Getting your email into your targets’ inboxes can sometimes seem challenging. A number of different factors, including your content, your list quality, and the infrastructure between you, the sender, and your target recipient, can influence email delivery. This paper discusses these factors and provides many best practices and recommendations that will enhance the probability of your email reaching its target.
You might send email for a variety of reasons, including enhancing an existing relationship with a customer, marketing new products and offers, educating a group of people sharing a common interest, or notifying customers of an event. Some examples include:
How you manage the electronic communication with your recipients through email can be called your email program.
To run a successful email program, you must be aware of a few topics that can affect your delivery and ultimately your impact on email recipients. We’ll start by discussing the value attributed to your email by your recipients and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) responsible for protecting their inboxes. Then we’ll explain what the emailing process looks like, who’s involved, and what their roles are. Finally, you’ll learn how to optimize value and drive it up based on some best practices we’ve compiled.
By the time you finish reading this, you should have many of the tools you need to make your email program a success!
Have you ever thought about how and why email gets delivered? Deliverability refers to the likelihood that an email message you send will actually arrive at its intended destination. Emails don’t always make it to the intended recipient’s inbox. They can be delivered to the junk folder (sometimes referred to as the spam folder), rejected by the receiver’s email infrastructure (usually in the form of a bounce), or disappear altogether (for example, when the receiving system drops the message without informing the sender or recipient). Some ISPs have even created default folders based on user engagement to help recipients better organize their messages, and email will be delivered to these folders, rather than the inbox itself.
As an email sender, you want as many messages as possible to be delivered to your recipients’ inboxes. The best way to improve delivery is to send high-quality email; that is, email that recipients find valuable. Email recipients only want your email if they can extract value from the message. That value can come in many forms, such as offers, order confirmations, sweepstakes notifications, or even social network communications. Value, of course, is a loaded word, since different things make email messages valuable to different people.
Email quality equals value to the email recipient. Despite its subjectivity, ISPs try to predict email quality as accurately as possible using a variety of metrics to gauge whether a message is wanted (and thus valuable) or is not wanted (and thus considered spam). These metrics include various internal computations based on anti-spam technology and recipient inputs that ISPs attempt to quantify.
You, as the sender, build trust with a receiver (whomever or whatever is behind the address you’re sending to) by sending high quality email over time. This trust is referred to in the industry as reputation. Receivers use metrics to assess the value of a sender’s email. These metrics are often combined into scores, and are typically referred to as a sender’s reputation.