B2B Email Deliverability Whitepaper

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1. 1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................3 2. Email Deliverability-Benchmarks.........................................................................................4 2.1. Working with Your Service Provider..............................................................................4 2.2. Email sent .....................................................................................................................4 2.3. Email delivered .............................................................................................................4 2.4. Bounces. .......................................................................................................................4 2.5. Email unsubscribe requests...........................................................................................5 2.6. Complaints....................................................................................................................5 3. Its all about Spam...............................................................................................................6 3.1. Spam Found in Written Content........................................................................................6 3.2. Spam Found in HTML Structure ........................................................................................6 3.3. How Providers Screen Email..............................................................................................7 4. How Email Sending Program Influence Deliverability .........................................................8 4.1. Frequency.........................................................................................................................8 4.2. What day and time to send? .............................................................................................8 4.3. How Your Sender Status Influence Deliverability...............................................................8 a. Bounce management....................................................................................................9 b. User engagement..........................................................................................................9 5. Email and Content Filters ..................................................................................................10 5.1. Email filtering..................................................................................................................10 5.2. Content filtering..............................................................................................................10 6. Best Practices for List Management ..................................................................................11 7. Email Content Tips for Deliverability.................................................................................12 8. Track Your Response Rates ...............................................................................................13 9. Do's and Don'ts for Email Deliverability............................................................................14 10. Conclusion.........................................................................................................................15 11. Address: ............................................................................................................................16 2. 1. Introduction Deliverability is the measure, usually expressed in the form of percentage, of how many emails actually make it to the inbox. To create email campaigns that are deliverable, you must learn the settings and the challenges that can be overcome to place a message in an individuals inbox. Every individual receiving Internet Service Provider (ISP), business email and individual account uses considerably different rules and the scenery changes every day. Deliverability is affected by the business processes and status of an email service provider, but the most critical deliverability factors rest with you, the sender, regardless of which email marketing solution you use. At B2B Email Experts, as email marketing campaigns are intricate, businesses take a quick turn to specialists such as marketing automation solution providers to handle much of the mechanics of a campaign. This whitepaper underlines email deliverability significant factors and solutions in the marketers control. 3. "80% of email delivery crisis are directly attributable to a poor sender status." 2. Email Deliverability-Benchmarks 2.1. Working with Your Service Provider In the early 90s, as companies began to adopt email as a marketing tactic, email service providers sprang up to help with the technical aspects. There are many who are still in business today, providing a wide range of services. As digital marketing evolved to encompass techniques complementary to email marketing automation, it evolved to manage email marketing and incorporated all these new components. 2.2. Email sent This metric describes how many messages were in the queue before any delivery attempts were made. For users who subscribe to a number of active contacts, this is the number counted. 2.3. Email delivered This metric describes how many emails were completely transferred to the intended recipients mailbox provider without generating a bounce or other delivery error. It is termed as Email Delivery Rate There are two levels of delivery: 1. If the recipients email provider discards the email message, it does not count as delivered. However, if the provider accepts the message, it counts as delivered. 2. If the recipient has content-based filters set up that prevent the email from reaching the inbox (e.g., being diverted to the junk folder), it generally will count as delivered. Email inbox delivered: This metric is an estimation of how many of the sent emails actually ended up landing in the inbox. 2.4. Bounces Bounces are emails that cannot be delivered to the mailbox provider, and are bounce back or rather come back to the service provider that sent them. Hard bounces can be defined as the 4. failure of email delivery due to a permanent reason, such as a non-existent address. Soft bounces can be defined as the failure of email delivery due to a temporary issue such as a full inbox or an unavailable ISP server. 2.5. Email unsubscribe requests This metric counts how many people took an action (such as to click an unsubscribe me from this list link) to unsubscribe from a list. 2.6. Complaints This metric counts how many individual clicked a spam or junk button link in their email to report it as spam or junk. Other common email metrics such as Opens and Click-throughs, are also vital to help determine overall how wanted an email is. 5. 3. Its all about Spam The biggest risk to your deliverability is having your email misjudged as spam. Spam is unwanted commercial email messages. We consider it first in line with advertising, but spammers also use it to spread malware. Any type of electronic messaging can be a channel, including instant messaging, cell phones, social networks, and so on, but its the most troublesome in email. Spamming persists because advertisers have no operating expenses beyond the management of their email or mailing lists, and its difficult to hold them responsible for it. The expenses, such as lost productivity and fraud, are borne by the public and by internet service providers (ISPs). As a consequence, ISPs and industry groups works persistently to develop new ways to find and stop spam before it reaches the inbox. It is up to the internet marketers to create email and use sending protocols that are tech savvy, squeaky, clean and compliant, in order to avoid being identified as spammers and/or having their messages recognized as spam. 3.1. Spam Found in Written Content Some of the characteristic content differences between wanted and unwanted email are due to the senders usage of written language. Certain differences are due to senders of unwanted email trying not to reveal their identity or their content. Many of them are due to the different quality software used to send each sort of email. Email clients used by individuals, and content composition software used by high-quality service providers, be likely to produce well-written code, act in accordance with the email and MIME standards. The software used by spammers, viruses, and low-quality email service providers have a tendency to write bad code that is non-compliant with industry standards. As long as you are using a responsible, legitimate service provider to send an email, and checking your content to ensure it meets industry standards, these filters should not cause you any difficulties. 3.2. Spam Found in HTML Structure HTML Structure is another aspect of email analysis. Genuine senders should always use valid and correct HTML. Spammers have used HTML tags in an attempt to avoid filters; now some 6. filters actually comes across the tags and compare them with HTML standards. Therefore, many content filters now appear at the ratio of HTML comments to visible text. 3.3. How Providers Screen Email Every internet provider screens and filters incoming emails at some point of level. You can be grateful to the spammers of the world for flooding the Internet with malware, fraudulent offers, thus making legitimate e-commerce difficult. The goal of an ISP or corporate email server is to reduce or eliminate those fake messages from the human users inbox. To help your emails make it through the screening process, it is important to understand the deliverability decision factors applied by ISPs. 7. 4. How Email Sending Program Influence Deliverability When youve formed and tested your email message content, and youre positive enough that it should not trip any spam or other filters, then its time to actually schedule and send your email campaign. With all other aspects of email, there are factors that you can control to improve the email deliverability. 4.1. Frequency The optimal frequency of an email campaign is directly related to the deliverability rate of emails, the more it is acceptable a greater frequency will be to your prospect. If you email too frequently, some recipients will grow irritated and unsubscribe or mark your emails as spam. 4.2. What day and time to send? Your company, your position in the market plays a big role, and your prospective consumer creates a unique combination of significant factors calling for a customized and tested solution. Youll need to test your way to success, and keep testing as external factors change. Test timing separately from testing messaging. After testing, set your own benchmarks and work to your plan consistently. 4.3. How Your Sender Status Influence Deliverability ISPs track the status or position of the sender organizations. From a receiving server point of view, when it comes to IP addresses, previous performance is an indication of future results. If an IP address consistently delivers good email, then it is very likely that this new email is good, too. On the other hand, if an IP address consistently sends bad email, then it is very likely that any new email it sends is bad, too. Many webmail providers and filtering companies recommend preferential delivery to senders using IP addresses with good reputations. The key factors in your reputation are: Bounce management User engagement 8. a. Bounce management Soft bounces are usually due to a temporary factor, such as an overloaded receiving server. Its okay to resend to them, although at some point its good to put them into a suppression list. Hard bounces indicate an address is no longer good. Dont just suppress them; move them out of marketing lists regularly. b. User engagement Internet service providers track how engaged subscribers are with an email and its sender, and the nature of the engagement. Positive actions tracked may include opening a message, adding an address to the contact list, clicking through links, clicking to enable images, and scrolling through the message. Negative actions may include reporting the email as spam, deleting it, moving it to the junk folder, or ignoring it. Engagement ratings are another compelling reason to use only opt-in email marketing lists. Opt- in maximizes the likelihood of engagement, because in theory there is a relationship already established with the receiver. Tips for managing engagement: 1. Send content subscribers expect and appreciate. . 2. Set subscribers expectations. 3. Deploy a good on-boarding program. 4. Keep your lists clean. 9. 5. Email and Content Filters 5.1. Email filtering Email delivery is a complex process with many stakeholders influencing the outcome. Email filters interact with an email during different stages of the process to determine the answers to the following questions: 1. The email should be accepted or not? 2. The email is getting delivered to the inbox or the junk folder? 3. How the email should be displayed? 4. Whether email contains any malware or other intrusive data? The first stage of filtering begins when the sending webmail server first contacts the receiving webmail server. The receiving server should decide whether to accept the email or not. At this point, the only thing the receiving server knows about the email is the IP address of the server sending the email. Firstly, the receiving server looks at the reputation of that address, including the authentication that indicates that the email really came from that address and sender. Email that passes all the evaluation checks gets accepted into the receiving email server and is passed on to the next filtering stage. Email that fails all evaluation checks is rejected. 5.2. Content filtering Content filters look at a range of things, from the simple to the complex: word use, misspellings, the ratio of text to images, font colors, the subject line and actual text in the message, and much more, including the hidden structure of an email. Content filters look at domains, links, and images Many email content filters look at domains, URLs, links, and images in an email, including: The domain has been seen ever in email before? Email with this domain has generated any complaints? Whether the plain text part of the link match the domain listed? The domain has been listed on any domain-based blacklists? Have we blocked this domain in the past? 10. 6. Best Practices for List Management More than maintaining clean and accurate email lists of engaged subscribers there are other few things that affect your email deliverability. Even the best lists need constant maintenance because factors like constant turnover of email addresses, loss of interest, and other factors makes your email list stale just as soon as you create it. The staler an email list gets, the fewer open rate, conversions, click-throughs, and purchases it generates. This could be a big threat to your engagement and potentially your reputation scores as a sender. A good list management protocol helps to keep your engagement high and your reputation for integrity intact Listed below are some best practices: Opted in email contacts in are your best prospects send emails only to such people who want and expect your email; contacts that opt in are your best prospects. Ensure that you confirm or double-confirm subscribers who opt in. Encourage your recipients to add you to their address books and make it an easy task. Keep your privacy policy clear for subscribers. Create online forms that encourage people to indicate their interests; you can always use this data to create targeted subscription lists. If contacts are looking to opt out make it easy for them. Take immediate action on unsubscribe requests its the law. Maintain consistency in your mailing time and frequency, and stick to it. Ensure to clean your lists regularly. 11. 7. Email Content Tips for Deliverability Content is King investing in high-quality content, drives your campaigns towards success. Content is one the most important and challenging aspect of your campaigns. While an informative content is mandatory at the same time making it interesting is also significant. Lack of good content, and lack of planning around the development of content, is a common cause for failure for email campaigns. Here are few tips that will increase the deliverability rate: Showcase your brand clearly and deliver content that defines your brand strategy. Your offer should have enough value to make your customers glad they got the email. Proofreading is important a spell checker is not enough! Maintain consistency in your mailing time and frequency, and stick to it. Consider the below points while developing content: Is engaging for readers. Content needs to be informative, entertaining, or both. Addresses a problem and is precise. Supports your business goals. Ensure that all graphics are high quality and that your email renders correctly in HTML. A service such as Litmus can facilitate to review how your email message will render in various email clients and devices. Truly outstanding content aligns with your companys brand strategy, enhances your deliverability reputation, presents a clearly actionable opportunity to the reader and delights your customer. 12. 8. Track Your Response Rates Follow a systematic approach to track your email response rates, including deliveries, responses clicks, non-responders, bounces, and actions taken on any external links that are in an email. Reporting is the main channel to understanding and increase the efficiency of your campaign performance; moreover, it has a role to play in delivery assurance as well. Below given are a few broad guidelines: Click-through rates for a B2B email newsletter generally range from 5%-15%. If your content isnt interesting or if you arent giving people clear links or good reasons to click them then you could notice low open and click-through rates. If youre looking for B2C email marketing promotional campaign click-through rates generally range from about 2%-to 12%. Low open and click-through rates may indicate that your list or offer isnt good. The more accurate, targeted and personalized your email is, the higher your rates will be; in B2B email campaigns a click-through rate of 10%-20% is good. Spam complaint is when a recipient tags your email as a spam mail, it is not when a webmail provider filter tags your email messages as spam If you notice a sudden increase in your bounce rates, look into your email content first and structure. Your email marketing automation service provider may be able to provide feedback about probable or actual causes from webmail providers, and shares that information with you. Note: Unsubscribes do not hurt deliverability, but spam complaints and hard bounces do. If you are consistently getting low rates this shows that your email is uninteresting or your list is bad. Either will lead to higher delete rates, which will affect your reputation and delivery. 13. 9. Do's and Don'ts for Email Deliverability In this topic we will cover a list of dos and donts for the email deliverability that we think you should be following in order to improve your inbox rates, click-through rates, and sender reputation, while minimizing unsubscribes and spam complaints. Do Be trustworthy and Reliable: offer incentives to your subscribers to opt in, but dont promise more than you can deliver. Segment and maintain your email lists: ensure that email addresses are correct before emailing your new contacts Select a reliable email marketing service provider: a good service provider should be able to handle bounce codes, feedback loops, and connection optimization. Make the opt-in form clear and easy: If contacts are looking to opt out make it easy for them. Dont Use attachments in your messages. Use loud colors in the email body text, such as fluorescent red or green. Use capital letters constantly in subject line or overuse them in the body text message Email to dead accounts. Some of these may be spam traps. Make unsubscribe difficult for your audience: your prospects who have opted in are still more likely to mark your email as spam if they find the unsubscribe process complicated, so its always advisable make it simple Constantly use words like free, excessive punctuation, or misleading subject lines. 14. 10. Conclusion Email deliverability rate (or acceptance rate) is the success rate an email marketer has in getting an email delivered to a persons email address. The success of an email-marketing program is highly dependent on email deliverability simply because, people cant respond to your campaigns if they never receive your emails. Email deliverability is very crucial to the success of any marketing campaign, imagine your emails are being delivered to peoples spam box instead of their inbox, this could result in a negative brand image. This means that none of your emails are going to be read, furthermore, you wont be generating much revenue, from your email campaigns. Adopting and implementing the above given best practices are sure to help you in your email deliverability rates, improve your brand image, conversations, engagement and finally ROI. Once brand gets that reputation, you tweak your strategies, and deliver best email content; you can notice drastic improvement in your email deliverability. But hold on, this not it! Dont settle after improving your system once. Email Deliverability is a continuous process; therefore you need to keep testing your techniques and process and keep updating it on a regular basis. High email deliverability rates can save your money, so why not just put in a little effort? If you have been looking for the best ways to improve your email deliverability and increase the rate of the number of your emails opened? Then get in touch with experts at B2B Email Experts for pioneer marketing and campaign services. 15. 11. Address: 1745 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York City, New York, 10019 Phone: 888-570-5564 Email: info@b2bemailexperts.com Website: www.b2bemailexperts.com