It’s getting harder for retail brands to connect with consumers, even when their customers want to hear from them through email. Recent research from Return Path found that 20% of all email diverts straight to spam. The company’s Senior Director of Research Tom Sather offered EcommerceBytes some tips on improving email deliverability.
Understanding what gets in the way of emails can help you improve the chances of getting your message into customers’ hands. For example, mailbox providers measure whether a subscriber reads, replies, forwards, or deletes a message without reading to help them decide whether to deliver future emails from that recipient.
Sather recommends sellers sending email marketing messages do the following:
– Establish and maintain a consistent sending identity, which helps mailbox providers pinpoint the source of an email. Spammers tend to hop from one IP address to another to escape reputation issues, so retailers need to maintain a consistent IP address whenever possible. Authentication (using standards like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC) also helps mailbox providers distinguish legitimate mailers from spammers.
– Understand and monitor your sender reputation. Because sender reputation is a key factor in spam filtering decisions, retailers should build a positive reputation by maintaining a clean subscriber list and following best practices for email senders. Keep in mind, too, that reputation changes over time – check your reputation regularly using free tools like Sender Score.
– Keep your customers engaged. Engagement signals (like whether or not a subscriber reads, replies, forwards, or deletes a message without reading) help mailbox providers to determine whether email is welcome at the individual subscriber level. Retailers should monitor these important engagement metrics to better understand what resonates with their customers – and ultimately improve inbox placement with major mailbox providers like Gmail, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
Key Findings of Return Path’s 2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report
Interestingly, where senders are located makes a big difference. Return Path’s study found that the US saw the lowest inbox placement rate of any country analyzed, with just 77% of messages reaching the intended target. Meanwhile, Canadian marketers achieved one of the greater inbox placement rates, at 90%.
– Marketers in European countries generally exceeded the global inbox placement rate, with averages of 82 percent (France and Spain) and 84 percent (UK). Of the European countries studied, only Germany fell slightly below the global average with 79 percent inbox placement.
– For the second year in a row, Australian marketers maintained average inbox placement of 90 percent – tied with Canada for the best result in this study.
– Looking at inbox placement by industry, the best results were found in sectors with strong account-based consumer relationships such as banking & finance (94 percent), distribution & manufacturing (92 percent), and travel (90 percent).
You can download the full 2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report on the Return Path website.