December 04, 2019 in Tips by

Email is one of the most important and effective marketing channels for B2B and B2C businesses alike. However, many organizations continue to have challenges in achieving a healthy return on their email marketing investments. In fact, a recent study shows that 43% of the responding marketers don’t believe their email marketing effectiveness has changed at all in the last year, and only 28% said their effectiveness increased slightly. That means that nearly two-thirds of the respondents saw no increase in the performance of their email marketing efforts.

So, what is the biggest concern when it comes to email marketing? For B2B businesses, our focus, it’s communication with customers and prospects. Communication with customers is the most challenging (74%), while communication with prospects is nearly as challenging (73%). Getting emails out to customers and prospects is easy enough, but getting those emails seen has proven to be more problematic.

What is the Difference between Delivery and Deliverability?

Getting those emails to the inbox of recipients (delivery and deliverability) is the biggest obstacle for B2B marketers. They can send emails to their heart’s content but getting them to the recipients’ inbox is a whole other story. Before we get into how to improve that process, it’s important to know what delivery and deliverability are.

Email delivery is when an email successfully reaches the receiving server, while email deliverability is when an email successfully arrives in the recipient’s inbox. What this distinction means is that someone can have good email delivery but poor deliverability, because the email hit the recipient’s spam folder instead of inbox.

Tips to Improve B2B Email Deliverability

Here are some tips to help improve your email deliverability and get your email marketing into your customers’ and prospects’ inboxes:

Know Your Deliverability Metrics

The first thing to know about deliverability is what your rate is. Like other key business areas, deliverability is something that you should be measuring so you know what is working and what isn’t. If you have a platform or software solution that provide you with a specific deliverability metric, it’s important that you keep an eye on it. If your platform doesn’t provide one, there are other ways you can evaluate deliverability.

For instance, if you notice a big drop in email open rates, it might mean that your emails are going into the spam folder instead of the inbox. Another way to assess your deliverability is by looking at other metrics. For example, a large discrepancy between click-through rate and open rate might indicate that your deliverability isn’t where it should be.

Use Opt-In Consent

It stands to reason that if you send emails to people who you know want to receive your messages, you will achieve a higher rate of deliverability. However, buying email lists and list harvesting from social networks like LinkedIn are fairly common B2B practices. Those methods often result in deliverability problems.

The solution to these problems is to allow customers and prospects to opt-in to receiving promotional email messages from your business. Make sure to allow your website visitors to opt-in at any acquisition point. You may also choose to use a confirmed opt-in email in which recipients are required to click a link to indicate their consent to receiving promotional emails.

Keep Your Email List Updated

You should always be working from an up-to-date email list. When you send emails out to invalid email addresses, they are undeliverable. When there’s a permanent reason that emails cannot be delivered, it’s called a hard bounce. Work toward keeping your list free of hard bounces. That means correcting or removing any miskeyed addresses and removing invalid or otherwise undeliverable email addresses from your list.

Internet service providers (ISPs) track the percentage of your emails that bounce, and higher percentages indicate that your lists aren’t clean, which will result in dings to your Sender Score. Your Sender Score is similar to a credit score being used to evaluate your credit history, but instead it measures the performance of your email program. The Sender Score classifies your sender reputation and tells you how your IP address is viewed by mailbox providers.

Follow the Rules

There are a number of rules set by the Federal CAN-SPAM law related to sending commercial email. To put it simply, the rules require that all commercial email senders have a valid mailing address listed and that there is a working unsubscribe link that will stop future emails from being sent to the individual. The rules also require that commercial email senders define the primary purpose of an email message. It’s super important to make sure that you are in compliance with these rules. Failing to follow them can have adverse effects such as negatively impacting your sender reputation and even resulting in monetary fines.

Final Thoughts

Email deliverability is an important part of your email marketing efforts. It’s all about ensuring that your communication with customers and prospects is reaching inboxes and being looked at. While it might not be possible to reach a deliverability rate of 100%, using the tips above will put you much closer to it.

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