February 03, 2011 | By Spencer Kollas
Over the years of working in email deliverability, I have seen a lot of things and been asked a lot of questions. The one question that I never understand coming from a prospect is: “What kind of email deliverability rates can you guarantee if we decide to use your system?” This is one that never ceases to amaze me when it is asked, because as a former marketer, I would have never even thought to ask it. The problem with the question is that the system that you are sending off of is just one component of email delivery. A more significant piece of deliverability has to do with what you’re sending, who you’re sending it to, and is it something they want.
When going through the sales process with a new Email Service Provider (ESP) and the topic of email delivery comes up, I simply suggest all marketers verify that the proposed system is technically capable of sending out their campaigns in the required volume and timing requirements, as well as handle all bounce processing, complaints and other necessary functions from a deliverability standpoint. Once the message has gone through the large list of technical checks that the ISPs look for, delivery to the inbox comes down to the sender’s reputation.
If any ESP ever promises you a particular percentage of inbox delivery, make sure you ask them how they plan on backing that up, and if they make the same promise to all of their clients? If they are making this same promise to all of their clients, what will they do if one of them rents or buys a list? What magic tricks do they have to ensure the inbox delivery of those email addresses?
In summary, if you are promised something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Please share your experiences with these types of questions and answers here—I would love to hear them.