In the perfect world, 100% of your emails would make it to your subscribers’ inboxes with no trouble at all. Your subscribers would receive your beautifully designed emails with all images and links enabled, and would spend all morning reading and clicking on your emails.
Unfortunately, that’s not real life. In the real world of email deliverability, you’ve got to work to be accepted into the inbox. This means maintaining a good domain and IP reputation by keeping your complaint and unknown user rates low, sending a consistent mail volume and not hitting any spam trap addresses. Even if your emails do make it to the inbox, they will still likely arrive with images and links disabled by default, meaning that your subscribers will not be able to see your well-crafted HTML design or take action on your email at all.
The Impact of Inbox Delivery
First, let’s look at the affect that having your emails routed to the junk folder versus the inbox can have on your company’s revenue. Let’s say, for example, that you have a list of one million subscribers and your average inbox placement rate (IPR) is 80%. The average conversion rate from your weekly email is 2% and your average subscriber spends $10. Since your IPR is only 80% (which is pretty typical for the average sender), this means that only 800,000 of your subscribers are actually seeing your email in their inbox. Of those 800,000, two percent will convert, leading to $160,000 in revenue.
Now let’s see what would happen if 100% of your subscribers received your email to their inbox. With the 2% conversion rate, you’d be achieving $200,000 in revenue. This means that, by having your emails sent directly to the inbox, you’d be receiving $40,000 more in revenue per email campaign. With a weekly email in place, this is a total annual revenue of $2.08M, which is nothing to sneeze at!
Images and Links Enabled Makes a Difference
Even if your emails are being delivered to the inbox, there’s still a good chance that your images and links are being disabled by default in the receiving ISP. In fact, a 2010 MarketingSherpa study found that only 33 percent of those surveyed have email images enabled by default. This means that subscribers aren’t seeing your beautifully crafted emails and aren’t able to click on any links until they choose to manually download images and enable links. And without being able to see your images and take action on your links, how do you expect your subscriber to take any action on your emails? You can’t, and this represents a major hit to your email revenue.
What You Can Do Now
So what can you do to remedy this? The first step is to make sure your domain and IP reputations are in good standing. This will help with your email delivery to the inbox. Then, ask your subscribers to whitelist/approve you as a preferred sender so that your emails are given preferential treatment in their mailboxes (i.e. images and links enabled by default).
Finally, consider signing up for Return Path’s certification program, which is the industry’s largest whitelist. By becoming certified and maintaining good sending habits, your emails will be automatically routed to the inbox with images enabled at both Yahoo and Hotmail/MSN, which are two of the world’s largest and most used ISPs. The results from becoming certified can be huge – just ask Groupon! Once certified, they saw improved open rates and an increase in click-through rates of 6%, which, based on their list size, could translate into a multi-million dollar revenue increase. Read more about Groupon’s success story here.