Finding Your Trusted Partner in Deliverability

You may not think much about it, but your Email Solution Provider is your partner and ally in your email marketing campaigns. Understanding the role of your ESP can be vital in ensuring that your important marketing emails get delivered, and I think it is worth taking the time to reflect on how to make the best of that relationship. A recent post from Kristin Naragon’s discusses what traditional Email Service Providers (ESPs) lack, but let’s talk about how the evolved email solution provider can provide guidance on strategic deliverability and best practices.

The ESP can maintain your subscriber list, provide you with email templates, send your mail, and provide you with statistics and reports. But as your needs grow, a true email solution provider will do so much more behind the scenes than a classic ESP. An Email Solution Provider has better segmentation and automation capabilities than a classic ESP, allowing you to provide more personalized and timely emails. This type of better targeting leads to more relevant offers and more engaged subscribers, which leads to better deliverability. Your Email Solution Provider is not only a technology solution but also your partner in the deliverability process. A successful deliverability plan involves effort from both the marketer and the Email Solution Provider. Below I’ll outline what’s our responsibility, as well as yours, the Marketer.

Deliverability: what am I, the Email Solution Provider responsible for?

  1. Configuring your domains and IPs, and setting up authentications such as SPF DKIM and DMARC. This allows ISPs to validate that the sender of an email has the right to do so from that domain or IP. It’s like showing your passport to verify who you are when you go through Customs.
  2. Managing the feedback loop process and applications. When a recipient hits the “spam” button, the ISP then sends the complaint to the sender for removal, and we should have a mechanism in place to remove these subscribers. It’s important to unsubscribe complainers because sending email to them after they complain once will likely result in subsequent complaints, causing your abuse rate to spike, which can ultimately cause your emails to be filtered or blocked at that particular ISP.
  3. Configuring your servers to ensure that you’re sending the appropriate number of messages per connection, managing concurrent connections, and ensuring that the messages per hour conforms to the requirements of a particular Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  4. Processing your bounces and removing the bad “undeliverable” addresses after the first hard bounce. We’ll try again at a later time if it’s a soft bounce or temporary block.
  5. Provide support and services to educate you about the best practices for email marketing and deliverability.
  6. Guiding you through the necessary corrective actions and improvements that you must implement in order to get a block removed.

Again, as your needs grow and mature, so should your ESP.

You as the email marketer have responsibilities in this partnership to keep the email flowing by:

  1. Maintaining a good sending reputation. A good reputation drives inbox delivery. And we know that if a message doesn’t get delivered to the inbox, it can’t be monetized, because your customers won’t see it.
  2. Working with our services and consulting teams to implement best practices, such as maintaining low complaint rates, having deliverable addresses to minimize bounces, and maintaining high rates of engagement.
  3. Performing regular reactivation campaigns to maintain an active and engaged list and to reconfirm permissions when necessary.
  4. Knowing when to take people off your lists. These are subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked your emails in a very long time and are likely damaging your reputation.
  5. Communicating regularly with us, especially if you plan to make a significant change to your targeting, volume, or frequency. Know that sudden changes in these areas can often impact your performance.

Maintaining a good relationship and open lines of communication with your Email Solution Provider can help ensure the deliverability of your emails and maximize everyone’s common goals of email marketing success. A strategic Email Solution Provider has the tools and expertise to empower you, the Marketer, to achieve optimal deliverability and email marketing ROI.

To learn more about deliverability best practices, join my talks at Adobe Summit:

S102 – Why email is still crucial for marketers

S103 – Email deep dive: Developing engagement strategies across the customer lifecycle