Published on 27th Oct, 2014 in Email Marketing, Online Marketing

The One Email Marketing Metric You Didn’t Realize Mattered The Most

The One Email Marketing Metric You Didn’t Realize Mattered The Most

While its social use is declining among younger professionals, email remains a power in business. 59% of B2B marketers believe email is the single most effective channel for generating revenue.[1] Creating engaging content for email campaigns is of course imperative. What is often neglected, however, is the vital topic of deliverability.

Think Deliverability Is A Waste Of Time? Think Again.

Because email marketing is permission based, it can be tempting to think that deliverability is nothing to be concerned about. After all, the permission has been granted, and the content is quality. No way you’ll ever be tagged as spam. So everything’s fine, right?

On average, 82% of emails achieve inbox placement – but the remaining 18%? 13% simply disappears, while 5% gets labeled as spam. While that 82% placement rate seems sound on the surface, ignorance of how spam filters and other aspects of email communication affect campaigns can result in significantly lower placement.


It used to be that the content of email was the primary means of indentifying spam. And it still is important, but what is increasingly tipping the balance is your reputation as a sender.

This reputation isn’t static. It requires monitoring and careful planning to preserve a reputation as a trusted sender – in short, marketers must pay careful attention to how their emails are being delivered. More than 80% of problems with deliverability arise because of issues related to sender reputation.[2]

Spotting Spam

Understanding how email gets classified as digital mystery meat is key to playing the game well.

  • Spamtraps

Just like those awesome sting operations law enforcement uses to catch criminals, spamtraps are specially created email addresses that are intended to nab spammers red-handed. Because these addresses are never published, any email received by them is being generated randomly and thus spam.

  • Algorithmic Filters

The most common filter, this analysis tool will tag as spam anything that shares common senders, links, or content with material in your junk folder. Once that designation is made, the subscriber’s ISP will remember the spam’s URLs and domains. That means that messages containing those URLs and domains will get blocked – even if they come from a different sender.

  • Bounce Handling

ISPs and email receiving systems are increasingly making use of custom bounce codes to filter unsolicited email. Email marketers that ignore the various bounce codes and the way they sort hard and soft bounces do so at their peril.

  • Blacklists

Many ISPs and independent associations compile and publish blacklists of senders who push out unsolicited email. These lists can be used as a reference filer in inbound mail servers. Getting Through There are ways to help ensure your email make it past the rocks and rough places.

  • Monitor Your Contact Lists Like A Hawk

Spamtraps can spring up on contact lists very easily. If you’re not careful in tending your email list, you could inadvertently wind up caught by these Venus flytraps and wind up tagged as spam.

  • IP: Shared or Dedicated?

It comes down to volume. High volume senders with a good reputation are most often best served by a dedicated IP, whereas lower volume senders can make do using a shared IP address.

  • Use Authentication Protocols

Protocols are a good means of broadcasting your email as legitimate, and can help reduce the chance of winding up inadvertently being tagged by spam. The most common protocols are SenderID, DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and SPF (Sender Protection Framework).

  • Engagement

Reader response is becoming more and more a factor in tagging spam. Major providers like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, and Outlook analyze the email that users open and click through. Mail that is ignored will in time likely be moved to spam folders.

  • Tattletales

An unpleasant reality is that users are more likely to report email that they signed up for as spam rather than unsubscribe. Making unsubscribe options clear and easy to use can help mitigate this effect. Creative, engaging content that is tailored to your audience is an even better preventative.

Want to learn more about making your email marketing better? Contact us today and find out how Marketing Zen’s experience and expertise can make your next campaign better than ever before.

  1. Source: Hubspot
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  3. Source: Return Path