You have created a great looking email, worked hard on getting the graphics right and ensured that your email looks good on all devices. Wouldn’t it be a pity if it was not delivered to your subscribers’ inbox and ended up in their spam folder instead?
Deliverability is a hot topic for email marketers. Email providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail & Outlook are constantly innovating on how to provide the most productive email inbox to their users, as this is a very competitive market. The same applies to ESPs like Moosend, which provide email services to their customers.
Email marketers are constantly puzzled on how to take advantage of the latest technology and more importantly on how to avoid having their nicely crafted emails being automatically sent to the Promotions or the Spam folder.
The more subscribers engage with your email campaigns, the more likely it is that your reputation score will increase. Open-rates and click-through rates are key metrics to watch and improve. Email providers monitor which emails do not engage with their users and work on eliminating them from the user’s inbox.
One of the key goals of email providers is to improve email productivity, and this means eliminating emails that the users are unlikely to engage. I personally see this on my email provider. Any emails that are unlikely to be clicked go to “other” folders so that my inbox is clean and lists only what is important for me.
We mentioned in detail many ways to improve engagement in our previous blog post.
You can however find the most important in bullets below:
There are probably a whole lot more tips, but this is not the scope of this blog post. The bottom line is that the more engaged your subscribers are, the more likely to keep a high deliverability rate.
It is well known that email providers use reputation and trust metrics and assign them to email senders. Building a strong reputation as a trusted source will also have a positive impact on your email deliverability.
Safeguard your IP address: The IP address is part of your online identity. Safeguard it by sending fewer emails per second or send emails in small batches at a time. At Moosend we do a great job when it comes to protecting our customer’s IP addresses used for email delivery.
Especially when you are just starting to send email campaigns you need to be careful not to hit the thresholds that email providers and ISPs use to block spammers or send the email straight to the spam folder.
Build your reputation from your first ever email campaign.
Implement a Sender Policy Framework – SPF: Reduce your email rejection rates by implementing SPF checks prior to sending your newsletter or other email campaigns. At Moosend we have implemented extensive SPF checks to ensure that email servers processing your email campaigns recognize you as a reputable source.
Reach out to inactive subscribers
Think of a strategy to turn your inactive users to engaged subscribers. Use incentives and provide them with a reason to engage with your emails. Inactive subscribers can damage your reputation as a trustworthy sender and therefore decrease your deliverability rates. If unsuccessful, move to the next step.
Act to remove inactive subscribers
While this may sound obscene, your email metrics will improve dramatically by eliminating users who never open your emails or never engage with them. It will also signal to email providers that most of your subscribers engage with your email campaigns so that they will give them a more prominent placement in the inbox.
Check frequently sender score against spam lists: If you suspect there is an issue with the deliverability of your email campaigns, check the major spam organizations and retrieve your score where this is available.
Most of you will agree that buying email lists is so 1999! Right? You should never buy an email list, the prospects there are not good and they never subscribed to get your email campaigns. They will most probably report you as spam and you will have your domain blacklisted.
This is pretty common knowledge for experienced email marketers but for many new email marketers it is not always that obvious why buying lists is an awful idea.
Whatever you do please DON’T BUY AN EMAIL LIST. It will not help you and you might even get sued for spamming!
At Moosend, we constantly look for ways to improve dashboards and reporting mechanisms so that our clients can focus more on creating great emails and less on monitoring performance.
For each email campaign sent through Moosend, there is a report on the campaign dashboard indicating the hard and soft bounces that occurred.
A hard bounce occurs when an email address is no longer active. Therefore an email is rejected upon delivery. Email service providers monitor hard bounces, and your campaign deliverability may suffer if there are much recurring of those.
Soft bounces, on the other hand, occur when the subscriber’s inbox is full, the server is down or unreachable. They will not necessarily mean that deliverability suffers from the service provider’s side, but it is a good idea to remove such emails from your list if soft bounces occur more than a few times (say 5).
Again this is something that will improve the overall metrics of your campaign, as you will end up only having subscribers who regularly engage with your emails. Soft bounces may also mean that the email is a secondary one that the subscriber uses to send all emails and subscriptions which are not interesting to them.
No one likes to be bombarded with emails daily or even more frequently sometimes! This creates fatigue at your subscribers which nurtures brand saturation (source:digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk )
Traditional marketers still try to bombard consumers with the same message over and over again via TV and radio ads, hoping to reach those that have a specific need in mind. I am sure you have seen adverts constantly repeated over long periods of time. The same is the case with email marketing and in fact with every other digital marketing channel.
The difference is that in the digital world more data is available or can be available to marketers. Consumers are willing to give personal information for more targeted offers. So instead of just sending off offers one after the other, it is much better to segment your mailing list(s) and send the right offer to the consumers likely to buy it.
Your marketing automation can get easily out of hand, too. Make sure your subscribers do not get bombarded each time they perform a certain action on your site and cap the emails they receive so they do not get frustrated or fatigue with your brand.
As with the other issues outlined in this post, endless emails will have a negative effect in your email deliverability as your reputation as a sender will suffer if many people delete your emails and never engage with them. Keep in mind that email providers are monitoring such patterns and your emails might end up in the subscriber’s promotions folder or worse in the spam folder.
While this may sound obvious, it is always a good idea to become more acquainted with the terminology and the tricks that spammers use. After certain periods of time, they do try to alter the words used in order to avoid being flagged by spam filters.
These filters work by examining the text content, the text over HTML ratio and other elements which are outside the scope of this article. When they come across words, phrases or tricks like excessive capitalization of words and S P A C E D-out words, which are common in spam emails they assign a score, and certain words may get assigned a higher score than others.
Typically, phrases like “cash”, “buy”, “as seen on”, etc. are an easy target for spam filters. However, they do not only stop there.
Sending HTML emails is trickier, especially if you are not using a quality HTML editor (like the one we have built in Moosend). Including empty HTML tags in your code, for example, is a spam sign for many filtering systems. Code from Microsoft Word notoriously contains many empty tags which can get your emails assigned a high spam score for no reason at all.
There are many other factors to think about, but the general idea is to create clean code which is valid. Use of quality HTML validation tools is highly recommended and will increase your email deliverability rates.
Bottom line: Use common sense
I know that you have a great product and you need to highlight this to your subscribers. It is easy to get carried away and just spam people out without even realizing it.
Using some due diligence is your safest bet to maximize your deliverability. After all, if your emails do not reach your subscribers, it does not matter how great your product or service is since no one is going to find out about it.
Work hard to build your trust and reputation metrics as a trusted source of emails without endangering your brand or your IT systems. Work with what works best for your subscribers based on the performance metrics for each of your campaigns. Don’t get on the brand fatigue bandwagon and personalize more for optimal results.
After all, people have subscribed to your mailing list(s) and are asking for your offerings. Just play smart, and you will succeed!
Are you applying these email deliverability ways into your marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments’ section!