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Email Deliverability Doesn’t Change…Processes Must

What’s new under the deliverability sun? Apparently not much. The latest study by Return Path, tracking email deliverability rates worldwide, really doesn’t tell us anything new. In fact, its true usefulness might be in helping us to stop worrying so much about a sudden and drastic drop in deliverability.

I remember looking at the numbers the last time this study came out, and they weren’t that different from these. Even Brazil’s embarrassingly dismal numbers are similar to what they already had been. What is interesting to me is that not much has changed despite an increase in awareness around what it takes to improve deliverability in 2014-2015. The industry’s publications regularly serve up advice on improving deliverability, as well as the importance of doing so. Why aren’t U.S. organizations heeding this advice? Why is deliverability hovering at that low rate in this country? Maybe because it’s hard to change.

The kind of change needed happens at the organizational level, and it requires a cultural willingness to do things differently. Some businesses want to simply drop those email addresses that aren’t working, whether because emails aren’t delivered or they go straight to the junk mail folder. That might help deliverability but it’s only a short-term solution that doesn’t address the real problem: the need to engage and/or re-engage. Businesses must stop settling for the status quo and be willing to do more, whether that means segmenting out inactive subscribers and implementing a re-engagement campaign, revamping frequency and content, offering a preference center, or finding a new ESP.

The solution is not to simply dump all the unengaged, because more unengaged will pop up to take their place. The solution is to prevent many of the unengaged from becoming so.

Deliverability rates might be holding steady around the world (whether good or bad), but that doesn’t mean they have to stay the same at each organization or business. Just because 17% of emails in the U.S. never make it to the inbox does not mean you have to settle for that same 17%.

Scott Hardigree
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