How Poor Email Deliverability Impacts Your Business


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spam_and_inboxHere at SendGrid we always talk about the importance of good email deliverability; that the more email that reaches the inbox, the better your engagement and conversion rates. We understand that every business is different and that some of your goals for your email program may not rely directly on revenue. However, we believe that any company that depends on email to drive an action, should take a good look at the number of emails that are actually reaching their subscribers.

Here’s a quick look at how email deliverability affects three different businesses:

  • Retailers
  • Web Apps
  • B2B Companies

A Simple Equation

You don’t need fancy math to determine if email delivery is important to your email program. A quick calculation can help you figure out the basics. ReturnPath’s 2013 Email Intelligence report found that 22% of opt-in email never makes it to the inbox. So, if you have a list of one million subscribers and around 20% of those emails go undelivered, then only about 800,000 people received your message and more than 200,000 never made it to their destination. Over 200,000!

While you can certainly slice and dice formulas to figure out the exact impact for your brand, just start by asking yourself – what does 22% of my list mean to me?

What Does 22% Mean for Retailers?

Retailers are pretty lucky when it comes to tracking email effectiveness. They can usually measure ROI on each email campaign using A/B testing and can see results almost instantly. Being able to quantify the value of each email segment or individual email address gives retailers unique insight into their email campaigns. Using the example above, there is a measurable loss of revenue with 200,000 people never receiving their email.  And for those customers who have actively converted, receiving transactional email messages around order confirmations, shipping notifications, and account information is critical to maintaining a relationship with your customer. How will your customers feel if they never receive an email letting them know if and when they will receive their item?

What Does 22% Mean for Web Apps?

For web or mobile apps, ROI is often measured in terms of number of users. Initially, it’s a softer metric, but the idea is for those users to turn into paying customers. And that is done by finding new users, getting them engaged with your app, and sharing their love for your app with their peers. These companies rely on transactional email to deliver the tools that will meet those goals—namely registration confirmations, product notifications, activity alerts, and more. Borrowing from the above example, 22% of emails going undelivered would have a real impact on the health of the app as these activities have a direct effect on app acquisition and engagement strategies. Without consistent activity, many web apps would not prosper and the venture could fail.

What Does 22% Mean for B2B Companies?

While B2B companies generally have a harder time quantifying email, it doesn’t make it any less important. B2B email is used to establish relationships through consistent and relevant communications. Email in B2B is generally used for acquisition marketing, lead nurturing, and one-to-one communications, all of which are imperative in finding new customers and keeping in touch with potential prospects. Their list sizes tend to be a bit smaller, but deal sizes tend to be greater, and in these cases, B2B companies are asking subscribers to do things like register for a webinar, download a whitepaper, or request a demo. Email is driving them to high value activities which they then score and use to influence their ongoing communications and sales pipeline. When recipients never receive these emails, B2B firms are missing key opportunities to close a deal.

The bottom line is that email deliverability is important to everybody—in every business. Ask yourself this question—What if I could increase (revenue, users, response) from my email campaigns by 22% by just getting more of the emails I already have in my database delivered every time? That’s the power of email deliverability!

To learn more about how email deliverability affects your business and how you can make it work for you, download our free Deliverability Guide.


Carly Brantz is a veteran in the email deliverability space working to make email simple and easy for developers by regularly writing whitepapers, research briefs and blog posts about email, technology and industry trends.

One thought on “How Poor Email Deliverability Impacts Your Business

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