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What are the best practices for preventing deliverability issues?

As most marketers know, deliverability issues can make or break a campaign. Some of the largest email service providers continue to change blacklisting practices, making it more complex to reach subscribers. Fortunately, there are several actions marketers can take to overcome common deliverability obstacles:
  1. Ask an expert. Deliverability experts can put a contingency plan in place (that will cover the marketing program for the entire year) in the unfortunate event of excessive bulking or blacklisting. Action must be taken immediately to address the issue. A partnership between marketers and a deliverability expert ensures that proactive strategies are in place to minimize the likelihood of messages getting blocked or landing in the spam folder.
  2. Perform regular data hygiene. Keeping data up-to-date is the best way to improve deliverability. When a marketer emails a large number of inactive subscribers, the Internet service provider sees that the ratio of email volume to engagement is low and may direct messages straight to the spam folder. Removing dead or inactive addresses can help marketers avoid significant deliverability issues that can cause thousands of dollars in lost revenue per campaign. While data hygiene is one of the most effective and important steps to take to overcome deliverability issues, it shouldn't be the only route marketers take.
  3. Use separate IP addresses for each mailstream. A lack of IP separation causes mailstream contamination, which is the culprit behind 80% of marketers' inboxing problems. Mailstream contamination occurs when a marketer runs all email programs on one IP address. In the case this IP address encounters a blacklisting or any other deliverability issues, all of the marketer's mailing programs will be unable to reach targets' inboxes. Marketers need to ensure that separate email programs run on individual IP addresses. This way, when an IP address encounters an issue, this issue affects only the mailing program associated with that IP. Additionally, this strategy makes it easier to diagnose and fix any deliverability issues. To avoid inbox contamination, marketers should consider having separate mailstreams for active subscribers; subscribers who have been around 13 months or more; and a stream dedicated to subscriber acquisition. Each must have a separate IP address based on offer type and engagement.
Jason Warnock is VP-market intelligence and deliverability at Yesmail Interactive, a provider of enterprise email marketing software and services.
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