The road to inbox nirvana

Despite the rise of social platforms, email remains the number one tool for businesses wanting to communicate effectively with their customers. Approximately 250 billion emails are sent every day, but according to Return Path’s 2018 Deliverability Benchmark report, on average 10 per cent of those emails never reach their intended recipient. Our data reveals some well-known brands with as high as 30-40 per cent of their email not being delivered to inboxes.

These undelivered emails mean companies are missing out on getting their messages across to valuable customers. Fortunately, there are simple ways to lift this cut through rate.

But first, it’s worth exploring what some of the recent updates and regulations mean when it comes to successfully sending emails.

Roadblocks to email delivery

Two major roadblocks to emails getting through are the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and new Microsoft rules making it difficult for email senders to reach customers using Outlook mail.

The GDPR is European legislation that came into effect in May 2018. It basically gives the power to customers, enabling them to decide who communicates with them, and how that communication happens. Why is this relevant to Australian businesses? Many local operations will have customers that are EU residents, and communicating with them falls under the GDPR. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the GDPR establishes a baseline best practice for all businesses. The rules make it easier for customers to opt out of email communications, and preserves their right to be forgotten by companies – meaning they only receive emails they actually want to read.

The other big shift is that Microsoft Outlook has imposed strict rules on privacy and cracked down on spam emails. In fact, our research shows that only seventy-five per cent of emails sent to an Outlook address will actually get through.

How to ensure your emails cut through

The way to ensure email gets through to Outlook mail users is to focus on Microsoft’s rules. The activities that will get an email blocked include users repeatedly deleting emails from the same sender without opening them. Users moving an email from one folder to another, or out of the junk folder, will assign the sender a higher reputation rating.

The keys to good email marketing, and getting your email delivered to a recipient’s inbox, basically comes down to getting the basics right. First, make sure that your users are engaged. If you’re sending your customers information they want to read and learn more about, they will open the email and click links, or retrieve it if it goes to spam. This will lead to the email provider giving your company’s email a positive score. The second aspect is having a good reputation, so your domain isn’t known for sending spam or repeatedly pushing email at unused addresses. Get those right, and your email will cut through.

Email doesn’t have to be hard. But it pays to think about who you’re sending it to, and what their wants and needs are. Focusing on your reputation as a sender will ensure your email doesn’t become part of the ten percent that never gets through.

If you are concerned about your sending reputation, go to the Sender Score website to learn how your business is currently performing, and get actionable insights to improve your reputation.

Tunc Bolluk, Regional Director APAC, Return Path

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