Importance of Email Deliverability

When marketers think of boosting ROI in their email channel, most initially are drawn to increasing the frequency of email. It’s a natural instinct that has roots in traditional marketing… more impressions / touches should equal more revenue. Right?


From a 101 standpoint a few initial considerations, each with escalating difficulty.:

  • List Size / Quality
  • Email Authentication
  • Content Calendar / Cadence

1) List Size / Quality: Not all email recipients on your list are created equal. Think of the old 80/20 rule of business. Email has the greatest ROI of any marketing channel, so while the temptation is great to ‘just send more’ — try to resist. While we’re on the topic, let’s consider if those messages are being “delivered to the inbox” or “delivered to the spam” folder. As a best practice (and likely part of your ESPs T&C), ensure your email list recipients are 1) opted in and 2) actively engaged.

2) Email Authentication: The reason more email does not always equal more performance can come down to a variety of factors. A low hanging fruit is around auditing and confirming emails sent from your ESP are authenticated. What this means is you’re giving the ESP permission to send emails to your recipients on behalf of your brand. The email you’re sending through the ESP and your website domain hosting will have different IPs, to confirm you’re not hijacking the brand, ISPs such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc have collaborating with ESPs and other agencies to set industry standards. With some ESPs this process is simple, others a little more manual and might involved collaborating with Customer Service. A few vocab terms should come to mind: DKIM, SPF, A-Record, DomainKey, DNS Record, and for those advanced and forward thinking, DMARC. Often email authentication is a “set and it forget it” onboarding step. It’s good to monitor these records to ensure nothing gets altered that could cause a break in the authentication.

3) Content Calendar / Cadence: H&F’s has a view that marketing departments should take a publishing approach to content. Think of a monthly print magazine. Each month a certain number of articles, and content pieces are required to publish and dates and deadlines correspond. Same with your communications program across a variety of omni-channel verticals. Revisiting “List Size / Quality” in #1, segmentation should be applied to who gets what type of content based around profile data you know about them, and past behavior with the brand. The latter, behavior, is often the 20% of the 80/20 rule. With this group additional communications, including automations should be considered. It’s an investment in programmatic marketing communications on the front end that can pay off greatly with time.

This is just a 101 level view and can easily be expanded into a 200-level, 300-level view with individual business scenarios.