What's a "Grande Guide"?
We know what the typical day is like for marketers. After all, we are marketers ourselves. Between strategy sessions, impromptu meetings ("It'll just take a minute, really!"), and trips to meet colleagues and customers, you can barely find time to breathe – never mind keep up with the latest marketing trends. That's why we've developed the Grande Guide series. In the time it takes you to drink a cup of coffee, you can become proficient on a key marketing topic, in this case, email deliverability and privacy.
What is Deliverability and Privacy?
Email deliverability is about maximizing the potential number of emails reaching the inbox. How well you do with deliverability depends on how your organization:
Manages its email sender reputation
Ensures a quality database, such as where you get email addresses from and how you manage bounces
When it comes to email, privacy is about safeguarding the personal information contained in your mailing database. This includes honoring the opt-in/opt-out, data access, and data destruction wishes of the data subject.
Why Deliverability and Privacy Matter TodayEmail deliverability and privacy matter more than ever. The first reason is that existing laws – and new ones on the horizon – up the stakes greatly for companies that don't comply with standards and regulations. Second, today's email marketers are finding it harder and harder to be heard. As a result, they need to master deliverability and privacy to rise above "noise" from social media, other email marketers, and even new techniques like word-of- mouth marketing.
Why Do We Need to Understand Deliverability and Privacy?
Getting your message delivered is vital to revenue performance. After all, a slight increase at the top of the funnel can make a huge difference to your bottom line. And your ability to reach your prospects’ inbox is tied to deliverability and privacy.
Your reputation as an email sender impacts your potential reach as a marketer. The following can earn you a poor deliverability score, which prevents your emails from reaching your desired target:
Poor list management
Frequency and relevancy of sends
Complaints from recipients
Number of blocks
Spam trap hits
How people are engaging
If you’re not tracking who is active and inactive in your database, you’ll keep sending emails to people who don’t engage and your metrics will get skewed, making it hard to understand the effectiveness of your communications. After all, the more you know about your prospects, the better you will be at sending targeted, relevant emails.
Furthermore, if your email is seen as spam, your IP address will be labeled as a spammer’s IP, preventing you from getting into the inbox. According to Return Path, the world’s leading email deliverability services company, more than 20 percent of opt-in email in North America does not make it to the inbox.
Moreover, if you’re not following regulations – such as the CAN- SPAM Act – in the country where you’re conducting business, you’re open to serious legal ramifications. For example, you need an explicit opt-in to send email to someone in the European Union, and in North America, you must provide clear options for opt-out.
As soon as a subscriber’s data is in your hands, you assume legal responsibilities with regard to collection, use, transfer, and the disclosure of and safeguards around that data — even if your organization is using a third-party data processor. This is a big problem for larger organizations, especially those with decentralized marketing; different departments tend to use different databases and maintain separate policies. In some cases, this practice can violate CAN-SPAM requirements, resulting in legal repercussions for your organization.
Deliverability and Privacy Basics (terminology, principles, key concepts)
Notice: Data subjects should be given notice when their data is being collected. Purpose: Data should only be used for the purpose stated and not for any other purposes.
Consent: Data should not be disclosed without the data subject’s consent.
Data Subject: Sometimes used in data protection legislation to indicate the person who is the subject of a personal data record.
Security: Collected data should be kept secure from any potential abuses.
Onward Transfer: Data can only be transferred to third parties that follow adequate data protection principles.
Disclosure: Data subjects should be informed as to who is collecting their data.
Access: Data subjects should be allowed to access their data and make corrections to any inaccurate data.
Accountability: Data subjects should have a method available to them to hold data collectors accountable for following the above principles.
Data Controller: A controller is any person or organization that decides how and why personal data will be processed.
Data Processor: A person under the authority of a data controller who processes data on behalf of the data controller (e.g., an employee).
Safe Harbor: Essential certification for transferring any data from the EU to anywhere in the United States for processing/use.
TRUSTe: Third-party privacy monitoring and auditing service to ensure compliance and best practices such as adherence to U.S. Safe Harbor or said marketing practices.
Deliverability-related terms and principles:
Sender Reputation: Sender reputations are based on your behavior as an email sender and consider complaints, hard bounce rates, blacklistings, inactivity, volume consistency and unsubscribe capabilities, to name a few.
Sender Score: Although marketers may use the term synonymously with "sender reputation," sender reputation is a Return Path trademark. According to senderscore.org, sender reputation "measures a sender’s behavior and the impact those behaviors have on email recipients and the sender’s brand and email deliverability."
Complaints: Complaints can happen for many reasons. For example, if the perceived email frequency is too much, the content is irrelevant, or the recipient cannot determine who sent the email. Complaints are the first thing to affect your sender score, and are considered a more important metric than many others since they are based on the recipients’ perceptions of you.
Bounces: A bounce is an email that gets returned to the sender because it was unable to reach the recipient’s inbox. There are many types of bounces, but more common ones are hard, soft and blocks. A hard bounce generally means that the recipient’s email address is invalid; these emails will never be delivered. A soft bounce often indicates a temporary issue preventing receipt of the email, such as a
|restriction on the recipient’s mailbox size. A block bounce typically indicates that filtering – whether content filtering, user filtering, complaint filtering, or other spam filtering – is impacting the deliverability of your email.
It’s illegal to harvest email addresses from websites to create a mailing list.
If more than 10% of your list comprises bad email addresses, you can expect spam protection to block your emails. Industry average usually keeps the acceptable rate between 1 and 3%.
Deliverability and Privacy
Email Deliverability Best Practices
Step 2: Manage Your Email
Step 3: Optimize Your Content
A. Reinforce Email Expectations.
of content you send and when.
b. Send a welcome message to new email subscribers
with instructions on how to ensure the emails get
delivered and the benefits of subscribing.
c. Check in with contacts periodically to verify that they
are satisfied with your content and highlight options
for changing their communication preferences.
d. Move your subscription management options to the
top of your emails so they don’t get overlooked.
B. Optimize Relevancy and Frequency.
a. Use automated programs to test frequency and
determine the optimal mix for your target audience.
b. Ask subscribers for input and feedback on relevancy
c. Make sure you are clearly communicating your
message-even with images turned off.
C. Review and Refine.
a. Generate reports that provide insight into bounces,
complaints, and unsubscribes.
i. Keep bounce rates under 3%. Monitor bounces by
contact list, by email/email batch/email group and
by those sent by automated email systems.
ii. Keep complaints under 0.01% by monitoring spam
unsubscribes (i.e., contacts that reported your
email as spam).
iii. Keep unsubscription rates below 1% by
monitoring unsubscribe trends:
1. How does this email campaign’s unsubscribe
rate trend against average performance? If there
is a variance, pinpoint how this email differed
from others in terms of list quality, content, etc.
2. Is my unsubscribe rate trending upward? If so,
investigate a possible frequency or relevancy
Deliverability and Privacy
What’s Next in Deliverability
Deliverability.com: News, rumors, and commentary from the email deliverability community - http://www.deliverability.com
Deliverability.com Blog: posts on privacy - http://blog.deliverability.com/privacy/
Eloqua Email Deliverability Playbook: http://img.en25.com/Web/Eloqua/EmailDeliverability_Playbook_1583.pdf
Eloqua Email Deliverability Resources: http://www.eloqua.com/topics/email-deliverability.html
Eloqua and TRUSTe Form Partnership: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Eloqua-and-TRUSTe-Form- Partnership-1353331.htm
Email Reputation Score: Free Email Reputation Report from Sender Score: https://www.senderscore.org/
Email Stat Center: The leading authority on email marketing metrics: http://www.emailstatcenter.com/Deliverability.html
International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP): https://www.privacyassociation.org/
IAPP Glossary of Common Privacy Terminology: https://www.privacyassociation.org/images/uploads/CIPP%20Privacy%20Glossary_0909.pdf
Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group: http://www.maawg.org/
Return Path: http://www.returnpath.net/
U.S. Congress Planning Broader Email & Digital Marketing Enforcement and Regulatory Power for the FTC: http://blog.emailexperience.org/blog/email-experience-council/0/0/us-congress-planning-broader-email-digital-marketing- enforcement-and-regulatory-power-for-the-ftc
What marketers might expect in 2010 around privacy: blog post by Dennis Dayman of Eloqua - http://blog.deliverability.com/2010/02/what-marketers-might-expect-in-2010.html