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How to maintain a healthy deliverability rate

Deliverability is table stakes for email marketers: Everyone knows how important it is to get into the inbox. During the sales process, brands often cite deliverability as a pain point. It’s also one of the first topics we bring up when working with clients. So how can you take a better approach to your email program when it comes to deliverability?

Be proactive about your deliverability

Deliverability is all about making sure that you get into the inbox and stay far away from spam folders or bring blocked outright. A lot of this is driven by adhering to best practices and maintaining recipients’ interest.

Proactively monitor deliverability and keep track of upcoming ISP changes. By staying updated about what’s going on in the email industry with resources like ReturnPath and eDataSource, you can take the right steps ahead of time to maintain deliverability even when major changes occur.

For example, the 2018 updates to Gmail had an initial expectation to impact brands at varying levels. Smart Replies, a feature that suggests responses for users, had limited impact on deliverability for promotional emails; however, the feature that proactively suggests unsubscribes could have caused major problems for those unprepared. For brands that knew about these changes ahead of time and took steps to combat them, deliverability remained unfazed.

Also, make sure you’re working with your email team to understand where you need to be proactive, where you need to adjust mailing practices and where they can support you. Technology plays a role in improving your performance as well. Platforms like Agility Harmony can evaluate the email volume that’s being sent and analyze what’s getting to the inbox. With the right deliverability team who stays proactive and constantly evaluates deliverability health and the right technology, you’ll be ahead of the curve and avoid potential roadblocks.

Diagnosing deliverability problems

Your email team may identify other signals indicating that your marketing emails aren’t reaching the inbox, such as an increase in complaints, high bounce rates or (worst of all) getting blacklisted. When that happens, dissect what’s changed in your email program.

Ask yourself about changes you may have made:

  •  Did we add new audiences?
  • Have we changed our data or any other processes?
  • Has there been a change to our program strategy?

Deliverability is more of an art than a science. There are plenty of best practices to follow, but ISPs won’t provide direct answers such as “this specific email address is being used as a spamtrap” or “the email campaign sent on this date was the key problem.” But you can take time to diagnose these issues and get back on track.

How to keep your email deliverability healthy: diet and exercise

Building a solid deliverability rate is like maintaining your health. You know diet and exercise are the ways to get in shape, but you’re tempted by shortcuts in hopes of getting quicker results. Those won’t last.

Similarly, when it comes to deliverability, the only way to succeed long-term is to follow best practices and consider the value your emails present to your customers. You need to send emails that they expect and want.

You can test out your likeability by monitoring how your customers respond each time you send them an email. For instance, if you see that 40% of all your clicks are people unsubscribing or marking messages as spam to remove themselves from your list, that’s not good. There could be a mismatch between the user’s expectations and what you are sending.

By continually checking that your emails are relevant and interesting, you can improve not just your deliverability health, but your overall email program performance.

Deliverability impacts your campaigns and (more importantly) your bottom line

Consider how deliverability affects your reporting. Are your open rates lower because your messages aren’t reaching the inbox? Are you getting clicks that ultimately lead you to being marked as spam?

If your deliverability problems haunt your email program, then you’ll have more than a reporting issue: You’ll have an impact on your bottom line. Driving revenue starts with building connections with your subscribers, and that starts with getting in their inbox.

Make sure that you’re taking the right steps to proactively monitor your deliverability and to quickly get back on track if deliverability issues arise. Your profit margins will thank you.

To learn more about other trends going on in the email industry, download the Email trends and benchmarks report.