As outlined in Part I of Inbox Reserve, “Why Email must Reverse Engineer Social Now,” future engagement metrics and delivery patterns will be based on how subscribers’ social networks interact with a given brand. Disclaimer: The strategies outlined below are congruent and/or complementary with advanced “opt-in” best practices. It is safe to say that behavioral targeted messaging may not achieve the same level of granular social activity that a contemporary preference center would.
Inbox Reserve II: Socialized Subject Lines
Using fresh social data points gathered from an advanced preference center, future marketing based messaging will place your friends’ names or actions in the subject lines of emails associated with a given brand. These personalized subject lines are a key tool for increasing your brand’s ability to engage subscribers, dramatically increase open rates and manufacture a better delivery reputation. When you have targeted promotions that build value around this concept, connoisseurs of your brand will flock to this preference center. Once there, they can opt-in to receive real-time notifications (or weekly digests, if they prefer) that tell them when members of their social ecosystem have taken “definitive” action involving a given brand. Moreover, once permission is granted, subscribers will also see their friends’ images dynamically inserted into a well-designed email creative. They’ll be able to click on the images and ask their friends’ opinions of a product before making a purchase. Here are two “plain” examples of future subject lines based on social activity within your network:
· Real-Time-Notification: Mark from your network just purchased Sees Candies at 30% off…
· Weekly Digest: 14 members of your network purchased Sees Candies? Find out who!
Inbound, highly transparent subject lines of this nature are inherently credible. Their success further supports the theory that curious subscribers are also the most engaged. Informed subscribers who choose to receive these types of messages are far more likely to engage because these notification are about your network first and the brand second. Therefore, these subject lines seem more valuable and relevant to the subscribers.
Ever get a notification from Facebook that a certain friend of yours commented on your status? You are much more likely to react positively to that message as opposed to a “brand first” subject line offering you a product at 30% off. Moreover, you are less likely to click the “report spam” button because you are more loyal to the people in your network.
Reduced Spam Complaints
The most compelling reasons for brands to earn network permission from subscribers is that it dramatically reduces spam complaints. Socialized email notifications are important because they prioritize a subscriber’s network first and the brand second. First, it’s far more palatable for a subscriber to open an email message with a friend’s name in the subject line and a friends’ picture in the creative because it creates a perception of relevance and allows for a far more customized experience. For example, if I were a subscriber and received such a message, I would probably refrain from clicking the “report spam” button because my main focus is on my network. Secondly, personalized subject lines will cause your open rates and engagement index to skyrocket, enhancing your brand’s deliverability reputation. ISPs will take notice of reduced spam complaints and brands will begin to see a higher inbox placement rate, resulting from more positive actions taken with this type of email.
Notifications and creatives of this nature are packed with relevancy. Testimonials from members of a social network will influence subscribers’ purchasing decisions, which will drastically diminish the chances of a user clicking the “report spam” button. The benefit is increased engagement, as network buddies chat about potential purchases. This leads to more delivered mail to the inbox. Second Disclaimer: It’s important that we try not to associate this concept with Facebook page suggestions, simply because there is a monetary investment element in place here. Members of your social network invested quality time in making a determination about a product or service and gave explicit permission to opt-in and receive exclusive messaging of this type. So, it’s unfair to be skeptical because of earlier social media spam-related growing pains.
In Part III of Inbox Reserve, we’ll discuss the challenges brands will have in leveraging an advanced preference center and share some of the immediate benefits to any given brand; which include added credibility, reduced costs and subscriber validation.
Takeaway: Marketing emails will move from two dimensional, to three dimensional. The dimensions include not only the brand and the subscriber, but the subscribers network as well.