Series: Demystifying Email Marketing - Inbox Delivery (Part 1)

shutterstock_349534082With nearly $2.3 billion spent in 20151, email continues to be a significant part of businesses’ marketing strategies. On average, email tends to offer a lower cost per acquisition and a higher return on investment as compared to other digital marketing formats2. Email is recognized as a highly effective means of communicating with existing customers, as well as increasing market share by conquesting customers from surrounding competitors. Despite this, within the automotive industry, email is often regarded with a certain mysticism and misunderstanding, which is unfortunate, given its capabilities and historical performance.

At Adtaxi, where we focus on the metrics that matter and driving real results for businesses, we understand the value in conquest email marketing. We also know that the inner-workings of mass-scale email deployment are rather complex and are not without challenges. As such, we’re creating a multi-part series on Demystifying Email Marketing. This first post will focus on inbox deliverability, with subsequent posts talking through advanced reporting metrics, how to make use of email as part of a holistic marketing plan, and more.

With email marketing, as with all of our products, we offer a variety of capabilities and solutions to fit our dealer partners' unique situations. Edge 5 Automotive, Inc. is a partner we utilize in some of our automotive markets to provide conquest email marketing solutions. When selecting a partner, we undergo extensive testing and rigorous quality assurance programs and we continue to monitor performance on a weekly and monthly basis. One of the many reasons we selected Edge5 was due to their ability to consistently deliver over 98% of emails to the inbox3. In this post, we’ll explain the methodology of email delivery that Edge5 uses and with that understanding, we can then discuss the benefits of this approach, as well as how analytics software dissects the resulting customer traffic.

The Greatest Obstacle in Email Marketing - Delivery to the Inbox

With any discussion of email marketing, the fact often gets lost that email was not designed to be used as an advertising method - it was built as a means to directly convey digital text from one place to another. As email use evolved and bulk spam sending rose to prominence, email providers needed to craft ways to cut back on the amount of unwanted spam and clutter reaching users’ inboxes. Without getting too deep into the various ways that email providers accomplish this task, suffice it to say that the more an email moves away from a basic, text-based communication between two individuals, the more likely it is to be flagged as spam (or be sent to a "promotions" folder). If your emails aren't being delivered to an inbox, then email marketing isn't going to be a valid marketing channel for your dealership! So - our partner has placed delivery to the inbox as their primary objective.

For the average person, the thought of sending an email conjures up images of sitting down in front of a 90's era desktop computer, tapping out the message, and hitting "send." We then imagine our email going straight from our computer to our recipient, with really no interruption in-between. That's our daily experience, and a fairly accurate way of explaining text-based email between two individuals. Sending emails at scale with the intention to deliver a marketing message, however, requires significantly more infrastructure plus a dedication to staying on the bleeding edge of technology. Email Service Providers can track the volume of email coming from any one server, and too much from any one place can doom the sender to the spam folder.

When sending millions of emails every single week, with the added expectation from dealerships that we also report on deliverability, open, bounce, and click metrics, we're forced to think outside of our traditional understanding of email. Edge5 has a highly-lauded 98.7% deliverability rate to potential buyers' inboxes, and here is an infographic that details how that is accomplished:

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This process accomplishes the first (and arguably most important) step of email marketing, and that is to get the email into the consumer's inbox (98.7% of the time). In our next post, we will explore how this process affects how popular website analytics software dissects the traffic being generated by those email marketing efforts. We pride ourselves on our willingness to explain the whys and hows behind all of our strategies for automotive digital marketing. If there are any dealers that are keen on exploring the finer points of how this process works in an individual campaign and how it might benefit them and their marketing efforts, we would be happy to walk you through live examples. We also welcome any others in the automotive industry to contact us if they truly are looking for a deeper, more complete understanding of the mechanics and realities of email marketing at scale. After all - being an expert means that you never stop learning, right? _____ 1 Source: U.S. Digital Marketing Forecast. Forrester.com. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. 2 Source: Email Marketing Benchmarks 2016: Relevancy, Frequency, Deliverability and Mobility. eMarketer.com. Web. 6 Sept. 2016 3 Source: Edge5 Automotive, Inc. edge5automotive.com. Web. 6 Sept. 2016