You spend a significant amount of time, effort, and resources putting together email marketing campaigns and scheduling your email sends. But how many of those emails actually get delivered to your intended recipients?
If your emails are landing in the spam or junk folder — or not being sent at all — you won’t see much of a return on your efforts. The first, most important step in email marketing is making sure the email gets to the recipient’s inbox (thereafter, the subject line will determine whether they open the email and the content of the email will determine whether they click).
Here’s a step by step guide to improve email deliverability rates:
Plan a Small-Batch Send
Sending a very large batch of emails at the same time can be a red flag to ISPs on the lookout for spammers. Plan on sending small batches of emails to your larger lists and even segmenting the list to send from different accounts.
Register a Subdomain for Email Sends
Registering a subdomain is another way to mask your identity without breaking any rules so you can send a larger batch of the same email from the same company. Sending through your subdomain can help bypass some domain certification filters that may prevent you from sending some or all of your emails on schedule.
Use More than One IP Address or Email Vendor
Plan on using more than one IP address and/or email vendor to send bulk emails so you are splitting the traffic instead of sending a large batch all at once. Sharing the email send load among two or three IP addresses and accounts could help improve email deliverability.
You can split your traffic IP’s based on lists or segment quality.
Check Your Reputation Status
Make sure you're not spending time and resources on sending emails when an ISP has already flagged your account. If you have a low sender score — but haven’t been blacklisted — ISPs will automatically reject all emails you send. You can find out what your domain or IP address looks like in the eyes of an ISP by using the free Sender Score tool.
Stick to a Schedule
Spacing out how many times you send an email over a given week and being consistent with the days of the week you send your emails can help improve email deliverability. For example, you could send out small batches of emails from two different IP addresses or a subdomain on Mondays and Thursdays each week. This type of consistency can help you maintain a positive reputation with ISPs so your accounts don’t get blocked.
Have an Opt-In Strategy
Giving your recipients a chance to request more communication from you clears you from being considered a spammer. Either have them click to confirm a subscription or opt-in to a newsletter, offer, or other content that you plan on sending so your account isn’t reported as spam.
Clean Up Your List
Take the time to purge your list of outdated contacts, invalid email addresses, or accounts that have not responded to opt-in requests regularly so you aren’t sending large volumes of emails that get sent back or reported as spam. You will need to be more mindful of this as your list grows.
Change Your ‘From’ Name
Consider using a real person’s name, such as the name of a staff member from the company, plus the brand or company name as the sender. For example, you might use Lisa from [Your Company Name] as the sender name so that the recipient senses the email is coming from a real person and is not just a mass email. Be consistent with this effort by using the same name for every email send so the recipient gets used to seeing that in their inbox — and is less likely to report it as spam.
Run a Spam Check
Another way to check your sending reputation is by running a spam check. Some email providers have a built-in spam check tool that can help you troubleshoot delivery issues quickly. Be sure to make full use of these tools so that you are not unknowingly sending emails that will automatically be marked as spam.
Make Sure You’re Not Already Blacklisted
If you’ve been blacklisted by your ISP, anything sent from your server will be rejected automatically. You can use free online tools like MX Lookup to make sure your mail serve has not been blacklisted for some reason.
Avoid Misleading Subject Lines
Sending emails with misleading subject lines is considered to be deceptive practice and your ISPs will detect it. Be mindful about whether you are delivering on your promise when you send out an email so you aren’t guilty of sending fake emails or spamming your lists.
Don’t Send Attachments or Embed Videos
Attaching any type of document or image, embedding a video, or adding other files to your email will bog down the email and make it a bigger file size than average. Some users may not be able to download and open the attachments while others may have problems opening the email as their virus scanner detects all the attachments. If you need to send any type of media or additional content, consider dropping a link within your email instead.
Segment and Diversify
In financial circles, when you invest, experts will tell you to diversify your portfolio to reduce risk. Much the same strategy can be used in email marketing. For example, your transactional emails – which subscribers expect and anticipate – can often be sent from a lower cost provider. If a subscriber is missing a payment receipt, they may check their spam or “promotional” folders to find it. But when it comes to marketing emails where subscribers may not have marked you as a “known” sender, you may need the extra help of a higher cost provider. In these cases, it makes sense to diversify, or load-balance, your email marketing segments . . . and maintain stats on the entire group. Such capability comes with a front-end solution like Ongage.
Email deliverability plays an important role in all your email marketing efforts and can make or break a campaign. Making sure your emails are well-designed and appeal to the recipient is only part of your strategy. You need to make sure your emails bypass all spam filters and end up landing in the recipient’s inbox upon the first send. Use these tips to improve email deliverability for a successful email send week after week.
To find out more on email deliverability, check out our comprehensive guide!