How To Be An Inbox Expert

Whether you are a professional email marketer with 20 years and counting of experience, or just getting your feet wet; the number one issue you’re probably facing continues to be inbox delivery.  In fact, recent surveys indicate that there’s a decline in overall delivery rates.

Declining delivery rates, according to industry statistics, reveal that a modest estimate of those lost emails represents millions of dollars of lost revenue. And for some and even greater losses in specific industries.

When a company becomes dependent on email marketing revenue, declining inbox deliveries can be devastating to the bottom line. In fact, if you review all the available sending reports and perform due diligence audits on your deliverability results, you may have found that an increase in revenue with your email marketing campaigns is disproportionately lower to the monetary output you’re making.  This includes employing staff, time, testing procedures and the monthly investment the company is making in email technology that makes this all work.

Even with advance email technology and the rate of change in email hosting industry overall, delivery issues should be addressed in real time.  Real-time allows you to become proactive, allowing you to identify and address problems, avoid negative results, such as being rated with an unacceptable sending reputation and prevent that email from being trapped in the SPAM filter.mailbox

Keep in mind most deliverability issues come from old or poorly maintained email lists.  Old lists are notorious for having incorrect to inactive addresses, addresses that bounce or have become someone’s favorite SPAM trap, all contributing to a degrading sender reputation and lower inbox deliverability while fattening the spam folder.

Whether or not emails go to spam folders depends on many factors that can include, but are not limited to the:

  • Reputation of the sending IP.
  • “Newness’ of the sending IP (if it is a new sending IP without an established reputation, then ISP’s usually treats it with caution until a reputation is established).
  • Actual content of the message; if it looks like spam then it will likely get treated like spam.  For confirmation requests, this usually means nothing in the confirmation request can be construed as anything other than a request to confirm that the user wants to be added to the list.  No other ‘call to action’ such as sales pitches, links to sales sites, etc., should be in a confirmation request.
  • IP’s Pointer (PTR), aka Reverse DNS (RDNS) status, i.e., does it match the A Record?
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF) status, i.e., does the SPF record specify the IP as an allowed sender IP?
  • Use of DK/DKIM to authenticate the email as authorized by your domain.
  • Customer reaction to your email.  Are they deleting it without reading it?  Do they click on the confirmation links?  Did they file a complaint with the ISP that the email is spam?

Delivery challenges can be addressed in different ways:

  • Hire someone to manage deliverability
  • Use an outside vendor to provide facts and figures for study and analysis
  • Pay someone for email certification
  • Measure your inbox rates with detail reports from your ESP
  • Send seed list and measure the results.

One thing you can be proactive about is to ask your users to add your address to their address book as many ISPs will always deliver those addresses to the inbox.  You can do this in a confirmation message, a hello message, or even on every production newsletter you send.  Repetition is good…if a user wants the newsletter, they will usually do something about it themselves to get it to the inbox if they know how.

Questions?  Comment below.