Some thoughts on deliverability as we start 2010
Whilst everyone is full of excitement around the New Year and making predictions for 2010 I’d like to take time and ponder the DMA National Client Email Marketing Report (free for DMA members) that came out late in 2009. This is the companion piece for the quarterly surveys and tracks only the clients (or the actual marketers) viewpoint rather than their technology providers.
There is much to digest in the report and I recommend it to one and all. The thing that is most interesting for me to read is the actual concerns that marketers have and they have several it seems. The specific question was worded; “Which of the following are you most concerned about?” Top of the list for both B2C and B2B marketers alike was deliverability; top of the list means the client marketer’s number one concern. That’s right, you read it correctly, the number one concern for email marketers was deliverability and that is ahead of concerns such as clicks and conversion rates.
Although it may sound obvious but simply put without deliverability, and very specifically delivery to the recipients inbox those click and conversation rates will be depressed. Indeed the ROI of the overall marketing programme will be less than it could be.
Yet deliverability remains for some a confusing term, what does it mean? Who is actually responsible? How can I reliably measure and improve upon it? What can I do to improve upon it? Wait a minute are my messages even reaching the inboxes?
Whilst I don’t plan to tackle these questions in this post, I will make some predictions on the topic of deliverability for 2010. Firstly getting messages delivered to the inbox is, for many reasons not going to get any easier. Why? Because as ISPs get better at identifying truly criminal spam, they will focus more attention on the email practices of legitimate mailers. And as they rely more on trusted whitelists and start using engagement metrics to determine if mail is actually wanted, marketers will have to work harder to achieve relevancy in the inbox by developing loyal subscribers that regularly open, click and convert. Secondly, and following on from this, monitoring email deliverability will become more important than ever for all marketers. Those who want to outperform their competitors, cut through inbox clutter and earn higher response rates will want to understand which factors drive good deliverability and demand greater insight into whether their messages actually arrived in the inbox.
The data point they will now covet is the Inbox Placement Rate (IPR) a metric that is fast becoming widespread as marketers become savvier about measuring true ROI and a metric marketers are more frequently asking their technology providers to provide in order to gain full visibility of their email marketing programme. If you are a marketer and would like to find out more, why not take our quick three question survey here.
This article was written for the DMA (UK)’s Email Marketing Council blog, which can be found here.