The ARM space is highly regulated and this translates to the need for email communication to be extremely secure. Sure, we understand the importance of this security, but I bet that we have all dealt with a case where you sent an email to a recipient and they never received it. Where did that email go? How do you make sure that it doesn’t happen again?
Now think about the number of emails that you have sent to clients and prospects. Are you sure that they were received? You may have put a lot of time and effort into crafting your email (view tips for drafting a successful email in a recent Marketing ARM blog) and determining the recipient list, but your hard work might not be recognized if the email was never delivered.
Whenever you send an email it is assigned a “spam score.” If that score exceeds a certain threshold, then your email goes to the recipient’s junk folder (unfortunately every server is different when it comes to determining that threshold). And if that isn’t bad enough, even those spam filters have spam filters which are known as firewalls! These can prevent your email from even making it to a recipient’s spam filter.
In general, email clients in the B2B (business to business) space are typically harder to get through than the B2C (business to consumer) space because of all of the custom security settings that are put in place behind the scenes. Rather than dealing with your typical Hotmail, Yahoo, and MSN accounts, organizations have their own email clients with individual security settings.
So, how can you know if your email was delivered?
There are a few options to consider depending on the number and frequency of emails you send.
Sending one-off emails to clients and prospects:
1) Outlook: If you are using some sort of personal email software such as Outlook, you might be able to request a delivery and/or read receipt. Both are indicators of whether or not the recipient got your message.
The delivery receipt informs you that your email made it to the recipient’s mailbox, while the read receipt tells you that the message has been opened. You can easily add either receipt option to an email by clicking on the “Options” tab in Outlook, and then selecting the checkbox next to the receipt you would like in the “Tracking” section.
There are a couple things to keep in mind when using this option. First, not all web email clients support the receipts feature so you will not always be notified when your message is received/read even if it was. And second is that often the read receipt option requires the recipient to take action. When they receive a message with a read receipt, they will be prompted to send or not send a read receipt; it is their choice. If they decide not to send one, then you will not be notified that it has been read.
2) Gmail: Gmail is a popular web-based personal email platform, and you can easily add tracking features to it. One useful plugin is called Yesware (it also works with Outlook). Yesware is a free downloadable tool that offers email tracking features. After installing the plugin you are able to send emails via Gmail, as you normally would, and then see if someone has read your email, clicked a link, what device they viewed it on, where your message is being viewed, etc. If you are using a CRM such as SalesForce, you can also link the two programs together. You also have access to reports and analytics that detail your email performance over the past 30 days.
Just like with any tracking feature, it isn’t perfect. If the email recipient blocks images, if the email went to spam, and if the email was deleted without being opened, you would not be notified. Also, the reporting data tends to lag a bit and doesn’t show up in real time.
Sending lots of emails to multiple recipients:
3) ESP: Chances are that you are using some sort of a mass email platform or ESP (Email Service Provider) that simplifies this process (ex: MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.). What is great about these is that they make the reporting very simple. You should easily be able to extract a report that tells you the information you need to determine if there is a problem. For instance, if you have been sending emails to your prospect list for a while and notice an email that has a high bounce rate and open rates that are significantly below average, this is a sign that those emails went to spam. You should also be able to find specific information on each of the recipients by reviewing the reports, including who clicked on what link in what email, who opened each email, etc.
One important thing to keep in mind is that if you have a poor IP and domain-based reputation, the chances of your email making it through to the recipient is very low. Be sure to check this early on or you are in for a huge uphill battle.
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