Email marketing services and deliverability

Latest posts | Feed | By Mark Brownlow on March 04, 2008

sending a letterIn his usual irascible manner, Ken Magill waves an admonishing finger at the many marketers who rate deliverability services and features as their number 1 criteria when choosing an email marketing service (ESP).

But there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Ken’s main and valid point is that the vast majority of problems with getting email delivered are down to the marketer and not the ESP. The best service in the world can’t help if you mess things up on your side.

But deliverability services and features should still be an important issue when choosing an ESP.


Two reasons.

First, your ability to undertake the practices that lead to good deliverability is improved with the right tools. For example…

  • Automated bounce management helps with list hygiene
  • Auditing services can flag where you have problems with your whole setup
  • Spam filter simulators can pick up on issues with your content
  • Segmentation tools allow you to send more targeted emails (leading to fewer spam reports)
  • Support for email authentication

In a sense then, a lot of important ESP features are indirectly “deliverability” features.

Equally, while a great ESP can’t save you from pushing your own deliverability self-destruct button, a bad one can push the button for you.

If they, for example, tolerate bad emailing practices, then your sending IP address might end up on blocklists. Even if you follow every deliverability best practice. See this post for more info.

So Ken’s right. Your ESP needs your help to achieve high delivery rates. None have magic wands. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater: the tools they provide and their deliverability skills still impact on your success.