With all the positive rep email marketing has gotten over the last few years, it is safe to say that many businesses consider it a powerful tool.
However, email marketing works only if your emails are delivered to the user they were intended for. Otherwise, any and all efforts to form a relationship through this medium are simply a waste of time and money.
Thankfully, we came to that realization quite early. You see, as email marketing experts, it is our job to be the example for our clients. The picture below sums up more than 10 years of experience in crafting and sending great emails.
Having said that, we only managed to achieve such numbers because we know how to get an email to land in the inbox.
So, for now, you might wanna step back from the nuts and bolts of email marketing success and look at the bigger picture.
In this article, we will discuss some more advanced tips on email deliverability and how these can be implemented in an easy manner.
5 Tips to increase email deliverability
When it comes to deliverability, the quality of both your email addresses and your emails will determine your level of success. The following tips are going to take you one step closer to your goals.
Use a double opt-in or confirmation opt-in
You have probably faced the dilemma of single opt-in vs double opt-in. On the one hand, the user agrees to receive your emails simply by checking a box (if it’s not pre-checked already).
On the other hand, you need to take your potential subscribers through more clicks by having them verify their email address. Only those that want it bad enough will actually do what is required from them.
Seems like an easy choice, right? Less click equals more email addresses, I get it. But are you sure you want to get everyone and anyone signing up to your form?
Chances are, some of these people are not even aware of the emails they’re about to receive. Others may not even be part of your niche. Such cases can quickly lead to spam reports which, in turn, will decrease your deliverability.
For that reason, it is always best to ask for an email address confirmation. Not only will this ensure there is a person behind that address, but it will also confirm that they know what they’re about to receive.
If you want to see the process in practice, here is an example of how a double opt-in works. On the main page of a website, in this case, GamePlan, you see a pop-up box that is “fishing” for new subscribers.
After you enter your email address and click on the red SIGN UP button, GamePlan will ask you to check your email for an activation link that will verify your subscription.
Those who believe there’s value in GamePlan’s newsletter will check their inbox and click on the confirmation email.
And just like that you get high-quality subscribers, keep your list clean and increase the deliverability of your emails.
Add the company’s name in the “From:” area
You may think that this advice goes against everything you have been seeing about email personalization. And, in a way, it does. But wouldn’t you rather be fully transparent with your intentions beforehand?
Imagine yourself as a subscriber. An email comes in that look like this:
Now, you might start thinking about all the “Antonios” you know and come to realize that you don’t have any friends that go by that name. Therefore, out of curiosity, you open the email and this is what you find:
The email is totally promotional. And for some this may feel like they were tricked, lied to. Can you guess what they will do next?
That’s right, they will report this email as spam. And, in time, this will decrease “Antonio’s” email deliverability.
Instead, when you are sending an email representing a company, make sure you label the email as sent from <company name> or add your name and the name of the company (Dimitris from <company name>).
Here is how this looks in an example:
Since the email is meant to inform users about EVEN’s business, the company names the sender accordingly. As a result, subscribers feel more comfortable seeing such emails in their inbox and may even whitelist the sender.
Improve your Email Sender Reputation
You may have heard of this one before. The Sender Reputation is a score that you receive from Internet Service Providers (ISP) to measure the trustworthiness of your emails. It affects your deliverability in a positive or negative way depending on your email marketing practices.
While each ISP decides on several factors when it comes to your Sender’s Reputation, the following ones are the ones that are used most often:
- The frequency and amount of emails sent by you
- The number of people marking your emails as spam
- How often your emails are sent to Spam through Spam filters.
- Whether or not you are included in a blacklist.
- Your emails’ bounce rate
- How many subscribers engage with your emails (Open, reply, and click-through)
- The amount of unsubscribes you receive
So how do you score well in this one?
Essentially what you will have to do is follow the standard “good email marketing practices” that we have described in previous articles. Some of them include:
- Managing your email list correctly, by keeping it clean and deleting irrelevant or uninterested subscribers.
- Monitor your bounce rates (both soft and hard) and the levels of engagement over time.
- Give your emails proper structure, high-quality content and a clear Call to Action (CTA).
- Maintain a regular frequency and volume for emails sent through your email campaign.
- And, of course, follow all the tips within this article.
All in all, choose to be the person that subscribers are excited to read about by prioritizing quality and honesty over potential profits.
Implement a Sender Policy Framework
When it comes to email deliverability, the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is one of the more complicated areas of improvement.
What SPF stands for, essentially, is an email authentication protocol that enables webmasters to indicate which IP address(es) they use to send out their emails marketing campaigns.
And while this may sound kind of unnecessary it does make a difference in your deliverability.
An SPF-protected website does not allow spammers or phishers that operate through other IP addresses to send emails on behalf of your company. As a result, your emails won’t be delivered in the spam box and your email deliverability will increase.
- So, firstly, go ahead and create an SPF record.
- Once the record is created, you can upload it to your DNS. For hosting providers such as GoDaddy, the whole process takes only a few minutes. However, if your DNS records are administered by your ISP, you are better off contacting your DNS server administration. Email service providers will usually publish such records without the need for your involvement.
- Finally, you can test your SPF record with an SPF checking tool. You will be able to check upon the IP addresses that are authorized to send emails on your behalf.
Make communication your primary goal
You may have heard us talk about direct response copywriting before. When it comes to email deliverability, however, sales-based email frameworks are not your best pal.
Selling is honest, there is no doubt about it, and if people are aware that you will be promotional content then it’s all fine. But capturing an email address before making yourself perfectly clear about it can quickly backfire on you.
If you promise to give valuable information, but then turn your emails into advertisements (like our friend Antonio above) you will most likely lose your credibility and get spam complaints.
And we all know what happens when you email is marked as spam…
Avoid these 3 mistakes
Now that you have a better idea on how to optimize your deliverability, let’s take a look at a few mistakes that are often made, even by more experienced email marketers.
1. Don’t send too many emails
Lately, there is a trend being built around sending a lot of emails to subscribers for two main reasons that are both related to repetitive email exposure:
- To have subscribers memorize the brand
- To increase conversions
And while for some businesses (especially personal brands and influencers) this strategy seems to be working well, it could lead to a high number of unsubscribes in a short timeframe, which in turn decreases your email deliverability.
On top of that, numerous studies have shown that less frequent emails tend to perform better.
So you might want to start out by sending fewer emails and increase your frequency only is absolutely necessary.
2. Don’t add emails from giveaways and contests to your main list
Many businesses fail to understand this point. They will host giveaway upon giveaway to increase the size of their list, thinking that this is a great way to increase awareness of their brand.
The mistake happens when the host of the giveaway adds these email addresses to their main email list.
And that is because there is a huge difference between subscribers when it comes to the motivation for signing up.
- Giveaway entries are not interested in your newsletter or your brand. What they are interested in is winning that MacBook Pro.
- Such subscribers are more likely to unsubscribe and mark your posts as spam.
- When the giveaway is over, only a tiny fraction will keep opening your emails.
As you can see, these are all factors that add to decreased email deliverability. Therefore, it is a good idea to create a separate segment for such subscribers and send re-engagement emails (e.g. “Are You Still Interested?”) as soon as the giveaway is concluded.
If a subscriber goes through the process of replying to your email or responds to the CTA, you can transfer them to your main email list.
3. Avoid sending inconsistent emails
Very often email marketers will start by sending out one or two emails per week. This could be a weekly newsletter and an additional drip campaign. And while that goes on for some time, you might think that during the month leading up to, for example, Black Friday, you will send daily emails.
This changes your normal email flow which is something you ideally don’t want to do and the reason is simple.
Inconsistent and erratic emails can lead to lower your sender reputation and even lead to blacklisting. So, maintain a regular schedule with your emails even if there is an opportunity for higher conversions during a certain time period.
If you’ve made it this far, chances are that you got some new insights on email deliverability. The best thing you can do is keep some notes to briefly remember what we outlined in this short guide. For your ease, here is a short overview of the things we discussed:
Here is what you should be doing to increase your email deliverability:
- Use a double confirmation opt-in
- Add the company’s name in the “From:” area
- Improve your Sender Reputation
- Implement a Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
- Make communication your primary goal
And here are the things you should avoid doing:
- Don’t send too many emails
- Don’t add emails from giveaways and contests to your main list
- Avoid sending inconsistent emails
If you have any more questions regarding the information above as well as email deliverability in general, feel free to drop a comment and we will do our best to help you out.