Email has consistently delivered the highest return on marketing investments of any marketing channel, but an alarming new trend could eat into that profitability. According to a recent report from Return Path in their 2015 Deliverability Benchmark Report, email inbox deliverability rates are on the decline across all industries, falling by as much as 11 percent in some sectors to 76 percent in the U.S. No matter how well-crafted your email marketing content is or how carefully you’ve tailored it to your leads’ demographic information, they can’t act on it if it never reaches them.
That’s where data hygiene comes in.
When working with a clean, well-maintained list, deliverability rates soar above that low national average, typically reaching 98 percent or more. To increase deliverability and get your message through to your leads, we recommend the following data hygiene steps:
Perform Regular List Maintenance Tasks
Merge/purge operations, data normalization, routine security measures, and other elements of housekeeping are critical to the overall health of your email marketing program. Your leads must know they can safely entrust their information to you, so your email marketing team should have database services in place to secure your leads’ valuable data. Part of an efficient data hygiene program is working from a regularly updated Masterfile – and bigger is definitely better. With accurate email addresses and lead data, you’re able to lower hard bounce rates and improve deliverability directly.
Standard data cleansing procedures not only keep hard bounce rates low, but they also improve your reputation with email service providers. This is an indirect boost to deliverability for future mailings, so simple list maintenance to lower bounce rates is doubly important.
Focus on Quality
High-quality messages sail through to their recipients, while low-quality email with poor formatting or improper HTML coding gets trapped by email service providers. High relevance to leads also counts toward quality; as customers perceive your email as valuable, they’re more likely to remain subscribed, which sends a strong signal of quality to ESPs as well. Use the data you have about your leads to tailor your messages to them. Data enhancement tools that provide more information about email recipients can also be valuable for enhancing email quality.
Email service providers also watch for consistent send volumes and times. A marketing automation system that handles mailings for you is an outstanding way to ensure higher deliverability and top ratings from ESPs. Consistently low hard and soft bounce rates send similar signals of quality and make sure the rest of your email gets to where you need it to go. Because consistency is such a strong indicator of trustworthiness to ESPs, it’s worth planning ahead for large events that could affect volume and set your marketing automation system to stagger mailings.
Watch Email Analytics
Your best tool for improving future deliverability is looking at past deliveries. What does the data show about invalid addresses, honeypots, disposable domains, and bounce rates? Marketing automation software that compiles the information for you and puts it together in an easily accessible format lets you pinpoint trouble areas and address them directly.
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