One Online Newsletter's Path to Enlightenment

Return Path recently welcomed an online health and wellness news source on board as a client. Through our domain-based email performance tools, we were able to see that only about 70% of their daily newsletters were reaching the inboxes of their subscribers. The other 30% were being filtered to the bulk/spam folder, or worse, blocked by mailbox providers.

Like many other senders, the client attributed low read and conversion rates to bad content, lack of compelling subject lines, or simply not winning over the competing senders in their subscribers’ inboxes. The client was completely in the dark that such a large portion of their email never got a fair shake at competing for subscriber mind-share, as they were never even landing in 3 out of 10 of their subscribers’ inboxes.

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By becoming aware of the gap, the client was able to begin their path toward Data Enlightenment. To gain further clarity about the problem, this client started by seeding their newsletter with Return Path’s robust set of email address seeds, and loading their sending IP addresses into Return Path’s Reputation Monitor. From the seed reporting, it became evident that the low inbox placement was particularly prevalent with mailbox providers who weigh subscriber complaints (“this is spam” votes) heavily in their filtering decisions.

Data presented in Reputation Monitor emphasized that the complaint rates were higher than recommended thresholds. The Technical Account Manager from Return Path’s service team was also able to investigate source data to confirm that complaints were triggering spam fingerprints with a major third party email filtering company, affecting inbox placement at multiple mailbox providers.

With the clarity around what was preventing their mail from reaching the inbox, the client contracted Return Path managed services to put a plan in action to reverse the trend. Through list segmentation testing, the client was able to isolate which portions of their subscriber file were generating the largest rate of complaints. By implementing and monitoring a detailed, yet simple, email deployment plan aligned to three different engagement buckets, the client grew their average aggregate inbox placement rate from 70% to 95%, and has seen clicks and conversions grow proportionately.

To further the connection with their subscriber base, the client is now developing a preference center to allow their subscribers to choose areas of interest, and even the frequency at which they receive email.

For more suggestions on how to bring your email program out of the “Digital Dark Ages,” download The Path to Data Enlightenment.

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