It’s a truth universally acknowledged that business success relies on effective communications. Today, 86% of organisations rely on email as their primary channel for consumer communication and email remains a key channel for marketing campaigns.
In the course of the next twenty four hours, 269 billion emails will be sent, but over 50% of these messages will be marked as spam. Problems with email deliverability have been been plaguing marketers’ lives since day dot, stumping the success of email marketing campaigns, making it more difficult for businesses not only to attract new customers, but also to communicate with existing ones.
And typically, when faced with a barrage of ‘delivery failed’ notifications, marketers would go straight to the IT department looking for solutions. Problems with email were seen as within the IT professional’s domain. No pun intended.
But as deliverability issues seemingly continue to grow, and IT teams face increasing pressure from across the organisation, marketers must start to ease pressure on their techie colleagues wherever they can. After all, resolving issues with email is in both their interests. And we should also pay special mention to GDPR – with so many customers failing, or choosing not to opt in for future communications, marketing lists have shrunk so it’s more important now than ever before to strengthen deliverability.
Yes, marketers already know of a number of techniques to improve the effectiveness of their email campaigns. From audience segmentation to personalised content, and from optimising for mobile to automating certain service emails, marketers have developed an effective portfolio of techniques to maximise the return on email marketing spend.
So why can it seem that whatever tips and tricks marketers attempt, the potential for email campaigns often doesn’t transfer from principle into practice? Well, because what use is using your recipient’s name in the subject line, or making sure all the text isn’t scrunched up on mobile, if the email itself isn’t reaching the inbox?
There are three essential background measures that marketers need to put in place ensure emails are reaching the inbox, and email campaigns are optimising marketing ROI and business success.
1. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
Ensuring the hygiene of your email list is vital to maximising the deliverability of your email campaigns. While it requires regular maintenance, making sure your email lists are comprised only of correct and active addresses is key for increasing deliverability.
When left unaddressed, you not only reduce your deliverability rate by being met with bounce-back after bounce-back, and piles of unopened emails, you also damage your sender reputation, intensifying the problems as more domains will treat your emails as spam.
Adding a double opt-in within your sign-up framework can dramatically reduce the problem of undelivered emails due to typos in a hastily entered address, for example. Post-GDPR, double opt-in verification is vital if you want to avoid the fines. Another common problem is identifying email domains that are no longer in use, or whose owner has changed. If you notice a recipient that used to regularly open your emails hasn’t opened one in months, consider whether it’s time to take them off your list, as there’s a risk that address is no longer correct, and is wreaking havoc on your deliverability and reputation.
2. WHAM BAM NO THANK YOU SPAM
Ensuring your content is free of spam-style buzzwords and content sounds like a no-brainer, but there are a number of lesser known triggers in your content that could be causing your emails to go straight to spam.
There are the obvious no-nos – over-using words like ‘deal’, ‘winner’ and ‘free’ – the kind of words heavily associated with spam messages or phishing attempts. But also important is balancing the number of images you have on screen with the amount of text, and moderating the number of click through links in your content. Such nuances in content and format can be easily avoided, and can be the difference between your email getting through, ending up in spam, or being permanently blacklisted.
3. STICK TO PROTOCOL
Domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC) is an email protocol and almost certainly viewed as part of the IT team’s cybersecurity armoury, used to defend against unauthorised use of the company’s email domain. But along with protecting your customers from email fraud, DMARC can also spearhead deliverability – it’s the only means of ensuring your emails are reaching recipients’ inboxes, and not ending up in spam folders – so long as you’re adhering to the rules of point 2 above – even the strictest of DMARC controls won’t enable poor content through to your recipients’ inboxes.
If you have DMARC set up correctly you are telling the receiving email servers that the emails you send are legitimate and not junk. Once you fully implement DMARC and clean up your email sending clutter, you will see that your open rates will automatically increase as more people are actually receiving and seeing your emails. It also reports what’s working and what isn’t so you can see when and where problems arise, and fix them quickly.
While marketers may need to call on their IT team to help implement DMARC, it needs limited time to deploy, and, once up and running, requires minimal resources to maintain to review its ongoing reports and configure new services. And ultimately it will reduce the long term pressure on both IT and marketing teams.
INTO THE INBOX
Maintaining mailing list hygiene, ensuring your content isn’t a spammer’s delight and implementing an email protocol such as DMARC are three key factors that can optimise email deliverability, but more often than not, easily escapes a marketer’s campaign strategy.
Typically, these processes are viewed to exist purely within the realms of IT security. But the reality is that executing these measures can be crucial to the marketing and communications success of your organisation, helping you increase open rates, identify emails reaching junk, or not reaching recipients at all.
Of course, you’ll also be better protecting the data of your company and consumers, which not only ensures your company is GDPR compliant, but is also crucial for maintaining brand reputation and trust with your existing and prospective customers, further maximising marketing ROI and the overall success of your business.