July 5, 2024

Mastering Inbox Placement

Mastering Inbox Placement

The tide is turning against bad email senders. That’s not bad emails, but platforms and senders that continually flaunt the rules and keep sending emails to customers who aren’t engaged or worse, who don’t actually exist anymore…

ALL the ESP (Email Service Providers) are trying to reduce the amount of email broadcasts, they’ve also got an eye on privacy and it's expected that like Apple, other ESPs will start to auto-open all images to stop open tracking.

Airship this year will send 1.2bn emails. In our CEO’s opinion, about twice as many as needed to get pretty much the same result OR actually that less would get a better result as not everyone follows the advice below… 

So, let’s get into it… 

What to expect from this blog:

  • Tips on improving your inbox placement
  • How and why to clean your database
  • Where Airship can support your targeted broadcasts

The Email Trifecta: Opens, Clicks, and Conversions

We all know the focus of email marketing: open rates, click rates, and conversions. But how do you keep these metrics healthy?

  1. Keep your lists clean

Keep spam traps at bay by cleaning your email lists. This involves removing inactive addresses and avoiding spam traps that could harm your reputation as a sender.

[A spam trap is where an ESP will purposely leave an email address live when a customer stops using it. The only way to stop these is to send Cleaning Emails.]

  1. Emailing After Key Interactions

Timing is everything. Send emails after meaningful interactions to keep your audience engaged and your metrics soaring. Whether you follow up after a booking is made or introduce yourself after a WiFi interaction, make sure you keep your audience engaged from the start. Automated email keeps your IP address healthy. The ESPs measure IP reputation based on customer engagement as it hits the inbox. Automated emails that are context-driven deliver higher rates of engagement. 

  1. Open Rates:

Apple Mail auto-opens images in the background of your emails so it may be skewing your results. This means you may see an inflated open rate for your Apple Mail recipients - whether they actually open the email or not.

When you are reading open rates around (benchmark is around 50%) it’s really actually about 20% but the whole industry is still using open rates as a metric. 

Your ‘From Address’ Matters

Your email ‘From address’ matters more than you think. Email service providers don’t favour ‘No-reply’ addresses, which can hinder your ability to reach the customer’s inbox. We recommend using a real name or a recognisable address to build a connection with your audience, like venue@brand.co.uk or staff@brand.co.uk. This personalises it for your customer and helps your email land in the best possible inbox tab.

Cleaning Emails

Cleaning emails are crucial. If your customers haven't interacted in a while, it's time to re-engage them. Airship’s golden rule? Target those who haven't engaged in the last 90 days. Check in with a tempting incentive, like a £10 Toggle voucher.

We understand that this might feel a little heavy and 6 months might be more palatable but if a customer stops opening emails then trying to win them back sooner will yield better results. 

How to set up a retention email

Engagement Milestones

Airship automatically categorises your customers into milestones based on their email engagement. This allows for precise targeting in your campaigns. We pre-tick unengaged and dormant milestones (customers who haven’t interacted with you in at least 6 months). While sending emails in bulk can be tempting, targeting unengaged customers can slow delivery and hurt your chances of landing in the inbox. Instead, consider segmenting your list and sending in smaller, more targeted batches.

Spam traps and how to avoid them

Welcome Journeys and Data Collection

First impressions matter. Whether it's a direct sign-up or through a passive method like WiFi sign-ups, make sure your welcome journey is on point. Using bounce-back emails helps to validate addresses and clean your list immediately, ensuring fewer bounces and better inbox placement in future campaigns.

Best practice for your Welcome Journey

How to set up a Welcome email 

Automations: Your Engagement Engine

Automations help encourage engagement and venue visits. Setting up automated email journeys based on your customer’s interactions can help boost your engagement and customer retention. Offering exclusive treats and deals also helps to keep customers coming back into your venues on repeat visits! It’s a great way to keep your audience engaged without manual effort.


In conclusion 

We do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting your emails delivered but you need to be responsible (and realistic) marketeers. Hanging onto a big number of opted-in customers is a false positive if only half of them are actually engaging. 

We fully expect all the ESPs to continue to clamp down on bad senders, so keep your customer data flowing into the top of the funnel and don’t sweat the drop-offs. It doesn't mean they are no longer customers, it just means that they are no longer engaged with your emails.

See how it works for yourself

The Joiner’s Kitchen is our fictional restaurant with a very real digital guest journey. Head over there, sign up, and experience the basics of what Airship can do for yourself.

Check it out