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Improving Email Delivery Through Loyalty Programs

Anytime you send an email for your brand, you impact your email deliverability in some way. When you run a customer loyalty program, chances are you send out more email to your program members and with each email you send, your deliverability becomes stronger (hopefully!).

Those who have mastered the art of deliverability will pick up several good rules of thumb along the way to keep their deliverability strong. Here’s a few that we’ve picked up in the realm of managing customer loyalty programs via email.

Double Opt-In Confirmation

Cards

Loyalty programs involve a lot more than a keychain full of cards.

Customer loyalty programs are designed for both long-term retention and satisfaction of your customer base. It’s worth taking the extra time to use double opt-in confirmation when they sign up to ensure you have their email address recorded correctly.

This is even more important if you offer a special incentive to sign up as you may experience a higher percentage of fake email addresses at signups. Fakes or mistyped addresses will affect your deliverability if you continue to send them email.

Implementing a double opt-in approach will help ensure you’re reaching your customers at their correct email address since they’ll have to verify it before they receive any messages.

Send Regular Updates

Going too long without sending an update or sending updates too frequently can affect your deliverability. How? If you wait long periods of time between email sends, it leaves you at risk of building up a mass of email addresses which have been changed, deactivated, or are no longer used by their owner. This results in a flurry of hard and soft bounces.

Sending more regularly will allow you to find these addresses at a smaller dose at a time, limiting the impact on your deliverability.

You also run the risk of people that originally opted in completely forgetting they did so, resulting in them unsubbing or hitting the SPAM button. Humans are busy, so it’s a great idea to send them a welcome email soon after they sign up with a regular sending cadence after that.

However, if you send too often you may find your recipients getting burnt out from receiving your email leading to higher unsubscribe rates and/or marking your emails as spam.

You’ll need to find the right frequency to email your customers, but somewhere between every one, three, or six months might work for you.  Remember that a rolling time window unique to each user will also help to ensure a consistent deliverability instead of surprising mailbox providers by sending a burst of mail every few months.

Separate “From” Addresses

Your email reputation is key to deliverability and is tied to both your IP addresses and the from address / domain name you use. The domain name used to be the primary element within the “from” address, but now with Gmail tabs, even the local part of the “from” address is used to separate mail streams.

Brands should be considering separating full “from” addresses between various types of mail. For instance, you may want to use hello@primary.example.com as the “from” address for welcome and activation emails, use updates@alerts.example.com for periodic updates, and use news@campaign.example.com for any bulk or campaign mail.

This will help separate those streams of mail by both subdomains of the domain name and the local part of systems like Gmail tabs.

Keys For Engagement

As always, engagement should be a key factor in making decisions about your email program, but here are a few thoughts for how you should consider engagement with loyalty programs specifically:

  • You may often find some of your highest engaged users within your email loyalty programs. Use your open and click engagement to spot those and make sure to enable them to become brand advocates through social or other means.
  • Lack of opens or clicks doesn’t always mean the consumer does not want your mail as it does often times with bulk or campaign based mail. Just be sure to provide adequate preference centers to allow the consumer to unsubscribe or change the frequency of mailing as always.
  • To find out if these people who do not open or click want to stay engaged, offer some type of deal, promotion, or activity for people to re-engage with your brand before removing them from your list for inactivity.
  • Make sure your loyalty program makes it obvious what the benefit of being a member is. More than 80% of people do not know the benefits of being part of a loyalty program and if they didn’t know what they were signing up for, they might end up marking you as spam.

Follow these few tips and you’ll have loyal, engaged customers in no time!


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Whois: Mike Veilleux

Mike Veilleux is the Director of Product Management for Dyn, a cloud-based Internet Performance company that helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikeVeilleux and @Dyn.