The success of business to business email marketing campaigns depends on many things, but email deliverability stands at the top of the list. According to Return Path’s 2016 “Deliverability Benchmark Report,” the rate of emails making it to the intended inbox has dropped steadily since last year. The report tracks the email delivery journey of seed addresses sent from 140+ regional and worldwide email servers. This decline affects everyone who uses digital direct marketing campaigns to attract the attention of B2B customers and clients.
Return Path reports that a full 20% of all emails sent around the world do not reach the email inbox it was sent to. Not only is this number shocking enough for companies who send out hundreds or thousands of business to business email messages during one advertising campaign, but the report also indicates a marked decline from quarter to quarter. Second quarter email delivery stood at 79%. The same time last year, emails hit inboxes at a rate of 81%. The third quarter of 2015 saw rates near 82%.
Not only are the overall global numbers sobering for direct marketing technique users, but the numbers for individual countries look even worse. Deliverability suffered most in the United States. In 2015’s third quarter, delivery rates were near the worldwide average at 80%. In the second quarter of 2016, they dropped to only 69%, a considerable difference from the global range of 79%.
Several major countries around the world saw a decrease in email marketing deliverability throughout the past twelve months.
1. Australia at 90%
2. Canada at 89%
3. Great Britain at 88%
4. France at 84%
5. Germany at 80%
6. Brazil at 79%
7. USA at 73%
During the same period of time, spam blocks from email recipient providers stayed at a steady 5-7%. Emails that went missing completely jumped from near 15% in late 2015 to about 25% in 2016.
These changes in the business to business email landscape could be rooted in the high rate of competition within the United States email provider industry and due to all the companies and individuals who use digital direct marketing as well.
For those who understand it is still a viable and effective brand building, funnel filling, and sale making advertising method, the precise reason may not be that important. They cannot change the email industry, after all, just adapt to better methods of working with its limitations. Lower rates of email delivery mean marketers must step up their game if they wish to forge strong B2B relationships and achieve the most lucrative returns on their expenditures.
Despite the less than inspiring news from the Return Path deliverability report, they do offer valuable suggestions to help marketing experts succeed using digital contact through email. After all, if the deliverability of email goes down, marketers need a way to combat that drop. Every email campaign sent must attract more attention and inspire more action from the people who do receive the contacts.
#1 – Understand the Email Deliverability Factor and Plan for It
It should not be a surprise when a certain percentage of a business to business email marketing campaign is returned or disappears into cyberspace. Because some emails will never reach their intended targets, marketers should plan for this issue by sending out more emails or working on creating more precise targeting criteria. Word to the Wise’s owner and email delivery consultant Laura states that brands need to “start thinking of it (lack of email deliverability) as something that can be planned for.”
#2 – Reduce the Chance of Getting Caught in Spam Filter Traps
If companies do not want their emails to get automatically routed to the Junk or Spam folders instead of the Inbox, they need to focus on providing quality contacts and keeping their reputation clean. Follow all CAN-SPAM guidelines, always provide a clear “Unsubscribe” option, avoid deceptive redirects, headers, or subject lines, and never use a business email server for questionable activities.
#3 – Keep Your Direct Marketing Email List Current and Correct
Not only does outdated and incorrect email contact information give companies no possibility of a successful contact or future business, but it also contributes to the possibility that their messages are deemed spam. The more undeliverable emails sent by a particular email account or domain name, the greater this chance is. This directly correlates to how the B2B community and a particular industry views the company in question. In order to build a positive reputation both online and off, a company needs to operate with forethought and consideration for every recipient of their marketing message.
#4 – Focus on Engagement and Value to the Recipient
If a person who receives an email clicks on the “This is Spam” button, the designation is obvious and the sender will be penalized. Even without that clear action, many other emails get shunted aside away from the inbox as well. It all comes down to engagement. Obviously, an email that is deleted unread demonstrates no engagement with the recipient at all. An email that is opened, read, clicked on, moved to another folder, or marked as “Not Spam” shows that it had value and will not be automatically ignored.
Some of the most popular email system providers like Microsoft and Gmail use these engagement signals to provide a neater and less frustrating email experience for their users. They gather data on the above actions and others to determine if a particular sender is worthwhile or not. Direct mail marketers need to create business to business emails that offer positive engagement and true value to whoever it is sent to.
When a trusted source like Return Path’s “Deliverability Benchmark Report” shares sobering numbers about the decline in email delivery across the board, markets who use business to business email methods to engage new customers or clients need to adjust their plan. Digital direct marketing remains an effective way to build brand recognition, get a message in front of industry influencers, and convert more interested contacts to customers or clients. As fewer emails reach their intended target, the importance of creating a compelling direct marketing email increases more than ever before.