Email marketers should not be scared of Deliverability – it’s an essential part of email marketing that needs to be understood in order to drive best-of-breed sending practices.
What is Deliverability?
Deliverability is quite literally the ability for your email campaign to reach the inbox of the recipient. It is crucial not to confuse “Deliverability” with “Delivery”. According to Return Path, Delivery measures emails that have not received a hard or soft bounce – i.e. that haven not been rejected – but it does not measure where the email has landed. Deliverability on the other hand refers to the placement of your emails, be that in the inbox, the spam folder or a black hole in some galaxy far, far away.
How can I – as an e-marketer – maximise the deliverability of my email campaigns? Here are my top 5 tips:
- Get permission!
Make sure that the contacts you are emailing have given permission to receive emails from you and are expecting what you send. Getting consent from your contacts and setting the right expectations from the beginning helps build a strong sending reputation.
- Listen to your contacts
Target your engaged contacts; this helps you to maintain a healthy sender reputation which helps maximise your delivery to the email client (i.e. Hotmail) and placement in the inbox. The contacts that are continually engaging are showing you that they want to hear from you. Be strategic when emailing your un-engaged contacts; it is recommended not to email subscribers that have not historically engaged with your brand. This depends on your recipients – when does it make sense to remove them? Different product/service/email lifecycles will dictate different engagement strategies. As said in tip #1, this is a conversation. If the recipient isn’t interested in continuing, it’s time to change what you are saying to them. At this point, create a strategy that will target unengaged recipients with the purpose of wining them back. If they don’t respond to your “win-back” strategy, stop emailing them. Continually emailing unengaged subscribers weakens your sender reputation, causing lower inbox placement and response rates.
- Maintain your list hygiene
This will help you with targeting content to specific subscribers. Ensure that you are utilising the folder system within your account in order to manage address books. This will help you identify contacts and organise them in a way that best fits your sending strategy.
- Segment based on suitability and email behaviour
Look at contact interactions such as opens, clicks and conversions. Remember, a conversion does not necessarily mean a purchase, but rather a positive action in response to a call-to-action. This will give you more visibility of your contacts, helping you to target and engage with them further.
- Use in-built deliverability tools
Use the dotmailer-provided tools to help you maintain a strong reputation. Run your contacts against the Global Suppression list: this will help remove any hard bouncers/known unknown users (recipients that don’t exist). This tool is in place to help maintain your sender reputation.
As a last note, it is worth mentioning that the Email Marketing Industry – in terms of regulation – is becoming very focused on anti-abuse. With the GDPR coming in to effect in 2018, it is essential that email marketers enforce best sending practices. Conforming to these practices doesn’t just help with compliance, but it also protects your business interests. From a deliverability perspective, reaching your customers’ inboxes is a pre-requisite of driving ROI through the email channel.
Get a free copy of our deliverability myths guide, written by our Chief Privacy Officer.