Email deliverability is a big issue for any business owner or online marketer who is using email as a marketing channel. It’s important to understand “email deliverability” in the context of the other email marketing metrics.
Email deliverability is the first line of defence when it comes to getting your subscribers to open your email messages and take the desired action. In other words, if the email message is not delivered in the first place, inbox vs. junk folder placement is a non-issue nor is whether or not they open the message, read it, or click on a link inside of the email message.
So, before we can look at any of the other metrics to help judge the effectiveness of your email marketing, we need to look at email deliverability best practices.
These 6 email deliverability best practices will help ensure that the ISPs don’t turn your messages away before they reach your subscriber.
- Email Authentication– this is really just a fancy way of saying “to prove that the email is coming from the person or entity that it says it is”. There are a number of methods used to authenticate a Sender’s domain including SPF, SenderID, DKIM (DomainKeys identified mail), DomainKeys, and more recently DMARC (domain-based message authentication reporting). It is important that these are in place and set up properly.
- List Hygiene. List hygiene is, perhaps, one of the most important email deliverability best practices to pay attention to after proper email authentication. List hygiene is also something you have total control over whether you are hosting your own email client or using a 3rd party provider (ESP).
- Register for Feedback Loops. If you are hosting your own email program, you’ll have to register for feedback loops manually for each of the ISPs. If you’re using an email service provider, they will handle removing subscribers from your list who click the “spam” button. However, it’s not enough to just remove complainers from your list. You should also be monitoring your complaints. Which types of messages generate the highest complaints?
- Be Consistent. This is an area that is most overlooked. Yet, it goes hand in hand with email deliverability best practice #2 and #3. If you send to your list sporadically, you’ll have higher numbers of unknown recipients as people change their email addresses fairly regularly and turnover is pretty substantial. In addition, if your subscribers haven’t heard from you in 3 months, they’re more likely to hit the spam button because they either don’t remember signing up for your list or are no longer interested in the messages.
- Pay Attention to Engagement. Engagement metrics are essential when it comes to email deliverability and this one issue is going to play a larger role in the future. It’s not about the size of your list, but rather the quality of your list. For any subscribers that haven’t taken some sort of action in the last 3-6 months, consider sending your campaigns from a different IP address AND instituting a re-engagement plan for those subscribers. Keep your most active subscribers separate to ensure the highest email deliverability rates (and highest inbox placement rates).
- Check Your Domains. There are 3 main reasons messages get blocked before they ever get to your subscribers. These include IP-reputation issues, message content, and blacklisted domains. Unfortunately, most email marketers don’t know that domains in the email messages can be causing blocks. And if you’re using an ESP, they virtually never tell you. So… it’s important to pay careful attention to every domain in the message and check each of them against known blacklists prior to sending.
These are some of the best email deliverability practices that you need to pay attention.