Keeping up with the Email Arms Race

Do you ever wonder why some emails to prospective candidates seem to work, and others don’t? Or perhaps you’re curious what goes on after you press “Send”? As it turns out, there’s quite a bit that happens between that click and reaching a candidate’s inbox. We compiled some tips and tricks to help your email efforts succeed.

Some of us at GMAC attend several digital marketing conferences each year to stay current on the changes to processes, technology, and best practices for digital marketing–and I'm always surprised at how quickly this industry changes.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen what I like to call the “email arms race” really start to accelerate. “What's the email arms race?” you ask?  The email arms race consists of the ever-escalating layers of technology that work underneath the surface to make things easier and more convenient for the recipient to manage their email–while also acting as a “virtual bouncer” for any sender not deemed worthy.

Believe it or not, there are several layers of filters and protocols that work in the background to ensure the experience for the email recipient is convenient, and they receive only messages that are relevant to them.

  • There are authentication filters and protocols the systems use to validate the email sender–that you are who you say you are.
  • In many cases there is also a reputational filter at the ISP (Internet Service Provider), which determines if the sender is “a good email citizen”–or has an approach or behavior in sending emails that should be excluded (and email stopped).
  • There are also client filters in tools like Gmail and Outlook that use algorithms to figure out if your email is worthy of a “velvet rope shortcut” to the inbox–or be channeled into the virtual Siberia of the “promotions” folder.

While email is still the single most successful channel for digital marketing across numerous industries and sectors–to be successful requires more knowledge and technical know-how than just a few years ago.


For those who may have not had the time to visit some of these educational events, we've captured a few simple best practices that should help improve the success of your email marketing efforts.

  • Keep it short.  Subject lines < 40 characters. Emails that can be read in their entirety in 8 seconds. Preheader text is important real-estate so use it wisely. (A preheader is the first line of text in your email–it often shows up directly in the inbox or on a mobile device.)
  • Send it from a person.  People interact with other people – not an entire organization or brand.
  • Mix it up – don’t just send polished HTML and erudite prose.  Make it interesting.  Make it personal. Make it authentic.
  • It’s not American baseball – no “three strikes and you're out.” Sometimes your email is basically being put on hold–but then forgotten. Don't be afraid to reach out with multiple emails over a longer stretch of time.  You never know when the individual will truly be READY to respond.& Try to connect when your audience is ready to listen – not when you're ready to talk.
  • Mobile-ready means you can read it (and act) without help.  No “un-pinching”, no “side-to-side” scrolling, limited vertical scrolling.

To learn more ways to enhance your digital marketing strategy, schedule a free GMASS demo today.

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