10 Things Marketing Automation Customers Need to Know About Email Deliverability

Tips for Email Deliverability and Terms You Need to Know

Can you trust the email deliverability metrics from your marketing automation or email platform?

Most marketing automation clients are not familiar with the details behind Email Deliverability performance beyond the basics – such as bounce rates or unsubscribe management. But as more and more B2B Enterprises utilize marketing automation for both batch emails as well as nurture marketing programs it is vital that they ensure their emails are getting delivered.

Here are ten things marketing automation customers need to know about email deliverability.

You are Not Alone on your IP Address**

The volume of email sent by B2B marketers is often much lower than retailers
or other B2C sites, and marketing automation providers often spread the usage of their email IP addresses across multiple clients. In fact, most marketing automation subscriptions default to a shared IP. Consider checking with your provider on the costs associated with a dedicated IP address for your company, otherwise your deliverability could be impacted by the bad practices of the other companies on the same IP.

**There is a Glossary of Email Deliverability Terms at the bottom of the page with brief definitions of some of the terms used here, including “IP Address.”

More Volume is Not Always Better

Sending too much email at once can have an impact on whether ISPs decide to accept the emails you send. Sending smaller volumes of mail or spreading larger sends out over the course of several hours can achieve better results. If you haven’t selected a marketing automation provider yet, consider making the ability to spread an email send over time a criteria when doing your due diligence.

Not Everyone Likes to Talk to Strangers

 Keeping a clean, active email list is key to achieving high deliverability—and yet database maintenance is an ongoing concern that most B2Bs ignore. The enterprise needs to meticulously manage their lists by removing unsubscribes, suppressing complaints, and addressing bounces with a good strategy to remove “soft bounces” from the list after a reasonable number of attempts. Also, use caution with list appends and acquisition providers, as some might tell you that the data you acquire is “opt-in” or safe to email. The reality is that sending mass email to anyone who has not opted in to receive it can impact deliverability when they mark you as spam or report you to their ISP, which can be especially serious with new regulations like GDPR and CASL.

Suppress Those That Complain

Don’t ignore people that complain or request action when they operate outside of the “unsubscribe” link in your email. B2Bs can access feedback loops that allow the recipient’s network to send you back email digests of those that complain (hit the spam button) about your emails. Not all networks/ providers have this, but it is important to sign up for all that are available, as well as suppress those that do complain as continuing to mail to them will impact deliverability to every recipient on that ISP, not just the ones that complain.

Stay Safe with Whitelisting

Whitelisting, or Safelisting, has long been associated with B2C mailers. It works by building a relationship with an ISP demonstrating that you are who you say you are, the people you are mailing to have opted in, and your content is relevant and adheres to all rules and guidelines. Marketing emails will sometimes get quarantined on the mail server and never even make it to your recipient’s junk folder (let alone inbox) but having your sending information whitelisted will bypass this and get your mail delivered to the inbox. Always include this information in your emails, on your website, and communicate this to your recipients.

Provide Your Passport to The Inbox

 Many ISPs act like a bouncer at the door of the club, checking the ID of every email that wants to get inside. This helps your recipient’s network possibly filter out any emails that are not authenticated and could be a phishing email. IP and domain authentication are like your identification, demonstrating that you are who you say you are. Setting up these two types of authentication is typically very easy to do and helps your deliverability. Talk to your marketing automation provider about what you can do to authenticate the IP addresses you email from.

Design Impacts Delivery

 Making sure that your content passes an array of deliverability checks can also help get your emails to the inbox. Maintain a good text-to-image ratio, include verbiage relevant to your audience, design your emails with images off, design for mobile, and don’t include all of your calls-to-action in an image.

URLs May Not Be Your Friend

 Content URLs can also pose deliverability challenges, so if you are sharing content or linking to a page that is different than the domain you are sending from it might impact delivery. As IP addresses can get blacklisted, so can domains and URLs. Make sure you test all URLs, not only to make sure that they work, but also check to see if they are blacklisted. Avoid all URL shorteners, as many of those are blacklisted, and make sure that the domains you are referencing don’t keep redirecting to many other URLs.

Grab Your Recipient’s Attention

 ISPs monitor clicks and opens the same way that you do, and if your emails generate a lot of good activity they are considered relevant and safe. As such, it is important to stand out in your Buyer’s inbox by choosing the best subject line, and to test them against as many different email clients as possible because some of them no longer display the entire subject line. Also, promotional words (e.g., ‘free,’ ‘exclusive’ or ‘ROI’) do not perform as well as words that speak to the basic, substantive business benefit (e.g., ‘revenue’ or ‘profit’) in B2B. Make subject line testing across clients a must to help improve overall email deliverability.

Pay Attention to Reporting and Analytics

 Deliverability reporting is not glamorous but paying attention to it will
help improve conversions and revenue.
Don’t just focus on opens, clicks, and conversions. It is just as important to pay close attention to bounces, unsubscribes, and complaints. Keeping an eye out for IP and domain reputation is very important as well. Staying off blacklists, monitoring blocks, and reviewing deliverability data/reports will help make sure that you maintain high deliverability. Marketers must have a consistent and proactive approach to email deliverability to run programs that drive revenue.

Glossary of Email Deliverability Terms

Blacklist – A list of IP addresses and/or domains that are not allowed access into a particular network. By being blacklisted, the sender’s emails may bounce and/or get rejected.

CASL – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) – The most comprehensive email authentication standard that signs each outgoing message with an encrypted key. While SPF involves making changing to DNS records, DomainKeys requires senders to change the way that messages are constructed.

Email Authentication – IP and domain authentication is your “passport” to the Inbox. Essentially, this authentication verifies that you are allowed to send using the sending IP address and the sending domain. Authentication helps to prevent phishing and spoofing of your domain, as well as lets your recipients know that you have taken the precautions of using IP and domain authentication.

Email client – Software that downloads email from your provider, or that an individual uses to access their email online. An example would be Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail or Yahoo Mail.

Feedback loop – When the ISP forwards complaints of recipients to the organization that sent the email. Typically, this is sent back to the Email Service Provider that sent the email. Not all ISPs and networks maintain a feedback loop, but it is important to get signed up with all that are available. If you use an Email Service Provider, they will typically take care of this.

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation, a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.

Hard bounce – This bounce rejection reason from the recipient mail server indicates a permanent delivery failure. Retried delivery attempts will not be successful. An example of a hard bounce would be a bad mailbox.

IP Address – A number assigned to each computer, network device, or network in order to distinguish each network interface and networked device. Marketers also use an IP address to send out email campaigns and may or may not be dedicated to a single company’s when they use marketing automation or an ESP.

 ISP (Internet Service Provider) – Provides access to the Internet and normally provides the user an email address associated with that provider. An example ISP would be Comcast.

Phishing – An email fraud method in which a legitimate-looking email is used in an attempt to gather personal or financial information from the recipient. Phishing messages usually have the appearance of having come from well known and trustworthy sources.

Soft bounce – This bounce rejection reason from the recipient mail server indicates a transient delivery failure. Retried delivery attempts may be successful. An example of a soft bounce would be mailbox full.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) – An email authentication standard that specifies what IP addresses can send mail for
a given domain. This is the easiest authentication standard to implement and is most widely used but does not account for the visible headers in the message, such as the from and reply-to address.

Whitelist – A list of IP addresses and/or domains that are allowed into a particular network. By being whitelisted, the sender also bypasses typical “checks” designed to quarantine emails.

We hope these 10 Things help marketing automation users get their content delivered. Learn more about how ANNUITAS can help you Transform Demand Generation – as well as improve Email Deliverability. Let’s Connect.

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