Recently, we shared advice from experts about How to Keep Your Email List Clean. Taking their advice is a great start to effective email marketing practices. To take it a step further is to maintain both a clean list and a clean IP. Today, experts reveal how to do the latter.
Simple Tips for a Complex Issue
Haley Gong, International Marketing Executive at Webpower offers these best practices:
“In general, it can be separated into two parts: technical and content.
1. Always use a dedicated IP address. Often, email service providers give you options of sharing an IP with other companies, or having one IP dedicated for your business. If budget allows, the latter is always better. With shared IP, you have no control of what others are doing, and misconducts by other companies affects your email reputation tremendously. With dedicated IP, you possess the full control of everything that is sent. Thus, it is more likely to retain good reputation with a dedicated IP.
2. Obey the rules. It goes without saying that you have to comply with the internet policy of each country. Moreover, each ISP has their own rules and your email can be easily blocked if you break them. Often, these ISP rules pertain to sending frequency, email language, complaint rate, etc.
3. Maintain a clean database. Delete or archive the invalid email addresses in your database every now and then. If not, you will generate a low delivery rate. With low deliverability, you are less likely to be upgraded by ISPs (be granted more sending volume, being whitelisted etc.)
1. Be relevant, be relevant, be relevant! Content irrelevancy is the primary reason for readers to unsubscribe. If they receive content they don’t care about, they will mark you as a spammer. As a result, your email reputation is jeopardized.
2. Avoid spam words. Including words like ‘free’ in some of your emails is OK, but don’t use it too often. You will likely annoy your readers and receive spam complaints.
3. Don’t forget the unsubscribe link. Some companies retain readers by hiding the unsubscribe link in the email. If you don’t allow readers to unsubscribe easily, they will simply mark you as a spammer—it’s even worse. ”
Let People In and Ditch the Contests
Chris Brantner, founder of CutCableToday.com manages a clean email list and a clean IP and has these pieces of advice:
“1. Don't add people to your list. Whether you think they want to be on it or not, make sure people add themselves. You're way less likely to get spam
complaints from people that opt in on their own.
2) Avoid spammy contests. We ran a contest early on and ended up receiving a lot of complaints for it. Looking back, I really think it was the title.
The free giveaway jargon in the title is just asking to be flagged as spam. ”
Use Best-in-Class Tools
Natalie Green, PR Manager at PCApredict.com offers this:
“If you are still blasting your email campaigns to a stale or purchased email list, you are not only wasting your time and money, you could be doing some serious damage to your brand and email IP reputation.
While cleansing your email data lists is a good step towards ensuring data quality, it is far more difficult and time consuming to correct collected data than it is to validate the data at the point and time of collection.
According to PCA Predict, more than 17 percent of email addresses entered contain some sort of typo or mistake. Adestra’s 2016 Consumer Adoption & Usage Study also turned up a scary statistic: More than 50 percent of consumers have given out fake email addresses when brands ask for them. This will obviously have a negative impact on email performance but sending to bad addresses can also significantly damage your company’s reputation, potentially blocking emails from arriving with genuine recipients in future.
Premium data entry verification tools are the best way to ensure data quality by capturing accurate and verified email addresses at the time of entry. These tools can go beyond just checking for an @ symbol and a valid domain, by detecting whether the email mailbox really exists and can receive incoming mail. Using these tools can improve the percentage of emails that make it to the inbox, reducing your risk of being blocked by Internet Service providers, and eliminating the risk of getting shut down by your Email Service Provider.
Collecting good quality email addresses, however, is sadly not the end of the story. Data starts to decay from the very moment that it is collected. People change names, move jobs and ultimately change their email address. It’s for this reason that your email lists need to be regularly cleansed and screened using a batch cleanse tool. ”
The List, the Sending Infrastructure, and Campaign Behavior
Chris Byrne of sensorpro.net explains that “Keeping a clean email reputation has three main factors: the list, the sending infrastructure and campaign behavior.
Here are 4 tips:
1. Ensure that the subscribers are opted-in and this is not a purchased list. The latter will degrade your sending reputation. How you manage bounces has an impact on your reputation also. Should you keep sending to a bounced email, folks like GMAIL will probably block
you so it's important to manage this well.
2. The infrastructure is important in that it should be capable of distinguishing between hard and soft bounces. It should also be set up so that it obeys GMAIL sending rules. Fall foul of that and the results will be obvious. GMAIL also changed the rules for sending email to an inbox on Feb 29, requiring a higher level of security. If your email shows a red padlock next to it, then it's not secure and will be flagged by gmail.
3. Your email vendor should also be able to detect if a subscriber hits the report spam button and automatically opt them out. Sending email to subscribers who have hit the report spam button will cause all your other email to GMAIL and Hotmail to get blocked. So quite important.
4. You or your vendor should be registered with all the various feedback loops. For example, Microsoft SNDS reports daily on your activity and can even report Spam traps. Hotmail (now Live) recycles old email addresses that are dormant. Keep sending to those and you will fire their spam trap. So it's best to weed out these emails from your list (i.e., remove email that has not been opened in over a year with a re-engagement campaign).”
Be Honest and Let People Out
Alex Reichmann, CEO of iTestCash advises:
“Keeping a clean email reputation: Two things I think are very important for keeping a good reputation for your business e-mail account.
1. Always keep your email subject lines honest. People don't like deceptive e-mails and doing so could turn away potential customers. The best e-mail topics are ones that get straight to the point. If you are advertising a sale on your website, let your subscribers know right away! With all the marketing that goes on these days, it is good practice to be straight forward and honest.
2. Have an easy opt out option in your e-mails. By doing this you will avoid getting spam reports and it is a very standard practice. It should also be very easy. If someone wants to opt out if your emails it should be as easy as a click. Any reputable e-mail lists will have an opt out option at the bottom of their e-mails. ”
Get Another Domain
Randy Downs of Downs Consulting Services says, “The best way to keep a domain safe is to use another domain for the email
lists. Registering a domain is relatively cheap and well worth the cost of keeping your main domain SPAM indicator clean.
For a company with a domain called bestadvice.com, they could have a separate domain called bestadvice.info.
The registrar of the domain usually has some free email accounts and you probably only need one for your email list.
In the case above, we can use firstname.lastname@example.org for our email list and our clients will probably not notice the change in the domain.
Emails sent to email@example.com can be forwarded to bestadvice.com so we won't miss any email.
Add a Manual Process
Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, the Uber for lawn care sends over 10,000 emails a day to subscribers and lives and dies by his email deliverability rate. He suggests, “Include an unsubscribe link in every email, but also ask subscribers, at the bottom of each and every email, to reply “stop” if they no longer want to receive the correspondence.
Then, manually process those responses to make sure they are removed.
That gives users an easy way to opt out. It has reduced our complaints drastically by 80%.
We also place every single transactional email under a microscope and ask ourselves, “is this absolutely necessary to bother our user with?” If we can prune it out, we do.
These methods have allowed us to keep a 99% deliverability rating with all of our transactional emails as deliverability is critical to our business success.”