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Dispelling Email Deliverability Myths

As a marketer, email likely factors into your marketing strategy. Whether it plays a small role or is a larger piece of the puzzle, your goal should be to create highly engaging campaigns that consistently land in your audience’s inbox. Validity’s 2021 Benchmark Report ‘The State of Email Marketing’ found less than one-fifth of participants report an inbox placement rate of 90%.

It would appear that getting email to its intended destination, your audience’s inbox, isn’t quite as simple as it once was. There are many influencing factors to overcome to achieve high open rates and get eyes on your carefully crafted campaigns, including Internet Service Providers (ISP) / Mailbox Providers (MBP) keeping you on your toes as to what email is and isn’t accepted, as well as the ongoing battle to avoid the junk folder, and keep spam scores low.

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to get maximum engagement from your email, and the factors to consider before pressing send. We want to dispel some email deliverability myths, so you can start saying goodbye junk folder, and hello inbox!

Unsubscribes will negatively affect my sender reputation

Unsubscribes will not dramatically impact sender reputation and in turn your deliverability. When a recipient unsubscribes, they are giving you feedback to improve your email program and saving you from a definite impact on your sender reputation by hitting the spam button. A common way that senders try to curb unsubscribes and list attrition is to make the unsubscribe difficult to find by making it small or even hidden. If a recipient no longer wants to receive your email, let them. Making it difficult forces them to the spam button which is what actually impacts your deliverability.

The more email we send the more revenue we’ll make

Email marketing has a 4400% ROI. That means that every dollar you spend on email marketing has the potential to bring you a $44 return. However, the answer here isn’t to send as many emails as humanly possible as quick as possible. Your focus should be on quality over quantity. Higher volume due to increased cadence causes recipients to ignore or even complain about your email. Spam complaints and lower engagement rates from your connections will lead to delivery issues resulting in lower revenue. The best thing to do is send to a segmented highly engaged audience to maintain reputation in consistent inbox placement.

Sending to a purchased list is ok because the data was opted in

Just because a list of recipients is claimed to have been “opted in”, it doesn’t make it ok to send to. Senders often think that because the recipient “opted in” on a signup form that the list is compliant from a legal standpoint and that this is a good way to grow their audience. Doing this may grow your database but the truth is it will end up in deliverability issues. The fact is, no matter how relevant the list is to your brand, the recipients didn’t sign up to receive email from you. This will result in lower engagement, higher spam complaints, potential blocklistings and a negative impact on sender reputation. Now recipients that have opted into your brand directly aren’t receiving email and overall revenue takes a hit.

Keywords that can trigger filters will cause email to go to SPAM

A common misconception is that using a keyword that will trigger filters or increase your spam score will cause the message to go to spam. If you maintain a positive sender reputation by sending relevant content to an engaged audience you can include language that’s appropriate to get message across. That said, any excessive use of keywords, caps and punctuation can eventually lead to filtering but as long as you stay relevant to your message and maintain your reputation, feel free to use what’s appropriate.

My delivery and reputation shouldn’t have gone down, I haven’t changed anything

Often this is precisely the issue. There can certainly be other factors at play including time of year and what vertical you program falls under (think political email in an election cycle). That said, most senders get comfortable with doing what they have always done while the ISPs continuously adapt their strategy to combat spam and protect their subscribers. As the ISPs evolve and become more intelligent, practices that would previously be considered “ok” can have a negative impact on deliverability. It’s important to always be adjusting your strategy based on your engagement rates to maintain the highest sender reputation possible. Staying relevant to your audience and showing the ISPs high rates of engagement will help you adapt the ever-changing deliverability landscape.

There are many myths surrounding email deliverability. While it may seem daunting navigating the hurdles that stand between you and your audience’s inbox, the way to increase your chances of getting there is to create content that adds value, and for you to ensure the audience you’re talking to have specifically stated where and how they wish to hear from you.

If you’d like to hear about the evolution of the mailbox, overcoming deliverability issues, and escaping the junk folder, then our latest webinar is available on-demand now.

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