E-mail marketing: Getting beyond deliverability

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Making sure every message reaches the inbox of the intended recipient is a key goal for every e-mail marketer. Given the number of deliverability solutions available today, it might surprise you to know that many e-mails sent by legitimate marketers are still not reaching inboxes—more than 20%, according to industry studies.

The challenges of deliverability are even more pronounced for b-to-b marketers. By their very nature, b-to-b e-mail lists are highly fragmented and spread across hundreds (even thousands) of different domains. This, coupled with different access rules, filtering techniques and delivery codes at various corporate and hosted domains, makes it especially tough to accurately identify, diagnose and resolve b-to-b e-mail deliverability issues.

As a result, many marketers have simply accepted lower delivery rates as a given. It doesn't have to be this way. With the right technology, e-mail streams can be automatically segregated by the type of mail, sender or other factors, then delivery parameters automatically tuned in real time based on individualized results within each stream.

Here are a few key capabilities that marketers should look for in their messaging technology solution:

  • Mailstream segregation. Segregation of mailstreams enables you to separate them by e-mail type (transactional, newsletter, marketing), business unit, recipient characteristics or other factors, so the results of one don't degrade the deliverability or reputation of another. Segregation can take the form of different sending domains, subdomains and IP addresses.
  • Mailstream-specific delivery parameters. To ensure high deliverability, your delivery parameters need to be appropriate to each mailstream and the specific acceptance rules of the domains you're sending to. Delivery parameters include how many connections you establish, how fast you send, how many times you retry records that fail and your rules for handling complaints, blocks and other delivery dispositions. Your technology solution must provide you with both the capability for setting such parameters and an automated way to manage them.
  • Auto-tuning delivery parameters. The real value of next-generation messaging technology solutions comes in their ability to tune those parameters in real time based on actual dispositions (delivered, bounced, blocked) as they occur and automatically take appropriate actions—such as slowing the send rate or suspending it upon detection of a rolling block, and then resuming it.
  • Live updates to bounce rules. Your message technology solution should handle updates to ever-changing bounce codes. Without a truly live process for updating your bounce rules, the reliability of your deliverability reporting and results could rapidly deteriorate.

By implementing a next-generation messaging technology solution, marketers can go beyond deliverability to focus on what they do best: generating revenue for their companies and building long-term, profitable customer relationships.

Barry Abel is VP-field operations at message management company Message Systems. He can be reached at

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