According to statistics, for every $1 you spend on email marketing you can expect a return of $38 on average. That’s a significant return considering the amount of your initial investment.
If you’re not seeing the same ROI from your efforts, however, then you must be doing something wrong.
There are many reasons that your email marketing campaign doesn’t reach your target recipients’ inbox. But there is a common email marketing mistake that businesses and marketers often commit – checking email deliverability.
This results in a drop in inbox placement rates which, according to Return Path, leads to 20% opportunity loss due to failure of 1 out of every 5 emails to reach the inbox.
What do you need to do to ensure email marketing deliverability?
A better question would be what service are you using to send emails? It could be the root of the problem.
You have two options available:
- Using a professional email address with a hosting company and sending messages through them
- Using a professional email address through an email marketing tool/program
Each one comes with its share of concerns that must be fixed to increase your email marketing campaign’s deliverability and inbox placement.
Engagement signals according to email providers
Before anything else, you must understand the relationship between email providers and recipient perception.
You see, email providers, such as Gmail and Outlook.com, determine engagement based on several key signals and then categorize your message accordingly:
- Open rates
- Reply rates
- Bounce rate
- Spam rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Click-through rate
How to boost success in email marketing
When using an email from a hosting company
Your professional email address, which is related to your business, can impact whether your message lands in the inbox or spam folder.
Most hosting companies allow you to create an email address that you can link to your domain, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is highly likely that the IP address you get is shared by a lot of other users. If many spammers use it, then the IP address’s reputation might be damaged. Because Gmail considers it as spam, your message is sure to make it to the spam folder.
What can you do to protect your email marketing campaign?
Run a test of the original message by sending a message to your own Gmail address or whatever email service you use. Then, check if it hits the spam folder.
If it did not, then you’re good.
If it did, then you need to investigate further.
- Open the email you sent, then click the 3 dots (for Gmail) on the far-right side of the message.
- From the drop-down that opens, click show original.
This will open a new window that lists down the email details, including the following:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)
- DMARC (Domain Message Authentication Reporting)
Both of these will prove that you authorized your email service provider to send marketing emails on your behalf. They should be marked either pass or fail. If one or both fail, you need to set these up.
Along with SPF is an IP address. Take note of this.
Test the IP address’ reputation
Use either Mxtoolbox and Ultratools to identify if an IP address is blacklisted. If it proves blacklisted, contact your hosting provider to initiate removal from the list and to help correct the email marketing mistake. This is the first step to resolving the issue. How long it takes for the problem to be fixed could take a while.
Connect to GSuite
An alternative and better solution is to connect your domain to GSuite. A suite of tools developed by Google, GSuite lets you set up a professional email address based on your business domain. You can also use it to create a group mailing lists such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if the test email you sent didn’t go to the spam folder, connecting your business domain to GSuite is more reliable and offers additional benefits. You not only get a reliable email address but also access to cloud computing, collaboration, and productivity tools.
All these for $6/month. Not bad, right?
If using GSuite helps guarantee the deliverability of your email marketing campaign, the subscription fee is worth it.
When using an email marketing tool
Deliverability becomes a problem when you use email marketing software with a poor reputation. No matter how much effort you put into creating great content and building an email list, it will all go to waste because of your choice of email marketing tool.
What can you do to protect your email marketing campaign?
Using the IP address you obtained from the previous steps, check a sender’s reputation.
Use senderscore.org to get an idea of how mailbox providers view the sender’s IP address. Here, reputation is scored between 0 and 100, with below 80 considered as weak.
Let me give you an example:
Use Talosintelligence, another tool to check sender reputation. It will return a result of poor, neutral, or good.
If you get a score of below 80 or poor, do the following:
- Contact the provider and inform them of the results you’ve discovered. If a provider uses several servers divided into IP pools, they might transfer you to a pool with a better reputation.
- Cancel your account and start using another email marketing program that has a better reputation and offers better services. Some of the best and most popular email marketing companies have a team dedicated to monitoring their servers’ reputation. Should any concerns arise, they will act accordingly.
Whichever step you take, you must test and test to ensure that you do not commit a common email marketing mistake that you can completely avoid and control.
What’s the next big step?
Once you’ve ensured the deliverability of your email marketing campaigns, it’s time to focus on content.
Subscribers want to see content that is relevant to their needs. Failure to deliver accordingly would mean your next email is likely to be moved to spam or deleted without it being opened.
You know what email providers think about this.
Therefore, your email content must be people-focused, value-driven, helpful and relevant, and backed by proof, such as success stories and case studies.
Refine your content strategy when needed, monitor your email’s rate of inbox placement, and you will avoid this email marketing mistake.
About the Author
Peter Keszegh is the founder of OnlinebizBooster, a digital marketing website and blog. He authors in-depth guides that teach online biz owners ways to grow, manage and scale their business. When he is not doing all those, he loves trying out new things and discovering new places. If you want to learn modern marketing strategies, head over to his website – OnlinebizBooster.