Return Path recently announced the findings of their most recent (and always insightful) email deliverability study, which found that one in every six email messages (damn, that’s a lot) sent worldwide never reaches the subscriber’s inbox.  The term ‘subscriber’ here is important, as it’s specific to marketing communications, which typically are done en masse, more comfortably known as “email marketing”.

This continues the downward trend of deliverability, and hence, open and click thru rates, of mass marketing email.

For those responsible for lead generation, and especially those using email marketing as a core revenue generating strategy, this should be a compelling event to look for new, reliable paths to prospect inboxes.

Looking at Reasons for the Decline

According to Return Path, one of the main reasons for decreased email deliverability is the increased number of people using email for marketing.  This ends up being a numbers game, similar to when a new team enters the NFL – the talent pool is lessened and there’s a quality challenge. In the email marketing world, more people using the channel to reach prospects typically means less-targeted, ‘spray and pray’ approaches to email marketing.

Simply put, email marketing automation has become synonymous with broad-based outreach, desensitizing some subscribers to obvious marketing communications.  The result – more unsubscribes, higher spam assignments and ultimately, less access to the inbox.

One Sure-Fire Way to Offset the Decline in Marketing Email Deliverability

If you’ve visited this blog before, you know why this subject is near and dear to our hearts.  We feel very strongly about the email signature block’s seat at the table when it comes to effective marketing tools.  You probably have an email signature block, and you probably don’t think twice about it.  It was created once and then set up to be sent out, hundreds of times a day, with every message you write, without a second thought.

But given the decrease in marketing email deliverability, the email signature deserves a second look, as it can quickly become the value-added hedge against those declining deliverability rates.

The email signature block, when implemented correctly (consistently, with up to date and relevant contact info, with additional avenues of engagement, etc.) is an excellent way to offset the declines being seen in marketing email deliverability.

How is this different from email marketing in itself?  Well, the main reason is that here we’re talking about your peer-to-peer email – the email that you and I send every day, the conversational 1:1, or 1:a few communications, often multi-part discussions on a relevant topic to us all.

It’s more than that, however. How? A few reasons, actually:

  1. Your day-to-day employee email typically has fewer, less egregious marketing messages in them. Terms like “limited time offer”, “free tickets to a tradeshow” and “once in a lifetime opportunity” all are seen by spam filters as fresh meat. Normal conversation doesn’t always sound like that.
  2. Sloppy HTML is a huge spam magnet. For most elegant email marketing pros, HTML is a must. But if you’re backend code isn’t up to standards, or worse, your email marketing engine renders sloppy HTML, you could be in for an express trip to the Spam folder. MailChimp has a great primer on what attracts spam filters. Ask a sales rep at your company for a recent email they sent to a prospect; it probably doesn’t include sloppy HTML, most likely none at all.
  3. You’re not crushing a specific domain all at one time.  When you’re sending out a note to prospects, it’s typically to 3 or less people (in fact, it’s almost always a single recipient). With the ability to “go big” with email automation, there’s a tendency to attempt to reach out to as many people at a big company as possible.  Spam firewalls see this as an attack, more so than they do an opportunity to learn about a great offer.

There’s tons of great (and interesting) opinions on the web as to what makes comprises an email signature.  Outlets such as Fast Company, Smashing Magazine, Microsoft, and even Pinterest have suggestions on how to create a great email signature.  Heck, we even interviewed some well-known industry leaders on what was in their email signature and why.  Having a “great looking” signature is somewhat subjective, but the everyone can agree that having one is more important than going without – especially for today’s marketing teams.

If you’d like to learn more about how to increase your overall email deliverability (and thereby increasing your conversions and revenue) feel free to reach out directly.  My email signature is right here.

Email deliverability and the email signature

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