Imagine a world in which our clients waited eagerly for the next email from us, anxiously glancing at their in-boxes in case they missed it. Well it’s not going to happen anytime soon, and more than likely it’s the opposite. Customers, as we know, scan their in-boxes quickly looking for nuggets in amongst the junk and if we fail to impress that’s what our efforts will be classified as – Junk.
But the problem starts even before that point, because according to Return Path, only 76% of commercial emails actually get delivered to the in-box in the first place. Just to give a sense of the scale of SPAM, Yahoo is blocking 25,000 spam messages per second worldwide and about 95% of emails being sent are SPAM. But it’s not just SPAM that is rejected; even opt-in emails don’t get in.
So of the emails that are sent out, 5% may bounce and not make it to the recipient due to an invalid or expired email address. Of those that do reach the mail server, 12% get filtered or go missing, 3% end up in spam folders and roughly 80% ending up in the recipients inbox.
The first port of call for many marketers to tackle this problem is their Email Service Provider, who is after all responsible for managing their email campaigns effectively. But ESP’s (like Exact Target or Responsys) are only partially responsible for what happens after an email is sent. In many cases where an email is sent to an organisation, that organisation’s own firewall and SPAM filtering policies will reject emails. But more importantly, somewhere between send and receive are the gateway receivers – Google, Yahoo, Bigpond, etc. who employ teams of people whose job it is to filter out “Spam” – which unfortunately means a fair amount of legitimate traffic also gets caught in their nets.
So how can marketers steer more of their emails away from the lost email abyss into the in-boxes of the intended recipients? Research by Return Path shows that 77% of deliverability problems are caused by the reputation of the email sender.
There’s a blacklist and a whitelist of emailers, and you don’t want to be on the blacklist. Your reputation is your key and there are several factors which you can influence easily. The first is keeping your list clean so you don’t continually mail dead accounts or unsubscribes (the latter being against the law in any case). The gateway receivers will monitor that, and your reputation will suffer. Something they will also be able to track to a degree is how often your emails get deleted without being read, or moved to the junk folder by the recipient, or flagged by the recipient as spam, or not opened at all. All this is damaging for your reputation and edges you closer to the blacklist. So the other thing you can do is keep your emails relevant. Relevancy is good for opens and clicks and good for your reputation score.
You can learn more about this and many other aspects of how to improve your email effectiveness when you attend our Advanced email marketing short course running in Sydney on September 21 and Melbourne October 12