Posted on July 20th, 2019
Email is still one of the top tools for marketers in 2019 and beyond. Not only is it budget-friendly and quick to launch campaigns with, but its reach is staggering. It is estimated that there are more than 250-300 billion emails sent around the world every day. Four billion email accounts exist globally, 25% of which are business or otherwise work-related accounts. An individual typically has three different email accounts they actively use. Email is ubiquitous.
Fortunately, people still check their email every day, making it a promising mechanism for corporate communication. On average, there is a 20-25% open rate for emails as long as it reaches the Inbox, and therefore likely provides the highest return available compared to other methods of marketing communication. The ROI can typically be 30x or more for many email campaigns. This attractiveness makes it safe to say that email marketing is here to stay and its growth will continue.
For a time, spam clogged the digital communication highways. However, large email providers such as Google's Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and business email server providers have evolved sophisticated methods for detecting and deflecting spam, including supervised machine learning algorithms, monitoring engagement, and building detailed historical knowledge bases. The state of the art now ensures the blocking of more than 90% of all email (meaning it doesn't even qualify to make someone's spam or promotion email folders) by the major email service providers. And if it gets past the gatekeeper but still has the scent of promotion, it can still end up in a spam folder. Unfortunately, the frequency of people checking their spam or promotion email folders is dwindling by the day. So if you're not in the Inbox, you are pretty much on the outs.
It is clear that going forward, there are a set of rules that will have to be abided by to protect your IP and domain reputation to ensure delivery of your marketing communications. Otherwise you risk the tragedy of being listed as a mass promoter. This will seriously limit your effectiveness as an email marketer, even among consenting customers and their email addresses.
There are many ways to reduce the chances of getting yourself in trouble with the email service providers, including improving the content of your promotional email, the frequency of sending, and many forms of recipient management. One component of recipient management includes email address list scrubbing. This helps to eliminate non-deliverable email addresses to the extent possible. It also enables you to avoiding generic mail boxes (info@, support@, etc.) and can reduce the number of disposable email addresses in your database, both of which can harm your sender reputation. Even geographic dispersion of email addresses can in some cases be a factor, especially if you are blasting to dated, global lists.
There are many vendors that enable email addresses to be validated or scrubbed, either in bulk or via API upon collection (more inexpensive and less hassle).
As most marketing organizations are using email sending service providers such as MailChimp, SendGrid, Drip, Constant Contact, and others to manage their email communications, they are realizing that the purity of their email address list is important, as poor lists can cause banishment from these providers. MailChimp for example, has suspended customer accounts if the customer exceeds the threshold for bad email lists three times in six months.
While this blog entry barely scratches the service of effective email list management, it should trigger the idea of the importance of continued research and indicates some low-hanging fruit to get started with. Email communication is too important not to address with a high priority and getting it right.