Email Deliverability Best Practices

How a CDP helps you more beyond a simple sunset policy in a privacy-focused world

This post is written by Will Boyd. Will Boyd is the Director of Deliverability Services at Simon Data. Over the last decade, Will has provided expertise to senders of all sizes and industries solving email deliverability problems. He has also optimized their sending practices for maximum inboxing.


If you are an email marketer, you’ve likely heard someone at some point reference the need for a “sunset policy.” In its simplest form, a sunset policy is a rule that prevents sending email marketing messages to recipients demonstrating a distinct lack of positive engagement with email messages. A sunset policy is essential because mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail pay close attention to how recipients of a particular sender’s messages either interact with or ignore messages from that sender. When a sender continually sends messages to subscribers that are never opening them, it makes the messages from that sender seem “unwanted” to the mailbox provider and makes future filtering of messages to spam more likely. 


The Evolution of Sunset Policies

For a long time, all most senders needed to protect their sending reputation from significant damage was a simple sunset policy. Many senders found that cutting off unengaged recipients from future marketing messages after nine months or a year of no email engagement (opens or clicks) was sufficient to prevent adverse outcomes like blocklistings and delivery to spam trap addresses. However, as mailbox providers and their filtering technologies have evolved, so has the simple sunset policy. Sunset policies in recent years have evolved to include multiple layers of logic that gradually reduce the frequency of messages sent to recipients as they become less engaged. This increased sophistication has allowed senders to become much more strategic in how they re-engage unengaged recipients and nurture relationships.  


Tooling for Email Deliverability 

Tools for segmenting an email audience have also come a long way in recent years. It is much more common than ever before for senders to be able to target recipients based on a wide variety of data points. This feature gives them great flexibility in providing personalized content and journeys designed to move a recipient through a lifecycle rather than simply building a list of email addresses that are blasted with messaging into perpetuity. Previously, marketers would have one sunset policy that applies all sending toward sunsetting logic applied differently across different mailbox providers, mail types, address collection sources, or recipient journeys. However, with this increased ease of sophistication, senders are increasingly moving away from having one simple sunset policy.. Just like one message rarely fits all in terms of a sender’s audience, one simple sunset policy across a sender’s entire marketing program is no longer sufficient. The more intentional a sender can be with how they actively manage the relationship with their recipients versus simply trying to avoid email deliverability problems, the more effective and sophisticated they can become with their sunsetting policies. 


Data-Driven Email Practices

While segmentation tools have made crafting sophisticated sunset policies easier, the industry has seen other advancements making things a bit murkier for email marketers. Advancements like Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection make email open event a less trustworthy indicator of human engagement than ever before. Opens are increasingly unreliable for determining a recipient’s  with messages. Therefore, marketers need to find ways to incorporate other first-party data points into their sunsetting logic to help more accurately identify unengaged recipients. Senders who can attribute data such as site visits, app usage, or any other data that would indicate waning brand engagement to email campaigns can use this data to supplement email deliverability stats to boost the efficacy of sunsetting efforts. 


Email Deliverability with a CDP

Having some “line in the sand” logic that prevents any marketing sending to very unengaged addresses is a helpful tool. Yet, the more a marketer can use the tools available to craft recipient journeys and experiences informed by more than just email deliverability data, the more effective those marketers will be at crafting email programs that both reach the inbox and the recipient. The most powerful tool an email marketer has at their disposal for making these sophisticated decisions is the CDP. Looking holistically at a subscriber’s with a brand across channels is critical in making accurate, informed sending decisions. Simon Data’s email sending platform, Simon Mail, helps senders make these decisions with ease and confidence for email deliverability success.

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