Gasp! It is now even harder for your promotional email to find its way into a recipient’s inbox. This isn’t news but every small business who’s interested in email promotions should be aware of the newest ISP changes.
According to “The Email Deliverability Benchmark Report” conducted by Return Path, a world-wide email provider, email placement rates decreased 6% in 2011’s second quarter. This is the largest decrease Return Path has noticed since these benchmark reports began in 2004. The company also reports emails blocked and marked as SPAM increased 24% in this second quarter.
Updates in Email ISPs, according to Return Path:
Reasons for the recent email deliverability decline are threefold: ISPs are being more rigorous with filtering and blocking, sender reputations are deteriorating and consumers are reacting to email overload. I will add that Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature hurts deliverability too.
- Gmail’s new Priority Inbox feature has declined inbox deliverability to 79% from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. With almost 95% of Gmail subscribers using this feature, you must convince your customers your emails are a priority.
- ISP Filtering: ISPs remember what you did, who you sent an email to, and how often you sent emails. You’re probably hurting your email reputation if you increase the amount of emails sent during holiday seasons. Plan targeted emails at regular intervals (monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly) and clean your email lists on a regular basis.
- Email Overload: You don’t need me to tell you, but everyone receives a lot of email. Companies buy lists, people subscribe to emails they forget they’ve subscribed to, etc. According to this report, Microsoft reports half of a person’s emails are probably newsletters and only 14% are personal emails. And you ask why people aren’t opening your emails? “According to Microsoft, only 2% of spam, defined as unsolicited bulk email, reaches the inbox, a testament to how accurate spam and reputation filters have come,” according to Return Path. Just think about how many ‘SPAM’ emails you would receive without these nifty ISP roadblocks.
- Email sender reputations: Each ISP has its own filter rules (Gmail, Earthlink, etc.) and each user may change his email deliverability options; however, this information isn’t available to marketers. Marketers are allowed to guess at how to design, write, and when to send better emails.
How To Improve Email Deliverability:
- Manage your email reputation by planning when to send each email, send on a regular basis (but not too often!), and design emails with the fewest spam words, fewest images and highest relevancy.
- Analyze your email data to increase your deliverability rates. Does a customer always unsubscribe to specific email topics? Do you receive higher open rates on Wednesdays instead of Sundays? Know your data to understand your customers better.
Read more indepth information from this Return Path report here.