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Email: Higher volume, higher return?


If we look at traditional direct mail marketing, the more mail you send, typically the higher the return you’d see. If we look at email addresses, the story is very different. You might use the number of emails sent, conversion rate and average order value to work out how much return you’d expect to see from a mailshot or campaign; there is one vital piece of information missing however – delivery rate.

You see, the less you take care of your list hygiene, the lower your delivery rate is likely to be. When it comes to email marketing, there are many factors that ISPs look at when determining how many of your emails to place in the inbox – your inbox placement rate (IPR). Cleaning your email list on a regular basis is one way you can increase overall deliverability, and in turn return on investment. Let me walk you through a nice round-numbered example of this in practice.

Take a hypothetical customer, Retailer X. Through their marketing they’ve generated an email list of 1,000,000 customers. Their delivery rate, however, is currently at 70% which means they’re actually only getting through to 700,000 inboxes… can you imagine missing 300,000 inboxes and thus potential buyers?

If we take a deeper dive into the list, we can see why this is. The list is currently made up of 90% good email addresses - those that are valid, have engaged with the brand, and recently too; as well as 10% bad email addresses - those that are invalid, inactive, or that are complainers. It’s that 10% that ISPs identify as hitting negative reputational factors… oh, we haven’t told you? ISPs keep track of sending IPs and domains and will use that to judge you as a sender now and in the future! Because Retailer X is hitting some negative factors the ISPs will throttle the delivery, even of those addresses its attempting to send to that are valid and with whom it’s recently engaged with, all because they’re sent from the same IPs or domain.

*spoiler alert* - this is the part where email validation can come to the rescue. Through brief analysis of the list and an email validation service, Retailer X is able to identify which email addresses make up the 10% bad and remove them from the sending list so it now comprises of 900,000 good email addresses (1,000,000 – 10%).

The retailer now doesn’t hit the negative reputational factors and therefore its delivery rate rises to 90% - let’s visualise this… 



With the example above, the list may have reduced in size but in this case it’s quality over quantity and removing that 10% in reality means reaching an extra 110,000 email inboxes by minimising the negative reputational factors hit when sending. Consider your own conversion rates and average order value and I’ll let you work out how much extra revenue that could mean for your business.

In summary, a higher volume of email addresses will only mean higher return if list hygiene is implemented on a regular basis.