Tag Archives: Mobile Marketing

4 Resources for Your Team to Get Up to Speed on Mobile Marketing

The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed at whatever you do. And, that includes mobile marketing. The investment in learning and training will pay off. That's because it will provide a way for you and your team. The result will be better decisions about new technology investment and effective strategic actions that deliver results.

Here are four mobile marketing resources I've found useful but have no affiliation with except that I incorporate them in my own company to enhance our efforts:

1. Research Reports

There is a wealth of information available from research firms that produce annual and quarterly research reports on mobile marketing. Research firms, such as Global Information Inc., Spendedge, Forrester, and others, devote considerable expertise and energy to collecting qualitative and quantitative data. Buying one or more of these reports makes more financial sense than doing all the research ourselves. Many of the mobile marketing reports available for purchase include specific statistics that can inform and guide decision-making around where to invest marketing dollars. The research keeps us current on what consumers think about the mobile environment and aware of new technology. It also provides insights into their mobile behavior and preferences.

2. Swrve

This mobile marketing resource company also provides access to a comprehensive library of past and current materials about mobile marketing. Their collection includes webinars, white papers, and video content to direct your mobile marketing effort even if you don't choose to use their products.

For example, their webinars include measuring customer satisfaction in a mobile world, mobile ROI and the first-time user experience, and how to test and release new mobile features. The focus on video content makes this mobile marketing resource particularly effective. My team finds the videos easy to follow and they retain more. Also, numerous white papers deliver best practices that can be directly implemented.

3. Amazon

Although I enjoy all the digital resources available, I'm still an avid reader. I believe books are a great way to absorb the necessary knowledge and skills. I regularly visit sites like Amazon to find out about the latest mobile marketing books to continue enhancing my education in this area and encourage my team to do the same. Just plugging in the search term, "mobile marketing," reveals over 4,000 books and e-reader content that is readily available.

There are handbooks, textbooks, manuals, and guides from well-known mobile marketing specialists and researchers. Plus, you can focus on one type of mobile marketing or enjoy a wider picture of the mobile environment, including the latest consumer and business trends related to the mobile world. Some books even feature key issues related to mobile marketing and potential ways to solve these challenges for your business.

4. Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

This is a global non-profit trade association that has over 800 member companies from fifty countries. This is an ideal resource for learning from each other and sharing on-the-job insights. Plus, this collaborative resource environment can help propel the mobile marketing world and drive a higher standard of best practices.  Members include brand marketers, marketing agencies, mobile marketing technology firms, and media companies.

Although this mobile marketing resource does cost money to join, including an annual membership, it does give a considerable return in the form of education, research and insights, events and networking, case studies, programs, tools, and more. The depth of information available to leverage can be particularly useful as it provides a global perspective that is critical to more businesses that want to serve a larger audience.

More Mobile Marketing Resources

However, these four mobile marketing resources are just the start of what you can find to help you and your team improve your mobile marketing strategies. Also, online courses, conferences, trade publications, blogs, social media discussion groups, and forums are other resources to consider that are made to fit your time and budget. I make time each week to study mobile marketing resources so that I can further refine my own mobile marketing strategy and optimize the incredible results that are out there.

Did you know 65% of marketers have no official mobile strategy? Don't let that be you. We have some helpful guides to started.


7 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Mobile Campaigns

Mobile marketing continues to be a critical strategy as statistics show how much consumers rely on their mobile devices to research, interact, and shop. According to Statista, there are over 3.5 billion unique mobile internet users. And, comScore noted that users spend an average of 69 percent of their media time on smartphones. Lastly, mobile devices will drive 80 percent of global internet usage as reported by Zenith.

With so much opportunity to reach your target audience, mobile marketing tops the marketing strategy list. However, it's not an absolute you will achieve success with your mobile marketing strategy. Many brands have made mobile marketing mistakes like these seven misses:

Mistake #1: Optimizing Landing Pages But Not Mobile Ads

The first mobile marketing mistake is to not apply an optimization strategy to everything you do. While your website, social media content, and landing pages are optimized, there may be an area you forgot. And, that area is where you actually may be investing more money. That is, mobile ads. With the amount of money that goes into purchasing mobile ads, you want to make sure you optimize the content for maximum reach.

For mobile PPC ads, don't forget to optimize your ad copy, including using search ad device targeting. By providing mobile searchers with notification that your mobile site is optimized for iOS or Android, they will happily choose you to shorten their search.

Mistake #2: Mobile Campaign Links to Nowhere

While it seems obvious that you should check every link you use in your mobile campaign, brands often skip this task in the rush to launch. However, by not checking links, you defeat the purpose of your campaign. When users click on the links in your mobile campaign and they get an error message, you've just hurt your conversion rate and tarnished your reputation. Plus, if your competition has done their due diligence on mobile campaign links, then you may have just lost those conversions forever.

Always test your mobile campaigns links for dead pages and correct them before launching your mobile campaign.

Mistake #3: Not Emphasizing Your Mobile App

Often, companies don't promote their mobile app as they could be. Instead, they think that the app's appearance in major app stores is enough. However, these companies are missing out on the opportunity to have more app users by not pitching their apps on mobile web pages, reminding users of the benefits of this app.

In reality, there are already thousands of similar apps in the app stores. No user wants to sift through all of them to find an app. They want the app to come to them and make it easy to download and use.

By adding the app to your mobile landing pages and then having it link directly to where users can download it, you'll be able to get more traction from your app investment while adding more brand value for the customer.

Mistake #4: Making it Complicated to Opt-In

Everything about what you do on mobile has to be as easy as possible for the audience, but many companies still complicate things such as the opt-in process. At one point, the answer seemed to be to offer QR codes. However, that seems to be a mistake because it's still too complicated. Plus, this strategy assumes that consumers have a QR scanner on their phone or are willing to locate, download, and learn how to use one. Yet, it doesn't mean you have to forego the QR opt-in method.

Instead, keep the opt-in process simple for users. Offer an SMS opt-in as well as the QR one so that consumers have a choice for what they would like to use.

Mistake #5: Not Providing Enough Information

There is a false assumption among some companies that mobile marketing means limited content. Therefore, these companies tend to leave out critical information that customers are looking for when interacting with mobile platforms. This missing information includes specific direction on how to participate in a program or campaign event.

Don't forget to give the customer every incentive to participate. Give them social media buttons, links to landing pages, and even in-store signage with offline options to join in on what you want them to do. Additionally, make sure that the call to action clearly explains the value to the customer. That way, they understand the incentive for acting on what you are telling them to do.

Mistake #6: Not Creating an Omnichannel Experience

Many companies are still putting their mobile marketing efforts in a silo. By doing so, they are losing opportunities to deepen the interaction and connection with customers and prospects. This can also mean lost conversions for those customers that may choose to take a unique journey to reach their purchase decision. When you put mobile marketing all by itself, there may be customers that don't want to close the deal on that channel. Instead, they may want to continue the journey on another channel.

Keep the conversation going by creating an omnichannel experience rather than just a mobile experience. Learn how to move traffic between your various touch points, including knowing what to say to influence their continued journey with your brand. Personalized messaging and easy access to the touch points can enhance this omnichannel experience.

Mistake #7: Ignoring Privacy and Data Regulations

Most of the mistakes related to compliance with privacy and data are by accident rather than disregard. This is because the laws are continually changing in terms of data, privacy, and security. Companies do not regularly review current laws related to mobile marketing tactics, such as email, unsolicited texts, and data storage. You don't want to incur fines and penalties. Also, it would be challenging to face a tarnished brand. It will take a long time for a company to recover from their lack of knowledge and respect for the mobile regulatory environment.

Instead, take the time to continually review the current regulations related to the information you can collect. This will effectively shape how you can interact with customers and prospects on this channel. This builds trust with your target audience, which is so important to today's omnichannel presence.

What Smartphone Users’ Mobile Mindset Means for Brands

Feel naked without your smartphone? You’re not alone. That phenomena — and the move to smaller and smaller screens — has pushed marketers to adapt their practices and technologies to provide a mobile-optimized experience. That much isn’t new. But as consumers have grown more and more reliant on their smartphones, a mobile-optimized site isn’t enough. You have to reshape the experience to fit the new mobile-only behavior.

When consumers pick up and unlock their phone, they enter a distinct mobile mindset, where whatever purpose they’re looking to fulfill, they expect comfort and escapism. This new mobile mindset affects the content they’re like to consume on their mobile device, and subsequently, has a huge impact on their buying behavior.

That is the main conclusion of The Truth Behind Smartphone Behavior, Clicktale’s latest research with The Wharton School. Our in-depth analysis of mobile taps, scrolls, zooms, and user journeys of more than a million consumers will bring you up-to-scratch on what guides smartphone buying behavior.

Entertain Me

When users are in their mobile mindset, they don’t want challenging content or want to think too much. Which means that consumers are less likely to engage with scientific content or anything that is simply factual. Instead, they seek entertainment and relaxation. Our research found that, on a mobile device, consumers are 35 percent more likely to engage with feature articles and sports than hard news.

The Need for Speed

Most marketers know that the mobile experience needs to be slick in terms of speed. Google research recently found that 53 percent of visits are abandoned by users if the page doesn’t load within three seconds. Three seconds!

And our research found that the need for speed extends to user journeys and the content itself. The journey needs to be as short as possible. Also keep in mind that fast and functional content on brand websites or apps, including clearance items, coupons, and store locators tended to fare much better in terms of engagement than long-form content, such as Q&As or long features, for example.

Convenience, Convenience, Convenience

Because consumers are in a relaxed (borderline lazy) mobile mindset when they interact with their smartphones, convenience is everything. In fact, it’s so important that nearly a third (31 percent) of consumers admit they are happy to pay more for a product or service if the mobile shopping experience is better. Millennials especially place great importance on mobile experience, with 43 percent saying they would pay more for something provided brands give them a five-star shopping experience. Mobile users are even happy to pay more in shipping fees than desktop users ($3.5 vs $3.3 respectively).

Image that shows shipping cost acceptable per device

Building the Mobile Marketing Mindset

So, the three key takeaways from the research for marketers looking to improve the customer experience on mobile are: Make it entertaining, make it easy, and make it quick. But more than that, the research shows the importance of understanding the intent behind consumer decisions on mobile devices. In my experience, marketers are far too focused on metrics such as conversion rate and cart abandonment to notice what really makes their customers tick.

Technology is partly to blame for that trend. Analytics on conversion rates, page clicks, social media impressions, and the like have been around for years now. The opportunity today is to move to  experience analytics — where it’s possible to gain a much deeper understanding of customer intent through the capture of app taps, scrolls, zooms, pinches, and more — and then use data science to interpret the data’s meaning. Turn the pixelated view you have of your customers into crystal clarity.

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018: Do you know where your personal data is?

It’s past your bedtime. Do you know where your private personal data is? Do you know who has access to that data? Your answers are probably ‘No’. That’s because you’ve handed over a lot of private data to service providers on the internet and trusted that they’re protecting you and that data. Recent events have shown that’s not always the case and a new law in California aims to fix that.

New legislation will add significant privacy protections for Californians and place new burdens on businesses. While the new legislation applies only to residents of California, most businesses will have customers in the state and do collect some level of private information from customers, so this legislation has broad implications for marketers even outside the state.

Earlier this year law makers in California introduced sweeping consumer privacy legislation. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 unanimously passed in the California State Assembly and Senate, was signed into law by the Governor and will go into effect in 2020. The Act is the most sweeping consumer privacy legislation ever passed in the United States and gives consumers broad control over personal information collected by businesses. The law is not specific to any one digital channel, but spans all channels where personal information is collected, stored and used by marketers.

Californians will have the following rights under the law:

  • Right to know what personal information is being collected and whether it is sold or disclosed and to whom
  • The right to say no to the sale of personal information
  • The right to access their personal information
  • The right to equal service and price when privacy rights are exercised

Businesses have enjoyed great freedom in how they collect and use consumers' private information. Consumers have had little recourse when their private information is compromised. Recent high-profile incidents involving private consumer data collected by marketers in the digital realm have rattled users of social media and other internet services. Data breaches exposed millions of consumers' credit information. Consumers' social media data was misused by Cambridge Analytica. Users' trust of these services is eroding.

The law will enact several requirements which will directly impact how marketers interact with consumers in California and manage their personal information across a broad range of marketing media. These requirements include:

  • Inform customers at the point of collection what personal information will be collected
  • Allow consumers free access to their personal information and make the information available in a portable and readily usable format that can be transmitted to another service
  • Delete a consumer's personal information on request
  • Disclose on request personal information collected, the purpose for collecting or selling personal information, and any third parties with which personal information was shared
  • Honor consumers' requests to opt-out of having their personal information sold to third parties
  • Provide a prominent "Do Not Sell My Personal Information" link on the homepage to facilitate the consumer opt-out process
  • Provide the same level of service and price even when a consumer chooses to exercise their rights under the Act

When the Act goes into effect in 2020 marketers must be ready to comply, with new procedures, processes and customer facing tools. Companies will also need to decide if they will treat California consumers differently from those outside California.

The law will be enforced by the Attorney General of California, and the Act creates a "Consumer Privacy Fund" to offset costs of enforcing the Act. Consumers will also have a private right of action if companies fail to adequately protect their personal information under the requirements of the Act. Penalties for data breaches are also laid out in the Act.

This legislation, and others like the recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, reflect a rising tide of personal data protection for consumers. The message from these enactments is clear: consumers must maintain primary control over their own personal information and businesses must provide access, transparency and strong safeguards to protect consumers' personal information.

Marketers should study this new legislation and start planning now on how to comply. 2020 will approach quickly, and businesses that are not ready to comply may be subject to penalties if they don't meet the requirements of the Act.

Geolocation-Based Marketing in 2017: The Impact on Businesses

The ongoing use of mobile devices by consumers means that companies have a much better way of tracking where their customers are going. Knowing where they are thanks to geolocation technology means that a new marketing opportunity has emerged that can maximize the return you invest in marketing. Now, companies can leverage geolocation-based marketing to reach out with personalized, local messaging, promotions, and other strategies designed to raise leads and encourage impulse purchases.

A New Language

The marketing language has changed with the introduction of geolocation. First, there is geosocial networking. Consumers commonly use this to check in from their current location on social media sites like Facebook or Foursquare. Second, there are location-based services. Consumers leverage this service to learn what is nearby like a restaurant, shop, or gas station. Also, marketers can offer promotions or messages at just the right time. That's because they have each mobile device's geographic position.

Then, there is what's known as geofencing. This is a marketing tactic that involves putting a virtual perimeter out there. When people enter that with their mobile devices, they then receive specific alerts, messages, or promotions.

Who is Using Geolocation-Based Marketing?

The Location Based Marketing Association generated an infographic from research conducted by The Pew Center that illustrated just how widespread this type of marketing has become due to the increased use of mobile and social location services among consumers. Their findings included the fact that 58% of adults with smartphones have used location-based services while 55% of these have used it for directions or recommendations.

With the majority of adults now using smartphones, there is the potential that more people of all ages and backgrounds will adopt some type of location service or feature. Companies and consumers all over the world use geolocation services. Therefore, this means more opportunities for marketers.

Geolocation: An Evolving Marketing Process

It is also important to understand how technology furthers geolocation services. Sensors are an integral component. This includes Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, microchips, and sensors and microchips that power near-field communications (NFC). It's this technology that also enables mobile payments. There are also geofences, which incorporate technology like GPS, WiFi, electromagnetic fields or RFID.

Beyond technology, marketers still have to be aware of other factors if they want the technology to be effective. That means understanding where your customers are coming from and where they are headed. You'll also need to figure out what gets their attention and admiration. All the technology in the world identifying where a customer does not matter unless the marketer has the context for the various types of experiences that customers go through, it won't yield results. As the technology evolves, a marketer must still be that human point of context that can integrate that very necessary perspective about behavior and customer expectations. An Immediate Impact

The real impact is in the benefits that this marketing strategy is providing to companies of all sizes and across multiple industries. Here are some of the key ways you can gain an advantage quickly:

  • Social media sites offer location-based searches that allow you to find prospects by city, region, or country. This is ideal when you have a physical location and want to draw customers to your business. Targeted marketing messages are sent to these prospects. These include a special or promotion as an incentive.
  • You can receive an alert when customers are in a certain area. This allows you to interact with them. Customers like to know that you are interested in what they are doing. This can quickly increase the engagement level with them, especially if you can tie some reward to it. When they are walking into your store, use a geolocation alert you and send them a greeting with timed promotions or a coupon to increase the chances of them buying while there. Even beyond a purchase then, it can also encourage them to come back again in the future.
Long-Term Benefits Then, there are advantages that can be achieved over time:
  • While the ability to incite impulse decisions is a great benefit, the results don't have to always be immediate to get your ROI. For example, the geolocation data leads to a profile of buying habits. This profile shapes future marketing campaigns. This profile can also include dates so that you know when to follow-up with certain customers. An analytics platform assists with developing this profile.
  • Other information that comes from the geolocation data an tell you where they went in your store and how long they stayed. This also can impact other marketing endeavors, including store layout, in-store promotions, and product placement. This approach improves their experience. 
Things to Remember

When it comes to geolocation-based marketing, you still must proceed with caution. While customers like the engagement and attention, they are also very concerned about their privacy and maintaining some distance. That means finding the right balance between respecting those boundaries and taking the available data to do something that enhances customer experiences. A best practice is to use an opt-in arrangement for location-based services. That way, users can choose to agree with this sharing or not. For those that do connect with your business this way, you can target even more precisely as well as engage in new and exciting ways. It also delivers a win-win for a sustained relationship.

When you can personalize the customer experience across channels, you can provide a unique experience that increases customer loyalty and satisfaction. But in order to do that successfully, you'll need to know how. Download the Personalization Playbook for more information on how to make it happen.

Personalization Playbook

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When It Comes To Cross Channel Marketing, Mobile Is Not A Channel

Ok you may be thinking, based on the title: "This guy is crazy, of course mobile is a channel!." Yes, of course mobile is a channel. But marketers need to realize that is more than. Much more than that. 

Mobile is a way of life. And no that is not hyperbole. Not by a long shot. It is fact. 

Once you realize that mobile is a way of life you can then begin to think about incorporating mobile into consistent and personalized cross-channel experiences to drive more engagement and revenue.

A New Way of Life 

Picking up your Smartphone as soon as you wake up is a habit of most people  today. Relying on our phones has truly become our new way of life. Smartphones have changed the way we think, the way we behave and the way we shop.

Wal-Mart CEO, Doug McMillon said about their Mobile App in June; “Consumers have a remote control in their hands and they want brands to provide utility, allowing them to interact with the brand over mobile seamlessly and at their convenience.”

Retail marketers need to break away from the notion that Mobile is just another new messaging channel and embrace the power Mobile has in driving the overall brand experience. Location awareness inside and outside of the store empowers you to weave a relevant, custom brand experience for your Mobile enabled customers.

Elevated Expectations

Mobile innovations have elevated consumer expectations faster than mobile marketers could rise to meet them; technology, budget, and expertise limitations prevented marketers from engaging with mobile customers well. Now, it’s possible for marketers to fully incorporate mobile into their
cross-channel marketing strategy and interact with customers whenever and wherever they are.

Since mobile customers are easily distracted and incredibly diverse, each with different preferences, mobile marketers must be able to not only understand which customer segments prefer which mobile experiences, but also deliver those experiences expeditiously.

However, in order for marketers to build a personalized experience around the customers, they need to employ data-driven marketing strategies by gaining customer insights across the other digital channels.

Cross Channel Orchestration Helps Increase Open Rates

Today’s customers frequently interact with brands across multiple channels and devices leaving a trail of identifiers (like email addresses, loyalty accounts, browser cookies, and mobile device IDs) littered amongst the various technologies that power those customer interactions. 

Watch this brief video to see how Adidas uses Oracle Marketing Cloud to orchestrate cross-channel marketing to increase email open rates by 2X and boost conversions by 50% with a new customer experience.

Image source: Pexels




Mobile Marketing to a New Generation

Marketers have long tracked the habits of various generations of consumers, understanding that each generation has developed its own preferences and tastes based on the environment in which they were raised. We've gone from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to Millennials and a few in-between.

Now, we have arrived at a new generation set to attract marketers' attention: Generation Z. That means further customization strategies in order to prove to this new generation that brands get them and have what they want.

Defining GenZers

Gen Zers were born from 1995 onwards. They are set to grow in volume, far out populating all previous generations—even the current largest group known as Millennials. That makes them pretty important to marketers since their power will grow over previous generations. Getting their attention needs to start now and that can't happen if we assume they are similar to Millennials.

Their traits illustrate that they are their own generation. They have some of the shortest attention spans (of which are getting shorter by the minute). They prefer to use symbols (a.k.a., emojis) and images to communicate and express themselves.

Despite being so young, they have already learned the fine art of consumerism thanks to their connectedness and being weaned on mobile devices. However, they want to be in control of when they feel like being a consumer and when they want to be anything but. That makes their technology settings and preferences like gold to them.

Gen Z is not necessarily loyal to a brand like past generations. Instead, they are not as picky about what brand they use just as long as it does what they are looking for and is priced well. This generation is frugal given the fact that they were raised during the last major recession.

Gen Z and Mobile

Mobile is life to this generation because they are considered true natives to technology. They have been connected to some type of technology since birth and have high expectations about instantaneous results from search engines and great trust in online tools and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This connection to their phones runs deep almost as though the mobile device was part of them.

Because of spending their lives on these devices, they even think spatially and are used to zooming and swiping in high-definition and surround sound. They also fear missing out and why the features like self-destructing chats on SnapChat and limited videos on Instagram have worked so well with this generation.

Mobile Marketing Strategies to Gen Z

Mobile is a central part of the strategy to reach Gen Z, but other screens cannot be left out, including computer, TV, wearables, and tablets. In fact, they are often using multiple devices at once, including watching TV, looking at their phones, and playing a game on a tablet. When providing your brand story to this generation, you also need to use different delivery methods besides the all popular video content chosen by Millennials. That's because Gen Z also likes to get content via live streaming, instant messaging, and chat.

Provide your content to them as a snackable—that means to deliver it in small portions that they can digest individually before receiving more of those bite-sized content messages. This works well with those short-attention spans and their ability to process more information at a faster rate than the previous generations.

Without overusing it or in an unauthentic manner, mobile marketing can also use emojis, stickers, and memes, if appropriate, to grab the attention of this audience. To ensure the proper amount, it is even a good idea to encourage Gen Z users to submit their own content, which is something they really like to do. And, when people they admire are involved and interactive with them, that engagement intensifies.

Include mobile marketing approaches in a way you could not do with previous generations, which did not use mobile as exclusively as Gen Z does.

In need of more concrete examples of brands that are using these techniques? Click to download our 7th Annual Lookbook to see how big name brands are using Oracle to create personalized customer experiences across all marketing channels.

7th Annual Lookbook

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The iOS 11 Update Gives Mobile Marketers a Chance for a Do-Over

The iOS 11 Update Gives Mobile Marketers a Chance for a Do-Over

With the exception of social network sites and messaging platforms, brands are up against big challenges when it comes to mobile. Consumers are becoming increasingly selective when it comes to apps, and the extent to which this is happening may surprise some people.

Continue reading...

Email Marketing and the Mystery of the Valid – Invalid Address

As marketers, we often take for granted the technical complexities that take place when sending an email from one address to another. We are so accustomed to pressing a button and having thousands, if not millions, of emails sent to their intended destination, with no questions asked.

If we do have issues in delivering those messages, we are often told (typically by yours truly) that the reason for non-delivery is reputation related, and that there is work to be done on the sender’s behalf in order to improve. However, there are times (albeit it rare) that the non-delivery of an address has more to do with the ISP than it does the sender. This is typically where the mystery of the valid/invalid address comes into play.

Domains Will Let Us Know

Determining when an address is valid or not all goes back to the bounce code that ESPs get back from the receiving domain. Those domains will almost always let us know if the message was delivered or not, and if the message was not delivered, they typically tell us why.

When the ESP receives a message that includes a specific “5xx” type error, coupled with a description such as “User Not Found”, “User does not exist” etc. that’s how we know that the address itself is no longer reachable, or doesn’t exist. The platform then considers this a Hard Bounceback, and as a result, we mark the domain as invalid.

As a brief refresher, the reason we mark that address as invalid, is to prevent further harm to a sender’s reputation when mailing to that domain. Sending mail to addresses that no longer exist is a big time no-no in the eyes of ISPs.

Therefore, taking away the ability for a sender to mail to those addresses moving forward, is a proactive way of protecting that sender’s reputation over the long haul. If they were to continue mailing to a wide array of those types of addresses, reputation and ultimately inbox placement would suffer immensely.

Domains Do Make Mistakes

The issue here is that sometimes domains do make mistakes in terms of what they are telling us within the bounceback message. This is where we run into the scenario, where valid addresses are marked as invalid by the platform that is sending them mail. Essentially, all domains/ISPs are recommended to adhere to RFC guidelines outlining how SMTP error codes are handled during sending/receiving of email.  

Those guidelines are outlined here. These guidelines clearly define how mail systems should be sending bounces back over the internet. Domains who choose not to follow these defined best practices will continue to cause these types of mis-categorization issues. In other words if a domain sends an ESP back an error that looks like a Hard Bounce, then the ESP has no choice but to process that as a Hard Bounce and mark that address as invalid.

If the ESP did not, it then runs the risk of letting its sender’s mail to a high number of invalid addresses, which would completely ruin their sender reputation. The risk of doing that far outweighs the reward of salvaging just a few valid addresses.

Case Closed

So now that the mystery is solved as to why these addresses get marked invalid when they are in fact valid, let’s focus on what you as a sender can do about it in order to protect that customer experience that is so valuable to a successful email marketing program.  First, it is important to understand where this scenario is most likely to occur.

Typically, we see this take place when mailing to smaller, private, domains such as businesses, .edu, .gov, etc. This is because those domains simply don’t have the same type of buttoned up infrastructures like the Gmail’s, Yahoo!’s, and Hotmail’s of the world. If you see this take place at one of these smaller domains, your best bet as a sender is to get confirmation that the address in question is in fact valid, and then reset their Deliverability status to valid within your platform’s UI. 

If you as a sender are in direct communication with the customers who were accidentally marked as invalid (they do often report this into a call center to complain they are not receiving emails), we recommend reaching out proactively to these customers and advising them to raise these issues to their internal IT teams. This way those teams can work internally to prevent this issue from happening again in the future. 

This will show that you as a sender are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the individual’s customer experience is a good one, which will only strengthen your relationship with that customer moving forward.

Bigger Problems?

Another item to point out is that even though that address bounced and was classified incorrectly, the fact of the matter is that the address is still bouncing in the first place. This means that there are likely bigger problems going on at the domain you are experiencing this issue at.

There is likely a reputation based block taking place, and it will be important to adhere to all relevant best practices moving forward when mailing to that domain. Doing so should decrease the extent of the bouncing, and prevent the problem of the Valid Invalid address from occurring in the first place.

At the end of the day, a few valid addresses being marked as invalid at smaller domains, is going to happen from time to time. Senders who ensure they are following best practices when sending out their daily marketing campaigns, will minimize this quite a bit.

However, if reputation is already an issue, a few addresses being marked incorrectly is more of warning of a bigger issue that is taking place and impacting deliverability. Doing your due diligence as a sender to resolve those larger issues to prevent smaller ones should always be top priority!

Mystery solved.

More Mobile All the Time

According to research over half of all emails are opened on a mobile device. Unfortunately, all the work we do to ensure our emails render flawlessly on the desktop doesn’t take into consideration how these same emails will show up on a smaller screen. 

Download the Mobile Email Guide to learn how to improve the mobile marketing experience for your customers.

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