Understand the Relay Function and Master Email Marketing

Although some marketers refer to email communication as a relic of the past, it remains one of the main methods of communication for most.

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By Alon Ghelber

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although a number of people and organizations refer to email communication as a relic of the past, it remains one of the most common methods of communication. In 2019 alone, 293.6 billion emails were sent and received around the world each day. Despite the rise in popularity of social media and messenger apps, marketers swear by email for a number of reasons. At the top of the list is its return on investment: According to DMA research from 2019, the average return is $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing. As such, there have been a number of methods employed in email marketing through the years, including personalization, segmentation and automation. Non-technical marketers, however, may be missing out on a tool that helps considerably when it comes to email deliverability — the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) relay.

If you understand the relay function, email sending limits and costs become a thing of the past. The SMTP relay function will help your business move beyond the basic features of email and provide more opportunities to improve your email marketing efforts. It's not a new tool by any means, but it's an underutilized one, and it could mean the difference between a seamless and inefficient campaign.

Related: How to Start Using Email to Market Your Small Business

The benefits of the relay function and mastering email marketing

Essentially, an SMTP relay ensures that emails are delivered to different domains by leveraging the SMTP servers, which aid the process by delivering emails to their specific destinations. This plays a crucial role in reaching out to prospects and even customers, because modern mass email campaigns wouldn't be possible without an SMTP relay service. Aside from helping with targeted delivery of emails, the following are the benefits of making good use of the SMTP relay:

  • It saves time and money. With an SMTP relay, there's no need for an organization to set up and run their own email server. All you have to do is create the emails and the relay will prepare and send them from your server to the recipients'. This is very valuable for companies that send out thousands of emails daily.

  • It ensures correct email delivery. Due to delivery-related issues beyond your control, that well crafted email may not reach its intended recipient and end up in the junk or spam folder. There's also always the probability of spam blockers blacklisting your address or IP. An SMTP relay service ensures that emails get to their intended recipients.

  • It protects the IP reputation of an organization. The reputation of businesses, especially online-first enterprises, rely largely on their IP reputation. If an organization's IP address gets blocked by any system for whatever reason, it can affect relationships with clients and prospects. An SMTP relay service helps in this regard by minimizing the chances of spam transferring from your server or mass emails being mislabeled as spam.

  • It does away with email limits. Email clients and webmail providers try to avoid spam by enforcing limits on the number of emails you can send to different recipients each day. Businesses who need to communicate with their customers and prospects en masse require an enterprise-level email sending platform to circumvent this limit. These platforms provide their own SMTP relay service to allow organizations to send large volumes of email without issues.

  • It provides insights through analytics. Sending mass emails can be very challenging to track, and most SMTP relay services only provide basic reports that focus on email deliverability. For easy maintenance and tracking, however, email service providers have gone beyond this to help businesses improve and enhance their email marketing campaigns. Combining an SMTP relay with an email services platform will provide the best outcomes because it helps ensure that your emails are targeted, deliverable, and relevant to your audience. Some providers even go as far as automatically adding link trackers to every email sent, allowing organizations to monitor emails opened and clicked through. This provides more insightful and valuable metrics and KPI's than just determining whether or not emails have been delivered successfully to their intended recipients.

Related: How Often Should You Send Marketing Emails?

Making email marketing efficient again

An SMTP relay can be set up in-house if you know how to do it, but it can be so much more if you combine it with a modern email marketing platform. More than deliverability, you also get access to advanced email features and metrics that can help you push your marketing efforts — and your business — forward. Ultimately, this powerful combination will do the technical heavy lifting for you so you can focus on building your contacts list and crafting relevant content for your audience. Integrating the technical advantages of an SMTP relay with the user-friendliness and efficiency of an email marketing platform can just be the missing piece of the "make your customers happy" puzzle.

Alon Ghelber

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Chief Executive Officer

Alon Ghelber is an Israeli Chief Marketing Officer. He also works as a marketing consultant for several Israeli VCs and is a member of the Forbes Business Council. He is also the founder and manager of the LinkedIn groups “Start Up Jobs in Israel” and “High Tech Café.”

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