Graymail: It’s Not Always “Black & White” When It Comes to Email!
Graymail is basically mail that is sent from a real sender to subscribers who have opted in at some point, but it has a lower than expected level of engagement.
First, we'll assume that you're following best practices with list acquisition and the subscribers who wind up on your list actually WANT to be there!
Second, we'll assume that you were clear on what type of content they'd be receiving, at the very least, in what niche... In other words, if they signed up for your real estate information and you suddenly start sending them health and fitness offers, there's a disconnect.
So what do you do if you find yourself with some of your mail being categorized as "graymail"?
Here are a few pointers...
1. Send wanted mail!
This sounds kind of obvious, but you'd be surprised ';-) Some things to test include frequency, personalization vs. non personalization, email length, use of images or not (and how much). Pay attention to what has worked well in the past and do more of that. For instance, ask for interaction such as replying to a message, forwarding to a friend, etc.
2. Pay attention to the dead weight.
We've talked about this many times in the past, but get rid of the dead weight. GONE are the days where you could just leave someone on your list forevermore (until they 'buy' or 'die' some used to say!). Get rid of the complainers, the unengaged subscribers (3-6 months is considered a good range for 'engaged'. If they've not opened anything in over a year, they're probably uninterested).
3. Update your email program.
Many of us have been doing email for a decade or more now. We have kind of lived by the philosophy of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Well that's not the way it goes with technology!!! You've got to stay on top of both the technology and the psychology that changes over time.
For example, look at all of your sign up pages (a great time to do this is if/when you migrate over to our new email software. You'll want to forward to the new forms, so it's a good time to do an internal audit). Make sure that you're setting the right expectations such as type and frequency, for example.
This is also a great time to look at your initial autoresponder series. When someone first signs up, they are most interested and engaged. You've got 7-14 days to "hook" them, or 'indoctrinate' them, if you will. Use these to reinforce the value you bring, invite them to connect with you by replying to your messages, joining a Facebook group, etc.
4. Opt out process.
It doesn't have to be all or nothing! Give subscribers a way to stay engaged at the level they are comfortable with. In other words, if they want to get your newsletters, but not your promotional offers, let them opt out of the latter. (Yes, you can occasionally, send offers in newsletters including your own or affiliates as long as you're true to the newsletter!)
For over a decade Heather Seitz used email marketing to build successful companies and had to solve the biggest barrier to consistent profitability: deliverability. Today, she is the Co-Founder and CEO of Email Delivered.
For more information on graymail, visit http://www.emaildelivered.com/graymail/. Remember to sign up for the FREE Email Delivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources for email marketers.
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