The Direct Market Association (DMA) has urged email marketers to focus more closely on deliverability after its figures showed another drop in delivery rates in the second quarter of the year.

The group’s latest stats suggest that delivery rates fell to 68% for acquisition emails and 80% for retention emails in the period, continuing the drops seen in Q1.

Skip Fidura, deputy chair of the DMA’s Email Marketing Council, said:

“The first step in any marketing campaign is getting the message to the consumer. Regardless of how good the copy and creative are and how compelling the offer is, a campaign will fail if your target audience never sees the message.

“It’s therefore vital that email marketers place more importance on ensuring that a message reaches the inbox.”

The report points to reputation as the most important factor in deliverability, while list hygiene, content and authentication were also seen as significant. Yet it also found that tracking of delivery rates was low in some cases, with 22% of ESPs failing to monitor soft and hard bounces.

This echoes the findings of our recent Industry Census, which showed a lack of measurement in general among some email marketers. Almost half of the firms we surveyed, for example, did not know what their company’s Return on Investment from email marketing was.

To address the deliverability issue, the DMA report recommends that brands make more use of spam filter checks, ensure they have obtained all necessary permissions, maintain their list regularly and develop good ISP relations. There’s also a list of tips here, courtesy of Justin at Palmer Web Marketing.

Richard Gibson, chair of the Email Marketing Benchmarking Hub, added:

“The continued growth of email marketing is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness and ROI of email marketing.

“Clients are obviously seeing returns from email marketing and are budgeting for further increases in their marketing mix. However, to ensure its continued success, it is vital that email marketers make deliverability a priority.”

Related research:

Email Marketing Industry Census 2007

Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide

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Email Marketing: Making Bacn not Spam