E-mail marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies being used by companies of every scale. Though the concepts of the old-fashioned e-mail blast have seen decreased effectiveness in recent years. To the point where it needs some targeted and strategic reinvention. This includes making sure that the e-mail lands in the person’s primary in-box and not simply dumped into spam or promotional folder where it will likely never be seen.
This involves taking care of some key nuts and bolts details to improve e-mail deliverability rates, which will factor heavily into conversion rates from new customers as well as repeat business from previous customers.
Develop A Valid & Trustworthy IP Address
Most of the best ISP filters are designed to defend against spam emails shunting them to folders where they likely will never be seen again. Testing how these ISP filters perceive your IP address can start with sending small batches of emails to addresses that you know are already engaged.
When these emails are received and opened by already engaged users it will start to establish a pattern with ISP filters that demonstrate your IP is trustworthy. As time goes on, you can increase the number of emails toward your targeted peak volume.
Register A Subdomain & Use It Actively
If you already have an active subdomain, you can use it exclusively for email marketing purposes. As time goes on, engaged users will come to trust the subdomain. It also allows for domain-specific monitoring of your IP’s reputation which plays in your favor when it comes to domain-based certification filters.
Develop A Sender Policy Framework
An effective SPF will help to increase your trustworthiness in the algorithms of the receiving email server. This server will then cross-check the domain name against your associated IP address to ensure that it is legitimate. This helps prevent rejection, or your e-mail being redirected to some type of spam folder.
Investigate Your Sender Reputation
A low sender score can be a major factor in whether or not an ISP filter will automatically reject your incoming emails. If your sender’s reputation falls below a certain score it can be rejected outright. Your score is calculated by using traditional email metrics such as unsubscribes and spam reports.
The closer your score is to 100, the more likely your e-mails are to be accepted and delivered to a user’s inbox. So, keep a close eye on your score, which can usually be sourced for free via a third-party site.
Watch For Feedback Loops
Many ISPs provide feedback loops where the email sender can gain information about the recipient. This includes information such as who has complained about that sender’s email. Major ISPs like Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft provide this information easily. However, Google’s Gmail allows users to set a Feedback Loop header that doesn’t use the traditional ARF format like a lot of other FBLs.
Implement A Consistent Delivery Schedule
One of the things that can lower your sender score, which puts you at increased risk of IP rejection is random and erratic broadcast activity. It helps to develop and stick to a regular schedule with your emails, to avoid sending spikes, which can reduce your chances of having your e-mail make it to an intended user’s inbox.
Use A Confirmed Double Opt-In Or Opt-Out Feature
A single opt-in or opt-out has the user agrees to receive an email simply by clicking a box, or by leaving the pre-checked box unchanged. While this might seem like a great strategy to harvest email addresses it can also backfire on you by producing a high amount of spam complaints, which can lower your score. There are even some ISPs that will start blocking sending servers after just two or three spam reports per one thousand emails.
By using a double opt-in, you might reduce the number of e-mail addresses you harvest. Though you will ensure that the ones you do harvest are quality leads, that the user validates. It also helps you better harvest some of their demographic information, which can be used to send targeted content in the future.
Occasionally Purge Your List
Repeatedly sending marketing emails to non-existent users can gradually start to increase your bounce rate while destroying your long-term credibility. By removing all inactive recipients from your list every two to four months you help maintain healthy credibility levels. This will go a long way toward preventing hard bounce rates while providing you with more quality leads that you can target if necessary.
Filter Your Consent Entry Lists
Giveaways and free signups might allow you to harvest a high volume of addresses, though they often tend to be low-quality leads that don’t convert to quality sales. Worse still, the high bounce rate can reduce your reputation score. Especially when you consider that a lot of people will try to enter themselves multiple times using invalid or nonexistent email addresses just in hopes of winning the prize. If you do want to use a contest or giveaway to increase email subscribers, then you need to vet this list thoroughly before adding it to any active e-mail marketing campaigns.
Limit Your Contacts To One To Two Per Week
Sending too many e-mails out to your list will make you look like a run-of-the-mill e-mail blast unless you have regular, fresh and unique content that your users find valuable. To the point, that even users who see you appear in their inbox will simply ignore your e-mail messages. So, it’s best to only send out e-mails at a frequency of one, or perhaps a maximum of two per week. Of course every industry is different. If you have a large list for your e-commerce site, and you have a large product assortment, sending out emails daily is quite acceptable.
Use Your Company Name In The From Line
Making sure your company can be quickly identified by including your brand or company name in the “From” line will help to reduce spam complaints. It can also go a long way toward improving open rates.
Generate Your Own Lists
It can be tempting to buy or rent an e-mail list from a third-party source. Unfortunately, the quality of these leads tends to be over-promised and ultimately under-delivers. This is especially true of providers who simply harvest e-mail addresses through automatically checked boxes, or who perform minimal vetting in the lists they produce before offering them up to you and competing e-mail marketers. Using these low-quality lists can increase your bounce rate and lower your IP’s validity with ISP filters.
Create High-Quality Titles
The titles you use for your e-mails need to be thoughtfully worded and targeted. This way when you do make it past an ISP filter the recipient is more likely to open it. Even little things like using capital letters, colored text, and exclamation points can also reduce open rates, increase bounce rates, and with some ISP filters can even get your e-mail outright rejected.
Most e-mail platforms won’t let users view rich-media directly in the message itself. If your message is truly dependent on video or motion graphics, try to create a second link or a graphic that allows the user to play the message.
Don’t Use Embedded Forms
A lot of e-mail platforms don’t support embedded forms. Including them can be a waste of time and energy, while also increasing your bounce rate and putting you at risk of being reported as spam e-mail by the recipient.
Don’t Send Attachments
If you want to provide an intended user with more in-depth information such as a PDF document or a word file, provide them with a link to where they can download it from your website. If you attach the document it significantly increases your risk of it being rejected by the ISP filter.
Be Modest With Use Of Images
It’s good to make your e-mails visually interesting. Most users will disregard a complete sea of text. Though you also don’t want to overuse images or embed overly large images. Not only can it be visually distracting, but the overall size of the e-mail might also trigger a rejection by an ISP filter.
Make Sure To Follow Legal Regulations
This is also a legal aspect of sending e-mail lists. You need to provide people with information on how to remove themselves from your list, as well as validation of your physical location to stay compliant with the current ecosystem of regulations. Then make sure to honor those unsubscribe requests when they are entered.
Segment List By Personalization & Users Engagement
It’s also a great idea to put your lists users into various groups depending on how they interact with your website. Ideas such as dropped carts segments, segments based on shopping category, or even open frequency can help you better craft emails with subject lines and content personalized to their likes / dislikes. For example, if you sell red and blue widgets, but they landed on a red widget page, and didn’t buy, then send them an auto email about buying red widgets, with an expiring coupon code. Or if they purchased a red widget, then you can follow up with the benefits of the blue widget.