A recent report from Jupiter Research highlights the fact that deliverability is the number-one consideration for marketers when selecting an email service provider (ESP). Unfortunately, there is only so much even the best ESPs in the market can do in order you in getting your marketing messages to the inbox.

So what are ESPs good for you may ask? They provide the infrastructure that high-volume senders need to get through to the inbox. ESPs should also keep up with the latest in authentication methodologies and provide workflow that enforces current best-practices so senders can rest assured that every message sent is compliant with the best -practices and laws of the email marketing industry. These are all essential pieces of the email deliverability puzzle, but email senders and marketers also have a key part to play here, they have to closely keep in mind two other factors: reputation and message relevance.

Reputation – The Holy Grail of Email Marketing?

One of the most common mistakes email marketers tend to make relates to the misperception of using a brand new IP address. Many marketers think that this gives them a chance to start their broadcast/campaign on a clean slate, however, in reality; it actually can have a negative impact on the sender’s reputation. Why? Simply because spammers tend to frequently change their IP address often in order to hide or evade the filters. Thus, ISPs very often tend to be highly skeptical of new IP addresses. However, you can build a strong reputation fairly rapidly by sending consistently good email using the same IP address over time.

Good list hygiene also does wonders for a sender’s reputation. You should never second-guess your email lists or addresses. Also do not assume your recipients’ preferences; i.e. if you’re not completely confident that an address rightfully belongs on your list, for any reason, you should remove it. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, poor list hygiene can have dire consequences and lead to undeliverable email and/or complaints – both of which are red flags for ISPs.

Recipients can and often will complain to their ISPs in a variety of ways. For example, the "spam" button within the user interface is a popular choice. Customers everywhere are overwhelmed everyday by marketing messages on a daily basis, and reporting email as spam is an easy, efficient way for them to clear away the clutter. In fact, many will use the "spam" button as a one step method of unsubscribing from messages they explicitly requested. In fact, the Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) reported last year that 80 percent of respondents in their study of consumer email behavior delete or report messages as spam without opening the actual message. Those decisions were largely based on the "from" and "subject" lines.

This moves us onto the importance of relevance (both of your email subject line as well as your entire message). Always bear in mind that your email messages should be both useful as well as meaningful to your recipients. Ensure you are immediately recognizable in the "from" line and ensure your "subject" line is well thought out and eye-catching.

Relevance will not only increase your deliverability by minimizing complaints but also lead to higher open rates, customer engagement, conversions and overall return on your investment in the email channel.
It is also a good practice to ensure your recipients know how often to expect an email from you.  Even better, allow recipients to set preferences for how often to email them to ensure that you are not inundating your customers.

By Shanti Anne Morais