20% of B2B Email Marketing Messages Never Get Delivered

July 22, 2009 by  
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An alarming 20% of B2B email marketing messages never get delivered, according to a new study put out by Return Path. Even more concerning is that figure is for emails which have permission to be sent. This isn’t spam we’re talking about here, these are legitimate emails that businesses are sending to other businesses and to consumers, that never reach their intended destination.

That means that 1 in 5 of the people on your list never even have a chance to open your message, because it never reaches their inbox at all.

This study also featured some other email marketing statistics that might come as an unwelcome surprise to you and your organization. But like with anything else, and all of the latest email marketing trends, if you learn from the wealth of information that’s available, you can improve your results.

B2B Email Marketing Coming up Short

To be exact, the study states that only 79.3% of messages are delivered. Of the 20.7% which are not delivered, only 3.3% get sent to the junk box. That means that 17.4% of the emails you send out aren’t delivered, and you don’t even know it most of the time. They don’t show up as bounces or as SPAM, they just are lost in the fold.

Study Shows Some Nuts Are Tougher to Crack

The 5 most strict ISPs– meaning they don’t deliver the highest percentage of your B2B email marketing messages –are:

  • Gmail – 23%
  • Hotmail – 20%
  • MSN – 20 %
  • Comcast – 17%
  • AOL – 16%

Additionally, when you’re sending B2B email marketing messages you’re much more likely to run into security and firewall programs such as Symantec, which only deliver about 72% of your messages.

You can view the press release download the full study here.

What Can you Learn?


So how can you effectively promote your small business using email marketing? Or for that matter, your medium or large sized corporation? The moral of the story is that you have to cover all of your bases, you can’t assume anything and you always have to be monitoring your results. Here are a few ideas to help you improve your email campaign deliverability:

1. Don’t Settle for an Average ESP – Don’t settle for an average email service provider. Find one that you know you can trust, and that is proven to deliver the results you are looking for.

2. Don’t assume anything – Never assume that anything that doesn’t show up as a bounce is a delivered email. From now on all emails you send out are guilty until being proven innocent.

3. Always clean your list – The cleaner you keep your list, the more you will improve your deliverability and the sooner you will catch any glaring holes or problems with your campaign or your list as a whole.

4. Talk to clients – Pick a random sampling of 10 or 20 names from your list for which you also have their full contact information. Spend half an hour calling all of them to see if they have been receiving your emails or not. If not, be sure to find out if the address you have is correct, who their ISP is and if they use any security firewalls. The more information at your disposal, the easier it will be to spot your own campaign email marketing trends.

5. Strive for perfection – Everything you do with your email campaigns can end up affecting your deliverability. Strive for perfection, and spend the necessary time to create effective, high quality campaigns and then to analyze and optimize them down the road.

As the above new email marketing statistics show, nothing is guaranteed in the world of B2B email marketing. However, if you take the time to understand the issues at hand and how you can to improve upon your shortcomings, you’ll still come out for the better on the other side.

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