The fact that we have been offering an email marketing platform for more than 15 years allows us to analyze and recommend the best strategies for companies that are working with email marketing. This way, we can solve any problems related to email marketing, suggesting the best solutions for each situation.
During all this time, the Mailrelay team has always done its best to offer the best help in one of the most complex aspects of any email marketing service:
- Technical Support
- and troubleshooting
But why is email marketing technical support so complex?
Because it seems, and a lot, like offering support for SEO services.
And while you may think that it isn’t true, some of the problems of email marketing have a similar origin.
Wait, wait, I’m sure this sounds strange, but I’ll explain everything in just a moment.
- 1 · What is the similarity between email marketing and SEO
- 2 · So we can specify that one of the difficulties of working with email marketing is the fact that the solutions depend on a third party, the ISP, with different interests and rules.
- 3 · A first solution to email marketing problems: techniques used by your email marketing software
- 4 · Second Solution for Email Marketing Issues: Support Team who understands about email marketing
- 5 · A third solution to email marketing problems: sharing content and information related to email marketing
- 6 · To try to help with these issues, although it is still a complex topic, and requires a lot of trial and error.
- 7 We’re ending
· What is the similarity between email marketing and SEO
Although you may not believe it, both marketing techniques have avery interesting and very curious likeness, at least for me.
In their basic operation.
If you think about it, SEO depends on the Google algorithm, which will arbitrarily decide the requirements, or metrics, to establish the ranking of a page in the search results, for a specific keyword.
No one knows with precision what these requirements are (we can only try to guess), which means that everything is based on tests, intuition and analysis of what has worked so far.
It’s a difficult job.
So if we want to get good results in SEO, we would have to hire an experienced SEO consultant.
► When we talk about email marketing, the situation is curiously similar.
Email marketing is very similar in this regard.
The different ISPs (like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!), have different ways of evaluating whether an email is spam or not.
In this article, we can see how each system has its arbitrary rules, with secret filters that will decide what spam is. Google will do the same thing, only their filters will determine which websites will be in the first pages, you don’t know exactly how they do it, you can just try to guess how their filters work.
► A recent case of changes to an ISP (Outlook.com)
In fact, we recently posted an article about these changes:
It is very likely that these changes in Outlook.com will eventually generate many delivery problems for many users, who will believe that the issue is in the email marketing software that they are using.
When it doesn’t have to be like that.
► Why are these rules not entirely transparent for their users?
In many cases the rules are clear.
The rules are public and accessible to all people.
For example, Gmail has published this document:
What Google will not say is the exact formula used for determining the ranking of a page.
And what Gmail will not tell you is if the emails you are sending are being added to the SPAM folder, nor the reasons for being considered spam, (although some information is available, but it isn’t always correct). [Because this would help the spammers]
I’ll give you an example:
► Please read a typical Hotmail / Outlook.com response to a complaint related to emails landing in the spam folder:
“Email filtering is based on many factors, but primarily it’s due to email content and recipient interaction with that email. Because of the proprietary nature of SmartScreen and because SmartScreen Filter technology is always adapting and learning more about what is and is not unwanted email, it is not possible for us to offer specific advice about improving your mail content. However, in general, SmartScreen Filter evaluates particular words or characteristics from each e-mail message and weights them, based on their likelihood to indicate that a message is an unwanted or legitimate mail.”
This answer is telling us several things about how they are filtering the emails (about how the filter will decide whether an email will be considered spam or not):
- It is based on the content of the email
- And the interaction with the readers (engagement)
They then mention the SmartScreen algorithm, but there is no information about how this system works, for the reasons previously explained.
However, in both cases, you will have to do things correctly, if you want to avoid delivery problems.
So, although there is no exact formula, there are some good practices that we can follow to have good results. These recommendations will prevent many headaches in the future.
· So we can specify that one of the difficulties of working with email marketing is the fact that the solutions depend on a third party, the ISP, with different interests and rules.
Let’s summarize these points schematically.
- On the one hand, we have the user of the email marketing software, with his mailing list. This user wants to send a message to promote his brand.
- As an intermediary, we have an email marketing software.
- And at the other extreme, we have the ISPs, which consider that these contacts are also their users.
ISPs like Gmail consider that their subscribers (which you consider as yours) are their customers.
And, therefore, their main priority is to protect them from receiving unwanted emails, which would lead users to think that the service, whether Gmail or another ISP, is not working correctly because of the filter is allowing spammers to bother the users.
► So we have a conflict of interest, which will undoubtedly generate problems.
Users who want to send their emails to their contacts.
And ISPs who want to protect their users from potential spammers.
The email marketing tool is in the middle of two conflicting interests at times, so it is not always easy to find the best solution for specific problems.
· A first solution to email marketing problems: techniques used by your email marketing software
The first thing your email marketing software does to solve that kind of problems is always to check the configuration of all the servers they use. They will also keep monitoring their
IP ranges, updating the sending systems, checking senders to make sure they are not spamming their subscribers, ETC.
There are many settings that, on the one hand, guarantee the correct delivery of newsletters, and therefore will reduce the number of problems, because when correctly configured, the system will work correctly.
That helps a lot.
Other more advanced settings are also relevant for improving sender reputation, as an algorithm created by Mailrelay, called SmartDelivery.
Or the detection of potential spammers, blocking these users and deleting their account when they try to use the email marketing software to send spammy emails.
With similar results, improvements in the system, which will reduce the number of tickets and the potential problems of the users.
Therefore, the technical settings are one of the foundations that will allow Mailrelay to offer the best customer servisse for companies interested in working with email marketing.
But there are also other factors.
· Second Solution for Email Marketing Issues: Support Team who understands about email marketing
Many companies outsource their customer support.
Or, in other situations, they train outsourced companies to offer customer support to use that email marketing software.
But these employees don’t understand 100% how email marketing works.
At Mailrelay, the technical support team only works with this email marketing software, so everyone knows the system settings and our collaborators are experts in email marketing. That way, our team can offer support in complicated situations, like when there are delivery problems, for example.
Something that many companies have been able to prove firsthand:
Undoubtedly, it is one of the things that companies value more for their email marketing campaigns, because they want to get the most out of their investment.
It is something that requires constant training.
And an updated team, that is always aware of all the changes that are happening in the email marketing industry and the different ISPs (again, we are talking about the importance of being informed about the changes in the rules of the various email clients), as would be the case with the changes in Outlook.com
This constant attention is what allows Mailrelay to offer good customer support.
That point is also essential.
The more information you have about email marketing, the easier it will be to make decisions and solve future problems.
Offering content to users is essential for several reasons:
- You will be able to work with more confidence because you will have more knowledge about email marketing
- You will have more information about the email marketing software you are using
- It will be easier to identify problems and solve them
- You will have better results in your email marketing campaigns
- And it will be possible to create a more efficient email marketing strategy
Information is key to creating an email marketing strategy.
Some of the most common email marketing problems are related to:
► The use and configuration of SPF
Several years ago, many people thought that the SPF record was something specific, required only for users who were sending through Mailrelay.
These people believed that if you were sending through other systems, you wouldn’t have to add that setting.
When the reality is that all email marketing platforms require this setting.
Over time and with articles like what is SPF and how to configure it, little by little users have started to understand the need for adding that DNS configuration.
And this is for all ESPs, not just for Mailrelay users.
That is one of the most common problems for companies that want to send email marketing.
The difficulty is that the reasons can be several and it is necessary to analyze each situation individually.
Anyway, since it’s an important issue, we’ve created several articles on this topic:
As you can see, it is a complex subject as many factors could affect the delivery rate of your newsletters. That is why a qualified team can make all the difference when you need help or have questions about email marketing.
► Displaying problems
That is also a common problem because many emails are not displayed correctly.
Many people attribute that kind of issue to the email marketing software, when in fact this is related to the email client where the message was displayed (there are too many details that can affect the display of emails).
· To try to help with these issues, although it is still a complex topic, and requires a lot of trial and error.
A fourth solution to email marketing problems: Creating a digital marketing strategy
Often, when we’ve tried to understand why some companies didn’t have the results they were expecting; we discovered that they never created a digital marketing strategy, to define their goals and how they would reach them.
Even in cases of delivery issues, or emails landing in the spam folder, the main reason may be an incorrect strategy.
If you don’t have a correct strategy to attract subscribers or if you don’t understand your subscriber’s behavior and what they expect from your company, you will start facing severe problems in the medium and long term, because you will begin to lose contacts, or decreasing your sender score reputation.
There are many digital marketing and email marketing strategies, but the most crucial step for creating yours is to study your business, your subscribers, and your competitors.
In general, we can say that if we plan a correct strategy we will have better results in our email campaigns.
To be honest, I wrote a much longer post than I had planned.
But it is a critical question, with many variables, not all related to your email marketing software, but rather to your email marketing strategy, your email list, the ISPs and their rules.
Problems in email marketing campaigns are more common than you can imagine and to solve them, you will need:
- Information and knowledge to understand the problem
- A support team that can help you in Mailrelay, we continuously try to help you on these two points so your company will get the expected results.