Nowadays, the journey of an email to an inbox is not at all that easy as it may seem. As soon as you hit the “send” button, you’d expect your emails to arrive at your customers’ inboxes and provide them with the information and services they need. However, your confirmation email, your witfully crafted newsletter, or your email update on the new product feature may enter the terrains of the Internet to just disappear forever without a trace.
The numbers are stunning: over 20% of emails are sent directly to spam and junk folders. This means that, on average, every 3 out of 20 users won’t be able to learn about your new product, or reset their password, or will cancel their subscription before they even passed their free trial.
No email interaction – no trust.
Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?
Well, it actually is. Email deliverability is crucial for the majority of businesses regardless of their size and sphere of functioning.
Fortunately, there are special people whose job it is to make sure that all your emails reach your customers’ inboxes just as you always meant it to be.
Who is an email deliverability consultant?
In simple words, an email deliverability expert is a professional who makes sure your emails get delivered close to 100%. Although there are many services that an email deliverability specialist can provide (and they depend on your goals), this is a basic list of their responsibilities:
- Provide basic to advanced deliverability support to customers;
- Carry out in-depth email monitoring, reviews, and audits of email sending practices;
- Take care of blacklists, spam traps, and issues with ISPs;
- Help with IP warming and scaling;
- Manage email deliverability metrics and help create spotless sending reputation;
- Provide in-depth analysis of performance quality measurements;
- Provide short-term and long-term strategic deliverability planning.
Now that it’s clear as daylight that maintaining optimal email performance requires time, skill, effort, and expertise, you have decided you need a professional email deliverability consultant. The next step is to find one.
Fantastic email deliverability consultant creatures and where to find them
When looking for an email deliverability specialist, there are three major paths (the fourth one is to handle deliverability issues yourself, but this could be the most dangerous one) you can take. Each of those has its pros and cons, and is suitable for different types of businesses and their goals. Let’s see what path may be right for you.
Path 1. Email Deliverability Consultancies and Agencies
There are companies and agencies that have an established reputation on the market in providing email deliverability monitoring and consulting. They offer a variety of services, packages, and deals to enhance your email performance.
Path 1 is the right choice when you need to:
- Establish a spotless sending reputation
- Carry out a comprehensive email deliverability audit
- Get servers or IP addresses taken off of industry blacklists (yes, sometimes it is possible)
Check out this concise list of email deliverability consultancies to find what fits you best:
Path 2. Freelance Email Deliverability Experts
There are many qualified email deliverability consultants that prefer working as freelancers. Path 2 is for you if you:
- Prefer more flexibility and an individual approach to your email deliverability audit and planning
- Run small to midsize business
- Looking for an immediate solution for a certain deliverability issue
The most pronounced platforms to find an email deliverability specialist are:
If you decide to hire a freelance specialist, be sure to go through the reviews, their ratings, the number of jobs they had, and the overall experience of the person that you are going to entrust with something very vital for your business – your email deliverability.
Path 3. Email Deliverability Specialists from the Email Sending Services
Top email sending services usually have their own email deliverability experts to access your email program, review your email infrastructure, help you track and monitor IP and domain reputation, manage your email deliverability metrics and many more. Path 3 is definitely for you if you use one of these sending services for your business purposes (they all have a deliverability specialist to connect to):
If you use a certain sending service, it makes perfect sense to work with its deliverability experts.
What to ask your deliverability expert: checklist
Email flows may vary as well as the size of businesses. However, there is a basic checklist of questions you absolutely MUST ask your email deliverability specialist.
- Do we have a proper set up?
Your IT staff might be great and super professional, but a tiny-tiny thing could cause your emails to land in a junk folder. Configurations for the SMTP and authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, or even BIMI) are vital for enhanced email deliverability.
- What about our sending reputation?
ESPs may reject emails from senders with an unknown or poor reputation. Consider, for example, the fact that the IP address you are using right now may have been used for sending spam in the past with a terrible reputation. That might be disastrous.
- Are we looking out for blacklists?
You need to check out if the emails you send regularly have been blacklisted for some reason. There are many tools to do that, and your deliverability expert most definitely knows which one is best for your project.
- Are we monitoring core email deliverability metrics?
Spam issues, bounces, unsubscribes, click engagements, good email hygiene – what do they say about our deliverability? Although this kind of monitoring should be done for each campaign or sending project separately, these email metrics might be helpful for the overall assessment of your deliverability issues.
- Are we taking preventive actions?
Proper IP warm-up, and sending scaling, as well as antiphishing verification, building and maintaining good relationships with other ESPs and ISPs makes it easier to deal with deliverability issues if they arise.
- What can we do to improve our sender’s behavior?
Email deliverability specialists should help you with defining your sending behaviors and strategies that would build up your sending reputation and strengthen the credibility of your emails in the community.
These are the questions that are absolutely necessary to ask and they are an essential part of a complex procedure called email deliverability audit.
Email deliverability audit and beyond: how to work with email deliverability experts
Whatever the reason may be for you to decide to hire an email deliverability specialist, one thing is unavoidable. You have to perform an email deliverability audit first. An audit usually takes up to two weeks and is done for a separate campaign (for marketing emails) or a certain type of transactional emails.
Here we describe the entire process of your collaboration with an email deliverability consultant that goes beyond an email deliverability audit.
Set your goals and priorities. What is it that you want to achieve in collaboration with your email deliverability expert? To increase open rate? To determine the reason for high bounce rates? To get off the blacklist? To improve your sending reputation? To check out if authentication protocols work properly? Maybe all of these? Determine the aims and prioritize them from high to low urgency. If you want to know more about all aspects of email deliverability, check out our Ultimate Email Deliverability Guide.
Collect information for the deliverability audit. Identify the email deliverability metrics you are going to test and analyze according to your goals. If you need a complex audit, then it will be email infrastructure (SMTP, domains etc), email content (spam, bounce rates etc), sender and IP reputation (authentication protocols, IP rates etc), and email list hygiene. If your goal is to deal with just one of these, then collect the info and metric connected to the specific problematic area.
Run the tests. When you have collected all the necessary info, run the tests that deal with the issues under examination. Just to make it clear: it is always a better idea to perform a complex email deliverability examination rather than concentrate on its separate aspects.
Get the report and interpret it. After the deliverability checks are done, you should get a comprehensive report identifying the tests performed, with a list of tools used, and the issues found. The next step is to collaborate with the email deliverability consultant on recommendations on how you can increase your email deliverability.
Develop the deliverability improvement strategy and implement it. It is important to work with deliverability specialists not only at the stage of audit and recommendations. It is quite desirable to maintain collaboration after the audit is done, issues are identified, and recommendations are ready. Consider developing a short to mid-term deliverability improvement strategy, identify the changes that need to be made and the teams that will be responsible for the implementation. Try to stick to deadlines you set and maintain further consultations with your deliverability expert until you achieve your goals.
What an email deliverability consultant can’t influence
Although it is reassuring to think of an email deliverability specialist as a kind of magician who comes and fixes all your problems, there are certain things that are beyond the power of such consultants. So what is it that the email deliverability experts can’t do?
- Make ISP accept your mail and forward it to the inbox
- Force third parties to accept you as a crystal-clear reputation sender
- “Trick” the receiving servers into accepting your emails without filters
- Make a blocklist provider to never list your domain or IP under any circumstances
- Do your job for long-term maintenance of healthy email deliverability practices
- Tell you what to do with your next campaign
Think of a deliverability consultant as a mechanic who could fix your car to make sure you reach your destination point without trouble, but it’s you who steers the vehicle.
How much does it cost?
It depends on what deliverability issues you are trying to resolve. The price range could be quite considerable.
Let’s start with freelance deliverability specialists. Mostly, they charge per hour. If you check out the Upwork or Fiverr offers, you’ll see that the prices start at $25/h and could go as high as $500/h. The average is about $100/h.
Consultancies and agencies usually offer packages, or per project services. Usually they vary from basic deliverability check ups to comprehensive audit and strategic reports. The lowest price for the small sized business would start at $250/hour (as with Kickbox) or $399 per month (as with MailMonitor). Kickbox, for example, also offers some straightforward pricing for verification of a certain number of email addresses, where the lowest price is $5 for 500 addresses, and $400 for one million. You could also go beyond that.
Of course, some agencies offer benefits such as free first consultation etc, but one should keep in mind that email deliverability consultant requires considerable financial input. However, the money that you lose because of your email campaigns never reaching the customers’ inboxes is much bigger after all.
As for the sending services that offer the help of their own deliverability experts, you might be able to get a discount if you’re a sending service user.
Mailtrap, for example, offers FREE consultation on email deliverability to our users. Mailtrap’s Email Delivery service provides enhanced data on your email sending performance. The consulting is done by independent vetted industry experts, not by customer support. Thus, you can enjoy not only sending and testing, but also deliverability specialist advice as support.
To sum up
Email deliverability consultants ensure your emails reach your customers’ inboxes at a rate close to 100%.
Of course, they are not magic unicorns who could “trick” the receiving servers into accepting your emails without filters, but they are the people who have the best understanding of email infrastructure, sending reputation, and email content practices.
It is absolutely necessary to do an email audit with a deliverability consultant at least once in four months, especially when you care for your business reputation and the satisfaction of your customers. Depending on the size of the business, working with an email deliverability expert could be financially challenging, but think of it as the necessary financial input into the general long-term health of your business, which should eventually pay for itself in increased customer reach!