As email marketers, it’s important to regularly check in on our strategies and key performance indicators. These assessments help us make sure that our strategies are matching our business goals and we are reporting on all vital KPIs.
A commonly overlooked KPI is deliverability. It is absolutely surprising how many marketers don’t focus on it. If you don’t know where your messages are landing, in the inbox or in the spam folder, why put the time, money and resources into updating your overall email campaign strategy or creative? As digital marketers, we like to focus on the sexy stuff that our customers will see, like finding the most engaging images or using the latest animation tricks, but many don’t like to think about their customers not getting the message in the first place.
Let’s take a moment to focus on this all-important topic—so you can get back to making that crazy cool email you were working on.
Question: What’s the difference between delivery rate and deliverability? It’s okay if you’re in the dark; many of the smartest folks out there can’t make the distinction. Deliverability is simply the amount of sent mail that reaches the inbox. Delivered rate measures the amount of sent mail that receives neither a hard or soft bounce, according to a post by the experts from Validity. This means that the delivery rate might include emails that land in the inbox, land in the spam folder or get blocked—clearly not our ideal metric for gauging list health. This results in a false feeling of security about our email programs, since many of our important brand messages could be going straight to the spam folder while our delivered rate looks great.
So why is it that most marketers don’t understand why it is so important to track in their overall marketing programs ROI? If a marketer is not aware of the difference between these two definitions, they most likely won’t know what to track and monitor in order to ensure that they are getting the most out of their programs.
Factors that impact healthy deliverability
Once you can gauge your program’s true deliverability, it’s useful to turn to the factors that impact it, either positively or negatively. In the most basic sense, there are four key factors:
- Unknown Users—Those email addresses that no longer exist and should not receive future campaigns.
- SpamTraps—Email addresses that are used by the anti-spam community to track the bad actors. These addresses either shut down a long time ago or would have never actually signed up for email communications in the first place.
- Complaints—When a user marks a message as “SPAM” in their inbox.
- Engagement—How much are the customers reading, forwarding and clicking your campaigns.
Tracking your deliverability using the above factors is key. The next step is building deliverability into the KPIs that you are tracking your campaigns and programs against. If you don’t currently have any deliverability metrics as part of your KPIs, bounce rates, complaint rates and inbox placement percentages are a solid place to start.
Tools of the trade
One problem some marketers run into when adding these KPIs is that they aren’t using the right tools to track these data points. So what can a marketer do to ensure they are not only monitoring their deliverability but they are tracking it in the right way?
Now that you’re incorporating deliverability in your email program, it’s time to hone other areas of your email program. We’ll cover these next steps in our upcoming blogs to help you continue the process:
- Step 1: Use analytics and business goals to realign your strategy
- Step 2: Map out meaningful KPIs to monitor your strategies and business goals
- Step 3: Assure your technology is pulling the right data to accurately reporting on your KPIs
Until then, track your deliverability metrics and start reporting them up to your boss and your boss’s boss, which will make you look like one of the smartest people in the room. Because chances are good that no one else was thinking about this even though it is so vital to a successful email marketing program.