In our previous post, we touched briefly on email deliverability and how essential it is for a viable marketing strategy. This is your success rate in ensuring emails are delivered into a recipient’s inbox. It is calculated by percentage when you divide the number of emails delivered in a campaign by the total number of emails sent. Deliverability is the first hurdle an email marketer has to scale, because without the ability to make it into your subscribers’ inboxes, every other thing is a wasted effort.

You should keep an eye on three major factors within your email marketing setup, in order to maximize deliverability of emails.

SENDING REPUTATION
Just like your reputation in real life, the sending reputation is a digital measure of your character and trustworthiness –it is hard to build and it stays with you for a very long time. Here are some ways to improve email deliverability through your sending reputation:

1. Double Opt-In Process: voluntary opt-in is the most ethically compliant way to build your mailing list and the bar has been raised even higher by encouraging double opt-in methods. Instead of adding subscribers via a one step process of filling a form, which is usually pre-checked, sending a follow up mail to confirm subscription is a better way of getting their consent. You could even allow subscribers select at the point of subscription, their preferred content and frequency. This has a positive effect on complaint rates in the long run.

2. Spring Cleaning: literally speaking, you have to put your house in order. Constantly review your mailing list for incorrect, dormant, or duplicate addresses. This is necessary to avoid high bounce rates, and complaints – both of which are injurious to your reputation and deliverability rate. Also, carry out re-engagement campaigns to win back unengaged subscribers, then remove those who do not wish to reengage with you.

3. Avoid Spam Traps and Blacklists: these two landmines are the worst places an email marketer could find themselves. Again, your list building process plays a huge role here. Do not purchase lists, as they usually contain one or more of these honey-pots designed to lure spammers. High complaints and a shady reputation will ultimately get you blacklisted. Click here to learn more about complaint rates and how to handle them.

CONTENT
This is the starting point of your entire marketing strategy The content should be relevant and properly presented to increase the chances of it being delivered to the recipient’s inbox.

4. Proper Coding and Formatting: most ESPs like Cloudy handle the back-end part of the email business, to ensure your message displays correctly, without technical glitches. For independent email developers and DIY nerds, you have to take extra caution with your emails to ensure they work properly and avoid a hot mess. Most mail clients will not deliver a message into the inbox if they identify errors in its digital format.

5. Well Crafted Subject Lines: this is the only portion of your mail that the recipient sees before deciding whether to open or not, so it requires some attention. You should avoid spammy keywords or all capital letters and an excessive use of symbols. Also stay clear of prefixes like ‘RE:’ or ‘FWD:’ in your headings. These are all red flags that ISPs look out for in filtering messages into the spam folder. See this post for tips on creating a killer subject line.

6. Balance Text to Image Ratio: emails composed majorly of images or just one large image with barely any text stand a higher chance of not passing the ISP filters, because this is a trick mostly used by spammers to bypass the safeguards, since the images cannot be read. It is recommended to maintain a text to image ratio of 60:40 in email campaigns for optimum deliverability.

7. Use Hyperlinks: inserting long URLs (like “http://blog.cloudy.email/email-subject-lines-best-practices/”) into email messages are so dated. Likewise, using URL shorteners which convert those long links to something shorter (e.g. “https://snip.ml/h2iBY“) have disadvantages. This is because it hides the nature of the link or its final destination – another favorite among spammers, which triggers spam filters. A better alternative is to use hyperlinks within the wording of your content, which link back to relevant landing pages.

8. Consistent Volume: by now, we should know that consistency is a key factor in most aspects of email marketing and drastic changes often have less than desirable results. You should strive for in the sending frequency of your emails, or number of recipients you send those emails to. If you suddenly go from sending 100 emails once a month, to 1,000 emails twice a week, chances are they will get flagged by ISPs. Your email marketing program may witness sudden growth, or you may have peak seasons in your business, but try to maintain a steady volume otherwise.

INFRASTRUCTURE
Because you need a solid foundation to build your marketing strategy on. Here are some ways in which infrastructure can affect your email deliverability:

9. Domain Name: it is always preferred to send commercial emails from an officially owned domain or authenticated sub-domain, instead of a personal email address e.g. “abcd@cloudy.email” as opposed to “abcd@gmail.com” In fact, most ISPs will block bulk email from an address using the same domain as the email client. Use a company owned domain that is the same as the one your subscribers signed up from.

10. Authentication: this is the process through which ISPs acknowledge your legitimacy and that of your emails. This is done by updating the records on your website’s DNS settings. SPF and DKIM authentication are the two effective ways to achieve this. Not only do they confirm ownership of the domain and authorization to contact people from that IP address, they also verify the origin of the email. This has a positive impact on email deliverability, even when ESPs send the mail’s on your behalf.

A bonus tip to ensure email deliverability in 2019 is to use a valuable email service provider with a solid reputation and ethical practices, because this reflects back on the performance of your email campaigns. Did you know that Cloudy.Email is hosted on Amazon’s infrastructure? This means we can guarantee high deliverability and open rates. Wouldn’t you rather mail with us?

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