[Infographic] The Journey of an Email Marketing Newsletter
Emails are the letters of the new age: they can be messages of convenience, declarations of love, a correspondence between old friends, or a way for businesses to communicate with customers. Whatever the message, people have begun to rely on the immediacy of email. They trust in the ability of email to be delivered to the correct recipient and to communicate directly to them.
From a business perspective, sending emails to consumers presents a unique set of challenges, as delivering bulk emails is a process tightly monitored by spam detection filters. Email marketing can be a daunting task, and often businesses are confused about the process that their newsletter or email campaign goes through, from the moment they press send, to the moment their consumer opens the email.
We’ve put together a simple infographic to explain this process and help you to understand it better. Think of your Email Service Provider (ESP) as an airline and the email as a passenger. There are various steps that the email (think passenger) will go through in order to reach the recipient (or tropical destination with a cold cocktail waiting).
The user goes to an ESP, such as Total Send, which acts as an airline: they provide a platform for delivering an email marketing campaign to various destinations around the world. When the email is sent, it is signed off with a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM) verification to ensure that the sender domain is verified.
Are we starting to lose you amidst the jargon? Don’t worry – there is a simpler way to look at it, as it’s similar to a passenger gaining a stamp on their passport before boarding. Every ESP sends millions of emails an hour to thousands of mail servers/ gatekeepers, which are all owned by different hosting companies (think airports).
The ESP then distributes the email marketing message around the world to different hosting companies (or airports). The message goes through three sorting channels: Webmail domains, Private domains and Corporate domains (just as the passenger would be separated into Economy, Business or First Class on an airline).
The email messages go through gatekeepers for spam/ security checks. A list of checks is made against the email message, which adds to the general 'reputation' of the sender. This is similar to the process that the passenger goes through in order to gain access to the airplane, for example security scanners, luggage checks and boarding pass checks.
Email can often be checked at this step for content that is abusive, IP addresses that are blacklisted, or complaints that have been made against the sender. If the email/ passenger passes the security check, they continue on to the last step, getting on the plane, being transported to their destination or sent on to the recipient’s mailbox. The final security check is the SPAM filter where all emails are filtered before delivery.
The email is then transported to one of three destinations, just like there are three outcomes for the passenger: (a) to the recipient’s inbox (they are delivered to their destination); (b) to the SPAM folder (they are detained and put in a holding cell); (c) bounced back to the sender (they are deported).
Just like security checks are becoming increasingly thorough, so SPAM filters are too. Over 70% of emails get sent to SPAM folders. If the email is not delivered to the inbox, or the passenger doesn’t reach his or her destination, this could mean the email has been bounced, or the passenger has been deported.
A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to sender because the recipient’s email address is invalid. This may occur because the domain name doesn’t exist or the recipient is unknown. This is similar to a passenger being deported and arrested on arrival.
A soft bounce is an email that gets as far as an email recipient’s mail server but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. This may occur because the recipient’s email inbox is full. These emails could be delivered again at another time.
This could be likened to a passenger who is deported but can return when their paperwork is in order. Now that the process has been broken down and fully explained, you will see that email marketing campaigns are not that intimidating after all. Just like going to visit another country by airplane, email marketing campaigns can be exciting and useful – connecting you to current and potential customers.
If you follow the guidelines set out by ESP/ airline, and have all of your documentation in order, your email campaign, and your passenger, should arrive at their destination safely and without any problems at all.
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