and reporting data.
Channels: Email, SMS, social media, web.
Pricing: Pricing varies based on the number of subscribers you have, but starts at $900 per month for 2,500 active contacts. There is an Enterprise plan available that has customized pricing based on your business needs.
Sendlane is a digital marketing platform with the goal to help businesses turn online shoppers into loyal, lifetime customers. These tools will help you generate more revenue, increase retention, and automate your manual processes.
Using Sendlane will allow you to elevate your email and SMS marketing with the tools you need to reach your audiences. You’ll be able to create high-performing campaigns and make data-driven decisions about your marketing efforts.
Sendlane has all the tools you need to reach your customers and track the success of your campaigns. With an easy to use dashboard that has all the pertinent information, you’ll have a quick snapshot of everything you need.
- Easily create high-converting emails with a simple drag and drop building tool that allows anyone on your team to create professionally built and designed emails
- Connect with customers on their smartphones via SMS and start two way conversation and increase revenue by driving people through the sales funnel.
- Automate marketing by creating personalized messages based on real-time customer data and behaviors.
- Use multivariable segmentation to build customer segments that make sending the right message to the right audience group easier.
Channels: Email, SMS, web.
Pricing: Pricing is based on the number of contacts you have, the following is plan pricing based on 5,000 contacts. The Professional Plus plan for $208 per month, the Growth plan for $79 per month, and the 6 month Starter Pack for a one time payment of $497.
Make the Most Out of Your Last Mile Digital Push This Holiday Season
During the busiest shopping time of the year, now’s the time to try and win new sales to increase revenue. As more people continue to shop online, the stakes have never been higher, and your digital marketing strategy needs to be ready.
By understanding how your delivery rates, domain reputation, segmentation, and vendor relationships can positively impact the success of your holiday marketing campaigns — you can set yourself up for a high performing season.
But don’t forget that once the holiday season passes, you’ll want to keep up with these practices. If not, you’ll find that next year you’ll be in the same boat and having to take time away from creating amazing holiday campaigns to play clean-up again.