It’s (almost) time! Soon, the holiday season will be here. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday (a global phenomenon as Rob Garf notes), Cyber Monday, and the overall season will lead us toward the end of the year.

As a savvy email marketer, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep the peak season from becoming a stressful and overwhelming time. 

The trick is to implement email best practices today so the right system is in place to ensure deliverability during high-volume periods. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of being perfectly positioned to have the greatest email impact year-round. If you aren't quite sure where to start when it comes to upping your email deliverability game, here are five easy steps to move you in the right direction. 


Have a plan

Avoid last-minute preparation and unwanted surprises at all costs. By understanding your available sending horsepower (i.e. IPs, MTAs), historical or planned volume patterns, and other timing variables, you can plan and execute a large volume of email in advance using all of the features in Marketing Cloud and in our other integrated apps. Keep in mind Internet Services Providers (ISPs) can experience email overload during this time of year and can be slow to respond to requests for assistance and remediation. Stick to what you know and what you’ve planned to minimize the likelihood of running into a deliverability issue.


Clean up your data

Making sure you have a clean email list is the only way to ensure optimal deliverability. Be sure you receive explicit opt-in permission from recipients before communicating with them via email. If you choose to go deep into your file or target your entire database, it might be worth running a re-permission campaign first — or partnering with a list-cleaning vendor — to weed out invalid domains or dead addresses upfront. This is even more important now given the launch of GDPR


Personalize with data

Use customer data intelligently to personalize and prioritize messages. Doing so almost always drives higher engagement. You can even arrange your subscriber file from "most engaged" to "least engaged" using email-first data like "last-open rate" and "click rate." This provides the best opportunity to build a more positive reputation (as a sender) right out of the gate and ensure a higher level of engagement, overall — which is key as you work through or scrub older, less engaged subscribers. Other data points worth considering as part of your segmentation strategy include "last login date," "last purchase date," and "app usage" just to name a few.


Put subscribers in control

Let your subscribers opt-down to receiving fewer emails, opt-out, select the types of emails they'd like to receive, and even choose the frequency at which they receive emails from you by using a preference center. Putting your subscribers in control of the emails they receive will improve engagement, reduce complaint rates, drive relevancy, and mitigate other deliverability issues.


Monitor, measure, report

Having visibility into email deliverability metrics is key to measuring the success and impact of your campaigns. Create automated tracking reports within Salesforce to keep tabs on your campaign at all times. And be sure to define a clear strategy on what to do if and when a deliverability issue ever occurs.

For more detailed information on deliverability readiness for peak season and high-volume sends, download our complimentary e-book. Though it was published last year, the guidance here is still extremely valuable and on point.