sandeep vadgamaBy Sandeep Vadgama, Founder, Fourth Source

Last week I attended the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) masterclass at the trendy Hospital Club in London, to hear about the latest trends on email deliverability, not the most glamorous topic, but nevertheless an important one if marketers don’t wish to lose sales.

The following is essentially is my interpretation of the presentation brilliantly delivered by Guy Hanson of the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Marketing Council (EMC). Guy presented the findings from a new email deliverability whitepaper from the DMA and Return Path.

DMA Email Deliverability

What is email deliverability and why should I care?

Simply put email deliverability is about ensuring your email marketing campaigns stand the maximum chance of landing in your recipients inbox. Approximately 20% of opt in emails never reach the inbox, if you consider how much revenue your email marketing efforts generate and take off a potential 20%, I imagine it would be a significant amount.

email deliverability in the UK

Why do Emails get blocked

Some of the reasons why emails often get blocked include:

  • Spam complaints – received by sending unsolicited emails, disengaged users or misleading information during sign up.
  • List hygiene – out of date data, high bounces rate.
  • Infrastructure – emails getting tampered with en-route to the inbox.
  • IP Performance – changing sender IP address frequently.
  • Message quality – spam in text.
  • Engagement – how the subscriber interacts with your list.

ISPs use sender reputation to assess you.

The changing email landscape

ISPs are changing the way they identify and block unwanted email. They are shifting away from penalising ‘bad’ email, but rather rewarding ‘good’ email. As Guy Hanson, said “Marketers must understand the changing focus of ISPs and how good email marketing practices are recognised and rewarded.”

Previously using the word ‘free’ in your email subject line was often viewed as negative and flagged as spam. As ISPs have evolved in their measuring of other engagement metrics, these restrictions no longer apply. In fact research by Return Path showed using the word ‘FREE’ in capitals in the subject line, outperformed the email campaign using ‘free’ in lowercase in the subject line.

Top tips for improving email deliverability

Here are some the key tips that marketers can follow to ensure email campaigns reach the inbox.

1. Monitor your sender reputation – this is now the single most important factor used to determined email acceptance by ISPs and it is therefore vital to maintain a good rating.

2. Improve data collection – Use double opt-in for new subscriber registrations, make sure the quality of your email addresses are at its highest.

3. Use complaint feedback loops – these will enable email senders to retrieve details of recipients who have complained with their ISP/webmail provider when receiving the sender’s email.

4. Practise good list hygiene – this is vital to the successful deliverability of an email campaign. There are a number of ways to optimise list hygiene including conducting a data audit, implementing a bounce back management programme and spam traps.

5. Conduct pre-broadcast testing – testing before sending with major ISPs will help spot any content related issues.

For more information and tips you can download the full DMA Email Deliverability Review whitepaper.

Sandeep Vadgama

Sandeep Vadgama


Editor at Fourth Source and Tech Enthusiast!