Reaching Your Inbox
The success of your email marketing communications is directly impacted by email deliverability. As spammers continue to bypass spam filters, ISPs are putting in place increased security measures to curtail abuses such as phishing attempts and junk mail. Consequently, inbox placement and reaching the inbox of your intended audience while avoiding spam filters has become more challenging. More than ever, email senders must be aware of email sending best practices and the key factors that influence deliverability. These include but are not limited to:
- Quality of contact list
- IP sender reputation
- Volume of emails sent
Our client sends emails on behalf of their customers and just completed their IP warming process about 3 months ago. While monitoring their email campaign performance, they recently discovered that their bounceback rates are as high as 5% and their open rates are around 6%. They suspect that their emails are going straight to the spam folder and not hitting the intended recipient’s inbox. This is a critical issue for the client as their leads are potentially not receiving their emails.
Here’s the breakdown per the Email Analysis Overview report demonstrating the low open rates and high bounceback rates:
Sender reputation is a score assigned to an IP address that helps ISPs determine its overall email sending behaviour over time. Sender scores range from 0 to 100 and lower scores indicate a lower likelihood of email delivery to an inbox. As such, the first step is to baseline the current sender score of the client’s IP. By navigating to https://www.senderscore.org, we noted that the current sender score for the client’s dedicated IP is surprisingly high at 95. Finally, in accordance to best practices, the client is targeting the following improvements in their spam folder delivery:
- Keep hard bounceback rates under 3%
- Keep spam complaints under 0.1%
- Keep unsubscription rates under 2%
- Confirmed the From address being used in their email has the same domain as the bounceback address.
- Verified the SPF record is present on the From address and the bounceback address
ii. The SPF statement reads v=spf1 include:_netblocks.eloqua.com –all
- Verified DKIM is set up for the FROM domain
ii. It passes the check and DKIM is properly set up.
Reviewing content of the email
- Certain combination of words such as “Free”, “Limited Time”, “Now” should be avoided as it can result in spam folder placement. Therefore, it is worth perusing the subject line of the emails in question to make sure they don’t appear “spammy”. It is also worth reviewing the text to image ratio of the email for its overall feel.
Reviewed the SPAM unsubscribe report for complaints
- Navigated to Eloqua homepage > Analytics > Classic Insight > Reports & Dashboards > Emails > Email Metrics > Spam Unsubscribe
- Based on this, it can be seen that individual recipients aren’t hitting the “Report as SPAM” button for the emails in question
Bounceback History With report messaging
- Navigated to Eloqua homepage > Analytics > Classic Insight > Reports & Dashboards > Emails > Email Metrics > Bounceback History with Messaging
- After reviewing the STMP code and error message, the two main rejection reasons are as follows:
i. Spam URL content
Reviewing the bounces we can see that our client has sent mail to spam traps. Since spam traps are sometimes created by various ISPs or a blacklist group, sending to these addresses will result in a listing and possibly have your emails being treated as junk in the mailbox. Therefore, the next step is to submit a request to remove the blacklist for our client’s IP and see if we can get the blocks removed. We are also making the recommendation to have the client sign up for Return Path, as it provides conclusive evidence that an email has reached the inbox.
As this project is still ongoing, we do not have a storybook ending yet. This is a high priority problem for the client, as the overall performance of their email campaigns has become very difficult to judge. Since the client regularly has events/show trades, the lack of accurate engagement metrics is severely impacting their reporting. Therefore, determining inbox placement and mitigating spam folder delivery, will directly result in the client obtaining more accurate engagements metrics (i.e tracking opens and clicks) in the future. Moreover, the success of this project will enable the client to better link revenue to each of their campaigns. Lastly, it will also greatly improve the client’s customer experience with Eloqua and their ability to manage their own dedicated IP.
Due to my involvement in this project, I will be overseeing the implementation of Return Path seed lists into Eloqua. As such, our company will make sure that the client’s dedicated IP is Return Path certified. At the conclusion of this project, our company will gain expertise in using Return Path inbox monitoring software and dashboards. We will also be running ad-hoc bi-weekly and monthly deliverability/health analysis reports on the client's behalf.
- Modern Marketing (MM): Email Deliverability