Consumer expectations are higher than ever for marketers to deliver exceptional digital experiences, create personalized interactions, and adhere to privacy standards.
With these ever-increasing expectations, good email marketing has become an even more delicate blend of both art and science—from creating beautiful email designs that are ADA-compliant, to thoughtfully crafting your IP warming strategy to ensure those beautiful emails land in your customers’ inboxes. Batch-and-blast emails (and buying lists from random vendors) won’t cut it anymore.
Not taking the necessary steps to set yourself up for success when preparing to send your first emails out of a new ESP can have some serious consequences. Not only do you risk negatively affecting your brand’s reputation through poor email designs or emails that don’t render; you also risk your online reputation which can ultimately end up with your IP being blacklisted—barring you from sending emails at all.
These situations can be avoided if you know what to prepare for. Below are 3 common pitfalls to avoid before your first send out of Pardot:
1. Sending emails to non-opted-in or invalid email subscribers.
Having a clean email list with verified email addresses in place is essential. This helps decrease bounce rates and improve inbox placements—ultimately ensuring that your emails are actually being delivered. Tools like Validity can help validate and verify email addresses to reduce the risk of landing in a spam folder or being a black-listed sender.
Ensuring all subscribers are opted-in to receive promotional emails from your organization is a Pardot requirement. Sending to opted-in subscribers only decreases your unsubscribe rate and spam complaint rate. ISPs like Gmail and Yahoo determine your sender reputation by your IP address metrics: bounce rate, deliverability rate, engagement rate, complaint rate. Having a solid opt-in strategy in place—which can include things like creating a blog or email signup form on your website—allows you to grow your email lists and capture opt-ins in a compliant and ethical way.
2. Not testing your emails before hitting “Send.”
Testing is vital for email deliverability and inbox placement. When testing your emails, you should not only review your content for typos and grammar—but you should also be testing to ensure all of your links are properly working and that your email is working as you expect it to. This means you also need to test how your email will render across all email clients—like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo. Pardot’s Advanced Email Analytics tool has advanced email rendering capabilities configured in the platform, and users can quickly preview spam analysis and subject lines.*
Case in point: a retail bank we were helping with had a great email design—but in testing, we learned that the email was not ADA-compliant. In Gmail, the font was too light to meet Gmail’s ADA compliance requirements, which risked deliverability. Since 43% of the retail bank's clients were using Gmail, we darkened the font color in the email to ensure inbox placement. Catching small details like this when testing can make a big difference in the overall success of your email campaigns.
3. Not warming your IP address before sending your email campaign.
Pardot can provision your organization with a dedicated IP address or a shared IP address depending on your organization's requirements. By having a dedicated IP address, you manage your IP's reputation for deliverability. It is essential to consider email volume to scale communication to your subscriber base. Let's say you have a subscriber base of 600,000, and you need to deploy an email message to the entire list. If you click “Send” to the 600,000, you will likely end up as a black-listed sender.
For IP Warming, we recommend ramping up your sending volume in smaller batches over a period of time to sustain volume sending. For example, it’s best to start sending emails to your most engaged subscribers in lower daily volumes, and amping up volume to additional audiences based on your metrics. Partnering with experts like Lev can be especially helpful to ensure you are following best practices when going through IP warming.
By avoiding these email pitfalls, you can easily maintain your deliverability and inbox placement. At the end of the day, customers can't engage with emails that don’t make it through to their inbox.
Now that we’ve talked about some common pitfalls to avoid when preparing to launch email campaigns out of Pardot, we’ll be diving into some real-life quick-win campaigns you can launch with the power of Pardot and Sales Cloud in our next blog.
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*Advanced Email Analytics are available to Pardot Plus, Advanced, and Premium, and are available in Growth for an additional cost.