What you don't know can hurt you in email marketing

Later this month, we will be releasing the results of a survey of European email marketers. However, one finding was so worrisome (and astonishing) that I wanted to gauge your reaction now. It seems that there is a woeful lack of knowledge and understanding among email marketers for how to get past the spam filters, reach the inbox and earn a response – what is known as “inbox deliverability.”

According to our survey of several hundred European email marketers (which will be released in full later this year), too few marketers have deep enough knowledge about the causes of delivery failure and the rewards of success to manage and optimize their inbox delivery. While a majority of survey respondents (61%) believe that some messages may be blocked by the ISPs (e.g., BT, Free.fr, Neuf, Orange and T-Online), a full third are woefully ignorant of this reality: 26% said they do not believe messages get blocked at all, and 12% didn’t know.

This is a fault in the email reporting. Marketers are right to worry, but they often don’t have good data to back up those concerns, or better, correct any practices that cause failure. Globally, about 20% of permission-based marketing email never reaches the inbox – it gets dumped in the junk folder or simply goes missing. There’s a big upside to correcting this deliverability failure. Lifting inbox deliverability lifts all other response metrics, too.

If you don’t have access to your true inbox deliverability, ask your ESP for it! Marketers need this information to make good decisions about data sourcing, subscriber satisfaction and real response rates. Typically, what is reported as “delivered” by an ESP is only your bounce rate (those messages that return an error code for a non-existent or closed mailbox).

Reaching the inbox is not guaranteed. Be sure you have the data you need to optimize your email marketing efforts. Contact us to learn more about how Return Path can help.

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