Testing your email marketing to improve your deliverability

Reach the managed inbox with a proactive approach to email deliverability

Martech is always changing and evolving, and the same is true for one of the oldest martech applications in our toolsets — email marketing. Many organizations treat email like a static piece of marketing technology and leave email deliverability up to the email service providers, but marketing to the managed inbox needs to be an ongoing, active process. The term “managed inbox” applies to email inboxes that use filtering systems and algorithms to prioritize incoming email messages for the end-user. Ignoring email deliverability could have devastating results for your brand — like being blacklisted by major inbox providers — to which there are no quick fixes.

Marketers have more control over email optimization and deliverability than they may realize, and a few tweaks to your processes could make all the difference when it comes to reaching the inbox. Between working alongside your partners at your email service provider (ESP) and a bit of education on deliverability, your team can take control of your email marketing. “Marketers have complete control over whether they can reach the inbox,” said Tony Patti, vice president of deliverability and privacy compliance at eDataSource. “Marketers have a feeling this is permanent. If you have the knowledge of what the terms are, then the ESP knows they can communicate with you.”

The “pre-flight” checklist

Patti recommends incorporating “pre-flight” tests into your daily routine to ensure that your ESP infrastructure is up-to-date and ready to send for the day. “Always look at the infrastructure to make sure everything is correct and valid. Do a pre-flight test on everything,” Patti said. “No single item is the culprit for inbox failures, but doing a test will let you know that something is wrong. When you launch a campaign, do tests that will check for possible errors.”

Implementing a pre-flight checklist is one of the most important things marketers can do before sending an email campaign, according to Patti. This list includes double-checking content and also testing your list to ensure there are no bad email addresses being targeted.

Engagement is a must

Getting your emails delivered to the inbox is just as important as what your recipients do with those emails. We need to send content that our subscribers want to receive in order to maintain positive standings with internet service providers (ISPs).”ISPs know when users are opening, deleting, reading, removing it from spam. They keep a track record,” explained Patti.

Emails that go unopened or deleted will have a negative impact on your sender reputation and ultimately your ability to reach the managed inbox. Be clear about what your brand is offering subscribers to ensure the right people are signing up to receive your emails.

Don’t neglect your email hygiene

List management is one of the most important factors that can keep you from reaching the inbox. Implementing a step for a double opt-in from subscribers, for example, can help you keep bad email addresses off your lists. Additionally, creating processes for removing the subscribers who don’t open and click your emails after a predetermined period of time will help maintain the quality of your lists — and your brand’s sender reputation.

While there are no quick-fixes to deliverability issues, proactively testing your email campaigns for deliverability-specific metrics — including delivery rates, bounce rates and spam complaints —will help you identify gaps in your email processes and areas that need improvement. Monitoring your engagement rates (opens and clicks) will provide valuable insights into how well your content is performing with your hard-earned subscribers. Don’t shy away from removing inactive and bad email addresses for the sake of maintaining a large set of targets. “Marketers don’t get paid by the size of their list,” said Patti.

More about the Managed Inbox


About The Author

Jennifer Videtta Cannon serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.


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