By Andrew Paul
In October of last year, I wrote Part 1 of this article, covering the basics of running an effective and efficient email marketing campaign and strategy. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and focus our attention on the vital components involved in getting your message delivered. The fact that email is nearly ubiquitous means that deliverability to the inbox is more difficult than ever before. If your message isn’t even reaching your recipients, what’s the point of launching a large-scale email marketing campaign? Without proper delivery of your message to your intended recipients, you will be spending your weekends sulking in the reality that the time, energy, and money spent on campaign planning and execution was a complete and utter waste.
Deliverability comes down to having quality data and quality IP addresses used to send your newsletter or promotional offers. Even if you have crafted a quality email creative with a strong call to action and attention-grabbing subject lines, delivery to the inbox is never guaranteed. Simply put, you cannot avoid spam filters used by all major ISPs that send your email message directly to the junk folder.
Having said that, there are email marketing “best practices” out there that will maximize deliverability to the inbox and safeguard your sender reputation. Given that your sender reputation is similar to your brand reputation, you know that it requires constant attention and nurturing in an effort to preserve and maintain it over time. Email addresses can be live one moment and dead the next. In fact, approximately 30% of all email addresses become inactive or abandoned each year. In the world of email marketing, it often requires the strategic investment in email list validation to strip your list of bad domains, habitual complainers, spam seeds, BOTs, honeypots, duplicate, and invalid email addresses.
Most ESPs and ISPs will take action if your email deployment results in more than a 5% bounce rate. This becomes an easy threshold to reach, even if you take the proper measures to collect an opt-in list over time. Oftentimes, the email addresses were collected over a number of years or were entered into the database by fumble-fingered data entry people. When you take a risk and send your offer to this list, your IP reputation is in jeopardy. Not to mention the fact that you are paying to send emails that aren’t even being delivered.
You can have a great promotional offer that provides a value-added opportunity for your target audience. However, your IP reputation is among the most influential variables that affect overall performance and ROI from your send. The goal is to work harmoniously with ISPs to ensure that your database of both current and prospective customers are not plagued with unwanted or unsolicited email, better known as spam.
If you think there’s some Big Mystery Behind Effective Email Marketing, there’s not. You live and die by your IP reputation. That’s it.