Email marketing is no easy task, from crafting the perfect subject line to optimising your CTA, but these are only part of the story. Before you can maximize your open rate and engagement, you must first make sure that your emails are actually being delivered and finding their way to the inbox.
According to Return Path’s 2017 Email Deliverability Benchmark Report, 20 percent of email never reaches the inbox. So theoretically, one out of every five of the emails you send never makes it to the inbox. And that is a lot of lost potential leads and missed opportunities.
So what should you do?
Build your credibility
Taking care of the reputation of your IP address is a top priority in email marketing. If you are just starting with a new dedicated IP address or have added a new one to your existing IPs, it is best practice to slowly warm up the new IP and build its reputation.
Emails from a new IP can easily get blocked because it has no reputation record. It’s like being fresh out of college and not having enough work experience.
Start with small volumes:
ISPs look at sending volumes to check for similarities to typical spammer behaviour. Spammers normally send a huge volume of email all at once, so if you blast a whole lot of email in one go – without first establishing a credible reputation, you can potentially be marked as a spammer.
Start with your most engaged subscribers:
The small list of people you are sending to at the start should be your most engaged customers: those who have opened, clicked or purchased recently. The goal is to establish your credibility as a sender in the eyes of ISPs. Show them that your readers are happy to hear from you and that you manage your lists well. Diligently monitor reports coming back and clean out bounces and unsubscribes right away.
Establish a consistent sending schedule:
Send out email on a regular basis, even daily, to all ISPs in your list. Let all servers receiving your mail get to know your IP address with a recognizable schedule pattern. It is not necessary to segment per ISP and assign a particular day to each one. If you use several IPs, it is not necessary to rotate IPs either. Regular and frequent is key. ISPs hold records for only 30days so you will need to warm up again if you don’t send out mail in any 30day period.
Some other things to consider:
If you’re experiencing send problems, or even if you’re not, it’s a good idea to check the blacklists. These DNS-based blacklists are created to protect users from IPs that have received a high volume of spam reports. Make sure that your IP is not on this list. You can do a quick free check on your IP using MXToolbox. Or if you are an e-shot customer you can use our Forensics tool to review the key elements of your deliverability; content, infrastructure and reputation.
Spring clean your data regularly
If you’re sending your marketing emails to non-existent users, you’ll ramp up your bounce rate and destroy your send credibility. Every now and then, remove all inactive recipients from your list filtering out all users who have not opened or clicked your emails in a few months.
According to Oracle, “high hard bounce (invalid) rates are the fastest way to trigger filtering and blocking on your new IP.” You may want to use a paid service to clean all hard bounces before you launch a fresh email marketing effort.
Additionally, you could use our email validation service to catch duplicates, typos, outdated domains, do-not-email records, bogus addresses, and other common user errors.
Use branding in your “from” name.
Using your brand’s name in your “from” line will help to reduce spam complaints. It’s also been proven to improve open rates. Increasingly, some companies use a front person, an individual, to head up their email marketing in order to give it a more personal feel. You can still use this approach. Just add “from [business name]” after the individual’s name.
Simplify your opt-out process
If someone can’t quickly find the unsubscribe box, they may end up marking your email as spam in order to avoid receiving future emails from you. Getting spam complaints is toxic to your IP and your email deliverability. So what you want to do is place an unsubscribe button in a conspicuous location so that people can find it without any fuss.
Provide a preference centre
Once your recipients have agreed to receive email from you, provide a preference centre so that they can decide just how frequently they want to receive email from your brand. Doing so helps put your recipients in control and helps keep them happy. This happiness generally translates to better engagement. Read more in our preference centre piece.
These are just a few suggestions how to improve your email deliverability and ensure that your messages get through to the recipients just as you planned making your marketing campaigns more successful.
There are many technical elements to making sure your email marketing gets delivered, but the most important aspects of good deliverability relate to your data and your content. Learn about the five things you should be doing to keep your emails out of junk in our dedicated webinar.
We are confident that we can help you, which is why we offer a free healthcheck to identify potential issues with your current programme and free advice on things that could be done to improve it.