Email marketing is not only the oldest but also the most productive channel of digital marketing. There are almost four billion email users globally, which means you can reach out to well over half of the world’s population using one channel of communication only.
Email campaigns are known for unprecedented efficiency, too. Studies reveal that businesses can expect an average return of $38 for every dollar spent on email marketing.
The figures are certainly stunning, but it doesn’t mean that email marketing campaigns work well in 100% of the cases. On the contrary, only high-deliverability campaigns can achieve maximal efficiency and guarantee successful performance in the long run.
In this article, we will discuss the concept of email deliverability and show you six basic steps to an ideal reputation in email marketing. Let’s take a look!
Email deliverability: Definition, stats, and factors
A delivery rate represents the percentage of emails received by your subscribers regardless of the final destination of your message. In other words, a message is considered to be delivered even if it ends up in a spam folder. This makes the concept much broader than email deliverability rates because users send 455 million spam emails a day.
On the other side, email deliverability describes the process of successfully allowing an electronic message or email to reach the inbox of the email recipient. To put it simply, email deliverability only counts for messages that end up directly in users’ inbox folders.
This is a much more complex process because:
- Spam messages accounted for nearly 55% of email traffic in September 2019.
- On average, only 81% of legitimate email marketing messages make it to the inbox.
The bottom line is that digital marketers have to be extremely cautious while designing new email campaigns. The only way to make your activities fully productive is to analyze the most important deliverability factors and prepare a campaign accordingly.
There are six major factors to consider here:
1. Email service provider: The first rule is to always stick to the email service provider that guarantees absolute authority and reliability.
2. Sender’s domain: If your email domain seems suspicious to the recipients, you can expect them to treat messages as spams.
3. Quality of email list: It’s not good to find email addresses and send messages generically, but rather to focus on verified leads instead. This is a very special component of email marketing and we will dedicate a whole chapter to it a bit later.
4. Email frequency: There is no proven formula to reveal the ideal number of emails you should send every month, but the frequency will definitely affect your professional status and authority.
5. IP reputation: The IP reputation refers to the reputation of the email address. It is an element that the email providers take into account to decide if their email can be sent or sent to the spam folder.
6. Sender’s reputation profile: The overall reputation of a sender is the last factor that contributes to email deliverability.
If you take care of each factor, you can expect email deliverability to come close to 100%. However, the experience taught us that anything over 95% makes a good email deliverability rate.
Common email deliverability issues
The next thing you should learn is how to recognize and avoid common email deliverability issues. Without further ado, let’s check out the usual suspects here:
1. High complaint rates: Spammers have the worst reputation in the email marketing realm, so you better all it takes to avoid users’ complaints. You can secure your domain with SPF flattening and minimize your chances of appearing in the spam box.
2. High bounce rates: This issue usually takes place when subscriber lists are out of date, purchased, or simply low-quality. In such circumstances, you will notice a high bounce rate.
3. Low engagement: Email providers pay attention to user engagement. If your subscribers receive 100 messages but open none, it is a clear sign of low engagement.
4. High frequency: The number of emails sent each month depends on your type of business, content, and users’ preferences, but you must be careful enough to avoid a high frequency. We believe that one email newsletter per week is what the average subscriber expects to see from brands and businesses.
5. Major increase of email sent: Another issue that could jeopardize your reputation is a sudden spike in emails sent. What does it mean? Well, let’s say you are usually sending emails to 10 thousand subscribers. If you start sending messages to 50 thousand users all of a sudden, it will be treated as spam and deteriorate your reputation.
6. Frequent changes of email providers: This is another problem you need to avoid because frequent changes of email providers often point out to spammers who don’t want to get caught.
Six ways to build email marketing reputation
After everything you’ve seen so far, the only thing left is to learn how to strengthen professional reputation and ensure higher email deliverability rates. We have six tips to share with you:
1. Figure out a sender score
The first thing you should do is to evaluate the current situation and figure out a sender score. A sender score is a numerical representation of your sending reputation that helps you to assess the overall reputation of your email marketing account.
The idea is simple – you only need to enter an IP address or domain and the platform will do the rest. It will display your sender score within seconds, so you’ll get to see a concrete numerical value from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better your reputation is.
What we love about Sender Score is the fact that it also gives you suggestions on how to improve your authority and build a reputable email marketing account.
2. Take care of reputation warm-up
Reputation warm-up is another way to grow authority and avoid ending in users’ spam folders. The tactic is particularly important for massive email subscriber lists with tens of thousands of followers.
What is reputation warm-up? It is a long-term plan to gradually increase the number of emails sent to your subscribers. Just like we mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, you should not jump from 10 thousand to 50 thousand messages at once. Instead, you should keep increasing the number of emails week after week, making the process seem more natural and organic.
The tip is particularly important if you’ve just switched from one email marketing provider to another because you’ve received a brand new IP address.
3. Keep your subscriber list up to date
Do you know that email marketing databases naturally degrade by 22.5% every year? In other words, one of five subscribers will not really be with you next year.
It’s a clear signal that you need to keep the subscriber list fresh and up to date. While you probably don’t have time to check it on a daily basis, you should at least clean the list annually to ensure higher email deliverability rates.
If you don’t do it, outdated accounts will be interpreted as inactive and hence decrease your engagement rate. As a result, your reputation will suffer long-term.
4. Make sure that users really want to receive your messages
The only way to prevent ending up in spam folders is to make sure that users really want to receive your messages. Therefore, you must act in compliance with the latest GDPR regulations and make sure that each subscriber agrees to get your promo messages.
Businesses that fail to embrace GDPR rules will not only jeopardize professional authority. The story is even more important because anti-GDPR behavior will result in severe penalties that could completely paralyze the functioning of your business.
5. Sign up for feedback loop services
The fifth tip is to sign up for feedback loop services. A feedback loop is a formal method of sending complaints directed against inappropriate email-related behavior and spammy messages. And as you already know, such complaints will have a major impact on your sender score.
What can a feedback loop service do for you?
It can track users’ insights and help you to pinpoint subscribers who complained about your newsletters. This gives you some room to react quickly and remove dissatisfied users from the list before they make further damage to your business.
6. Get to know consumers through surveys
The last suggestion on our list is to use online surveys or assessments as a means (or lever) to optimize your email deliverability. You can do it by providing recipients with a questionnaire, so the marketing department can categorize recipients into different content segments.
This enables email marketers to send out tailored, relevant content to each recipient, based on their preferences and interests. This will reduce the number of sign-outs and increase the opening- and clickthrough rate.
Email campaigns are one of the most efficient channels of digital marketing, but only for agile businesses that nurture subscriber lists and take care of deliverability rates. In this article, we analyzed the concept of email deliverability and showed you six basic steps to an ideal reputation in email marketing.
Do you rely on email campaigns in your business? What are your tactics to increase the deliverability rate? Make sure to write a comment and describe your email marketing experiences – our readers would love to see your story!