If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘why do my email metrics suck,’ you’re certainly not alone. A study by Return Path tells us that only 79% of commercial emails land in the subscribers’ inbox. That means one out of every five emails sent either gets filtered as spam or blocked. That’s not good odds if you’re counting on your email marketing to boost your sales or get subscribers engaged. While there could be many reasons your email campaign metrics suck, one of the most common is that it is getting much harder to avoid emails from getting filtered as spam.
ISP Spam Filtering
That’s, in part, because ISPs’ spam filtering technology has become much more exhaustive and email providers are bolstering their efforts to crack down on spam. For example, Gmail’s tabbed inbox automatically filters incoming email into one of several categories, like primary, social, promotions, updates or forums. This could deter readers from opening your messages if your emails end up in the ‘promotions’ category, even if you have a high-quality list, your recipients opted-in, and your message is chocked full of interesting content. On top of that, filters are also not 100% accurate, so sometimes legitimate emails users want to receive, could get routed to the actual spam folder too.
Robust spam filtering is just one of the challenges marketers are facing. Other problems that could be contributing to lack-luster email campaign success is that you’re not paying enough attention to email deliverability. Unlike email delivery, which is a metric that means, ‘my email didn’t bounce back!’ email deliverability digs much deeper. Many call it the most critical metric in email marketing because nearly all other parameters depend on it. Email deliverability is measured by the rate at which emails arrive in the inbox. While many understand how critical email deliverability can be, most many don’t know what goes into this metric. How do you know if you have email deliverability issues? Ask these questions.
- Are my emails being delivered, but ignored?
- Are my emails being flagged by spam filters?
- Do my emails have low engagement?
- Did I build my list over several years?
Optimizing emails deliverability – part art, part science
If you’re struggling with email deliverability, there’s a good chance your email campaign performance isn’t what it could be. And this means you could be missing out on big-time revenue gains. Think about it: People who receive offers via email spend 138% more than those who don’t (Source: Convince and Convert)! Those are numbers you can’t make up for with other marketing channels. While email deliverability encompasses a lot of things, most importantly, it involves your reputation as a sender. Optimizing email deliverability can be thought of as part art and part science. It’s the process of taking every step possible to avoid being perceived as a spammer in the eyes’ of your subscribers (art) and by spam filters (science). One the science side, email providers like Yahoo! and Google use different algorithms to spot spammy emails, checking your email for specific characteristics that spend up spam flags. They use email authentication protocols such as DKIM, SPF, and SenderID to authentic emails are legitimate. By putting verified SPF and DKIM settings in place, receiving mailboxes have valid information to cross-reference with your email campaigns. The art-side of optimizing email deliverability is to focus on subscriber engagement.
Boosting your reputation and subscriber engagement
More than evaluating ‘open rates,’ today’s email providers can determine how subscribers ‘click through,’ emails. Are emails forwarded? Are links clicked on? Many marketing automation tools can also give you insight into how long the reader spent with your email open. By improving engagement with emails and increasing the time recipients spend with your emails, you could enhance your reputation as a sender and strengthen your future email deliverability rates.
Part of boosting engagement is delivering high-quality content that is relevant and useful to your opt-in audience. Invest in understanding your audience to develop targeted messages to get subscribers excited about your brand and your content. If you have email lists that you’ve put together over several years and those subscribers are no longer opening, clicking, saving, or forwarding your emails, your reputation will suffer. If your open rates go low enough, your ISP may block your future emails. As you can see, this problem can quickly snowball. If your subscribers are ignoring you, your engagement score goes down, your reputation is tarnished, and your ‘lack of engagement’ problem grows.
Bringing it all together
In addition to following email deliverability best practices like avoiding blacklists, leveraging clean email lists, and using secure opt-in techniques, optimizing your email deliverability is about focusing on your reputation. With targeted messages and well-positioned campaigns, your ‘sender reputation’ will improve and you’ll start to notice improvements in the delivery of your emails and improved ROI.
At Carve Digital, we build highly engaging email campaigns for customers, following proven industry best practices and our specialized skill set focused on the channel. We can guide you on how to improve your email deliverability, help you build a robust re-engagement campaign to enhance your current email list, and avoid email suckiness in general! Ask us how we’re happy to help. Send a message or give us a call at (720) 593-6479.