Thursday, 19 September 2013

How much would you pay to guarantee every email reaches the inbox?

A few years back, it was rumoured that MSN could start charging businesses to deliver an email into Hotmail. At the time, it was met with shock and horror that a billion dollar company would impose what would seem like a additional tax on marketing activity.

Considering this again, paying to guarantee an email delivery into the most common email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail actually sounds like a great idea now. As most digital marketers have come to realise, email is the most cost effective and powerful marketing channel available, thwarted mainly by deliverability challenges.

The delivery challenge has given rise an explosion of email service providers (ESP's) who will all swear blindly that their platform has better deliverability than the next one, when for the most part it is difficult to tell them apart without that magical delivery to inbox guarantee.

To contrast this with the offline world, direct marketing mailers in the UK, have since the year dot, had to pay the great and good at Royal Mail to guarantee delivery - delivery is a given, leaving the opening and responding to mail as the sole focus of the marketing effort.

Whereas online direct marketers are spending ridiculous amounts of time and effort thinking about deliverability to the extent that the subject lines and copy are totally compromised from a marketing perspective to ensure that the email has any chance of reaching its destination. There is nothing more frustrating as a marketer than for an opted-in person being unfairly blocked from receiving an email they've requested in the first place.

I know there is tonnes of information with best practices suggestions and excellent email domain reputation building services such as Sender Score certification which do, of course, help deliverability.

However, is it time to take a fresh look at this aspect of email marketing?

Imagine what your email opens and clicks would look like with a guaranteed 100% delivery into the inbox. You might be content with your current in-house warm lists performing at 20% open and 3-5% click thru, now imagine 80% open rates and 50% click thru's on a regular basis. You would be smashing your marketing targets out of the park!

Similarly, pure email spammers would be left out in the cold and be instantly blocked because they haven't paid for delivery. The reason, spammers love email even more than bone fide email marketers, is that it is soooo cheap and cost effective. Let's drive them out, by driving up the cost.

So in case there was any doubt, I'm all for paying for a first class stamp to put on my email if I know it will reach the recipient. How about you?

So I guess, the million dollar question is, how much would you pay to guarantee every email hitting the inbox?