Email Deliverability – Stop Ignoring It!

By Kenda Macdonald | Automation

Feb 27

The big scary thing you're ignoring is Email Deliverability.

Deliverability is everything.

If your email isn’t getting delivered, nothing matters.

All the hard work you do as a marketer or a small business owner, is for nothing if your email doesn’t make it into your prospects inbox.

For that reason, it’s one of the biggest issues facing you and your marketing strategy.

Unfortunately - it’s also the unsexiest, convoluted and most uninspiring topic you will come across….

So I’m going to break it down for you - ninja style!

Yes is it dull - but it’s your life line too. Spam filters are actually your friend… And you want to be best BEST buddies…

Around 70% of all emails sent are considered spam. Without the filters systems would be be overridden by BILLIONS of emails in seconds and you’d have no hope of ever speaking to your prospect again.

The key here is to make sure you’re one of the 30% that gets let through the filter.

Let’s hit the definition of Spam first: Unsolicited bulk email.

Yep that’s it. The official definition. It doesn’t explain anything. It doesn’t even HINT to the hugely convoluted process that leads to something being marked as Spam by the person receiving it.

The closest we can get to a true definition is: Whatever the receiver thinks spam is.

And that sucks. It sucks because the boundaries are not clearly defined. Which makes it hard.

So let’s make it easy. Let’s break it up.

Your email provider (gmail, yahoo, outlook, AOL etc) has some super complex filters in place for filtering out what it thinks spam is, all in the name of protecting your inbox.

There are three major parts to this:

1. Source of the Email
2. Reputation of Sender
3. Content of Email

So this blog is for you if you:

You have a bit of control over all 3 of those, which is awesome!

The downside is that email deliverability is a constantly shifting environment, so your control is by no means absolute.

We need to go in deeper. This is long, but if you don’t pay attention to this you may as well shut your marketing down now.

The really good news is that it’s actually quite easy to get yourself into the 30% of allowed emails... If you follow my advice 🙂

So deeper we go!

1. The Source of the email

This comprises of: 

  • IP Address-Domains
  • Domains
  • Sender Authentication
  • Sending Permanence
  • Age of the IP address and domains

If you’re using something like Infusionsoft, there is a whole team who are devoted to making sure you are at the top of the list when it comes to these items.

Here's a word of warning:
If you’ve ever seen any services that purport being able to get your email delivered via another platform, this is mostly what they are targeting and helping you solve for.

The issue with those services is that they ignore the other two parts to the problem - and those parts have the biggest sway with filters. Unless you are using it to get to specific government servers - they will not be able to help you.

It’s a bandaid on an amputation - and it’s not going to fix your problem longer term.

Now number 2. This is where the game really is at.

This is what you have the MOST control over, no matter what platform you send from - and what is really *your* responsibility as a sender of email.

2. Sending Reputation

Filters use millions of data points to work this out, interwoven with hundreds of parameters. These are giant complex algorithms. Sounds scary. But really they are trying to work out the following:

Your reputation score or category.

That’s it. Some systems score this 0 - 100, others do -10 to +10. Others use categories (AOL) that simply sort you into Undisclosed, Neutral, Good, Bad.

They do this by performing a threat assessment on your reputation.
Looking at things like:

  • Complaints
  • Spam Traps
  • Message Composition
  • Volume of Sending
  • Blacklists

Your sending reputation is really where it’s at.

Complaints is the biggest factor here.

How many times have people marked you as spam?
Is that within an acceptable threshold?
How many emails do you send?
Are you on any blacklists?

And this is the piece you have a lot of control over.

It all comes down to your relationship with your prospect. If they see what you are sending as valuable, and engage with your content - your reputation goes up. If you suddenly start sending stuff that they didn’t want, or didn’t ask for, and they mark you as spam, your reputation drops.

So really this all boils down to expectation.

Set the expectations correctly in the first place and you’re good as gold. Provide value. Build a relationship.

Do that CONSISTENTLY and you’ll be in the inbox in the right place in no time.

There is a 3rd factor here:

3. Content

The spam filters will scan your email's:

  • Header and Footer
  • Code
  • HTML Mark Ups
  • Images
  • Text Colour
  • Time Stamps
  • URL's
  • Subject Line
  • Text to image ratio
  • Language
  • Attachments

and more of course.

This is all to prevent the dodgy viagra pushers from getting in the inbox, so provided you aren’t trying to add things in maliciously - you should be fine here.

In recap, your reputation is what you have the most control over.

It’s *your* responsibility to make sure that you are sending what you promised, when you promised and how you promised.

Set clear expectations, provide value, and you’re good to go 🙂

Just remember - spam filters are constantly changing and evolving to keep rubbish out the inbox.

That's why you can't gamble the system. You need to be clear, honest and ethical with your list.

If you provide value, you won’t have to worry about anything.

It’s vital to understand what your value is to your prospects, and how you tow the line for value vs selling…

So here’s some things you should be thinking about to action this information:
Have you set expectations of what you will be sending clearly?
Have you stuck to those expectations?
Are you providing value to your audience?
How’s your relationship with them looking?


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About the Author

Kenda Macdonald is an Automation Ninja. With a background in Forensic Psychology and an affinity for statistics and behaviourally intelligent automation – she’s not your average expert. She’s been living and breathing Infusionsoft since 2011 and has spent over 14 500 hours learning new ways to automate what people think is impossible. She’s a true nerd, and spends her waking hours helping businesses understand behaviour for super effective marketing, and relishes in simplifying over complicated processes for truly intelligent automated marketing. She’s the founder of Automation Ninjas - Experts in behavioural automation. Expect enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge – not normalcy.

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(4) comments

Arfa Saira Iqbal 1st March 2017

Wow!! What an AWESOME blog post! A much-needed topic which is the less sexy side of marketing, but one that is essential in ensuring your business actually makes money!!! You’ve given a ton of good stuff here – Love it – thank you!

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Lucy Barfoot 3rd March 2017

Loved this team Ninja! Setting expectations – super important. I spot myself feeling so peeved with emails I didn’t know I’d be getting. (and which don’t provide me anything – they got the wrong memo!) Value value value, that’s what I’m taking from this. Thank you!

Reply
    Kenda Macdonald 3rd March 2017

    Thank you Lucy! It really is all about the expectations and the value! Get that right and everyone is happy 🙂

    Reply
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