Are your emails getting lost in spam? Are you getting opens and clicks? Or perhaps you feel something is just not right. It’s possible that you may need to conduct an email deliverability audit. Let’s get to it.
In the article you’ll learn:
- What email deliverability is (and isn’t)
- How to determine your deliverability
- Signs that you need a deliverability audit
- What a good audit should include
- How long an audit should take
- How often an audit be done
- How to request a deliverability audit
Hopefully investing a few minutes of your time now will pay dividends and you will be in a strong position to answer whether it is time for you to get a deliverability audit or not.
What is email deliverability?
Ask any sales and marketing professional and they will tell you that good email deliverability is a critical element in managing successful email campaigns. In fact, email deliverability is considered by many to be the most critical element in managing successful email campaigns.
Why? Because if your emails aren’t delivered, they can’t be read.
And while most of our readers will already understand the terminology, for the sake of clarity when we talk about email deliverability, we are talking about the successful delivery of a message to a recipient’s inbox.
We need to note the critical difference between deliverability and the delivery rate. It is important to keep in mind when reviewing your email service provider (ESP) or CRM, it will generally report on the delivery rate. The delivery rate refers to the number of emails that were delivered versus the total number of emails sent.
In other words, the delivery rate is the number of messages that were ‘successfully’ delivered, however successful is a relative term. The message may have got to the user’s inbox or promotions folder, equally, it could have been sent to spam/junk, caught in filters and never delivered, simply silently discarded.
How do you determine your deliverability?
It is not a linear score from 0-99, nor a simple traffic light system. Your deliverability will be fluid, impacted by hundreds of factors in and outside of your control at times.
Many email marketers are still in the dark as to how they fare in terms of email reputation and other deliverability factors that impact your inbox placement.
Smart email marketers will want to take a regular check of the health of their email deliverability and many will even use tools to get an ongoing and constant level of deliverability insight.
There are tools that will provide you indications of your inbox placement through the use of seed list testing and other technology and this allows you to gain some visibility and it will be a useful barometer. And there are tools provided by mailbox providers and if you know what to look for, there’s a treasure trove of data in your ESP’s analytics.
For most folks, however, determining your deliverability using in-house teams and resources is quite difficult. That’s why most organizations tend to hire email delivery experts to perform an email deliverability audit.
Ten signs you need a deliverability audit?
- You have no idea what your inbox placement rate is
- Customers and prospects report not getting your messages
- You are seeing high bounce rates on your campaigns
- You have started using a new sending domain name or plan to for email
- You suspect that email is not getting to recipients or being opened
- You recently changed ESP or brought on a new one
- You have found your IP or domain on a blocklist
- You are seeing lots of bounced or non-delivered email
- Your email seems to take a very long time to get delivered
- You’ve never had an email deliverability audit
What should your audit include?
An email deliverability audit is a truly comprehensive analysis of your email marketing program. It evaluates your organization’s current email marketing efforts. It reviews the processes, procedures, and systems associated with email deployment and helps you determine where improvements can be made.
Your technical configuration should be reviewed, of course, including essential aspects like email authentication.
Email authentication, for the layperson, is the process by which an email sender proves that they are able to send email from their domain. Authentication allows email recipients to trust in the validity of a message and ensure that it is not spam.
However, a thorough audit will evaluate much more than this including your typical email message content, email templates, content structure, content quality, email deployment, email list quality, recipient engagement, and recipient data.
At Email Industries, for example, we rely on our own evaluation tool, data sets, and experience alongside enhancing our visibility into your deliverability with third-party tools and data sets including Google’s Postmaster Tools, Microsoft SNDS, your ESP’s bounce logs, meaningful blocklists, and inbox placement tests.
Your audit vendor should be able to dive into your recipient data and help uncover dormant accounts, misclassified bounces, and other risky practices in your program or infrastructure. Truly great deliverability audits will also delve deep into your program analyzing things like subject lines, content, templates, the use of redirects, and more. Your program and processes around it will be analyzed including aspects like scheduling, timing, cadence, and other factors.
Here at Email Industries, we even offer a white-glove deliverability monitoring service. This offers you the assurance that your sending reputation is continuously monitored, protected, and optimized by our deliverability experts. However, it always starts with an email deliverability audit.
How long does an email delivery audit take?
A worthwhile audit doesn’t happen overnight. You should expect a week or more invested in auditing your program and infrastructure and another week to generate meaningful reports and recommendations. This will provide a baseline.
A good audit will include prioritized recommendations, ongoing monitoring of your deliverability, and white-glove support in the implementation of the recommendations.
A great email deliverability audit will be performed on your sales and marketing infrastructure, primary corporate email infrastructure, setup, and a view of all your sending tools, services, and domains.
How often should an email audit be done?
This will depend on the size of your organization, its list, and the complexities of your email program. If email is a primary driver for your business it is fair to say you will want to be auditing your deliverability every 12 to 18 months.
You will also want to consider implementing an audit right away if you see any level of sustained negative ROI in your email marketing efforts when you look to implement a major new email program or solution and at other key times when your level of email usage and maturity grows.
Want to receive an estimate for an audit?
The scope of an email deliverability audit is most often tied to the number of domains and sending tools you use as well as the complexity of your email stack, therefore fees vary.
We have 20 years of experience fixing every sort of deliverability problem, and we’d be happy to help you with your email deliverability audit. Please schedule a discovery call to receive a custom proposal. 👋
Founder and CEO of Email Industries