Deliverability is Simple, Right?

“Most of my previous companies work with Return Path but, to be transparent, I don’t really understand what you do.”

I’ve heard that statement on over 50 occasions in the last 2 years and whenever I do, it always makes me smile.

It’s remarkable, really, how Return Path has acquired over 2,500 customers (including many of the world’s largest brands) since 1999 and yet so few people understand what we do and how we do it. Return Path, it seems, is one of the best/worst secrets in email marketing. But a secret it is!

The general consensus amongst marketers is that we operate in the dark and murky depths of the email ecosystem, where so few have ventured and even fewer have returned……

As a member of the sales team this is, for the most part, a positive. It’s a chance to remind, to inform, to educate, to shape, and overall, I’d like to think the buying process for new customers is a pleasant one.

I imagine it must be a bit like buying a hybrid or electric car for the first time if you’ve only ever bought petrol or diesel. You know that Tesla/BMW/Toyota have an excellent reputation, that the new models are renowned for their quality and efficiency and that many of your friends are making the switch, however, you’re comfortable with the status quo and may need a ‘nudge’ to fully understand or appreciate the value of new approaches.

It’s the last part of that analogy, ‘the value of new approaches’, which for me is the most interesting and where Return Path has been quietly innovating for some time. Many experienced email marketers may, at a high level, think of Return Path as a company focused purely on deliverability. Whilst this is true, I’d like to challenge that assumption purely on the basis that ‘deliverability’ as a broad topic is not well understood.

The image below, which is popular and often surprising for the marketing teams I regularly present to, highlights many of the areas/metrics that will impact your email programs deliverability and ultimately, the revenue you generate as a result.

Be honest now, how many of these metrics are you 1) familiar with and 2) actively monitoring?

  • List (acquisition, permissioning & hygiene)
  • Delivery Plan (frequency, cadence, volume)
  • Blocking & Bouncing (throttling, firewalls, unknown users or addresses)
  • Competition (similar offers, changing interests)
  • Engagement (complaints, Microsoft ‘Spam Fighter’ votes, feedback loops)

Have you got a headache yet?

This is not a list of metrics typically seen to fall under the umbrella of ‘deliverability’, however, all of these must be considered if you want to continue to maintain or hopefully increase the value of your email program.

Even for seasoned email marketers, many areas detailed above are hard to understand and even harder to monitor and manage on an ongoing basis. Thankfully,  due to Return Path’s rather unusual but very powerful data-sharing relationships with 70+ mailbox providers, we’re able to shine a light on many of these ‘unseen’ and ‘unknown’ metrics to improve the decision making process for marketing professionals.

At this stage ,you’re probably thinking, ‘So how, precisely, could access to these metrics or data actually help me resolve my problems?’

In my next post, I’m going to examine this further, detailing three of the biggest challenges we’ve helped email marketers solve in 2018.

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