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The current state of email deliverability in 2023 with Alison Gootee of Braze

Email’s Not Dead: Season 5, Episode 1

The current state of email deliverability in 2023 with Alison Gootee of Braze

Email's Not Dead

About this episode:

Email’s Not Dead is back and the first person we wanted to talk to is Alison Gootee because she’s one of the funniest people we’ve ever met. We chatted about the previously released state of email deliverability report, why we want our senders to use best practices and why JNCO jeans are suddenly back from the late 90s. Plug in, grab your walkman and join us for the season opener of Email’s Not Dead. Email’s Not Dead is a podcast about how we communicate with each other and the broader world through modern technologies. Email isn’t dead, but it could be if we don’t change how we think about it. Hosts Jonathan Torres and Eric Trinidad dive into the email underworld and come back out with a distinctive look at the way developers and marketers send email.

Meet your presenters

Jonathan Torres

Jonathan Torres

Manager of the TAM team at Sinch Mailgun

Eric Trinidad

Eric Trinidad

Technical Account Manager II at Sinch Mailgun

Alison Gootee

Compliance and Deliverability Enablement Principal at Braze

Nick Schafer

Nick Schafer

Sr. Manager of Deliverability and Compliance at Sinch Mailgun


Email’s Not Dead - S5, Ep. 1: The current state of email deliverability in 2023 with Alison Gootee of Braze



Eric Trinidad: Welcome to Emails Not Dead. The podcast for email geeks by email geeks. As we wrap up 2023 and look toward the journey of 2024. It's always dangerous to go at it alone. So we're here to lead you on the way. My name is Eric and the Frodo to my Sam here with me, as always, is JT. JT, How are you, sir?


Jonathan Torres: Doing all right. Doing all right. Thanks for that wonderful intro. That was good.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, man. Yeah, it's good to hear. It's good to hear your voice. It's good to see you. I'm sorry. This isn't a visual format, but to let all the other people out there know that he looks great.


Jonathan Torres: I appreciate it. Our guests look even better than I do. So you need to introduce them to.


Eric Trinidad: Yes. Yes. Other friends to help us along this journey and deliverability, we have Alison Gootee from Braze. She's the compliance and deliverability enablement principal. And how are you doing?


Alison Gootee: I am wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. Pleasure to be here. Excited to hear that email's not dead and I would love to dig into that a little bit more.


Jonathan Torres: Heck yes, we would.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah. And another friend of the podcast, our deliverability daddy, the Pedro Pascal of Deliverability, if you will, our director of deliverability, Nick Schaefer. Nick, welcome back, sir. How are you?


Nick Schafer: Thanks also for that wonderful intro. Good to be back on the show with you guys. I'm looking forward to nerding out on all things email again.


Jonathan Torres: It would be worth to go to a visual medium just so people could see, you know, would have seen that reaction that Nick gave his face was priceless at that moment.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, Yeah. That's a good shade of pink. Very nice.


Eric Trinidad: As we look back on 2023 and continue on our journey of deliverability, you know, lots of things have happened. And one of the things that did go down and was released was the state of email deliverability. I kind of wanted to go over that today as we look toward the future and, you know, kind of talk about some of the things that the report, some of the things that might have been were surprising to you. And and I'm pretty sure Thomas will link that report here in the description. I guess if this were like the Fellowship of the Ring, Thomas would be our Gollum or Smeagol.


Jonathan Torres: Wow.


Alison Gootee: Ouch.


Eric Trinidad: Well, no, no, no. I mean, definitely he's our precious, so, I mean, it only makes sense.


Jonathan Torres: Okay, That's a good way to bring it all back around. Yeah, definitely.


Thomas Knierien: My precious.


Jonathan Torres: Oh, good stuff. The state of deliverability report. Right? It's a few years in. I don't remember exactly how many times it's been done been completed. Second time that it's been done. It's interesting for me to see like just the responses, the type of questions that are curated. Right. That it's something that we're going out looking for answers, trying to see what where people land within the space, within deliverability, within email, what you're doing as a marketer and you know, those are that around the marketing area with all the email things in the email space. I'm always very surprised. Like whenever the answers that you know, your options, your queries, your answers. Question and answer. Right. Question and you have an answer to select from. Where are you going to put yourself, what category you are going to put yourself in? I know we're going to get into it and we'll start with a few of the specific questions and everything. But like we will definitely say, hey, you know, choose an answer, choose a response. And I always look at those responses and I think nobody, nobody's going to answer that they're in that category. And it's always like such a huge percentage that's in that category. And I'm always like, Why in the world are you doing this? So we'll get into it. We'll kind of go into specifics. I just want to call that out first, because I think that's the area that I think we might live in a little bit is those that are on that really crazy part of the spectrum. Like let's reel those people. Let's make sure that not everybody listening to this is in that spot. So we'll kind of go with that. But yeah, anybody else like any overall insights that they want to kind of share or as we start kicking off into this thing.


Alison Gootee: I loved the honesty from a lot of the senders. I feel like many of them were very comfortable admitting things that they did not know. And I think maybe they knew so little that they didn't even know they should be embarrassed about some of those answers. And so and I again, I admire the honesty, but it was very telling, just working on the other side of things to see the customers that I work with day to day, just just seeing the lack of kind of understanding they have of some of the just the fundamentals of deliverability that to people like us are like. You mean you didn't know that? You know, sometimes we get questions like, Hey, why did I get so many soft bounces? And it's like, I don't know, why did you get so many soft bounces? You tell me. And so I think that's revealed a little bit of what I had been missing before, which is like where exactly senders are coming from. So, yeah, I can't wait to get into some more of the specific questions and kind of see where they landed.


Eric Trinidad: What about you, Nick? What did you think?


Nick Schafer: I mean, in the same vein of what Alison was saying, like it's great to see the honesty, but sometimes you're just like, oh, no. Why? But I think the one that stuck out to me and I'm sure we'll talk about it after being in the email space for ten plus years, I would have thought we were at the point where people would stop admitting that they're purchasing email addresses. But here we are, you know.


Alison Gootee: "Hey its legal."  


Nick Schafer: People are still doing it. So it's just one of those things like to the points mentioned, it's good to to see people just, you know, be honest with their answers even though they know that they shouldn't be doing that.


Jonathan Torres: Hopefully they know hopefully they have an idea that they should not be doing this. But I mean, the answers. The answers are the answers. Right. Like people admitted to it. A lot of that kind of stuff, all of the things that they that we believe that we know they should be doing, that they should be in a better spot, but they're not.


Nick Schafer: They need to listen to the emails not dead podcast.


Eric Trinidad:  Yeah I mean, that's the dream, right?


Jonathan Torres: If only.


Eric Trinidad: We could only say we could only lead you there. It's up to you to continue the journey to actually implement some of the things that we talk about, right?


Alison Gootee: If we make them thirsty enough, they will drink.


Thomas Knierien: Great. Power comes, great responsibility. Come on.


Eric Trinidad: Oh, man. I was totally thinking that.


Jonathan Torres: Lets get into some of these specifics, I think there's definitely, like, a lot in here to kind of digging through. And I just kind of want to, we're not going to go over the full report. We're not going to go question by question. Try to look at some of the stuff. I think there's definitely some things to start off with, right? The question that was was a fun one to kind of dig into all of the different categories of people, especially when you put in combination with the rest of the responses and the other questions that happened is the amount of knowledge people think that they have when it comes to deliverability. Because if you look at the categories, there's definitely, you know, somewhat confident and, you know, fairly confident, you know, not confident that they know what they're doing with the email sending. The very confident is a very low percentage. And then we get this huge percentage of somewhat confident. And when you look at the rest of the answers like that, to me is a little worrisome because there's a lot of strategies. There's definitely going to be some overlap with the people that are saying that they are somewhat confident, so they at least have some confidence that they know what they should be doing, that they understand what's going on with deliverability and how to implement strategies, but yet the strategies they're utilizing and what they're doing is practices is not right. Through the podcast, we get to talk to a lot of people that are in the deliverability space that we're going to talk to a lot of people that are strictly in the marketing space that are involved within the deliverability world, that are heavily involved in the ways that they're seeking out information, they're looking for the strategies. They're trying to do those things actively. And I get to meet a lot of those people and talk with a lot of those people. But I know there's people that are out there that are maybe even listening to this that are trying to do the right thing or intending to do the right thing and are doing some of the wrong things. I don't know if there's anything that you guys have seen like in your day to day. I know we work with a lot of senders that are very clueless when they come in, but I think most of them admit to being very clueless. And yeah, it's kind of like seeing, you know, what is it like for everybody? I mean, look at the survey. We see what the survey says, but in experience, like, what are you guys seeing out there?


Alison Gootee: I tend to see senders who are very confident in what they're doing and what they're doing is often incorrect. And what to me seem like very basic ways. And I think it's because they either work for a large brand or have been doing it for a long time or manage a large program and maybe they just haven't felt the impacts of what they're doing yet. Because of these things. They have a very good brand recognition or, you know, maybe people really do want their emails. They're just having some bad hygiene and stuff like that. But I hear senders all the time say like, Oh, I've been in email marketing 10 or 15 years and you need to get us off the sorbs blocklist. And I'm like, Well, if you've been in email 10 or 15 years, you have to know that getting off the sorbs blocklist is not going to solve all of your deliverability problems because that's not actually impacting any of the mail that you're sending right now. You're doing something else wrong. I was talking to a sender earlier today who said, I just don't understand why Gmail is blocking us. We're only sending to people who have made a purchase. And I get why to a marketer that sounds like so obvious. Of course these are really interested people, but I think all of us understand that. Just because someone makes a purchase with you doesn't mean that you obtain their email address in a savory way. Like did they purchase in person and they gave that address verbally. Did they make a purchase that gave you a wrong address? Are you not verifying these things? And so I think a lot of the intricacies are just lost when people think like, hey, I'm sending email and I'm not seeing a huge impact. I'm not seeing that none of it's getting delivered or whatever. And they kind of just lose sight of how those things are working. The connection between like an email address and an inbox and what happens in between those things, which is crazy to me because we all have inboxes full of email and sign up for emails all the time. Like you're never at dollar general and they're like, What's your email address? And you're like, Oh, you know, like that happens all the time. And I think senders maybe think like, I'm such a big brand, no one would ever do me like that. But they definitely do.


Eric Trinidad: Oh yeah, I do big brands wrong all the time.


Alison Gootee: Yeah. Big time. I'm getting 20% off every time. If it means I have to create a new Gmail account, I don't care.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, there you go. Have you signed up for our newsletter? Like, Oh, you get an extra 20% off? Yeah, I will now.


Alison Gootee: Yeah I love newsletters.


Jonathan Torres: One of the things you said is probably one of my favorite things that people say and I mean, this is not I'm not trying to slight anybody. If anybody's listening and has said this before, I get it. I understand. But please hear me when I say the second part, because what people say all the time is I've been doing this for ten years. I've been doing the exact same thing for ten years. Never had a problem before until now. And it's like, okay, cool. Like the email landscape has changed so, so, so incredibly much in the last ten years. You can't keep doing the same thing and see the continued success that you had previously. If you're not changing and adapting.


Alison Gootee: And people have changed in ten years, right? I mean, like I'm not buying the same things I was buying ten years ago or listening to the same music, obviously because I'm not changing that. But your JNCOs went out of style and now they're telling me to buy them again. And it's like, Oh my God, what's happening? So you can't just do the same thing all the time. I would say that to customers sometimes we've been doing the same thing for ten years and you're like, Well, that's a really old list now, so it's probably time to switch it up.


Alison Gootee: What say you Nick?


Nick Schafer: I'm still chuckling inside about the JNCOs comment. It takes me back to whenever I was a kid and I used to see everyone wearing them. I never wore them. But are y'all saying they're now back in style or they're coming back because?


Jonathan Torres: They should have never left being in style.


Alison Gootee: You can cover your entire roller blade in one leg of the pant. So what's not to love?


Eric Trinidad: Yeah. Especially down here in South Texas. I feel like the amount of wind tunnel action that happens is so much. It's like a breath of fresh air.


Alison Gootee: It makes you skate faster.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah.


Nick Schafer: I think we can all talk about JNCO's a little bit, but the question around, like kind of the survey results, what I was going to say is kind of something JT was mentioning like, Yeah, I've been in this space for a while now and yeah, well, it was true. Whenever I came in is definitely not necessarily true today. And there's a lot of things that are constantly evolving. There's changes coming down the road right now that people are preparing for. And, you know, those people that are saying that they feel like they're somewhat comfortable with deliverability, I think a lot of people fall into that category where, yeah, they knew at one point a good baseline of their knowledge of deliverability that's changed unfortunately. I think that's probably where a lot of those people responded to the survey. I bet that's where they fall.


Alison Gootee: And also it's like there's a phenomenon with a name and someone's going to listen to this and be like, Oh my God, you dummy. It's this phenomenon. But these people who think they're very confident are not. And the people who don't think they're confident are. And so that's how I feel. I've said this is the only job I've ever had where I feel like I know less every day because there's just so much. And so every time I think I have something like, you know, a handle on it, then it goes and changes. Or there's a new one that I wasn't aware of before. And so I get a little bit nervous around the people who claim they are somewhat or very confident because I think they're probably wrong.


Jonathan Torres: So I'm in the same boat. I don't know the name of that phenomenon. But yeah, you ask people, Are you real smart? Did you get this question right? And they're like, Yes, hundred percent and they're totally wrong. Within that exact same mindset is where I land like 100% agree Alison. Like, I'm able to learn things, I'm able to pick up on things just being in the space because so many people are talking about it and it's like, Man, I had no idea or a way to frame it. Sometimes it's just what it comes into is like, Hey, I knew that and I knew these pieces kind of coincided. But the way that it's put together is something that I guess sometimes just requires time, sometimes just listening to a different point of views or listening to an opinion or things like that. And I think that's the beautiful thing about the email space, is that there's so many communities, so many people involved with it, that you can kind of go and have those conversations and it's usually not super guarded in a way that they're not going to talk about it just because they're working for a competitor or things like that. That to me is the beauty of it. So like learning, being able to learn, having the ability to learn just because of the community that's around you, in the community, around us in email I think is a really, really nice thing. Eric do you have any insights?


Eric Trinidad: Like I think email is one of those humbling things, like you feel like you know everything one day and then the next day you'll be like, Oh, no, that's completely different. You know, I've been in contact with my fair of aggressively incorrect people.


Alison Gootee: I mean, you know what? To be fair sometimes that's a tactic that I use when someone doesn't want to give me an answer and I just say something totally wrong so that they can be like, wrong! It's actually this RFC and this is the right way to do it. And I'm like, Gotcha. Knew that it would bring it up.


Jonathan Torres: Oh, I love it.


Eric Trinidad: That's a good tactic.


Alison Gootee: Everybody wants to be right. So if you're comfortable being wrong.


Eric Trinidad: No, I'm wrong 95% of the time. JT will tell you that.


Jonathan Torres: No, no, no, no. Definitely not, man. Definitely not. The second part of your statement, Alison, where do the email addresses come from. Right? How are you accquring these email addresses? There's so many different ways of doing it and there's so many different strategies. There's people doing it in all kinds of different ways. Your specific market, I've worked with a customer before who their whole platform was all catered to, dry cleaners like. So that's what they did. Dry cleaners, dry cleaning services. So they were the technology behind this stuff. And they were selling like hotcakes that were selling to all these dry cleaning businesses. I don't necessarily associate dry cleaners with the most amount of technology that there is out there. I mean, there's some tried and true methods for dry cleaning. I think they're using those, utilizing those at a very good rate. But, you know, it's not a spot where you're easily going to be able to put a computer in front of somebody, say, Hey, opt in to our mailing list. I feel most of the time that's a quick pen and pencil. Hey, give us your email address, we'll send you some coupons and then you end up with a list that, you know, somebody probably typed into a computer and was transferred to another service to upload it and, you know, do stuff like that. So I get that that's a business, a business model. You're going to have to account for some of that. But then there's the people who are intentionally doing something wrong, like scraping from the Internet.


Alison Gootee: Oof.


Jonathan Torres: Everybody collective oof.


Alison Gootee: Full body cringe.


Jonathan Torres: There's obviously wrong things, obviously wrong ways to do it and people admit to it though they still are saying that they're doing it. There's still some some people that are out there responding to those kind of things. Great. We know those people. Stop it. Stop what you're doing. Don't do it anymore. That's an easy response. But for everybody else in the middle, if we're in the context of a customer conversation and you find out they're doing one of these things that like maybe a little bit on the edge, like you know, what kind of conversations does that turn into? Or how would you frame that conversation?


Jonathan Torres: I mean I think one thing that I'm trying to tell customers is put yourself in the shoes of someone who would do anything, not to get your emails and think about your sign up process and what would that person do? Because if it's easy for that person to give you bad information, you need to stop whatever that is. If it's like a very obtrusive, you know, module asking for people to give you their email addresses as soon as they access your website and all they want to do is look at pricing, wait, put it in the footer or make it pop up later. Wait until they're checking out and ask them then. You know, things like that. I think obviously from a marketer's perspective, it's like, how can I get this email address as quickly as possible? And from the human being process, it's like, Oh my God, you're annoying me so much right now and I never want to hear from you again. And so I think balancing those things like my desires as a marketer and like the human part of it can be very separate, especially right now, because, you know, we've just had this big Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, and I would click through an email that I'm clearly on their list. And as soon as I get to their website, it's like, Hey, sign up for our email. And I'm like, Yeah, that's me Alison I did that already. And so I don't know the technology behind that or how easy it would be to stop doing that, but I just think if I were a different person, I might be tempted to say like, just leave me alone. I'm sick of hearing from you. Like, don't bother me with this. And so I just I think a lot of the times examining where a sender has gone wrong is like, okay, now treat this as a human being. If you were this human being, why would you report the mail as spam? Why would you unsubscribe? Why would you abandon your cart? And so I honestly don't think that a lot of the issues would be a technical solve, like sign up for blocklist monitoring. It would be something super basic of like just review your entire signup and marketing process from the perspective of a brand new subscriber and see how much you're bothering them. I'm like, see how annoying of a process that is? And I feel like that would actually get senders very far. However, it's not that easy to fix. I get the impression that a lot of senders want you to say, Oh my God, just unplug it and plug it back in and you'll be good to go. And that mail will just start flowing freely. And it's not that kind of a thing. Nick, I see you shaking your head there.


Nick Schafer: Yeah. The one thing that remains constant and like this whole conversation around kind of sign up processes and, you know, just customers or senders building their lists is something that we've been kind of preaching for senders to do for for quite some time. And that's confirmed opt in or double opt in, whatever you want to call it. We're still talking about it all these years later. But the survey said, what, 52% I think it was, senders do not use double opt in like that needs to change. There's just too many people out there like these examples that we have just been talking about. I didn't want to give them my real email address. I want to give them a fake email address, like that solves it. There you go. Problem solved. Just put in some confirmed opt in into  that sign up process in here. You're good. It's something that I still think needs much broader adoption. I get the pushback of it adds more friction to the user experience.


Alison Gootee: So do the brake pads on your car. Oh no.


Nick Schafer: Exactly. The reality is that most people expect it this day and age, like, when's the last time you sign up for a service and didn't expect to, you know, have to confirm your email address.


Alison Gootee: Plus immediate positive engagement for the people who do agree. And so I had somebody asked me the other day, oh, this customer wants to know how many subscribers will they lose by doing confirmed opt in? And they said zero, zero. They're going to lose zero. They're not losing anybody good who's not confirming. Thats not going to happen. And I like to say, it's like, you know, complaining about being a bank and saying you started rejecting counterfeit notes and being like, gosh, we have less money now. No you have less counterfeit money. You're not actually losing anything. That's not how that works. And so while I think some things need good friction, otherwise they just all fall apart and then.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, that's a perfect point.


Nick Schafer: I love that point that you just brought up, though, of like, good engagement. Like, there's no way better to get, like, instant positive engagement on a message from you as a sender than a confirmation message.


Alison Gootee: Like, click right on it.


Nick Schafer: If you're not doing it you're missing out on that engagement, which we're all trying to get the best deliverability.


Alison Gootee: Oh, I think if senders are on the fence, they can just go ahead and fine. Like keep those people that did sign up and have not confirmed. See what happens, see how engaged they are with you over the long term, because I bet it's going to be none. And so you're not losing anything. And if you need to prove that to yourself, then go right ahead.


Thomas Knierien: Can I just say that when I don't get a confirm from an opt in, I get nervous?


Alison Gootee: Yeah, did I fat finger that? Do I even know my address?


Eric Trinidad: Yeah.


Thomas Knierien: I'm like, oh, no. What happened? Is it me? Is it you? Who is it? I'm just saying.


Jonathan Torres: Thomas needs his guitar catalogs through email.


Thomas Knierien: That and like, when I sign up for, like, Postmates or anything, like, I'm trying to get that coupon or I'm trying to, like, get a Starz subscription trial for, like, five days.


Alison Gootee: Again


Thomas Knierien: Starz can't tell between @gmail

, let's be honest.


Alison Gootee: But I think you bring up a really good point Thomas which we we talked about and you talked about in this report that this supports a good customer experience to have good deliverability. And I think that's part of it is like implementing those best practices from from start to finish would help you trust that guitar catalog people more, you know, Oh, hey, you know what you're doing, you confirm my address or I know your stuff is going to go to my inbox in the future and so I can always hear from you again. And I have already started to build trust with you as an organization. I don't know how much you guys get ads for this, but you know, there's this new store on the scene temu and it's like everyone saying, Oh, they're temu orders are crap, they're not coming or they've just taken their money and never sent anything. And I feel like, you know, starting with a strong and trustworthy email program is a good way to help build some of that good customer experience. I haven't signed up for temu, but who knows, maybe they don't do a double opt in and that's where the trouble starts.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, I don't know if Temu like wish2.


Alison Gootee: Electric Boogaloo.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah. Oh I was going to say it. I was right there. I was hoping somebody would pick up what I'm putting down. I appreciate that. Along with that, I feel like some folks that, you know, don't do the double up, then sometimes they also. Well, if you're not going to do that. Okay, check your engagement, see what's going on. But they also don't do sunset policies as well. So they just keep like hammering away at those recipients and wondering why, like, oh, well, now my stuff's spam.


Alison Gootee: And to cut back to what we're talking about earlier. I'm just sending to my customers. Okay. Are they your customers from the early 2000's or like recently? Because I just got an email this past weekend from a car dealership from somewhere I have not lived for eight years and it's like, yeah, I can see why maybe I would only buy a car every eight years, but I don't even live in that place anymore. So you would need to do something in the interim to make sure like, are those people still interested? Do you even still live in the metro Atlanta area? Do you drive still? And I think that just, found this old list from a decade ago. And once upon a time, these people bought cars. So let's see how it goes. I definitely did report that as spam because I know I've unsubscribed before and they just keep like flipping the contacts to a new ESP over and over again. Rick Case, you're on notice.


Eric Trinidad: Call them out!


Jonathan Torres: And it's I think it's one of those things I mean, so much of this and the way that that we've framed it in kind of like the context of everything, I feel like it wraps up nicely in the whole your subscribers are humans too, so you have to treat them as a person, Right? And just as you said, Alison, before, you know, how would they feel that they're being treated in the same scenario? And I think so much of that, like just falls right in line with that. People have opinions. People have, you know, change of preferences. People do all kinds of things. Some people, you know, they assume that, hey, you might send them a marketing email  every once in a while, and if you're pestering them every single day, that's a whole different experience. So, like, how are you making it a better human experience? Maybe there is a crazy person that wants something every single day, you know, or maybe even twice a day, which is super uncommon. That's why, you know, you get dinged for that pretty quick. But you know, what's much more common is, you know, a less of a cadence. And how are you doing that? Because I think that falls right in line with sunset policies, too, is not just, you know, how long do I keep somebody on my list without engagement, but like, how much engagement do they really want? Like, how much are they actually paying attention to, you know, somebody like me who is a little bit more you know, I see the red bubble telling me that, hey, you have notification. I'm going to go check it. I'm going to click on it. So if you're sending me a lot of email, I'm going to see it. And I might not like that. Somebody like Eric who has like a red bubble with like 6000 unread notifications, maybe even more. I think at this point. We're probably into the five digit numbers, but you might not see it all the time. So it might be, you know, maybe you're trying to target somebody like that, but it's not going to tell you the same story. If I'm opening up constantly and clicking on things constantly or, you know, doing stuff because I'm checking it all the time compared to Eric, who you might get an unread message for months on end, you know, because he's not doing it but maybe he does want that email. So how are you looking at it? What is the cadence you're using and how you treating those people as the people that they are?


Alison Gootee: I mean, and on top of that, like there are brands that I'm a big fan of and I probably do open their email every day, but when they have a sale every day, then that erodes that trust, even if it's a brand that I didn't like. Oh, hey, jeans are 40% off. Get those JNCOs there back in and then tomorrow they're 40% off again. LIke that Sense of urgency has totally dissipated because I know you're just like that mattress store that is called the like "we're going out of business mattress store." Like, I don't believe you. I don't think that's true. I don't think I need to click over there right now. I think it can be super tough even when you do have high confidence in your deliverability skills to be able to correlate like actual user behaviors to what they're thinking and feeling. Because yeah, you're a brand that I trust and I open your email every day, but I'm going to start purchasing from you less and less because I feel like you're kind of toying with me and, you know, using some of these tactics that I find shady. And so, like, too much of a good thing can start to become a bad thing, which, you know, I think that's one thing about a preference center, which I try to talk to senders about a lot. They're so nervous about the unsubscribe button. They don't want people unsubscribing. And I think if you have that option of like, fine, just let me hear from you a little bit less often because when you're guessing as a sender, okay, Alison opens every day, so let's hit her twice a day, like there's diminishing returns at a certain point.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah I've had even some folks saying like, I'm so afraid of the unsubscribe I'm going to send to them twice a day. So I'm just going to take out the unsubscribe link.


Alison Gootee: What that spam button is there every single time. Every time. And it's so fun to press. I feel like there was a very high number of senders saying that they don't conduct any list hygiene. I feel like double opt in and the sunset policy together would take care of those folks right there. I'm not sure what the lack of appeal is. I get that they think one address equals a dollar amount and that could be true, but it could also be a negative dollar amount if that address gets you blocked because it's it's one more spam trap that puts you over the line or whatever. What do you think you guys recommend most often for list hygiene for the uninitiated.


Jonathan Torres: Nick.


Nick Schafer: It's the sunset policies. That's what I always go back to my time as a technical account manager here that's what I always recommended. Not only recommended I kind of pushed it pretty aggressively sometimes because you know, I have my customers that were looking to get improvement on deliverability and I know what is going to help get you to that point, and that is higher engagement. So just do some targeting on those engage users while not sending to those people that haven't opened in a long time. It seems so obvious, but that is what I would recommend pretty much every time.


Alison Gootee: I feel like senders they like tend to reach for like, I can just get someone to clean my list for me. And it's like, well, it's not that sort of thing. So I agree. I think the sunset policy is the more efficient way of doing it. If you're sending regularly and getting good permission, your list should be clean on a regular basis anyway, and you don't have to go spend that money.


Jonathan Torres: You should be building your list the correct way too. I know we touched on it briefly, but something that wasn't mentioned here was, you know, protecting your sign up forms for those people that do have strictly like e-commerce sites, you know, this doesn't address those people that are going to be writing down email addresses. But like you got sign up forms. I know from the space I work in some on the anti-abuse side. Contact forms get abused very heavily and there's a lot of stuff that goes through those forms that you do not want. And if you don't have any protection in place there, they're going to just fill up your lists. Start there at the beginning if you can as well. Put some kind of protection on that form, whether it's an email validation service or just Captcha. Just doing something to protect your forms is is something that all brands really need to be doing.


Alison Gootee: I love a honeypot.


Nick Schafer: Honeypots work as well.


Alison Gootee: I feel like it's just a low lift and people can see the better, you know, if it's a bot or something like that. I think I'm sure it's sort of like when you find like a sack of cash on the ground, you're like, Ooh, jackpot. People are like, oh, a thousand sign ups today. I'm amazing. We must be going viral. Like, well, maybe. Maybe it's viral, but not the good kind.


Jonathan Torres: Encapsulating all that too. Like protecting yourself, like against those, you know, bot attacks and stuff like that. Like, I think it's super, super important. I think for me, the way that I've always seen it too is, one of the things that I've adopted, adapted, both from Nick, is definitely like, you know, the preaching of the sunset policies and like when to consider removing somebody from the list. But I think it's grown and evolve to a point where you almost have to do it in a way where you're doing that preference page where you're saying like, hey, you know, I know you don't want to hear from me every day. I get that now, you know, how often do you want to be hearing from me? What is the market that, you know, what are the types of emails that you want to get from me? Pairing that up at the very beginning to, like I know it's a much more technical lift for people to do that. And I know sometimes that also the barrier to entry, right? Like you want somebody to just give you an email address, say, yes, I want in, and then to start bombarding them with email. But if you can slow that process down just a little bit. Right. Do the double opt in is one part of it. But then also like if you can present a preference page immediately after that, like with your double opt in, like do that from the beginning to say, Hey, do you really want to email me every day? Do you want emails from me? You know, once a week? Do you want emails from me once a month? And it makes a big difference. Like if I could have that option at the very beginning, great. Because I know there are certain brands, so I'm not going to call anybody out. But there's certain brands that email me every day and I'm totally fine with it. Other ones, I don't need to hear from you all the time. I really don't. And it's. You know, it's a matter of what I'm willing to buy, what I'm wanting to buy. You know, me as a person and as an individual. So we have to adapt that. We have to as senders, you have to start giving people choices because without that choice, that's when it becomes really, really dangerous, right? If the only option is for them to unsubscribe or to block you or to complain against you, that's a much, much, much bigger problem.


Jonathan Torres: I agree. I would like to see senders put some of that stuff in their confirmation email where it's like, Hey, thanks for signing up. Click to confirm how often you want to hear from me. Once a week, once a month, something like that. Just so like one, I think it establishes such good trust from the beginning. Looks like, Hey, this is a brand who actually cares how I feel about them and wants to respect my choices. I think that's really nice. Makes me more likely to give them some of my money. And then same. It builds some really good engagement and I just think it gives them a little bit of insight because if everyone is choosing that like once a month option, maybe just default. Maybe you just know you're not the kind of company that everyone needs to hear from every single day. And that's totally fine. Make it really valuable that once a month that you reach out.


Jonathan Torres: And I know we don't have a ton of time left in kind of where we're going. And we broke this down, I think, a lot. But I think so much of the other survey questions and the way that everything is framed within there like leads back to these as part of really you know, probably that the big topics the hot topics that are on there that will help address some of those other things because I know a lot of it is, you know, delivery rate. How often are my emails coming through? Like, are they getting to the right spots? Yes, hopefully they are right. I mean, we have a lot of people that are saying like, yes, it's important to them. Open rates are important to them, click rates are important to them. But I think that in combination with the stuff that we've been talking about here for for a little bit, the opt in, the option to opt out, like how they opt out, like what are we talking about for some set policies and then making sure that we're collecting the addresses to begin with in the right way and not that we're just presenting a double opt in. But, you know, where are we getting those addresses from? Where are they coming from and how are we able to make sure that we're doing that part in the right way? I think are very, very key things to focus on. And then the other part of it, which we didn't touch on here, we're actually saving it for a future episode is the authentication piece. You know, are you signing your emails with DKIM like, are you saying where you're sending them from with SPF and then the new rules that are coming up? So all that well tease for a later episode, but I think that couple is going to just be so helpful for delivery rate, but then deliverability rate more than anything else, because that's our goal, right? Not to send out, but to make sure that it lands in the right spot. So I just wanted to say that as we get ready to wrap up, I don't know if anybody has like any thoughts on it or anything else that stood out that we want to maybe cover in a quick way.


Alison Gootee: I mean, I definitely think it's great that the mailbox providers are kind of forcing some of these things to happen. You know, authentication makes all of us safer and makes email more enjoyable for everyone, which I think is wonderful. Love email. Thanks for my paychecks. But I also think, you know, the more like stringent standards get, the kind of more we circle back to the very basic thing, like I've said this before on LinkedIn and stuff, but you know, if if we lose open tracking, if we lose click tracking, if we lose all of these things, still the most important thing will be sending email to people who actually want it. So don't guess. Just just let them choose. Let them, you know, initiate that relationship. Let them have full control. Stop hiding your unsubscribe link. Stop trying to make things more difficult because all those things will only hurt you in the end. And you know, when people want to say goodbye, just let them. They can come back any time. I feel like customers also really struggle with saying goodbye to recipients who are purchasing but are not opening emails. And I feel like if they're not engaging with emails and they're still purchasing, that's like the best ROI ever. Stop sending to them like they're for profit. There's no need to keep wasting your time. And so I think it really goes back to the being a human and then relying on the best practices of getting permission and sunsetting and making sure that you're confirming and verifying that the addresses are correct. Because once you've got all that authentication and stuff in place, ideally it shouldn't change that much. I mean, I guess if you're changing your your DMARC to go from a non to a quarantine or reject more to come in future episodes. But aside from that, if that's all, if everything else is in place, it's just going to go back to the basics of the human on the other end of the transaction and how much they want that email.


Nick Schafer: Yeah, I will say that with these changes that are coming, all of these bad practices that we've been talking about, you know, we know the best practices, but we know that, you know, senders don't always follow those. And, you know, maybe they've been able to get by with these changes that are coming. More onus and responsibility is being put on the sender for those authenticated domains. So it's going to be easier for the mailbox providers to track senders on an individual basis, like what are their practices? So those best practices are going to, you know, become more and more important with these changes that are coming down the line. So I'm looking forward to some of these changes personally, because I think it's going to force the hand of some senders to clean up some of these things that we've been talking about.


Alison Gootee: I agree. If they want to get more aggressive, I'm here for it. Job security.


Jonathan Torres: Definitely have experts to talk to.


Eric Trinidad: We'll definitely drop a link where everybody can find us, you know, if you want to talk more about it. Alison, but you mentioned LinkedIn. We're going to go ahead and we'll wrap it up here for today. Thank you so much for coming out. Really appreciate your time and speaking with you today. Nick, thank you for coming by as well. But Alison, where if they want if the people out there in the podcast land want to get in touch with you, find you listen to more what you got to say about deliverability, where can they find you?


Alison Gootee: Yeah, so LinkedIn is probably the best place to find me. Alison Gootee, I'm sure my name will be on the show notes or wherever you find your email's not deadliterature. I tend to post a weekly meme with an explanation of why it is so funny to me for the new and old deliverability folks. Ideally, I would love to reach out to senders and get them to kind of understand the concepts of these things before they make a mistake. And if I get some of my friends, alas, in the process, so much the better. But please follow me. I'd love to see you on there.


Eric Trinidad: Right, Right. And Nick, if somebody wants to reach out to you, we're going to contact you that same way.


Nick Schafer: LinkedIn is is probably the best. And I am going to say yes, go follow and connect with Alison because the memes are hilarious and you owe it to yourself to get a weekly chuckle. But yeah, message me on LinkedIn. Tell me you heard the podcast and would love to connect.


Alison Gootee: Don't just guess our email addresses.


Alison Gootee: Yeah and Thomas, where can they find the information about our show?


Thomas Knierien: Yeah, for sure. You can find us over You can also listen to us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Make sure you give us a good review on there as well and make sure you come by for the next episode because we've got Marcel Becker coming in from Yahoo! Coming in next talking about these big updates. So we're super excited.


Eric Trinidad: Get it. Right on, everybody. Thank you so much for your time, everyone. Thanks for hanging out. Until next time. Take care of yourselves.

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