Email Marketing Can Fail Without Strong IT Backbone

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 17, 2013

email marketing

Email marketing is an obvious way to brand success when done with the right tools and inventories. However, even the best of email strategies can fail if brands cannot get the rest of the process working correctly. This means, there has to be right inventory, and a strong backend system to support the email marketing process.

A recent Experian study shows a 13% rise in email volume in the third quarter of 2013, from the previous year, which is good news for marketers. But it also shows a sharp decline open rates decreased 8.3% and the average click rate in was 4.3%, down both quarter over quarter and year over year. Some 57% of brands had a significant decrease in click rates this quarter and many reported a weak IT backend system that had affected its email service delivery.

[Read: Retail firms bet big on email marketing]

These are things that should be taken seriously in email campaigns, say experts. The study also validates that unless email marketers get the IT infrastructure right, they will continue to face setback in their email marketing campaign and other online promotional strategies. Rachel B, an email marketing specialist at Mail dog mentions in her blog, “One of the most important aspects of good deliverability is keeping, what’s called ‘clean servers.’ This means that we don’t just let any Tom, Dick or Harry generate an account and upload any list into the system that your account shares. We work hard to screen and educate all clients on good permission email strategies. Plus, we run a pretty tight ship when it comes to maintaining excellent technical infrastructure.”

Experts believe there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes such as abuse monitoring, server monitoring, ISP relations, reputation monitoring, deliverability audits and keeping up-to-date on all technology shifts and ISP infrastructure changes and requirements. All these has to be done in collaboration with technology partners and a strong internal IT team.

Clean, Screened Servers

For a successful email campaign, companies should ensure that new accounts are screened so as to maintain legitimacy and standard permission email practices. They should also actively monitor black lists, ISP blocking or any other nonstandard performance metrics, mentions Rachel in her blog.

White-listing and ISP Relationships

Experts point out companies should establish relationship with ISPs and generate white-listing protocols and applications to ensure good communication and deliverability. According to Rachel, it is important to maintain proper communication with ISPs and ensure feedback loops and other deliverability requirements are maintained and nurtured, which keeps deliverability and reputation high in the space.

Security Detection and backups

To come up with any email strategy or online transaction practice, one of the most important aspects is detecting the IT security. Vish Magapu, CTO at HomeShop18, an e-commerce company that sends real time order notifications through email states that it is the responsibility of the IT department to keep a close watch on the domains to prevent any unwanted bodies or hackers entering our website.

Magapu adds that apart from sophisticated spam-filtering technologies and authentication, firms having a good email practice should have back-ups to prevent against misfortune.

Other technical details

Rachel in her blog points out that clients can also take advantage of optional technical infrastructure services to further enhance their deliverability with optional certification programs, Domain Key Configuration; and DKIM Configuration.

Experian study states that email messaging that looks good and functions properly on a range of devices and interfaces are often accepted by customers and have a better click rate. Therefore responsive design, mobile aware design and a focus on website landing pages is extremely important.

[Read: The next generation email marketing platform is mobile: An Interview with Kalpit Jain, COO, Netcore]

Aparupa Patowary, an online marketer believes that retailers who start an email campaign without having enough on-hand inventory and incomplete technology in place will fail in the coming months with online transactions on the rise. “When customers click on the retailer’s website from the email, and finds the site couldn’t handle the transaction or the product went out-of-stock, they will find the product elsewhere,” she comments. 

According to many, the advent of social media and other online review sites have already been a threat to email campaigns to some extent and therefore brands opting for email as a marketing tool have to be right in every way, including building a strong IT infrastructure in place.