The 6 Cs of deliverability

Find out how deliverability affects your marketing ROI, and how to improve it

Sure, these days we’re all about omnichannel. We eat, sleep, rave, and repeat our omnichannel mantra of sending the right messages to the right people, on the right channel at the right time. But we’ve never taken off our email crown for a second. That’s because we know how valuable email is to your business. The latest DMA figures put the ROI of every £1 spent on an email campaign at a whopping £42. But in order to get this kind of return, you need to make sure your emails are reaching the inbox. And that’s where we, the email experts, come in.

First, an introduction…

I’m Mathias, one of many deliverability experts that dotdigital employs to ensure your messages, you guessed it, get delivered to the inbox. If you’re new to sending email at scale, some of these terms might be new to you. But if you’re here, we’re guessing you’re something of an expert too and are reading this to get an edge over your competition. No matter your familiarity with the subject, deliverability is something you should constantly be considering. So, whether deliverability is a new concept to you, has recently become an issue, or something you want to learn more about so that you can maximize your campaign returns, here are the top six things every marketer or communications manager needs to consider.

When it comes to deliverability, there are 6 Cs we consider for every customer

  1. Consent
  2. Content
  3. Cadence
  4. Contacts
  5. Consistency 
  6. Change

Missing the mark on just one of these leaves marketers or communications managers using self-service platforms wondering what on earth is happening to all the messages they are sending into the ether. Perhaps you yourself have been burnt by one of these 6 Cs in the past. Luckily for you, not only are we going to talk you through the 6 Cs of deliverability, at dotdigital, we have in-house experts and services at our fingertips to offer advice on every single one of them.

1. Consent: the cornerstone of deliverability

Consent was an issue for deliverability long before the GDPR, which is why we’ve always preached best practice in this area! If customers receive messages that they don’t expect, or haven’t consented to, it’s only a matter of time before they hit the spam button or unsubscribe. This is of course not to mention that gaining consent is the critical part of data privacy and regulations. But that aside, without consent, you simply won’t end up with a successful relationship between your brand and your customer. As we’ll go on to discuss, this is crucial, not just for the customer experience, but also for deliverability sake. 

At dotdigital, we log something called Consent Insight, which is all that you need to gain and demonstrate evidence of consent. This way, you can be sure to maintain excellent customer relationships, now and in the future.

2. How deliverability is affected by content 

Your customers and prospects shouldn’t just be content with your content – you want them to be delighted. And when we say content, we mean everything from the subject line, the friendly from address, the pre-header preview text, the body text, and even the imagery within your emails. 

Each and every one of these have huge affects on how much folks engage with your brand. But guess what? The more engagement you get from your emails, the better ‘reputation’ you build up. This is a term you’ll hear a lot when it comes to deliverability, and whilst it’s important how your customers regard your brand, in this case, this isn’t actually what we mean when we say reputation. Reputation in deliverability terms means the priority that mailbox providers give to email traffic. 

In a nutshell, content is the key to engagement, and engagement is key to deliverability! Pay attention to every aspect of your campaign content.

3. The affect cadence has on your reputation (especially during ramp up)

It’s not just what you send either. How often you send can affect inbox placement and overall delivery of your emails. To folks reading who are wondering what the difference is between delivery and deliverability: delivery is whether the email gets to an inbox of the recipient whilst deliverability is concerned with inbox placement – i.e. whether the email makes it to the actual inbox your recipient will read, or if it’s relegated to the spam folder.

How often you send can be a delicate balance. Too much and your customers may unsubscribe. Too little and they may forget you and become disengaged. 

A common mistake is getting the send cadence wrong during “ramp up”, (when brands are still building the reputation of a new sending address). The problem is, going too fast during ramp up can damage reputation. Going too slow can lose it. Your provider should pay special attention during this crucial time to ensure everything goes to plan, and continue to advise long after the first big campaign drops. 

4. Your deliverability is only as good as your contact data

Absolutely critical to both delivery and deliverability is the quality of the data that you use when it comes to your contacts. Ask yourself a few questions: where was it sourced? Does it have accurate information which can be used to segment and personalize, creating better engagement? When was it sourced? Is it out of date, resulting in hoards of bounce-backs? Are recipients not engaging – or worse, marking your emails as spam because they’re no longer relevant to their situation, role, or interests? 

No matter the situation with your data, you or your provider should be asking the right questions and find a way to move forward to make sure you get the absolute optimum ROI per email.

5. Nothing bolsters deliverability like consistency

Put yourself into the customer’s shoes. When you sign up to an email subscription, you already have an expectation around the messaging you are going to receive. Especially when the sender has followed best practice for consent and laid out the kinds of messaging you will be receiving. When the consistency of this message varies, be this the content style or subject matter, customer engagement drops off because an expectation has suddenly not been met. 

Leave bait and switch to the fraudsters, focus on valuable content and be as consistent and dependable for your customers as you would like to see from your own favorite brands. 

6. And finally… monitor and refine your change management practices!

Change is inevitable. You need to move with the times and keep up with your customer base, not to mention leverage the latest marketing program techniques. The last thing we want to do is dissuade you from changing when all successful businesses change in order to survive. But as we’ve outlined above, with consistency so integral to deliverability, if you made a change to your marketing program on any of the five other Cs, you could be putting your inbox placement and deliverability at risk. 

Luckily, we’re well versed in change management. Every day, we help marketers adjust their campaigns and strategy, all whilst reducing the risk changes can pose. This is a vital piece of expertise that frankly, we’re not too sure how most businesses live without!

When to bring in the deliverability experts

The best way to think of all the 6 Cs of deliverability is as dominoes that have a long, viral-worthy domino affect. For example: the better your consent practice, the better your contact data, the more relevant content you can deliver, the better your engagement, and the better your reputation, the better your deliverability.

It’s essential to be aware of every single one of the 6 Cs’ effects on your campaigns, and to educate your teams on them too. But don’t forget, our expert consultants can help advise on any area to get those gleaming engagement rates. If you’re setting up a new campaign, trying to figure out what’s gone wrong, or are thinking of heading in a new direction, speak to us first. After all, £42 per £1 spent is a great stat. But without paying attention to your 6 Cs of deliverability, you could be adversely affecting your ROI potential. 

So, next time you consider migrating to a different customer engagement platform, be sure to ask if they have expertise for each and every one of the 6 Cs. 


Fancy a quick demo of dotdigital Engagement Cloud? Click here.

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