Secret Rules to Email Deliverability
Unless you’re in the business of sending emails in mass quantity, then chances are the laws of deliverability have gone unnoticed in your world in 2017. We bet you DID notice though that your personal inbox is more stuffed than ever and subject lines have never been so clever. As many emails that may be sitting in your inbox (I currently have 7,317), the truth is one in five emails never lands where it’s supposed to.
SeniorVu’s product development and digital teams have 18 years of experience with much success in email deliverability and have gained a ton of knowledge around the “rules of engagement.” Have there been hiccups at times? Of course, there have. Here’s why.
Gmail, Yahoo!, the various MSN domains and AOL now dominate the mailbox operation business. Their algorithms give them the power of police, judge and jury over what constitutes spam, and this authority makes them significant email gatekeepers.
According to techcrunch.com, Gmail alone has more than a billion monthly users. If Google’s filters determine a sender’s messages are spam, it can block that sender from many or even all of Gmail’s inboxes.
These companies also know how their users engage with each email they get. Are they opened? Are images activated? Do they click on links? Do they add the sender to their address books? Or do they delete the email unread — or worse, mark it as spam?
Each factor adds data to the formula providers use to set their filters. But they largely keep the data — and their formulas — a big, fat secret. These mailbox providers could decide to post clear rules for what will get an email marked as spam. They just don’t.
They also tweak those formulas all the time, without telling anyone how or even if it changed. This leaves marketers, yes, sometimes us, feeling like a pitcher throwing high heat at an arbitrary strike zone. And senders often didn’t know their messages were being treated as spam.
These filters can ensnare many legitimate emails, too. There are mechanisms in place to help protect legitimate senders and recipients. SeniorVu email drip campaigns done on behalf of our client communities are handled carefully to avoid the dreaded spam label or even worse ending up with a bad online reputation. And since mailbox providers don’t appear to be going public with their rule changes anytime soon, our digital gurus watch deliverability daily for any extreme changes, and adapt quickly.
With all that said, it’s important to note that SeniorVu only nurtures leads with drip campaigns once the leads have raised their hands – in other words have opted-in. Sending unsolicited emails to anyone we haven’t had contact with could hurt our online reputation.
With our direct-to-consumer experience, we comply with practices widely believed to boost the odds that your message will actually reach it’s intended target. Thanks to your feedback over the last several months, we are now taking a more educational approach with our messaging too. Overall, it’s generating a higher engagement rate with leads that provided their personal email in a form-fill or through conversation with our Family Advocate Mentors.
Since we’re focused on reaching your potential future residents with a message carefully crafted to grab their attention, without falling in a spam trap, we believe you’re in really good hands. We can’t promise a life of email deliverability without occasional issues, but since we deliver emails through a SeniorVu IP address, not our client communities’, you are not at risk.
Think of us as the guy on the bow of the ship, keeping an eye on the horizon. We can’t predict the next move those mailbox rulers might make, but SeniorVu can promise to be on the lookout for new changes in email deliverability. We also promise to do the right thing when reaching out to your potential future residents who have raised their hand. We are highly motivated to tell them all about you in a way that will engage them all the way to a tour and a move-in.
How Do You Benefit From Our Big Database?
Keeping cost low while delivering high-quality leads is SeniorVu’s jam. This commitment means constantly looking for ways to improve and evolve in an ever-changing market to deliver the best client experience possible. In late 2017, Google and Facebook launched some innovative tools that have allowed us to extend the reach of our lead scoring algorithm – great news for your community!
Knowing that about two-thirds of lead traffic is on mobile, Facebook launched a new mobile optimized form-fill that allows leads to enter information with just a couple of thumb taps making it easier than ever before for SeniorVu to engage our database matched leads on behalf of communities. Google just had an important release of their own in AdWords that greatly increases our ability to connect with our database leads. The update allows advertisers to target audiences by using names and addresses in addition to email addresses.
Why are we jazzed about this at SeniorVu? Well, we’ll tell you. These new releases from Google and Facebook allow us to take our lead-scoring database lists and upload them into Facebook and Google to optimize highly targeted on-line campaigns on your community’s behalf.
So, what does all of this really mean for you?
It means more highly-qualified leads. For example, many seniors are active on Facebook but do not regularly monitor an email account. Similarly, many adult children may be numb to all those seemingly unsolicited emails in their inbox, but highly receptive to paid search results when they are researching options for their parents. With these new online releases, we are able to better leverage the data we have collected on your highest scored leads and expand the ways that we actively market to exactly those people on your behalf.
Our number one goal is to get in front of your future residents with your brand. Once leads are engaged, and have raised their hand in some form or fashion, our world class marketing platform employs a steady stream of messaging to keep your community top of mind so when the family is ready they know where to turn. Awesome, right?
Real Conversations with Real Seniors and Their Families
Our Family Advocate Mentors (or FAM team as we fondly call them) have talked with tens of thousands of families for 600 client communities across the country this year. Through those conversations and feedback from our client communities our team has learned a lot – deepened knowledge of the various nuances of care levels, healthcare resources and wealth management, to name a few.
Here are a few memorable moments from all those calls in 2017.
“I remember a specific call from a daughter who was very emotional about her father’s situation. He was living at another assisted living and she was not happy with the quality of care that he was receiving. Yet, she was concerned about moving him at 95 while he was still recovering from a life-changing stroke. By listening to her concerns, validating her feelings and educating her on the various levels of care offered at our community partner, she expressed her gratitude for working her through the possibilities and how to get dad re-situated. Ultimately, she toured the community and is considering moving dad in the next month or two.” ~ Lauren, Family Advocate Mentor
“My most memorable lead in 2017 is when I made nine contact attempts before reaching the daughter. On my 10th attempt, not only did I reach her I was actually able to schedule a tour! It was so fulfilling knowing that I had not only helped the family, but the community as well – turning a cold lead into a hot prospect. Mom has since moved into the community and is loving life, and I learned a lot about patience and persistence!” ~Kayla, Family Advocate Mentor
“I followed up with a lead to see how her tour went. When she told me that she didn’t go, I asked her why. Her mom’s doctor was under the impression that her mom needed long term care because of the assistance required at times with some ADLs. After taking the time to listen to the daughter and explain assisted living, she rescheduled her tour. Knowing that she was concerned about the staff being able to meet her mom’s needs, I scheduled the tour with the clinical team as well as the sales team. The community was very responsive in alerting me that the daughter did show up and that the clinical team was able to answer all of her questions. That tour will always be a highlight of 2017 because of the great team work between SeniorVu and the community to meet the family’s needs .” ~Sunshyne, Family Advocate Mentor
“My most memorable lead was one that had reviewed the community’s website and believed they could not afford the apartments. Thankfully, they still called us and I was able to walk them through the value-add of all-inclusive pricing. After they realized they would actually save money, they were very excited to tour the community. They are touring this week and if all goes well, they are planning to move in before January is over!” ~Ryan, Family Advocate Mentor
“A daughter called in who was crying on the phone and didn’t know what to do. She lived out of state, couldn’t tour and needed to make some decisions quickly for her father who has dementia and got lost while driving his car – thankfully no one was hurt! Her mom was pretty adamant about moving with dad, but not to a memory care community. The daughter was extremely stressed when I spoke to her. To make matters even more intense, she was going on vacation the next day, but didn’t feel like she should. To ease her mind, I emailed her preliminary community information and let her know that I would follow-up with her on Monday, when she was back from vacation, with more details. While she was away, I connected with the community to get specific pricing and availability so we had all of the information ready for her when we chatted again. Because of the prep work behind the scenes, she was able to feel confident in moving dad into memory care and mom into independent living at our community partner.” ~Tara, Family Advocate Mentor
In 2018, SeniorVu’s FAM team will continue to be engaged in the on-going education of the nuances, complexities and resources of the senior living industry that to best serve families in search of answers. What’s surprising is the everyday reminder that their work is more than connecting seniors with communities – it’s solving problems and bringing loving comfort to families. It’s also about solving problems for our client communities. SeniorVu’s FAM team members agree that it feels good knowing they help reduce stress for our partner communities and contribute to improving their bottom line.