What is Deliverability?
In email marketing, deliverability is the term used to classify the percentage of emails that actually make it into the intended recipients’ inboxes. And achieving deliverability can be a significant hurdle for many businesses. Return Path’s 2016 Deliverability Benchmark Report states that, in the US, only 73% of messages make it to the inbox. When considering deliverability on the global scale, it’s slightly better at 79%. Still, means that one out of every five emails never reaches the intended recipient. Those lost emails are likely either in a spam folder or, in most cases, are blocked by the mailbox provider. True, that statistic may not make or break a business, but to run the most successful campaigns possible, any contact that misses out on an organization’s marketing messages is too many.
While some factors impacting deliverability are out of the marketer’s control, there are definitely ways to improve. Here are 5 practical tips for marketers to better ensure every email makes it into the inbox, every time.
- Make Sure Everyone On the List Has Opted In
When an organization’s email goes out, it should only go to those customers, partners or other contacts that expect it, meaning they’ve opted-in for the email via web-based sign up sheets, downloads, or have otherwise knowingly provided their email address. Purchasing or renting lists doesn’t only annoy or anger potential accounts or customers, but can harm the organization’s reputation as a whole.
One thing for marketers to consider is implementing a double opt-in, which means the recipient receives a confirmation email after they’ve submitted their email address. They must click on the link in the email to complete their subscription. A double-opt in has shown significantly higher deliverability rates than single opt-in lists, with lower unsubscribe rates and higher open and click through rates. While there may be fewer subscribers on the front end, those who do subscribe are already much more engaged.
- Ensure Emails Have Great Content and are Relevant to the Audience
While the word-for-word content of an email may not influence whether or not it makes it into an inbox, the unsubscribes, un-opens, and spam reports can eventually impact a sender’s reputation. Things like spammy subject lines, many exclamation points, or writing in all capital letters should be avoided. The better the content and the more relevant it is to the selected audience group, the better off the campaign as a whole will perform.
- Understand and Follow Federal Email Regulations
The Federal CAN-SPAM Act was introduced to set out a specific set of rules for commercial email sending. To stay compliant, senders must have a valid postal mailing address listed in addition to a functional and respected unsubscribe link. That link must immediately ensure that the recipient will no longer receive future messages from the sender organization. Failing to comply with CAN-SPAM regulation not only damages the sender reputation but can also mean serious fines.
- Benchmark Your Engagement
In any campaign, there should be metrics by which success can be measured. This is just as true for email marketing campaigns. Low deliverability or response rates can raise a flag before too much time or money is lost. When it comes to how an ISP’s spam filtering determination process works, subscriber engagement metrics are key. An acceptable spam rate for most organizations is about 1 in 1000 emails.
- Choose an Established Email Marketing Provider
When it comes to choosing which marketing automation vendor will be, in part, responsible for the organization’s email deliverability, finding one with a proven track record is critical. Besides having insight into the above, reputable vendors can help navigate the increasingly complex landscape email marketing is, and will continue to become. It’s a partnership—both sides can affect the deliverability outcome.