Why Deliverability and Engagement Will Elude You…

I was talking with a potential new customer who contacted us to review their deliverability and to see if we could help them with getting more of their emails to the inbox.

With any call, we start out asking a TON of questions.  We need to understand exactly what they are doing today and what sort of results they are getting.

While they’re using an expensive marketing automation solution, integrated with their Salesforce CRM, they might as well be using Constant Contact or Mailchimp and saving a LOT of money… because they’re not using the marketing automation platform to help them really at all.

They have 20k leads on their list.  Half of them have already opted out!  Of the 10k left that are receiving emails, only a very small number are opening their emails, let alone clicking through.

They are getting complaints that some of their “regular” emails are going into the spam folder… which is embarrassing if it’s an email coming from a sales person.

Then we reviewed what kind of emails they send out — so on a weekly basis, they send out emails in this pattern:

  • Sales promotional emails -at least once a week to leads and prospects.
  • Webinar invitations – twice a week to the entire database, including customers
  • Rewards emails – 2 times a week to customers
  • Newsletter – once a month (heavily sales oriented)
  • Event announcements – as needed based on location

Yes, if you add that up, you’ll see most of their contacts get at least 10-12 emails per month, and some could get as many as twenty emails every single month.

Their CEO is apparently mandating the number of sales emails that go out and that they must be sales promotions. “We should always have an active promotion in market.” This is super unfortunate – because the interpretation of “sales email” is very specific here… and is likely why they are burning their list today.  It’s crazy!  Let me ask you a question… if I ask you to buy today, and you say “No thanks” or take no action at all, will it make any difference if I ask you every single week? If I just keep giving you coupons, or offers?  Likely not. (Are you ready yet? How about now? How about now? 🙂 See what I mean?)

If they could take action – and they need to – we could help them.  But it would take revamping their approach to sending emails, and changing the way they format their “sales” messages.  It’s really an email content strategy – a messaging strategy that will better resonate with their target audience.

Turns out what they “really” wanted wasn’t to change their habits, but to FIX their deliverability issue – to continue sending what they were sending, and somehow improve their deliverability — as if the two questions separate and distinct.  They had an idea that improving deliverability wouldn’t require any changes in their current sending practices or messaging.

It reminds me of a story about people who need to change their habits, but would rather get surgery to remove a problem than change their lifestyle one iota.  Interesting — and I’m reminded of what my dad used to say: “You either have everything you want in life…. or all the reasons why you don’t.”  Exactly!

About Kim Albee

An in-demand marketing consultant, speaker, and educator, Kim is a respected visionary with a great sense of humor who has made her life goal to make marketing easier and more accessible for small business owners. When not changing the course of marketing history, you can find her at a tiny cabin next to a Wisconsin lake with people and critters that make her happy.


  • Omar Briones says:

    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing that!…. I want more! Haha….

    Totally agree with the whole philosophy you shared about constantly nagging the lead that already said no – totally annoying.

    I would say, instead, send emails that continue to lead the subscriber to help them make the decision for themselves…

    I’m still very curious about the whole deliverability (tech) side. 🙂


  • Omar Briones says:

    btw, one more thing….

    Would you say sending that many email messages per month, is bad in general?

    Let me fill you in on what I’m thinking of doing for my (VIP) subscribers (sent from “Infopreneur Agency”):

    Per Month:
    – 1 Newsletter (combination of updates, news, promos, and details of our next mastermind sessions) – sent from newsletter@infopreneuragency.com
    – 3 Emails for our 1 Monthly Promo Offer (each with a bit of a different angle – sent only to the ones who didn’t purchase) – sent from contact@infopreneuragency.com
    – 1 Invitation to participate in the monthly challenge/contest.
    –> 3-4 follow-up emails to update people on the status (and encourage more participation).
    – 1 more invitation to participate in the challenge, to the people who did not take it up the first time. – all sent from fun@infopreneuragency.com


    And I still have a separate email list that grows constantly every day, in the general “Make Money Online / Internet Marketing” niche…

    Here’s what I was thinking of sending them as “Omar Briones” (and here’s where I’m tripping on the delivery stuff – what domain to use, should I use a separate IP, separate subdomain, SMTP, how often to email, or what lol):

    Per Month:
    – 4 (weekly) freebies
    – 1 webinar invitation (to my own webinar or one from a partner)
    – 10-12 (or more) emails promoting a variety of my own products and affiliate/JV products (average 2-3 per week).

    My problem is:

    I don’t want my domain to get blacklisted.

    I don’t want to be reported as spam.

    I want to make my subscribers happy.

    And I want them to buy my products. 🙂

    That’s all I want. haha 🙂

    I don’t know what domain to use, what subdomain to use, what SMTP to use, what IP to use, and if this schedule would even be good to use, or if it’ll cause spam reports to come in.

    If you have any feedback or suggestions, I would love to hear them! 🙂


    • wpme says:

      Hi Omar!

      I’m assuming that you’re thinking of sending that schedule to your entire “VIP” subscriber list. In that respect, it’s a batch and blast approach to sending your emails, where everyone gets the same email — is that correct?

      If it is, then I would look at what you cover from a VIP perspective and whether everyone has a similar tight interest — so I’d watch the results and the engagement – and make sure that you keep very high opens and click rates for whatever you’re sending… if it gets into “broadcast” territory, then I’d start segmenting and providing more value based on what people really need – because as your VIP subscriber list grows, they may need distinct things and have distinct focuses.

      just something to consider… if you have a broad list of folks – I would work to find out what interests them and then nurture along those lines – rather than sending same message to everyone.

  • […] segmentation right – but the one that I want you to consider is improved deliverability. If reaching the inbox is important to you, then segmentation (the new winning kind we’re outlining) done […]

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