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Not Opt-Out, Spam – Email Deliverability Matters

Written by Sami Hodsdon – VP of Program & Content Operations

Many marketers and dealers focus all their energy around “opt-outs.” When a customer opts out, they remove themselves from future communications from the marketer. However, when a customer marks a communication as “spam” and reports it to their Internet Service Provider (ISP), that marketer receives a “black mark” for all their future communications. When a marketer gets too many black marks, all their communications are disadvantaged by the ISP, meaning that marketer has a very difficult time getting their messages into the desired inbox. This results in messages not reaching the desired inbox and never being read by the intended recipient.  

Why Deliverability Matters 

This means that deliverability is much more important to marketers than the small number of recipients who opt out. According to, in 2023, the average deliverability rate for marketing email was 85.7%. This means that 14.3% of marketer’s emails never reached the desired inbox. 61% of marketers describe email deliverability as a major challenge. Strong email deliverability strategies are essential for effective communication, whether it comes from a Customer Engagement Platform (CEP), Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), or any other email sending platform. The consequence is a message being seen and consumed by its recipient or being thrown away before it ever reaches the mailbox. Outsell is a leader in deliverability and averages 90% inbox placement. Do you know how your systems perform today? Do you really know whether your messages are reaching your customers and prospects? The total sent does not matter. Delivered to the inbox is the real performance metric to track.  

Building a Strong Reputation 
At the heart of Outsell’s email deliverability strategy is reputation management. We work with top deliverability experts to constantly monitor our performance and ensure compliance with evolving email delivery rules. Following best practices like authenticating emails with DKIM (Digital Signature), SPF (sending domain authorization), and DMARC (additional authentication) is essential. Additionally, making it easy and timely for recipients to unsubscribe helps maintain a good sender reputation. 

Execution is where Outsell shines. We deliver relevant, personal, and substantial content while constantly refining our targeting strategies. This meticulous approach ensures that our emails are not just sent but delivered and engaged with. 

Adapting to New Standards 

Recently Internet Service Providers (ISP) like Gmail and Yahoo implemented stricter new requirements for relevant senders who reach the inboxes. Senders are now required to adhere to key best practices for email authentication. Additionally, new spam prevention standards require senders to be below a 0.3% spam rate. This means that when you send 1,000 emails no more than 3 people can click the spam button. When a sender, even a CRM, is above that rate, their email is disadvantaged and has a more difficult time reaching the inbox. Outsell is constantly adjusting messages, send strategy, frequency, and targeting methods to remain below this important new threshold.  

Strategic Engagement 

Outsell practices focus on engagement with communication. One deliverability best practice is to remove consumers who have not opened or clicked an email from you in the last 30 days. In most automotive buying or servicing lifecycles there is not a need for consumers to engage with their dealership each month but there is a need for frequent communications during in-market or in the servicing window time intervals. A simple “don’t send after 30 days” does not serve dealers well because it misses critical windows, especially in service. Outsell built our proprietary Open Propensity Model to solve this problem. Using both online and offline activities, every consumer is scored nightly for likelihood to engage which we then use to decide how frequently they will qualify for email communications. By removing the consumers that are unlikely to open we are maintaining a better reputation with the ISPs and ensuring a better experience for the consumer. 

Proven Results 

Does this strategy work? Absolutely. In April 2024, Outsell sent 46% more emails and engaged more than double the customers compared to 2023. This demonstrates the effectiveness of focusing communications on those who are most likely to engage. 

Content Relevance 

Delivering relevant content is crucial. If emails are irrelevant, recipients are more likely to mark them as spam. Outsell uses online and offline activities to target consumers with personalized content that meets them at their specific stage in the buying or servicing journey. This approach not only boosts engagement rates but also drives consumers back to their dealerships. 

Leading the Way in Email Deliverability 

In the ever-evolving world of email marketing, Outsell leads with a strategic approach, a commitment to quality content, and a dedication to remaining a leader in the field. Can your current provider prove they can get your messages through? If not, it’s time to consider the impact of undelivered emails. In today’s competitive marketplace, you can’t afford to take that risk. 

Choose a provider that ensures your messages not only reach the inbox but are seen and engaged with. Don’t let your messages get lost in the spam folder. Trust in a deliverability strategy that makes a real difference.