Imagine getting just 79% of your salary…or if your country came home with just 79% of the Olympic medals they won. That is what is happening to your email. According to last year’s Email Deliverability Benchmark Report, only 79% of emails sent reach inboxes. If it were your salary or your medals, you would probably invest resources into understanding what went wrong and finding a solution…isn’t it time you did the same for your email marketing?
Here are seven things that email marketers do that are harming their sender reputation and killing their email deliverability:
1. Not watching your language
Certain words, when used in your subject line (and sometimes in the email body itself) trigger SPAM filters. Avoid these words in your email marketing: Credit, Best price, Sex, Cash, Discount, Free . . . there is an entire list, by industry published by Hubspot here. Avoid these words in your messages (along with using ALL CAPS, hashtags, “Re:” or “FWD:” and other deceitful practices).
2. The more, the merrier
Not prioritizing email list hygiene is a common problem, especially for inexperienced email marketers. Amateurs may look at a 3% conversion rate and wrongly assume that getting double the conversions comes from adding double the subscribers. In fact, a short, clean list is far more effective than a long one that is riddled with bounces, unsubs, and inactive users. Make sure your list is scrubbed (try tools like BriteVerify and EmailonAcid) to optimize deliverability and increase conversions.
3. Abdicating responsibility
Winston Churchill probably wasn’t referring to email marketing when he said that “the price of greatness is responsibility,” but he could have been! The best email marketers take responsibility by offering simple, clear, and easily found unsubscribe options. Beyond that, they (and you!) can also create an abuse email address and register that with www.abuse.net, an anti-spam advocacy group. Doing so tells anti-spam organizations that you take email abuse seriously and are committed to serving your subscribers honestly.
4. Too little too late (or too much too soon)
Email marketing messages must strike the perfect balance of time. That is – pummeling marketing messages at your subscribers as soon as they sign up is bad practice, but so is sending only one weak offer weeks after they sign up. To improve deliverability, your emails must be sent at a consistent cadence that is good for your subscribers.
5. All for one and one for all
Do not send the same email message to all subscribers. No matter what. Segmenting your list and sending a targeted and personalized message to each segment is always a good practice. In fact, segmenting your list improves open rates, lowers unsubscribe rates, reduces spam complaints, and has many other benefits.
If you think of every email message you send through the eyes of your different subscriber types and profiles, you will understand that each may find a different benefit in your message – so you share it differently to highlight that personalized benefit.
6. Not considering your help cycle
Nobody likes salesmen. We don’t like them when we want to buy a used car and we don’t like them in our inbox. Please – stop selling!
Instead, shift your focus to be one of helping your subscribers, not selling to them.
When you make that shift, everything will improve.
Consider the stage of the help cycle your customer is on and offer valuable help for them for that stage. If they are just researching, offer links to independent research. If they are comparing your solution to your competitors’, offer them a comparison table.
Be helpful and add value and you will easily find your way into more email inboxes.
7. Treating subscribers like Rodney Dangerfield.
If your subscribers are thinking "I don't get no respect!" then you are doing it all wrong. Respect their sacred inbox, respect their valuable time, and respect the trust they have in you. Do this by sending them relevant messages at the right time. Do this by honoring their privacy. Do this by genuinely apologizing if you ever mess up. Make this a question you ask yourself before each email campaign, “am I respecting my subscribers with this message?”
Getting only 79% of my salary would make me very angry and thinking that only 79% of my emails are hitting inboxes makes me equally irate. But understanding these 7 common mistakes and taking the steps outlined above to fix them will make your perfect deliverability almost as certain as death and taxes.