What can cause constant email campaign failure?

From the email marketer of a major corporation to the one-man shop marketer, they all try their best to get out a timely email newsletter – with zero expectation of a total email campaign failure.  When a failed campaign is discovered, they might not know what went wrong.  They may say “did I sign up with the wrong ESP?”

An ESP or Email Service Provider is a company that offers “different ways to manage and send bulk email to individual email addresses for delivery.”  One may believe their ESP failed to perform this service when the delivery analytics disclose their email campaign messages weren’t delivered as expected: theoretically an email campaign failure.

A campaign failure doesn’t indicate it’s the wrong ESP.  Nevertheless, some marketers conclude it is the Email Service Provider’s responsibility to successfully deliver their email campaigns.  Therefore, they may believe their email campaign failure is strictly caused because of the ESP they have chosen. 

Typically, users put the ownness of this type of failure on the ESP and expect them to fix it.  However, the ESP can only react to delivery problems as they are not responsible to prevent delivery problems.  In reality most delivery issues are caused by the sender; usually from the lack of understanding on how deliverability actually works.

Deliverability to the ESP includes maintaining the email platform, keeping the system free from viruses, malware, and attacks. They monitor user performance in reference to best practices, GDPR guidelines, and encourage users to follow the Can-Spam Act.  It is their responsibility to remove bad senders which may place a shared IP address on a blacklist, resulting in a negative reputation for all senders on that IP.

ESP’s supply the tools for list users to manage their subscriber base and assist with content format by offering email templates and html editors.  They may also offer A/B testing scripts, segment wizards, and survey capability.

Email Service Providers monitor IP reputation, and complaints.  They present explanations for issues that arise such as bounces, malformed headers, scripting problems, and other email campaign failure.  They may also give the user mailing stats, deliverability reports, and graphics on the overall performance of a campaign,

unsubscribeBut the actual campaign success or failure comes down to the sender.  It is their responsibility to use a list that is:

  • Opti-in
  • Clean from unsubscribes.

While content should be:

  • Thought out and planned.
  • Written with proper diction, punctuation and spelling.

And the message is:

  • Personalized
  • Sent from the same FROM address.
  • Relevant to the recipient

email subject lineBefore sending:

  • A/B test for the best Subject Line, Call to Action, and image use.
  • Verify all links are working
  • Check on all devices for formatting

But the crux of deliverability lies with Email Authentication; the process of by which an ISP can verify the identity of the sender.  Before an email is considered deliverable to the inbox it’s scrutinized, authenticated, and examined right along with the sender and their sender reputation.

When both the ESP and customer work together, delivery improves. Authentication protocols, DMARC, DKIM, SPF, and BIMI are tools that help with that authentication process:

  • DMARC: set up on your domain, configured for you by your ESP
  • DKIM: set up for you by your ESP
  • SPF protocol: given to you by your ESP and set up on your domain
  • BIMI: all three protocols (above) must be in place: this is set up on your DNS (instructions here)

The question of what can cause constant email campaign failure, or did I sign up with the wrong ESP can now be answered.  The sender is responsible for their reputations and deliverability, and the ESP also plays a role.  Using the ESPs tools, knowledge and assistance deliverability can improve.   If you find you need assistance, check out mailinglistservices.com OR if you prefer emailprofessors.com can play the part of both sender and ESP for your company or organization.