Email Deliverability – Quality vs. Quantity

It has always been the goal of marketers to reach as many people as possible. In sales, you have probably heard the term “It’s a numbers game,” meaning that the more people you call on, the more sales you get. In traditional print, marketing this is true as well, and many marketers believe the same thing is true in email marketing.

But as discussed in the last article The True Measure Of Deliverability, email marketing is much different, because unlike the post office, ISPs don’t deliver your email to the inbox just because you sent it. There are many factors involved in determining whether an ISP delivers your email to the inbox or the junk/bulk folder or even block it altogether. Some of these factors include complaint rate, invalid rate, bounce rate, spam trap rate, and engagement rates. Perhaps the thing that most affects all of these is relevancy.

When an email is expected and wanted AND is relevant to the subscriber, they are much less likely to click on the Spam button. They are also much more likely to engage with your message, opening it and clicking on the links in your email because they are interested in finding out more about what you are telling them in your email message. This addresses complaints (spam button) and the engagement levels — the two most significant factors ISPs look at. If a message appears to be “spam-like” to an ISP, but engagement levels are high (i.e., opens and clicks), then it is much more likely that the ISP will overlook the former because their subscribers have “voted” by opening and clicking that the message is NOT spam. Similarly, the opposite is true. If a message is from a reputable sender and does not appear to be spam-like, but complaint rates (number of spam button clicks compared to the volume received) are very high, then the ISP is more likely to deliver the message to the junk folder.

So what about invalid rates, bounce rates, and spam trap rates? What can you do about those?

Invalid rates, bounce rates, and spam trap rates are a result of poor list hygiene and sticking with the old school mentality that sending more is better; that quantity is better than quality. (See Beginner’s Guide to a Clean Email List to learn more.) Tracking and using this information about complaint rates and open and click rates can get you on track to reduce these negative factors:

  • By being relevant and limiting your mailings to those subscribers that are engaging with your messages (quality), instead of sending to everyone (quantity), you virtually eliminate invalids and spam traps, lowering your bounce rate in the process.
  • Segmenting your lists based on click tracking results and purchases, and monitoring complaint rates via feedback loops (most ESPs have these in place and track the results for you) helps you fine-tune your campaigns to be more relevant to each subscriber.
  • Finally, by using open and click information associated with each subscriber, you can segment your lists further by only sending to those subscribers that have engaged with your messages recently. This substantially reduces the likelihood that a subscriber clicks on the spam button, that an address is invalid, or has become a spam trap.

In email marketing, quantity is not better than quality. The bottom line reason is that when ISPs don’t see enough quality, they place your email in the junk/bulk folder, and you lose the number of people that see your message.

Furthermore, if ISPs continue to see high complaint rates, high invalid rates, and low engagement levels, your long-term sending reputation suffers, making it more difficult to improve your deliverability.

If your deliverability reputation is already poor, following the steps above will put you on the right track towards improving your reputation and seeing your messages reach the inbox regularly.

DRH Internet provides the Email Delivery product suite GreenArrow, which is enterprise level and high volume email sending software capable of sending up to 1 million messages per hour from a single server. GreenArrow Monitor is the Deliverability Monitoring product that maximizes the ability for your transactional and marketing emails to reach the inbox. Call GreenArrow by DRH Internet today toll-free at 1-866-374-4678.


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