One of the most common inquiries that we receive from our customers is some variance of the following: Our email is going to the spam folder at a certain ISP, and we need to have it fixed.
This answer to this question can be a frustrating one for those who aren’t initiated in the world of deliverability.
The real (and to some unfortunate) answer is that there is almost never a “fix” to deliverability issues. This doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome issues in a very positive way, but it’s the reasoning behind the resolution that is important to understand.
I’d like to walk you through some of the most common conversations we have, and hopefully change your thinking about Deliverability in the process.
The first thing we need to look at is the reality of what constitutes a deliverability issue. It’s important to understand that deliverability is not a universal concept. Each individual ISP looks at a sender in their own specific way. There are certainly some best practices that are good strategies regardless of the ISP, but they are all different in the execution.
That means that you can’t look at one score, bounce rate, spam complaint rate, or any other metric, and have a full understanding. You must dig into each ISP to get an accurate look at your deliverability health. You could have amazing deliverability at every single ISP on the planet, except for Gmail (which could be half your list), and still be in really bad shape.
When you are looking to resolve a problem at Gmail for example, many senders ask us what to do to fix a bulking issue. There are certainly ways to improve inbox placement, but one of the common things that we see is this. We dig into the specifics of your issue, and we help develop a plan to improve.
Notice there is no switch that we can pull, or call that we can make to change/fix things right away. Deliverability is an ongoing challenge. The best sender in the world can be blocked tomorrow, if their metrics change.
Meeting the Needs of Each ISP
The fluid nature of deliverability, means that you must change your sending behavior to meet the needs of each ISP. Gmail is very sensitive to customer engagement for example, so the strategy you deploy to them might be quite different that your Office365 strategy. It also means that you can never stop with the execution of that strategy.
A common story we deal with is a sender has an issue, asks about a resolution, implements new best practices, sees improvement, and then goes right back to their old ways. Not surprisingly, deliverability suffers again, and we are right back to square one.
A good analogy for deliverability success is food. When you have a healthy diet, you are more likely to feel good, and have fewer issues. When you eat a lot of junk food, you can gain weight and see issues. It’s the same concept with deliverability. I think of the customer who implements these temporary changes as a crash diet. You might lose weight in the short term, but if you don’t stick with it, you will gain that weight right back.
Roll With the Changes
It’s all about making those healthy lifestyle (or marketing) changes, and continuing with those changes. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a cupcake, or send an extra message now and then. When you are coming from a healthy place, you can afford to have some fun on occasion!
I hope that next time you think about email deliverability, you take a more systemic look at what is causing those issues, and how you can take a longer term look at what caused the problem in the first place, and how you can make sure those don’t reoccur. We’re here to help with both the diagnosis, and the things that you can do to get better, and stay better.
Modern Marketers must orchestrate and deliver marketing messages that are relevant to individual preferences and behavior. Getting email delivered to the inbox is critical to this process. Download Email Deliverability: Guide For Modern Marketers to find out how to achieve email deliverability that really delivers.