We aren’t at all hesitant to say that we are raving fans of email marketing. Email marketing is one of the few marketing channels we can use to build an authentic connection with the people that keep our industry alive. Customers don’t give their information lightly, and — if used right — email marketing can be both a relationship-building and business-building tool.

Don’t believe us? Your inbox is filled because email marketing works. According to Constant Contact, Forbes, and others, the average ROI for email marketing is $42 for every dollar spent. Needless to say, email should be an essential component of security dealer, integrator, and manufacturer marketing campaigns.

But it’s not easy. And if your emails aren't hitting the recipient’s inbox, they are a huge waste of time.

Email marketing success is not as simple as just sending an email and waiting for it to convert. Before it gets to your intended recipient, it must avoid a vast world of pitfalls that send it to spam, cause it to bounce, or cause it to remain unopened. Because of this, you must begin your campaign with the end in mind and take specific steps to ensure its deliverability.

Email deliverability is the collection of factors impacting whether an internet service provider or the email recipient mark emails as spam or get opened. During this process, an email has to pass through security, IP reputation, and spam filters to ensure that it’s coming from a trusted source and that it’s not part of a phishing or spam campaign.

The first consideration in ensuring your email gets to its intended recipient is a compelling email subject line. According to OptinMonster, 47 percent of recipients open emails based on subject lines alone. Email subject lines are also the No. 1 reason emails end up in spam, by using spam trigger words. Increasingly sophisticated analytics filter emails that include a long list of spammy words and phrases. Email service providers such as SpamAssassin and Content Detective can help you identify some of those spam triggers. In general, they are words that are often used to mislead, seem life or death, or cause it to seem overly urgent. The difficulty level of this is increased significantly for the security industry because, by its nature, it is urgent and involves technologies that protect lives and property. We can’t stress enough the importance of a well-crafted subject line because much of the battle is won or lost in those few words.

However, it’s important to understand that marketers and subscribers often think of spam in somewhat different ways. Subscribers don’t care about whether it passes an algorithm. They care if it’s relevant to their interests and tailored to them. Even when an email passes spam filters, 69 percent of recipients report they will not open an email because they believe it to be spam.

This leads us to the second dimension of deliverability, engagement factors. The inbox is an incredibly competitive place. If you have identified a potential customer, the chances are good that someone else in the security industry has, too.

‘Clean your email list of contacts that are no longer valid to prevent reputation-damaging hard bounces.’

To increase engagement, you will want to send emails to those who actually want them. While it sounds counterintuitive, make opting out easy. If you’re sending emails to people who haven’t provided you with permissions, you’re going to end up with high spam complaints and low open rates. Both of which can be clear indicators that your email deliverability simply isn’t up to scratch. Clean your email list of contacts that are no longer valid to prevent reputation-damaging hard bounces.

Rather than sending one general email to everyone, segment your emails into the specific verticals you serve, such as healthcare, manufacturing, or retail, and provide vertical-specific content, solutions, and offers. Finally, know who engages with your emails and interacts more directly with that list by providing more relevant content.

By ensuring your emails reach the inbox of the right people and engage with relevant content, you build a strong sender reputation with ISPs and can be sure your email marketing will provide a great return on investment.