Four things we learnt from HubSpot’s email deliverability webinar

While public relations and email marketing deal with two different areas of your business strategy, both offer crucial ways to cut through the noise and get your brand noticed by the audience that matters.

While public relations and email marketing deal with two different areas of your business strategy, both offer crucial ways to cut through the noise and get your brand noticed by the audience that matters.

And, despite rapid innovation in the marketing sector, email remains one of the most powerful channels to boost content marketing and convert leads for both B2C and B2B organisations – with over 4.2 million monthly active users worldwide.

But as the make-or-break of every email marketing strategy, it’s important that every comms professional – no matter their niche – understands the fundamentals of deliverability, if they want to effectively leverage this form of digital communication.

That’s why Scriba’s resident copywriter, Rosie Holt, embarked on a spot of virtual learning this week, attending HubSpot’s insightful webinar on Best Practices for Reaching the Inbox.

Here are four of her key takeaways…

1. Delivery vs. deliverability

Kickstarting the interactive session with an audience poll, Matthew Shepherd, senior inbound consultant at HubSpot, asked ‘What is email deliverability?’, with only 42% of attendees identifying the correct answer: describes the likelihood that an email will be delivered to the primary inbox.

Crucially, as HubSpot’s deliverability consultant, Amber Olofson, went on to explain, there’s a subtle difference between email delivery and email deliverability that is often overlooked. While the former indicates the acceptance rate, the latter signifies the inbox placement – essentially, which folder an email has landed in.

If an inbox service provider (ISP) rejects an email, and it fails to infiltrate any kind of filter, this is what we might call a ‘bounce’. Separated into two categories, a ‘soft bounce’ refers to a temporary deliverability issue – such as a full mailbox or server outage – and a ‘hard bounce’ indicates a permanent error.

“While delivery can be measured, deliverability cannot. There’s no way to track whether an email will bounce,” said Amber.

“But having an open or click is a good way of knowing that an email reached a recipient’s inbox.”

The trouble is, hard bounces can have a detrimental impact on sender reputation – leading to both delivery and deliverability issues that can compromise your email marketing strategy altogether.

By regularly cleaning up recipient lists and drilling into bounce messages, however, brands can leverage their real-time insight to better inform future comms.

2. What affects sender reputation?

In providing some crucial insight into the practices that can hurt sender reputation, Amber suggested the following:

●       Low open and click rates

●       Sending to contact without opt-in

●       Sending to contacts without recent engagement

●       Negative engagement, e.g. unsubscribes, bounces, spam complaints, etc.

●       Emailing spam traps

On the contrary, Amber advised some key ways to improve this:

●       High open and click rates

●       Forwards

●       Replies

●       Moving a message from a spam/alternative folder to a primary inbox

●       Using ‘not spam’ button

One of the most important factors in maintaining a positive sender reputation is not only to gain consent from subscribers, but also to be clear about what subscribers are consenting to.

Verifiable permission to be sent marketing emails must come directly from the recipient – rather than on behalf of a company. Some common sources with opt-ins include form submissions, recent purchases, and business card exchanges.

As Amber went on to elaborate, certain sources – such as sales team contacts, attendee lists, and verbal consent – should not be used as ‘opt-in’ indicators, otherwise brands risk breaking trust and credibility with potential prospects.

3. Sending benchmarks

Healthy email marketing metrics will slightly differ from one industry to the next, but the following figures were offered as useful benchmarks to help monitor performance:

●       Open rate: 22.5%+

●       Click-through rate: 9%+

●       Hard bounce rate: <0.3%

●       Unsubscribe rate: <0.35%

●       Spam complaints: <0.005%

“By drilling down into these email health metrics and seeing how they have changed over time,” said Matthew, “you can see which areas of your strategy might need more work.”

Granular detail about the bounce rate of your email campaigns, for example, might reveal a need to alter your email format, switch up subject lines, or even request inbox placement – in turn, helping protect sender reputation and improving key metrics.

4. Email health best practices

To round up the webinar, Amber offered some universal takeaways to bolster every email marketing strategy. Ensuring that your brand sends the right content, to the right contacts, at the right time, is a sure-fire way to supercharge your strategy – and in today’s marketing climate, hyper-personalisation and relevance are key.

More importantly, make informed decisions on future comms based on real data. Regularly review metrics to help identify of-the-moment issues that might need attention and act upon them – but make sure to celebrate the successes, too!

Email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult, so make sure you learn from what’s working – and what’s not – to help empower your teams and drive a stronger culture committed to improving the customer experience.

At Scriba PR, we’ve been trusted to deliver powerful, revenue-generating strategic communications for over eight years – and getting to the heart of your objectives is our forte.

If you need support with your own email marketing strategy – no matter how complex – or have a content requirement that you think we can help with, get in touch.

Call us on 01484 489 333, or email 

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Written by Rosie Holt