The email marketers periodic table of elements

Ever heard of the periodic table? Whether you’re a science buff or not, at some point during your life you would have heard someone mention that there is a periodic table of elements which serves as a useful reference tool to arrange elements in accordance with their atomic mass. We’re by no means any kind of science buffs here at Mail Blaze but we did happen to stumble across MarTech’s email marketing periodic table and boy is it a great reference tool.

In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at this amazing email marketing reference guide and share some of the “science” and wisdom behind it.

Much like the periodic table of elements that you might know, Martech’s email marketing periodic table arranges email elements into categories that help you understand how certain email elements work towards helping you improve specific parts of your email campaigns.

Martech's Periodic Table!

Overall the table is grouped according to the following categories:

  • Optimisation
  • Deliverability
  • Optimisation Toxins
  • Deliverability Toxins
  • Deliverability Traps

The grouping makes 100% sense as it aims to show you the relationship between certain factors that show you just how complex the email ecosystem can be. If you find it overwhelming - don’t worry, you’re probably not alone. We’re here to take some of the technicality out of it and explain it in a way that will make it easy for you to understand.

Let’s start with optimisation…

Email Optimisation is a crucial part of ensuring you are continually improving your email marketing efforts. It’s essentially the improvements that you make to your email campaigns to ensure ongoing growth and can take many different forms.

Optimisation Elements!

Within the optimisation category there are three further distinctions made for elements that contribute to the overall optimisation of your email marketing campaigns:

  • Experimental elements
  • Audience elements
  • Content elements

Experimental elements

Experimental elements are related to technological advances within the email-and-development space

Here’s an overview of the experimental elements and a brief description of what they are:

AI Artificial Intelligence Artificial Intelligence within the email marketing context refers to machine based segmentation, personalisation and even messaging.
AM Accelerated Mobile Pages Accelerated Mobile Pages most commonly known as AMP is more often referred to as dynamic emails. Essentially they are emails that function more like web pages within an email environment.
BM Brand Indicators for Messaging Identification Essentially this places your brand logo next to your name in your subscriber’s inbox.
V Voice Voice optimisation is a big focus area within the marketing realm as it makes the internet more accessible to people with disabilities, but also accounts for speech recognition tools like Alexa to be able to read and understand your emails.

These elements represent future advancements that are already in place or already used, but not by the widespread majority of email marketers.

Audience elements

Audience elements within the optimisation category of the email marketing periodic table are all related to your subscribers and elements in your campaigns that affect your subscribers.

Let’s take a closer look at these elements and what they are:

Ck Click Clicks are a powerful measure of engagement as they are what leads to conversions.
L List Your list is your ticket to getting a return on your email marketing efforts. You’ll want to keep growing your list but DON’T buy lists.
E Email address The holy grail of your efforts - an email address. This is the minimum info you need to get from your subscriber to communicate with them.
Me Personalisation When optimising your emails you need to always remember that you are talking to an individual.
Eg Engagement Engagement is related to these metrics: clicks, opens, forwards, replies, shares and is a powerful measure of email marketing success.
O Open Opens are simply a measure of whether people are opening your email. You want to do everything you can to get people to open your emails.
I Inbox Your subscribers inbox (or email client) can influence the way your email renders and how you need to put together your email to get the best possible result.
Pc Preference Centre Things change and having a preference centre enables subscribers to update how they would like to receive information from you.
Sg Segmentation Segmentation is an amazing way to improve your communication through your campaigns as you group subscribers based on certain attributes.
Sq Send Frequency Send frequency relates to whether you are sending to infrequently or frequently. There is definitely such a thing as sending too many emails.
T Send Time The time you send out your campaigns can vastly impact your campaigns performance. This is an element of your campaign that you should not overlook.

Content elements

Content elements within the optimisation category of the email marketing periodic table are all related to the actual content within your email campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at these elements and what they are:

Cl Calendar Within the email space calendar plays a very important role in your activity. You’ll want to set up an email calendar for yourself to ensure that you are sending on a regular basis in a strategic way.
Iv Interactive Interactive emails have the power to drive greater engagement.
Mj Emoji Using emojis in your campaigns can help your content be more relatable.
R Relevance Sending out relevant content is extremely important to retain subscribers. People do not want to receive content that isn’t related to what they signed up to receive.
Rd Readability Adding large amounts of copy in blocks - don’t. Readability is an important optimisation element to consider and involves breaking up content so it’s easy to scan. You can do this by using headlines, white space and by editing copy so it’s more to the point.
Rs Responsive Just like you optimise your website to account for different devices, you should adapt your emails in the same way.
Sj Subject Line Your subject line is one of the first elements of a campaign that your subscriber will see. Make sure that it describes the content of your email and captures a subscriber’s attention.
St Structure Structure on the email periodic table doesn’t relate to structures as you know them within the Mail Blaze platform but rather looks at whether you use HTML or plain text email formats.
Tr Transactional If you use transactional emails, you need to optimise them so that they achieve the goals you’ve set for them. Treat them as auto-campaigns and adjust and tweak them.

We’ve now covered all the elements within the email periodic table that relates to how you can optimise your campaigns. It’s really important that you review each element in a structured way to ensure that you are continually enhancing your email campaigns. This will ensure that you are always working towards achieving better results in all the campaigns you send out within the email channel.

Toxins that affect your email optimisation

Did you know there are email campaign elements that can negatively impact your email campaign optimisations? Three main toxins are identified by Martech within this space namely: Image Heavy, no-reply and URL shorteners.

Optimisation Toxins!

Image heavy (Ih)

There’s a saying that sometimes less is more and when it comes to images within email campaigns this is true too. When you add too many images you can damage your email campaign performance dramatically. Some email clients block image heavy emails and having too many images can also affect how long it takes for images to load within your campaign. Most subscribers will not wait for images to load which means you are more likely to miss out on them engaging with your email as they’d rather just move on. Try and stick to a 60:40 ratio when it comes to your text vs image ratio.

No-reply (Nr)

If you are sending campaigns and use a no-reply email address as your reply-to address it can have a negative impact on your campaign. Email is all about creating opportunities for your subscribers to connect with you. If you use a no-reply email address or an email address that doesn’t actually exist, you could be missing out on valuable interactions and alienate your subscribers by being impersonal.

URL Shorteners (S)

Email clients do not like URL shorteners as they are often used for phishing scams. Phishing is a type of scam whereby a fake message is designed and sent with the intent to get the target to reveal sensitive information to the scammer or for them to deploy malicious software on your network.

Let’s talk about email deliverability…

Next up we’ll take a closer look at elements in the email periodic table that relate to deliverability.

Deliverability Elements!

This category is made up of compliance, infrastructure and trust elements.

We’ll run through all the compliance elements as they relate to deliverability first, please note that some of these elements are focused on the American market due to the periodic table that was developed by Martech.

Compliance elements that relate to deliverability

Ac Ada Compliance Ada Compliance refers to the American Disability Act and requires that marketers meet the minimum requirements as set out in the act for American users.
Lt Logo Trademark Ownership It’s important that you only send emails and use branding like logos or trademarks that you own.
In Opt-in Don’t email anyone that hasn’t opted in to receive communication from you.
Od Sender Domain Sender domain is extremely important when it comes to deliverability as you should only send from domains you own.
La Laws You need to ensure that you are complying with any laws that relate to your marketing efforts within the regions you operate in.
Oo Opt-out There should always be a way for a subscriber to opt out (or unsubscribe) from your lists.
P Permission People should give you express consent for you to communicate with them.
Ph Physical Address You should always have a physical address displayed in your email campaigns.
In2 Double opt-in Double opt-in is best practice when it comes to how subscribers get added to your list and will generally lead to higher engagement rates as well as open rates.

Infrastructure elements that relate to deliverability

Don’t be alarmed if any of these elements seem a bit “techie” - in most cases you’ll never need to worry about these infrastructure elements as our platform takes care of that for you. Where we might need your input or adjustments from your end, we will always be sure to send over clear instructions.

Dn Domain name System The Domain name system is like the internet’s phone book, essentially how it connects to the numbers “behind” your URL.
P3 POP3 POP3 is an inbound server protocol that enables inbound email.
Ss SMTP Server Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is the server protocol that allows outbound emails to be sent.
Fl Feedback loops Feedback loops are really important when it comes to deliverability. You need to have a firm structure for how you are going to relay any complaints back to the sender.
Rm Reputation Management Reputation Management is something we take very seriously here at Mail Blaze. Essentially it is a process where we use tools to manage our sender-and-IP reputation.
Ua Mail User Agent A mail user agent is the program that makes sending and receiving emails possible.
Ip IP Address In terms of delivery, the IP you are on is really important, you get shared IP’s or pooled IP’s. An IP is the host or network interface identification and location address.
Sd Subdomains A subdomain is a domain that is part of a larger main domain. You want to ensure that you use branded domains under your top level domain.
Vc Verified Mark Certificate A verified mark certificate is a certificate that gets issued to people who use BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification).
Mt Mail Transfer Agent Inbound server protocols allow inbound emails.
Sf Sender Policy Framework Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication method that stops spammers from forging your domain.
Dm DMARC DMARC is the authentication that protects your domain from being spoofed.

Trust elements that relate to deliverability

There are two trust elements that affect your email deliverability in your campaigns, namely safelists and Sender Reputation.

Safelists (Si)

A safelist is basically a list where you’ve become a user-approved sender. In most cases, a subscriber is added to a safelist if they add you to their contact list. When a subscriber does this, your emails won’t land in their spam folder.

Sender Reputation (Sr)

Sender reputation is the measure email clients use to determine where they will place your email in your subscriber’s inbox.

Toxins that affect your email deliverability

Deliverability Toxins!

There are 4 email deliverability toxins namely:

  • Complaints
  • Hard Bounce
  • Purchased Lists
  • Soft Bounce

Complaints (Cm)

It’s a bad thing when your recipient marks your emails as spam. No one wants that and it can affect your deliverability going forward.

Hard Bounce (Hb)

A hard bounce is usually due to invalid email addresses on your list. These are really toxic for your email campaign performance. A hard bounce indicates that there is a permanent delivery failure to a subscriber. A hard bounce should be removed from your email list.

Purchased Lists (Pl)

Purchasing lists is always a bad idea, so bad in fact that Mail Blaze does not allow clients with purchased lists to use our platform. Purchased lists and rented lists are lists where you didn’t get permission from a subscriber on the list to communicate to them.

Soft Bounce (Sb)

Soft bounces are a less permanent form of emails not being delivered. Soft bounces can be related to full email inboxes or even happen when vacation autoresponders get sent back.

Deliverability traps exist…

Deliverability Traps!

Block List (Bl)

A block list is a list of unreputable, untrustworthy senders. (It’s a list we unfortunately have to keep).

Corporate Filters (Cf)

Corporate companies usually add filters to their corporate servers to protect themselves from scammers that can wreak havoc on their servers. These filters can affect your well-intended campaigns.

Desktop filters (Df)

Subscribers have a lot of options with regards to how they receive emails. Recipients are able to filter the emails they receive in their own accounts. To prevent them from automatically adding you to a folder where your emails won’t be read you need to ensure you stay relevant.

Gray Spam traps (Gt)

Gray Spam traps are spam traps that Email Service Providers use that contain recycled email addresses that flag spammers. Essentially it means that these addresses were active addresses at one point and then became inactive. If you want to avoid gray spam traps you’ll want to only email subscribers that have signed up with you in the last 6-12 months or have recently engaged with your email campaigns.

Pristine traps (Pt)

Pristine traps are traps that flag you as a spammer with real email addresses. You essentially might fall into this trap if you know that you did not get the email addresses on your list organically.

Spam filters (Sf)

A spam filter is a program that detects when unsolicited emails are sent (and they’re pretty hard to fool).

Typo traps (Tt)

This is a more common trap than you think, a typo trap is a spam trap that accounts for spammers who purposely use misspelled domain names to send.

Let us know what you think about the email marketer’s periodic table in the comments below.

  • Laurel Holmes
    Oct 12, 2021
    really useful, thank you.

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