Holiday Preparedness and Best Practices 2016

To ensure that you and your team are ready for the upcoming holiday rush we’ve outlined holiday and deliverability best practices that we encourage you to review. Our team is ready to answer any questions you may have, so please reach out to your Customer Success representative for any additional information or advice needed.


  1. Let us know your plans: Advise us in advance of your most important sends and sends of unusual volume or outside your regular campaign schedule. Please keep us updated as your plans evolve — we know changes can take place on short notice!
  2. Send off-peak: When scheduling campaigns on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, remember that the top (:00) and bottom (:30) of an hour are heavy volume times for email sending. Scheduling on either side of these marks — even by 5 to 10 minutes, can help your message appear outside the rush. Learn more in our best practice guide, or ensure that you’re deploying email using Personalized Send Times, where each email sends at the optimal time for open/read.
  3. Trial, don’t error: If activating new templates, Smart Strategies or trigger workflows, be sure to test them in advance. If you’re using a brand-new template for a critical send, we invite you to have our team evaluate the template in advance of the send. Our system is increasingly resilient against template coding mistakes, but you can prevent sending latency by making sure your Zephyr templates are in top shape.
  4. Justify Jobs: Avoid non-critical jobs during peak days, especially during peak hours from 7 a.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST. Conduct list imports in advance of these days, send to a natural list when possible, and select a single Source List in Audience Builder for smart lists to optimize processing at send time.
  5. Support guidelines: Sailthru Support’s out-of-hours alerting system will ensure swift response to high priority cases 24/7 and the appropriate routing of non-critical cases.Urgent and high priority issues include those that result in an interruption to critical application services or degraded performance that poses significant impact to revenue. To flag an issue as a “Priority 1”, include the word ‘urgent’ in the subject line or body of your email, or select the “Urgent” priority when logging tickets via the support portal. (Visit our Knowledge Base to read more about urgent case handling and support business hours). During business hours, we’ll be on heightened alert for your time-sensitive concerns over the holiday months.


Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are always dynamically scoring your stream of mail with a sender reputation which determines if your mail is delivered to the inbox or the spam folder. As the holidays arrive and senders ramp up their marketing programs ISPs are also making adjustments to be sure spam is blocked and wanted mail is delivered. All senders are competing for inbox placement, and filtering can be even more strict by ISPs during this time of year, so ensuring your reputation remains good will be critical to reaching your recipients.

What metrics are the ISPs looking at when scoring your sender reputation?

  • User Complaints
  • User Invalids
  • User Engagement
  • Spam Trap Hits
  • Changes in Send Volume

For holiday email campaigns to be successful, it is important to not spike any of the above metrics. Any sudden or dramatic changes to your send schedule or audience often impact these metrics. Below are some best practices to follow that will allow you to maintain a positive sender reputation throughout the holiday season.

  • Do not introduce any new lists that are not currently being mailed to via Sailthru
  • Do not mail to older lists that have not been consistently mailed to
  • Do not remove suppression lists
  • Be careful using any new acquisition sources
  • Be careful editing your sign-up and opt-out pages
  • Be careful changing your sending cadence


As always, our Deliverability and Customer Success teams are here to help with your holiday strategies and plans. Please reach out to support@sailthru.com or your Customer Success Team representative with any questions.