Email Marketers Explain How to Master Deliverability

Published on: January 4, 2022

Last updated on: March 4, 2024

Adrian Williams, founder of Email Angels, and Scott Shou, Chief Data Officer at OB Media, will be joining MailCon 2022 in Las Vegas to explain to the masses how to best master email deliverability. Their session takes place Wednesday, Jan. 12 starting at 9 a.m. at the Caesars Palace.

The power pair joined MailCon before their session to delve into detail about email deliverability. For more information or to register for the upcoming MailCon, click here.

Please give us an overview and the objectives of the deliverability workshop you will be hosting during MailCon 2022. What will this session accomplish?

Shou: The deliverability workshop is meant for marketers who are new, or somewhat familiar with the email space. We plan to walk the audience through separating deliverability problems from marketing problems. Then we will move on to deliverability-specific challenges, their diagnoses, and possible solutions. The second half we plan to break the audience into groups. We want to hear, dissect, and troubleshoot the challenges our audiences face in work situations.

What’s usually the missing piece in deliverability in a given campaign?

Williams: Mailers who have deliverability issues typically need to optimize their campaign to send the right message to the right user at the right time. If you don’t do that, your emails will eventually start creeping into the spam folder. Small volume mailers might have more wiggle room and still land in the inbox.

What are some tech solutions that tackle deliverability problems?

Shou: We will have an extensive discussion of the technical tools of the trade. We will cover everything from DNS diagnostics, to postmaster tools, to ways to operate seeds. We will even touch on ESPs, which are actually a form of a technology solution to reputation issues.

What data-safety measures can you implement to send full-file transactional emails? 

Shou: I’m not here to talk about virus scanners or data security measures. Most email hygiene services are slightly better than random at best, and will not prevent deliverability issues, even with transactional sends. In terms of the deliverability of full-file emails, transactional or otherwise, there is no 100% deliverability – quite simply because there is no real standardization, centralized authority, or even fairness in the infrastructure industry. That said, an active postmaster (or postmaster team), with proactive relationships with frequent recipients, goes a long way, as will relentless seed testing. If a business happens to operate a call center, live chat, or other out-of-band interaction with customers, that is a great way to improve future deliverability, by incorporating email interactions in those transactions.

What are some of the ISPs that have been the most challenging in terms of deliverability? 

Williams: Typically, Gmail and Microsoft are what clients struggle with the most. Both have their own “difficult” spam filter algorithm.

What are the pros and cons of double opt-in? Do these increase or decrease compliance risks?

Shou: From a deliverability perspective, double opt-ins usually only have pros, particularly if users are really opting in, and are receiving real value in the matter. However, single opt-in really works just as well, particularly if the value proposition (to the user, not the marketer) is strong enough. This question usually really goes heavily into the marketing problem vs. deliverability problem territory. Our goal will be for attendees to learn the difference before we’re all done.

Why are open rates so important? How has Apple’s new privacy policy halted or slowed down things from the data perspective?

Shou: Open rates are important, but they are just another metric in the total toolkit for an email marketer. Opens are a good way to gauge engagement, but not the end-all. Apple’s new privacy policy takes aim at pixels. But then again, so did Gmail’s policy of caching images in 2013, the same year the promotions tab was introduced. Both caching and promotions tab have very different treatments of image pixels, but deliverability is still manageable. The use of other metrics will be vitally important to understanding Apple audiences, just as it has been for understanding Gmail audiences. We will go into detailed breakdowns of how Gmail events behave relative to open pixels in the workshop, and how to compensate with other metrics.

How can you get into Gmail’s Primary tab? Is that a good idea? 

Williams: That really depends on many variables and what type of mailing program you’re running. If you want to know how Gmail tabs affect the performance you need to look at them through metrics. Through metrics we mean: sales, engagement, actions, or the metric that defines what your email campaign is trying to achieve. You can optimize your campaign by using a mail tester or seeds. Seeds are preferable since they will tell you accurately where your email lands and that allows you to tune your email copy and template. Gmail is analyzing your “keywords”  with its TensorFlow Ai engine, which determines if it lands in the inbox, promotional campaign, update folder, or spam. We will share some recent insight on the impact landing in the primary tab vs promotional tab, as this is the most common question we receive

What else would you like to highlight about your deliverability workshop? 

Williams: Our deliverability workshop is designed for beginners. We will help participants with their email programs and do a quick analysis if they have all their metrics with them to the workshop.

To register for Mailcon, set to take place starting Jan. 11 at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, click here to get tickets.

About the author


Owned and operated by Phonexa, MailCon is a global community that connects marketing professionals with the latest technology, trends, and strategies in email marketing, marketing automation, mobile and omnichannel marketing. Our fantastic team of content writers contribute to this blog with inspiration from the incredible community of marketers we are privileged to host.


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