From a bottom-line perspective, it doesn’t matter how great your products and services are, unless you’re working with a team of marketing professionals who can create a strong demand for them and help you sell them consistently across a diverse range of platforms. Thus, in the context of this scenario, email marketing holds the utmost importance.
Core Aspects of Email Marketing
This is the most essential component of email marketing campaigns. There’s really no point in sending out intricately-crafted emails if they don’t reach your ideal prospects’ email inboxes. It’s an established fact that emails have been sent for many years now, but their deliverability remains a much-debated and misunderstood concept for many email marketing specialists.
When it comes to email deliverability, your primary concern is that the emails sent out should be delivered to the right audience at the right time and to the right address. To ensure success on this front, you will need to take care of your deliverability factor.
Deliverability is determined by whether or not your emails are being delivered to your prospects’ inboxes. If you have a poor deliverability score, it is unlikely that your customers will receive your emails consistently. If potential customers aren’t receiving your emails, they won’t be able to open and read your messages.
Email Sender Reputation
This relates to the score of your email sender’s IP address, which is automatically assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your email sender reputation is a critical aspect of Email Deliverability. Thus, to check whether your emails are being blocked or are being sent to spam folders, you will need to check your Email Sender Reputation. The higher your score, the more likely it is that a recipient’s ISP will deliver your marketing emails to the inboxes of your intended recipient.
The following are factors which contribute to your Sender Reputation:
- Spam complaints
- Invalid Addresses
- Spamtrap hits
- Authentication (SPF, Sender ID, DKIM)
- Third-party blacklistings
ISPs tend to consider these factors when determining whether your intended recipients would want to receive the messages you’re sending, and if they’re actively engaging with your email messages.
ISPs will also collect analytics data on and consider the following:
- What messages gets sent
- Which lists they’re sent to
- How often messages bounce
- How many complaints they generate
If your email messages are determined to be spam or other types of unsolicited communications, ISPs will automatically block them, regardless of the email platform you used to send them out.
Email Deliverability Audit & Domain Health Checks
To maintain optimal Email Deliverability and Sending Reputation, we recommend periodically running a 3-step process:
- Inspect the Damage (if any) and Check your IP’s Health
To perform a check on your sending IP reputation (i.e. health), you will need to find out your sending IP address and run a check using a 3rd party tool or website.
1.a. Find Your Sending IP
You’ll be looking for your email sending IP, not your own computer’s IP address. You can find this in the account settings section in Pardot. Navigate to:
Gear Icon (top-right hand of your screen) -> Settings -> Account Tab (you’ll automatically land here). You’ll see ‘Sending IPs’ on the left column.
Now, it should be in this format: “188.8.131.52”. Copy this code.
1.b. Check Your Salesforce Email Sender Reputation
You’ll need to use a 3rd party tool or website to accomplish this. We recommend using one of the free tools below.
Senderscore.org – this free tool gives you the information you need in a user-friendly format, and no registration is required on your part. However, if you decide to register, you’ll be granted access to more detailed reputation reports, including how email clients (i.e. the ISPs) view incoming emails to prevent spam from reaching recipients.
Reputation Authority by WatchGuard – this one is somewhat heavier, but it’s also more useful when you’re doing your very first audit. It will show you your email sender reputation across a longer period of time.
MX Toolbox – this is a tool that the Pardot support team will refer you to when you contact them for assistance. Although it provides them with the insights need, the details aren’t exactly easy for the average user to interpret.
If you determine that you’ve been placed on a blacklist such as SORBS in the short term, thankfully, it is possible to reverse it, and with little harm done. What you need to watch out for are the repeat offences that will set off alarms – major offences will quickly result in your being banned from Pardot.
- Resolving the Damage (Sent Emails Report)
Now you’re about to find out who the real culprits are. The send emails report page will enable you to sort through and filter the stats you need, in order to take appropriate action. Navigate to:
Reports (Green sidebar icon) -> Marketing Assets -> Emails -> List Emails
As you’ll need to go over these email deliverability metrics, you can add these columns by clicking on any column filter (i.e. the funnel icon on table header), and hover over ‘Columns’.
Then click on the check boxes that correspond to the following items:
- Delivery Rate
- Spam Complaints
- Hard Bounces
- Soft Bounces
- Opt Outs
- Spam Complaint Rate
Let’s consider Hard Bounces first. A Hard Bounce occurs when no emails can reach this prospect’s inbox. It could be because the email address has been deactivated, or if 5 soft bounces occurred, which automatically equates to a single hard bounce.
You will need to clear such prospects from your account. You can do this by clicking on the hyperlinked email title. In your email report, just click on the hyperlinked number of hard bounces, and you’ll land on the Hard Bounces table.
Then you’ll see the ‘Bounce Reason’ column; some are more serious than others (e.g. 5.0.0.). If you find out that you have a bad email sending reputation, you’ll need the help of an expert to resolve it.
You can go ahead and tag the entire prospect table (e.g. “Hard Bounce”). Then repeat this for all hard bounces across all of your emails. And finally, create a list and an automation rule to send all tagged prospects to that list. Afterwards, you can move all prospects to the Recycle Bin.
- Putting Measures In Place to Prevent Future Damage
Once you’ve completed the first 2 steps (i.e. Inspecting the damage and Resolving the damage), you can move onto establishing measures to prevent any future damage from occurring.
You might want to think about changing users to the ‘Sales Manager’ or ‘Sales’ user roles, since they don’t include list email sends. On the other hand, if you’d like someone to continue creating marketing emails, but not to send them out, the extra tick box settings at the end of the user record will be of much use to you
General awareness of good Email Deliverability and Sender Reputation best practices among your team will go a long way.