The state of email deliverability in SaaS in 2021: what you need to know10 min read

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How many of your emails never make it to the recipients?

A ReturnPath report from 2017 estimated the average email deliverability to be about 80%. This means that of every 100 messages you send, around 20 don’t get delivered to your customers let alone persuade them to take the desired action.

That’s why ensuring your messages get delivered is just as important as mastering the content. That’s the idea behind email deliverability. This metric shows you how many of your emails successfully arrive to your customers without being missed or stopped by anti-spam filters. 

Losing messages is a hassle for email marketing campaigns, but it’s a lot more challenging for transactional emails. Think about how customers’ experiences are altered if they don’t receive a confirmation of payment, a link to change their password, or a message informing them about the latest subscription updates.

That sounds unacceptable, doesn’t it?

Yet thankfully, you can avoid these situations. Find out how you can improve your email deliverability.

Email deliverability: why is it important?

Emails make a great deal of each SaaS company’s day-to-day to-do lists. From sending promotional campaigns and sales communications to informing about account changes or payments, a lot of information is sent via emails.

Email deliverability with sales messages

The process of building your email list is not an easy one: you must coordinate multiple activities to encourage people to join. It is not worth wasting all that effort on an email that doesn’t get delivered.

Another problem is that you often spend a great deal of time optimizing your message for high open and click-through rates. However, when you have poor deliverability, you will not increase your results as much as you should. You may even abandon some really good ideas because the situation did not meet the right criteria for success.

It is clear that email deliverability is another important factor to consider, along with your email list and the content of your email campaigns. These three factors need to be combined to produce the desired result and deliver value to your business.

How should you choose an email service provider for your SaaS business?

The most important thing is to make such a decision on choosing an email service provider at all. SaaS businesses are often started by technical founders who believe that they can figure it out on their own. They then spend a great deal of time on fighting problems that have been solved for many years. It’s all about the core business.

Sławomir Pucia, Coresender

Ensuring no transactional email goes missing

Transactional emails are all the messages that you send out automatically, such as password resets, payment confirmations, and account notifications like two-factor identification. It is common for your customers to expect emails about such topics, so there is even more pressure on an efficient email delivery process.

We’re not only talking about delivering your message – we’re also talking about speed. You may notice that your customers abandon a task and (potentially) return to it later if you keep them waiting too long for your message to arrive. This means you lose them just when they need you the most.

Benefits of improving email deliverability for SaaS businesses

The open rate or click-through rate are two metrics you typically watch when assessing the effectiveness of your emails. If email deliverability means looking at more statistics, why should it be worth it?

Make sure everyone has the same understanding

This is especially important when it comes to transactional emails, as they are generally used to communicate important information to your customers. Therefore, you need to know whether or not these emails reach customers’ inboxes. You will avoid complications and be able to act immediately when something goes wrong if you have this information.

Also, you will know for sure that your customers received the important information you sent, whether it was letting them know about changes to their subscription plans, sending out account notifications, or replying to complaints. Using this method can help you solve more complex problems, such as serious customer complaints.

Technical troubleshooting

Keeping track of email deliverability helps you identify technical problems and address them as soon as they arise. Identifying the cause of communication issues will help you focus your efforts in the right areas. Furthermore, you can access detailed information that can help you identify the source of problems. For what type of email provider does the problem occur, or do certain customers suffer from it? When you know these details, you can find solutions more easily.

There is no more time for centralization, and every SaaS founder needs to know this. It is not necessary to handle all your e-mail with one operator. Our clients often have one single provider handling all of their marketing activities, and they rely on us to deliver exact and prompt e-mails. The specialization and focus of the solutions they receive makes them feel confident that they have access to immediate support for any challenges. Transactional emails are especially susceptible to this problem.

Sławomir Pucia, Coresender

Data that is complete to work with

By ensuring that more emails get delivered, you will learn more about your target audience. A message deliverability failure of 20% is a lot – it’s like disregarding 1 in 5 customers. By lowering that percentage, your existing email list can actually offer more value and information.

Keeping both your client’s and your own time in mind

Attempts to communicate with someone are useless if they don’t receive the message. That’s why tracking your email deliverability is a game-changer. You won’t waste time on inefficient communication but spend it on more important issues.

Furthermore, you can waste a lot of time trying to figure out if something has happened when what you really need to determine is whether the message was received. This issue does not only affect customer service. Communication or marketing teams that handle transactional emails want to know how effective their messages are and tweak them to increase conversion rates. The teams will receive incomplete data if a high percentage of their messages don’t reach the intended recipients.

Also, by taking care of technical aspects such as the technology you use to send your emails, you can improve your day-to-day performance. When your customers are waiting for payment confirmations or password resets, every second adds to their impatience and so you should ensure your messages arrive to their inboxes as quickly as possible. A good email deliverability system can significantly increase the delivery speed: for example, Coresender shares their average delivery time for major email services and it doesn’t exceed 5 seconds!

How to improve your email deliverability?

There are several steps you can take right now to start working on optimizing your email deliverability.

Make sure your mailing list is up to date

Cleaning up your mailing list from time to time is a good starting point. Even if your subscriber list grows, it is painful to find out that a few people do not want to hear from you. There’s nothing personal though: it’s in both parties’ best interests. 

Ensure your list is updated by removing unsubscribes and hard bounces regularly. In this way, you will only send emails to addresses that are correct and whose owners agree to receive them. If you haven’t received any opens from users in a while, you may want to consider sending them a separate email campaign. Using this strategy as a last-chance measure can help you re-engage your readers. 

Analyze your reputation

The first thing we ought to look at is how mailboxes perceive you as a sender. It highly depends on your subscribers. They may engage with your messages, ignore them, or mark them as spam. Reputation tends to correlate with engagement, though there is no easy way to achieve high rankings.

Reputation has a major impact on your email deliverability: whether your emails will land in the recipient’s inbox, spam folder, or get rejected. Your ranking will be harmed if your messages are marked as spam, added to blocklists, or cause a spike in unsubscriptions. In the same way, your sender reputation increases when emails are opened, forwarded, replied to, or links within them are clicked on.

Keep an eye on your sender score regularly in order to evaluate your reputation. Many services provide these checks, including Sender Score from Validity. You will gain insights from them into how mail services view your IP address.

Grab your readers’ attention

Your email campaigns and business goals are affected by how your audience interacts with your messages. Therefore, engaging your audience from all angles plays a crucial role. This goal is difficult to achieve, so you shouldn’t expect drastic results right away.

The good news is that you can boost audience engagement in a number of ways.

Analyze and interpret your data instead of just watching it. Use A/B testing to determine what formats, topics, and send times work best for you. You should also ask for feedback from your subscribers and encourage them to respond.

Cleaning up your contact list can also help you increase engagement. Users who haven’t been active for a long time should be removed from your list. Do not be concerned about your audience shrinking, instead think about the positive aspects. It will increase engagement, you will receive better feedback, and you will not have to pay for users who do not view your content.

Getting inspired is just as important. Observing what others do will provide you with many ideas. ReallyGoodEmails is a must-read site for all email message creators. Learn what works for your particular situation by analyzing newsletters from the largest brands. Also, sign up for their newsletters – you’ll learn a lot!

Make it easy to unsubscribe

The simpler it is to unsubscribe, the better – even if at first you may be surprised to hear this. Readers who no longer want to receive your newsletters may mark them as spam if they cannot find an unsubscribe link. This solution might work for them, but it wouldn’t be of much help to you because your sender reputation will be affected if you are marked as spam.

What makes Coresender one of the best SaaS options for SaaS that struggle with email delivery?

It is no longer your responsibility to deal with email deliverability – Coresender will handle that for you. All of a sudden, you have high-level email specialists on your team. Calculate how much it costs and how much time it takes. And then, take a look at the pricing. You can save a lot of your time and resources.

Sławomir Pucia, Coresender

Some final thoughts

Whenever you’re working on an email campaign for upselling your SaaS product or transactional communication, email deliverability should be one of your priorities. After all, a key condition for your messages to work is that they are delivered to your customers.

That’s why you should work on improving your email deliverability, both directly – by choosing appropriate technical solutions to work on – and indirectly – by improving your sender reputation with more engaging content. Doing so will let you work with more detailed data, streamline the troubleshooting process, and enhance communication.

When you combine the efforts of building up your mailing list, honing your content, and ensuring effective deliverability, you will notice the effects and a positive impact sooner – as well as learn more for improving your email strategy.

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