You can send all the emails you want, but if they never get delivered you might as well line the bird cage with ‘em.
Only 84% of email gets delivered, according to Return Path’s Email Intelligence Report. And commercial email…the kind sent by a business like your to a potential customer like the bride or groom…is even more likely to end up in the Spam Folder.
Email marketing is popular with wedding professionals because it’s easy, it’s fast and it’s FREE, but it’s only going to get results if your email actually lands in the inbox.
Follow these tips to make sure your email survives the trip through cyberspace.
1. ALWAYS get permission to email.
You know that juicy list of emails you get after a bridal show? Don’t email them unless they have specifically agreed to receive information from you either verbally or at your booth.
That’s right: don’t email them.
Even if those couples “agreed” to receive emails by signing on the dotted line when registering for the bridal show, they didn’t read the fine print, and they didn’t agree to get bombarded with emails from every vendor at the show.
When your unsolicited email ends up in the bride’s inbox, she recognizes it as SPAM.
Spam complaints and unopened emails send a message to Gmail and Yahoo Mail that your emails are spam. The next time you send an email you go straight to the Spam Folder, do not pass go.
Make sure that you only email people who expect to hear from you, such as brides and grooms who have contacted you for information or who have agreed to sign up for your email list. Which brings us to #2…
2. Use an email marketing service to send mass emails.
An email marketing service allows you to send personalized emails to many recipients that actually land in the the inbox.
If you send an email to more than 5 people, email clients such as AOL will block your email immediately. When AOL blocks your email to one of their members, you can end up in the Spam Folder for all of them.
Always use an email service known for high deliverability, such as Aweber, when sending mass emails to make sure they get through. Add double opt-in confirmation for an extra confirmation that your subscribers want to receive your emails to improve your deliverability even more.
3. Clearly explain to your email subscribers exactly what to expect in your emails in your first welcome email.
When someone signs up for your email list, the first email they get should explain what they’re going to get, how often they’re going to get it, and how to unsubscribe if they don’t want to get it anymore. This way there are no surprises.
When brides and grooms know what they’re getting up front they are much less likely to hit the “This is spam!” alarm button, and your future emails stay out of the Spam Folder.
4. Don’t use words that trigger the spam filter.
Ever notice that spam emails tend to contain the same words that are a dead giveaway for their spammy content? Words like, “Nigeria,” “Viagara” and “Buy now!”
You’re not the only one who noticed. Gmail, Yahoo Mail and the other email browsers have caught on, too.
If your emails contain any of these spam trigger words, your email earns spam points. Get enough of these points and your email is banished to the Spam Folder.
NOTE: Some of the words on the spam trigger list aren’t obvious, so be sure to check Hubspot’s Ultimate List of Spam Trigger Words to make sure you avoid them.
5. Avoid attachments that can keep your email from being delivered.
Attachments are an easy way to spread viruses, so email clients often send emails from unfamiliar senders that contain attachments straight to Spam. Instead of attaching them, share links to files and images stored on your website or through a service like Dropbox.
6. Don’t send an email that contains only an image.
Another trick spammers use is sending emails that contain only an image that email clients can’t read and detect as spam.
If you’re going to send an image in your email, make sure you also include some text to indicate its contents. This will keep you out of Spam.
7. Ask brides and grooms to whitelist your email or add you to their address book.
A simple way to make sure your couples get your emails is to ask them to whitelist your email address or add you to their address book. This sends a direct message to the email client that your emails are welcome and expected.
Email is a powerful way to follow up, build a relationship and eventually book brides and grooms, but only when they land safely in their inbox.