The simplest email marketing question may also have the most complicated answer. As an email marketer, you want to wow your subscribers.
Then you want to see people sharing your content on Facebook and Twitter. You want people to open your emails and engage with them meaningfully.
It’s not just about sending beautiful, optimized emails. A better positioning of your campaigns will help them get through spam filters, get opened and acted upon by your subscribers. That’s email deliverability.
- What is email deliverability?
- 7 ways to sabotage email delivery
What is email deliverability?
Email deliverability is the percentage of emails that reach the inbox without being bounced or marked as spam. Email deliverability issues include high bounces, spam filters, and low engagement.
In this post, we’ll look at seven things you might be doing (without even realizing it) that harm email deliverability.
7 ways to sabotage email delivery
- Ignore your subscribers
- Send with no custom authentication
- Use of too many images in emails
- Sending message from a free domain
- Settling for single opt-in
- Use ambiguous or spam-flagging subject line
- Use of URL shorteners
1. Ignore your subscribers
Some old sayings are true: prevention is better than cure. This means first building a solid, permission-based list of people who have explicitly agreed to receive your emails.
To maximize the potential of your subscriber list and the engagement level of your recipients, you need to start off on the right foot and send.
People forget who you are and why they signed up for your emails if they don’t receive them for six months. Waiting too long to send your first email reduces your chances of making a good first impression in the inbox.
Instead, send a welcome email that encourages engagement and clicks, and gets your subscribers used to seeing your brand in their inbox.
Send regularly, but not too frequently. Depending on your industry and brand, one email every quarter or one every day is probably too little. Testing should reveal a sending frequency that works for both you and your subscribers.
2. Send with no custom authentication
A large part of email deliverability is avoiding being perceived as a spammer by spam filters and recipients.
Authenticating your emails is one of the best ways to do this. Authentication allows ISPs to verify your email sends. Receiving mailboxes can more easily determine if your email is genuine or not by using verified SPF and DKIM settings. Authentication is one of Gmail’s top recommendations for getting emails to users’ inboxes.
While Campaign Monitor handles authentication for you, we strongly advise you to set up your own SPF records and DKIM key to maximize email deliverability. Your network administrator can usually help you set this up.
Custom authentication settings increase email delivery rates.
3. Use of too many images in emails
Historically, spammers used HTML emails with only one or many images and little text to avoid spam filters that looked for spam keywords.
Spam filtering now prioritizes sending reputation over content, though the image-to-text ratio still matters and should be optimized.
Spammers’ emails with little text and lots of images, or just one large image, can be identified. By sending similar emails, you risk being marked as spam.
Instead, design your emails with this in mind, balancing images and copy so that even without images, your email makes sense and is engaging. Use alt text for your images so that even if they don’t render, your subscribers will know what they are.
4. Sending message from a free domain
Every element of your campaign must convince recipients and spam filters that you are who you claim to be.
Using a domain other than your own is a no-no. Free domain email accounts like Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google are also bad ideas. Under revised DMARC policies, Yahoo, Gmail, and other ISPs will automatically mark your emails as spam if you send commercial or bulk email to an address at their domain.
Instead, use a company address that clearly identifies you. This lets people know not only who is sending them the email (Virgin), but also what it is (a newsletter) and where it is coming from.
Using a send-from address tailored to this particular part of the business is critical for strong email deliverability.
Remember to use an address at a domain or authenticated sub-domain that you own. Not only will this help avoid ISP filtering, but it will also help build your domain’s sending reputation.
5. Settling for single opt-in
Confirmed (or double) opt-in means that people who sign up for your email list will receive a confirmation email.
Other than the sheer number of sign-ups, confirmed opt-in lists outperform single opt-in lists in almost every engagement metric.
You can build your sending reputation by sending to a more engaged and active list by using confirmed opt-in lists.
6. Use ambiguous or spam-flagging subject line
Your subject line is the welcome mat of your email, and if it looks like spam, people and the spam filters ISPs put in place will probably think it is.
Avoid ALL CAPITALS, excessive punctuation (!!! ), and only use symbols and SP$C!AL [email protected] when necessary.
Subject lines should follow the same rules as the rest of your email copy. Be brief, as many email clients will truncate long subject lines. Don’t forget to personalize, be creative with the copy, and be transparent with your subscribers.
7. Use of URL shorteners
URL shorteners are widely used by spammers to disguise the nature of URLs they link to, and are one of the main reasons spam filters block your emails, even if the links are legitimate.
Avoid using URL shorteners and putting the full URL in the email body. Instead, create a link with the appropriate text and make sure all links are valid and functional. Replace URL shorteners with clear and attractive CTAs to increase traffic and click-throughs. This is another way to improve your email deliverability.