Why marketing & sales people should care about their email deliverability

Here's to the importance of hitting the inbox

As a marketer or sales person, you've probably had your fair share of rejected or bouncing emails. The spam folder has become your worst enemy. Not hitting the inbox keeps you up at night. Let's look into why the emails you're sending end up in spam & how to fix that.

Written by: Tom Blijleven Published: March 14, 2020 Latest update: March 29, 2021
This article was featured on SalesLovesMarketing.co

The difference between delivery & deliverability

To start on the right foot, you will first need to know the difference between email delivery and email deliverability. There is some overlap, but especially in sales and marketing, those two should be considered separately.

Email delivery is the process between hitting "send email" and the moment it pops up in the inbox.

It's about speed and inbox placement. When you're talking about how your email went from your CRM system to your customer's mailbox in less than 4 seconds, you're talking about email delivery.

Email deliverability on the other hand goes beyond speedy delivery and focuses on the inbox placement.

Email deliverability is the 'science' behind ending up in the inbox. It involves domain reputation, clean recipient lists (as little bounces as possible), and some authentication methods to be clear on who you are as a sender.

In this article, we're sharing four tips to increase email deliverability and hit the inbox again:

  • Why delivery speed is crucial and how to improve it
  • How domain reputation influences your deliverability
  • Add value to your emails!

Why email delivery speed is crucial

As you and your sales and marketing colleagues discuss inbox and spam rates of your emails, add delivery speed to the list. Email delivery speed is just as important as any other email rate. It tells you how quickly your emails have arrived. To appreciate the value of supersonic email delivery speed, we're taking a step back to see the effects of delayed delivery.

Proposal delayed, customer gone

Let's say you're in sales for a B2B company, setting out proposals to interested prospects asking you for your prices and other details. You will send these by email. Your prospect will select various companies for a product pitch, and you're the one to inform him. But your prospect hasn't got all the time in the world, so he'll quickly select all the proposals he has collected in his mailbox and review them.

If yours is not among those proposals due to a delayed email, you're not the one with a happy new customer.

Thank you, support

Another example is when your customer relies on your email to continue operations. Forgotten passwords, two-factor codes, license keys to your software, emails they need to use your product or service. Delayed emails immediately result in support calls. Sure, there is no real problem when this happens to a single email, but try answering 10s or 100s of such requests every day. Your support team hates terrible email delivery speed.

In short: Slow email delivery will either cost you your money or your support team's happiness.

How to increase delivery speed

To increase your email delivery speed, you should consider highly reliant providers with lightning-fast response times for SMTP. SMTP is the protocol used for most email communications, and is most likely the protocol your other systems use to send emails.

It's key to use an email software provider that excels in these response times, as it allows you to increase your delivery speed dramatically. Software like Flowmailer’s focus on the delivery of your emails, as opposed to the sending software (like your e-commerce platform, CRM, CDP).

How domain reputation influences your deliverability

The biggest factor in email deliverability is your domain reputation. In short, domain reputation is your credibility towards receiving email servers. Domain reputation is based on behavior shown by your IP addresses and the known complaint rate of your domain.

To understand this, you should know a thing or two about DNS and mail servers already, but we’re skipping that part for now. What you need to know is that emails are sent via multiple IP addresses and servers per domain. The other way around: multiple domains can make use of one IP address.

This makes domain reputation a difficult part to manage. You’re not always in control of the reputation of the IP addresses your domain uses, nor are you always in control of the complaint rate for your domain. There are a few things you can do to improve your domain reputation and decrease your complaint rate:

Use securely monitored IP pools

For most businesses, shared IP pools are the only reasonable solution to send emails and have more control over their reputation. Admitted, shared IP pools can be vulnerable, but with secured and tightly monitored IP pools, like Flowmailer’s. you’re sending your emails on the same IP address as other legitimate businesses. Monitored IP pools allow you to hand over IP reputation issues and start delivering emails like a pro.

Q: Can't you just use a dedicated IP?
Dedicated IPs can be a solution for IP reputation issues as well, but only if you’re sending billions of emails a year. Dedicated IPs need continuous monitoring (by you) and you’ll need to build your domain reputation from scratch.

Set up domain authentication

If you aren’t using these methods already, you should implement them while reading this article: SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Three verification methods to prove a receiving mail server that it is really you that is trying to deliver an email to your customer. Without SPF, DKIM and DMARC, receiving mail servers are unable to distinguish SPAM from HAM, increasing the likelihood to end up in spam.

Turn down complaint rates

Using the prior tips should result in lower complaint rates. If your email list is clean and your domain reputation is OK, your complaint rates should be low. But if you’re sending awful messages to recipients that did not ask for them, complaint rates will skyrocket in a few minutes. Use effective copy to improve your sales pitch and turn cold emails in to converting copy.

No need to mark an email as spam if the message is compelling enough.

However, the best tip you can get for decreasing your complaint rate, is our final tip:

Add value to your emails!

Emails without any added value are doomed to end up in spam or not convert at all. Make sure every email you are sending adds value to the Customer Experience and his or her journey with your business. Adding value will not only improve your email rates, but will turn cold email receivers into happy returning customers.

Wrap up

Don't let terrible inbox placement ruin your life as a marketeer or sales person anymore with our tips on email deliverability. Make your emails hit the inbox again! Need help getting your email deliverability back on track? Reach out to us for expert advice!