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In episode 68 of the Customers Who Click podcast, I’m diving into email marketing deliverability and inbox placement with Adrian Savage.
Deliverability and inbox placement: two most important things you should be considering when it comes to tracking your email’s performance. Far too often I see companies just doing a basic email setup, and then blasting out emails on a regular basis hoping for a 1-2% conversion rate
However, if a huge chunk of your emails goes straight to spam, let’s say 20%... For every 100 emails sent, 20 never even gets acknowledged. The good news is that there are ways of making sure your communications don’t end up in the spam folder and Adrian is here to talk about a framework he created to avoid this called the RACE Method.
Adrian is the Co-Founder and CEO of Deliverability Dashboard, a platform that helps brands easily measure their email delivery and engagement. After ending his corporate career in IT and telecoms to spend more time with his family ten years ago, Adrian has been exploring the world of online marketing and automation. Five years ago, he found his calling in the field of email deliverability. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to https://deliverabilitydashboard.com/.
07:17 - 08:17 - Avoiding the Spam Trap: Where to Start - Adrian has created a framework called RACE, where R is Reputation, A is Authentication, C is Content and E is Engagement. If you’re looking to improve your email ROI, you need to be improving specific within each of those components. Let’s break them down:
08:20 -22:44 - Reputation - Email providers track the performance of your campaigns - every single email you send out contributes to your sending reputation (open rates, engagement rates or even whether or not the receiver consented to receive it). The lower the reputation, the harder it is for your email to make it to an inbox. The email provider you’re using and their reputation also matters, although most available today are pretty reputable.
Pro-tip #1: Switching your email platform isn’t going to make any difference because it’s not the platform but rather your email’s performance that is important. Pro-tip #2: Using a dedicated IP is only recommended for brands with a high enough volume of communications - if you’re not sending enough, it’ll hurt your performance.
22:56 - 39:37 - Authentication - Authentication is doing the things that differentiate you from the spammers. That's the most important thing, because authentication is about either digitally signing every email that you send, or it's about telling the world what to do when they receive emails from you from a certain place. Digital signatures verify your email’s authenticity by matching your email's domain with the encrypted key you should be including in the email. Some email platforms provide email authentication but there are few (like Active Campaign) where you have to manage your own authentication.
Another really important method of authentication is SPF (Sender Policy Framework). SPF is another record that you publish in your domain and it tells you which email platforms you trust to send emails on your behalf. If you don’t list the names (Adrian trusts Zendesk, Active Campaign and Google Workspaces), there’s a chance your email won’t be marked as legitimate. Pro tip: avoid including too many images or links in your emails or else, you’ll end up in the promotions folder.
39:38 - 44:00 - Content - The higher the frequency you send, the better the results that you will get (given receivers want them and have demonstrated they want those emails). Many brands are afraid of sending too many emails but let’s get something straight: if the emails are worth reading, they will read them. And engage. And for those who don’t want to receive this many communications, they’ll unsubscribe and keep your list healthy. And remember: the purpose of emails isn’t to sell but to educate, entertain, to add value. Of course, including offers is fine, given it’s not the main purpose of your email.
44:01 - 52:11 - Engagement - Email engagement so any link clicks or even replies have a significant impact on your email deliverability. The higher the engagement rate, the smaller chances of your emails making it to the spam folder and this is why you should only be sending your communications to people who want to receive, will read and interact with it.
Pro-tip #1: Start by educating your audience. No matter how careful you are, sometimes your first email after they sign up will go straight to the spam folder so in your “thank you for signing up” flow, mention for the receiver to check their spam and mark your communications as “safe”.
Pro-tip #2: Segment your audience based on recency. Customers who have opened your email in the last 30 days are the ones you want to be focusing on. Then we have 30-60 but anything 90 days and up will most likely hurt your deliverability.
37:02 - 56:16 - Adrian’s View on iOS Privacy Update and its Impact on Emails - It won’t be long before other companies will follow Apple’s suit and remove their tracking pixels. Adrian recommends that brands really focus on making sure the email gives the customer a compelling reason to click on it.
56:34 - 58:11 - Adrian’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Brands adding subscribers to their list without gaining the customer’s consent first. At the end of the day, those customers don’t sign up because they’re not interested in buying so what makes brands think subscribers are interested in hearing from them?