Inbox placement is a critical metric in email marketing that helps you gauge the success of each email campaign you send. Your inbox placement rates reflect how many emails reach your recipient's primary inboxes, and it can directly affect your email engagement rates.
In this article, we'll cover what inbox placement is and what a good inbox placement rate is. We'll also show you what factors affect it.
We'll also introduce you to a tool to help skyrocket your email deliverability rate.
This Article Contains:
- What is Inbox Placement?
- What is a Good Inbox Placement Rate?
- Why is Inbox Placement Important?
- Factors Affecting Inbox Placement Rate
- 5 Tips to Improve Inbox Placement
Let's get started.
What is Inbox Placement?
Inbox placement, or the inbox placement rate (IPR), is a metric email marketers use to measure how successful every email campaign is.
Here's how you calculate your inbox placement rate:
It measures the percentage of emails actually delivered to your recipient's primary inboxes compared to the total number of emails sent out.
But here's the thing.
Some email users still confuse inbox placement rates with the delivery rate. Just because an email you sent didn't bounce, doesn't mean it landed in the recipient's primary inbox.
Your email deliverability rate is the number of emails that didn't bounce — it is separate from your inbox placement rate.
For example, your email deliverability rate includes all the emails that end up in folders like Promotion, Updates and even Spam (Junk).
However, your inbox placement rate only includes the emails delivered to your recipient's primary inbox.
What is a Good Inbox Placement Rate?
Did you know that 79% of emails are never opened?
And that includes emails sent to opt-in lists!
One of the most significant issues email marketers face right now is improving the open rate of their email marketing campaigns, especially since about 45% of email traffic worldwide ends up in spam folders.
The best marketers are constantly trying to improve the inbox placement rates of their email marketing campaigns to improve their email open rate to more than 50%
If you run a business that regularly sends outbound email marketing campaigns or sales emails, consider anything above 90% as a good inbox placement rate.
If your inbox placement rate drops below 80%, you should begin to take steps to rectify your sender reputation or say goodbye to high email engagement. This inbox placement rate is typically the beginning of when a downward trend in inbox placement begins. Then when marketers attempt to increase volume to make up for the shortfall, engagement declines further.
Want some tips to boost your inbox placement rate? Click here.
Why is Inbox Placement Important?
Here's a practical example to show you why having a relatively low inbox placement rate is a big deal:
Let's say you have a team of 10 Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) who each target 2,000 new accounts yearly. That's a total of 20,000 target companies for your team to create leads.
Each new account is worth $30,000 on average.
All of them combined make up your Total Addressable Market (TAM) of $600 million. This represents the total value your entire business development and marketing efforts could capture based on your current ideal customer profile.
If your inbox placement rate is 75%, 5,000 target accounts will never see emails from your SDRs. That's $150 million of your TAM you can't possibly convert to leads for the sales team, regardless of how much research and follow-up the team does.
So even if your target buyer is a perfect fit, they won't see the outreach campaigns your SDRs send them (or even the demo invite if your SDR manages to book over the phone). This means your investment in contact data, sales engagement software, and sales enablement all go to waste.
However, if you had an inbox placement rate of 95% — your SDRs would have the opportunity to generate 4,000 more accounts every year — increasing your TAM by $120 million.
Factors Affecting Inbox Placement Rate
Now let's look at some factors which affect your inbox placement rate.
1. Email Content
The content of your email marketing campaigns plays a vital role in boosting your inbox placement rate and general email performance.
Recipients don't like to read a lazy, generic email template.
When recipients continue to receive spammy, irrelevant content from you or any email marketer — they'll most likely ignore those emails. Many recipients will also mark these email marketing campaigns as spam. This informs their respective mailbox provider that you aren't a legitimate sender.
As a result, there's a higher chance that the inbox providers (like Google and Microsoft) will consider email outreach from your company's domain irrelevant to their users.
When this happens, your domain and IP address can get blocklisted by that mailbox provider and spam filter.
Almost every future email campaign you send (even to subscribers) will head straight to the spam folder.
2. Sender Reputation
Your sender reputation or domain reputation is a score that changes based on your email activity.
Your recipient's mailbox provider and spam filter use it to determine if emails from your domain should end up in the primary inbox or be marked as spam emails.
While your email content plays a significant role in boosting sender reputation, you must consider other factors as an email marketer.
Ensure your mailbox has the following email authentication protocols enabled:
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
- Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
- Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)
These email authentication protocols help every email service provider verify your identity as the legitimate sender of the email. This gives you a better email deliverability rate and a higher chance of landing in primary mailboxes.
Another way you can maintain a high sender reputation is by cleaning your email list.
When you remove inactive subscribers and broken email addresses, you lower your email bounce rate, showing an email service provider that you're a legitimate sender.
3. Recipient Engagement
Engaging email recipients is a huge factor in driving inbox placement rates.
After all, what's the point of an email if nobody finds it valuable, right?
Make your email marketing campaigns interesting enough to keep recipients engaged. Pay attention to stats like the email open rate and reply rates, as these will help you monitor the general engagement over time.
The higher engagement your email marketing campaigns generate, the easier it'll be to increase your email deliverability rate and sustain a great sender reputation even at higher volumes.
5 Tips to Improve Inbox Placement
Now, let's look at five ways you can boost your inbox placement rate and email performance:
1. Avoid Spammy Subject Lines
Your subject line has a twofold impact on inbox placement:
- Specific keywords and spammy subject lines can be filtered into spam or even completely blocked from the inbox.
- Unoptimized subject lines are far less likely to get opened and can lower your engagement.
This means if you consistently send out unoptimized subject lines, the likelihood of your emails heading straight to the spam folder is significantly increased.
While you might think a salesy, emotive subject line can boost your cold email open rate and general email performance, it's better to keep things boring.
Replace spammy subject lines with clear and concise topics that project what you cover in the email:
For instance, instead of writing subject lines like:
- Trouble qualifying candidates, (name)?
Try something like:
- (Company) Job Spec
When you do this, recipients will actually open your emails and reply to them more often. Some might even end up in back and forth conversation with you.
An engaged recipient won't make spam complaints to their email client — and the inbox provider will realize that you provide valuable content to readers.
This will lead to fewer of your outbound email marketing campaigns ending up in the spam folder.
2. Segment Your Email List
The first thing recipients wonder when they receive a cold email is:
“Is this email relevant to my situation?”
You can answer this question immediately when you use a trigger explanation or hyper-relevance in your emails.
When you use hyper-relevance, you don't just target prospects based on their industry or geography.
Instead, you customize email content and list based on data like:
- Glassdoor reviews by the company's employees.
- The content your recipients engage with on Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Product reviews on platforms like G2 left by recipients or aimed at your recipient's product.
When you use these triggers in emails, your recipients know you've researched their situation. This means their likelihood of reading the rest of your email and responding is far higher. They could enter into a conversation with you and even become customers.
This also means you can help them solve their pain points effectively and receive more attention than anyone else sending generic email marketing campaigns.
3. Avoid Alias Emails and Third-Party SMTPs
Alias emails are great for receiving mail from multiple email addresses into one inbox.
But you should never use them for outbound emails.
Senders of spam emails use aliases to bulk-send emails under different names/domains.
When you send out emails from alias email addresses, there's an inconsistency between the account that actually sends the email and the one mentioned in the From field.
This has become a 'red flag' for spamming over time in the recipient's inbox provider, and they filter your messages accordingly — leading to your messages being marked as spam emails more frequently.
Third-party SMTPs can also hamper deliverability services.
Third-party SMTPs use services like SendGrid or AWS that are intended for opt-in communications and transactional email.
Because of their ability to send many emails over a limited timeframe, third-party SMTP senders are looked at more thoroughly by spam filters than individual accounts — and could cause inbox placement and deliverability issues.
This could result in your next email campaign skipping the inbox and going straight to the spam folder.
4. Be Consistent in Your Outreach
Imagine you've never heard of a company before and haven't received any communication from them.
But then, you get 3 emails in a single week.
What would you do?
Ignore the emails, unsubscribe from the sequence, and maybe even report the senders for spam, right?
That's exactly what your recipients will do too.
You might not reach out to the same person multiple times in one week. However, if you reach out to various contacts at one company in quick succession, the same person can have emails forwarded to them multiple times (leading to the same result).
If you want your email deliverability rate (and overall inbox placement) to improve, you need to be consistent with your email frequency.
To avoid falling into spam traps, pay attention to these three parameters:
- Active Contacts: Number of contacts each SDR can message within 30 days.
- Minimum Spacing: The minimum time gap between sending messages to different email addresses at the same organization.
- Unenrollment Trigger: The inactivity/unresponsiveness trigger to remove a contact from your cadence.
Here's a table that shows you our guidance on the parameters you should set based on the sizes of the businesses your SDRs contact:
Not only does it make for a great experience for recipients, but a consistent outbound email strategy plays a big part in making the recipient inbox provider understand that your emails aren't spammy.
5. Use Allegrow to Boost Your Sender Reputation
The tips we've mentioned can help increase your inbox placement rates.
But they're not enough to move the needle just by themselves, especially if you focus on cold emails.
Remember, you're competing against hundreds of other sales reps, every day for space in recipient inboxes.
You need a very high sender reputation to cut across the spam filters and land in those mailboxes.
That's precisely where a tool like Allegrow can help you.
Allegrow is a platform that uses data from real B2B inboxes to measure the percentage of emails that land in primary inboxes vs the rate of emails that land in spam folders.
When this data combines with Allegrow's toolset to incrementally improve inbox placement — you get access to a single source of truth for inbox placement.
But how does Allegrow do it? Simple!
- Emails real B2B inboxes of the Allegrow network every day.
- Creates a reliable data point for sender reputation by measuring exactly where your emails land with an inbox placement test.
- Helps create positive interactions like replying to emails, moving them out of spam and marking them as important.
- Lets you compare the health scores and sender reputations of multiple reps on your sales team.
- Integrates directly with your mailboxes and works with your sales engagement system.
Here are some of Allegrow's key features:
- Monitors stats like sender reputation and spam rate for multiple mailboxes.
- Ramps your email interactions on a throttled basis.
- A/B Test your content to see which versions land in spam folders more often (in real time on live inbox data).
- Gives you insight into how you can optimize your mailbox.
Boosting Inbox Placement Rates with Allegrow
Your inbox placement rate is a critical metric that highlights whether your emails land where you want them — in your recipients' primary mailboxes.
Inbox placement can play a big part in improving email engagement, so you should pay significant attention to factors like email content and sender reputation.
If you engage in a lot of cold emailing, pair up those tactics with a tool like Allegrow to maximize your inbox placement rate.
Sign up for Allegrow today to start measuring and optimizing your inbox placement.