The observation is clear: 94% of actors do not collect the Internet user’s consent for the processing of their personal data when it comes to personalization, recommendation or scoring. These are 84% of the players when it comes to commercial prospecting or advertising targeting (Converteo Barometer. Oct 2017). Since May 25, 2018, this situation must change in order to comply with the new standards imposed by the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). What if this constraint represented a unique opportunity to redesign your email campaigns by adopting the right reflexes?
The GDPR: security at the service of your objectives!
Let’s first take a look at the issue of the compliance of your email campaigns with the GDPR. This constraint must represent for you a real opportunity since the opportunity presents itself to establish a new relationship of trust and quality with your customers. In addition, these regulations allow you to improve the efficiency of your campaigns by finally imposing good practices on your customer base.
Updating your mailing base
Do you want to obtain an ever larger customer / prospect base? The solution lies in the qualification process of this same base that you adopt daily.
- Management of unsubscriptions: unsubscriptions must be taken into account in the following month in order to limit the impact with ISPs. Too low an open rate would damage your reputation with them;
- Removal of Hard Bounces: it is necessary to deal effectively with returns of emails following incorrect addresses, incorrect or absent domains;
- Management of the marketing pressure: this frequency of solicitation of your target represents the heart of the sending base and must be followed carefully to avoid generating too many unsubscriptions.
This background work at the level of your sending base represents a double interest for you: the improvement of the deliverability of your campaigns and therefore their relevance, but also the reduction of your routing costs by only sending shipments a qualified target.
As part of a prospect base rental, it is preferable to ask how often addresses are solicited, how rare they are in relation to your target and the process for managing said base. This will give you a more realistic opening rate and therefore a higher ROI.
Activation of the double opt-in (DOI)
With this imperative, the RGPD allows you today to further qualify your database by considering only Internet users registered in an active and voluntary subscription process.
Thus, during the registration request, a first opt-in must be obtained following a voluntary, clearly identifiable click. Then a second opt-in is required via the confirmation email sent (address validation link). Without these two very distinct steps, your data collection does not justify your prospect’s consent to receive your communications.
Transparency in the collection of personal data and management of data processing
The collection of personal data has been redesigned and above all supervised. You are forced today to gather the sources of each data collected and to be able to indicate an answer to the questions: When? By who ? Or ? Why ?
The information to be indicated is then as follows:
- The contact details of the data controller;
- Personal information collected (this information can be compiled upon request and made available to any natural person who so requests, it is a question here of guaranteeing the right to data portability);
- The purposes of the processing;
- Data recipients;
- Whether or not it intends to transfer this data to a third country or to an international organization;
- The retention period of said data.
Particular attention should be paid to existing contacts. Indeed, since May 25, 2018, you must also obtain the consent of your base before routing the emails, the opportunity for you to further qualify your base.
Once the data has been collected, the constraints of the GDPR must be integrated into your data processing process. This is where the main problem lies when sending emails. Indeed, you must be able to:
For each data collected:
- Indicate the reason for this collection;
- The compulsory nature of this collection for you;
- To justify that this collection is not intended to be a discriminating criterion.
During the selection phase of your email targets:
- Indicate the reason for each filter applied to the database;
- To justify again that this filter is not discriminating;
- And finally to make sure that, at the source, your contacts are informed and have approved this treatment for the purposes that you have set for yourself.
Listening to your Internet users
The new regulation goes in this direction since you are now obliged:
- To simplify as much as possible the unsubscription process for your internet users. This unsubscription must be possible with a single click, and thus comply with the new RFC 8058 protocol. In addition, you must include the “List Unsubscribe” header in the DKIM signature (domain keys identified mail) in order to reassure the where your message came from;
- Make corrections to your database within 1 month maximum.
Stop going to SPAM
We mentioned the need to take into account the new standards imposed by the GDPR which came into force on May 26, 2018, as part of an optimization of your email campaigns. We’re now going to focus on email optimization from the point of view of routing, ISPs and adapted content. So don’t go into SPAM anymore!
At the time of over-communication, your emailing campaigns must be delivered properly. To do this, some accidents are to be avoided, and good practices to be applied.
Focus on the subject of the email
Let’s start at the beginning: the subject of your email. Note that for 62% of Internet users, the object represents 2nd trigger for opening the email (behind the recipient). It is therefore to be treated both in style and in form. Here are some best practices for improving both deliverability and open rate.
A short, clear and concise object! Prefer objects:
- Containing between 6 and 10 words;
- With a maximum of 50 characters (the best opening rates are between 28 and 39 characters). You will have improved readability in mobile mode.
A reasonably creative object:
- Special characters such as: / @ # are to be avoided;
- Capital letters and icons are also to be avoided in order not to risk classification by SPAM by ISPs;
- Particular attention must be paid to the words used and in particular the blacklisted words (PROMO, OFFER, URGENT, 100%, FLASH SALE, FREE);
- Overly spaced repetitions and syntaxes are prohibited;
- Prefer action verbs and the use of the imperative (these elements allow an average opening rate of around 20%).
An object that challenges:
- The use of personalization is recommended (First name, Last name). We note that the opening rate is improved by 3%. However, this personalization should not be systematic in order not to tire your client / prospect;
- Likewise, a recurring email object will gradually lose its opening rate. It is therefore advisable to have several impactful and efficient objects in order to alternate them judiciously;
- Play on the themes of your objects: a question? weather ? an actuality ? a teasing? timing? Your theme should allow your internet user to project themselves and identify themselves. Prefer therefore an object targeted on its universe and not on yours;
- Do not hesitate to bring up the concept of community in order to create an effect of belonging. The user will feel recognized and understood.
An object can be tested!
During the same email campaign, it is important to vary the objects and thus test different speech choices. These tests will allow you to refine the next campaigns and bring an imperative variety in this wave of ambient over-communication.
Routing is a matter of timing
The implementation of an emailing campaign must take into account the constraints of ISPs and your constraints. To do this, you should carry out a routing schedule in different waves beforehand, this in order to guarantee you a high distribution rate. This constraint actually represents a good practice since it offers you the possibility of visualizing the impact of the moment chosen for sending, the opportunity to stand out from your competitors by not routing at the same moments as them. There is a saying that the first step to having what you want is to have the courage to leave what you no longer want. So stand out!
Respect the standards
Although very little respected, there has always been a text / image ratio for your emails. This ratio must be controlled during the graphic creation of the email so as not to be the source of an incorrect delivery. The right balance is as follows: 60% text for 40% image. The counterpart of this constraint is the use of alternative banners for all of your images. So when images are blocked, text takes over at their location, allowing your email to remain readable.
The constraint associated with this ratio remains the use of a font adapted to the Web so as not to generate texts in the form of an image. Choose one of the following fonts: Arial, Tahoma, Lucida, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia.
Good KPIs ensure good routing
Your email campaigns are an opportunity for you to carry out tests of alternatives to your marketing mix for a low cost. You can thus follow the evolution of your campaigns according to the different analyzes proposed by your router or even carried out by you.
When routing your emails, here are the KPIS to follow with precision:
- Routing day and time. When the pressure is high on the same customer base, it is important to alternate routing times and thus create variety in intrusive communication;
- Distribution rate: this rate can be improved via careful processing of the database;
- Unsubscribe rate. This item should be followed very closely as part of a recurring campaign (Newsletter, Loyalty email). It will give you a very good vision of the moments during which it is advisable to envisage an overhaul, a renewal;
- Tracking the volume of the sending base and the applied segmentation;
- Opening rate: this rate must be analyzed in the light of the object used. Note here that there is no reliable way to determine the opening of an email. The system works by displaying an image hidden in the email triggering the “view” action. In the event that the internet user does not display this image, the system will not consider the opening to be effective;
- The opening rate can be weighted and refined by separating single openings from the total sum of openings (cumulative). In addition, a histogram of the openings over time will help you in setting up a send back-planning;
- The click rate for each link used. We will focus on the links to generate for conversion in the next article. This click rate is to be associated with the number of visits to the website as well as a time factor;
- Number of conversions in the context of recruitment type emails, for commercial purposes for example.
Remember to vary the messages, the objects, their length, the CTAs, the offers in order to adapt to the rhythm of your target. Just like Tuesday 10 a.m. on LinkedIn, adopting the right broadcast timing requires some more or less fruitful trials. If the newsletter format forces you to establish a quasi-military routine, other types of emails offer you the possibility of standing out and adjusting your campaigns ad infinitum.
YOUR EMAILS ALSO CHANGE THE TIME (AND LOOK)!
Your emails pass winter time
Many companies route their emails at fixed times and days, unchanged for several years. It is high time to change the customs and vary the sendings, your rate of openings or clicks will only be better.
Let’s first look at the most relevant day for sending your emails. If the most favorable day is well known (Tuesday very early of course), alternatives should be considered, especially for multiple shipments in the same week (we remind here that too much pressure on a basis of sending exhausts the Internet user and makes it inactive). The second time you send emails this week, you can definitely consider Thursday. Finally, to avoid arriving at the same time as most emails, as well as in the case of emails intended for a female target, prefer Wednesday afternoons.
If the day is important in the organization of a campaign, it is essential to also pay attention to the sending time. Several options are available to you:
- Morning – 6am: 50% of users check their emails when they wake up. Please note here that emails should be fresh, attractive and engaging for the rest of the day. In addition, these emails must include a single message in order to be quickly understood by the user;
- Morning – between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.: this is the ideal time to send an information or promotions email. Internet users will not be receptive before 9 a.m .;
- Afternoon – between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.: this is a time of day with a high opening rate. Favor here emails with offers;
- Evening – between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Internet users are more inclined at that time to make purchases and therefore to carry out a conversion. So think about personalizing your emails here in order to differentiate yourself from other competitors.
Please note that in all the cases mentioned above, one factor must be taken into account: an internet user takes an average of 1 hour before opening an email. So remember to route your emails one hour before the desired opening time.
Let’s go for a fresh … and responsive look!
Mobile optimization is a prerequisite for carrying out your various email campaigns. The time spent on this device is considerable, mainly with regard to messaging. In order to succeed in your conversion for this nomadic population, the graphic and technical production must start with the mobile version and then come to enrich themselves when switching to tablet, laptop and then desktop mode.
Two major techniques are used to ensure the correct interpretation of emails by all media: responsive design and hybrid code. Whether you use hybrid or responsive code, the email format must be between 600 and 700 pixels.
Responsive emails use fluid tables, fluid images and Media Queries to control the layout of an email across media of different sizes. Media Query is a conditional code, however some email clients do not support it.
The hybrid code allows you to create your email with percentage sizes and maximum values (max-width). This allows not to use the conditional code. The hybrid code is perfect for compatibility on any email client. For Microsoft Outlook, it is however necessary to add conditional comments specific to this platform (does not take into account the max-width).
You must take into account different imperatives more or less constraining vis-à-vis communication historically on desktop:
- Use the pre-header! This is about paying special attention to the sentence following the subject of your email. Indeed, during the preview of the email, the pre-header becomes, like the object, a decisive element in the decision to open or not the email. Avoid images as an introduction to your emails, and prefer attractive and impactful text!
- Separate text and images, except for important catch. This will allow better readability on different media. In the case of a solid color, allow 20 pixels around the text so that you can keep it as text and not as an image;
- Plan a mobile version of your landing pages optimized for mobile and tablet support. The conversion rate will be improved;
- The entirety of the images of an email must not exceed a size of 500 MB in order to load quickly;
- Make sure there is enough space between the CTA texts and the edge of the action button. Indeed, this will allow you to envisage the appearance of the text even when the images are hidden. Note also that a too small CTA will be difficult to access for the mobile device;
- Prefer the use of two or three colors maximum in your emails, one in front anyway take precedence over the others. The secondary colors will serve as contrasts to the first;
- When using a background, mainly choose shades of white and gray for better readability of the texts;
- Finally, don’t forget the text / image ratio to guarantee high deliverability.
Often overlooked, the footer of your email is also important since it must allow the user to quickly identify several possible actions:
- Access to social networks: your communication will go beyond a simple email, and will offer you a gateway to your various pages on social networks;
- Unsubscription and management of sending preferences (opt-in). Apply tomorrow’s imperatives now.
- Reading the legal notices and PNNS.
We could see that optimizing emails is a painstaking job that requires compliance with certain rules. However, don’t forget that the best emails are those that have a high added value for the target they are aimed at: take an interest in your prospects and they will be interested in you!