In a world filled with social media posts, chatbots and messaging, email still plays a critical role in both your general business activities and marketing strategy.
Anyone who regularly emails guests and marketing leads knows, getting an email through to its intended recipient is like an obstacle course, filled with filters that will trip you up.
Campaign Monitor has reported that nearly 21 per cent of all permission-based email suffers from false positives which flag the email as spam, so it never reaches the intended inbox.
Obstacles can take the form of automated spam filters, either at the ISP or desktop level, that rate your email against a set of criteria.
In addition, there are human filters who feel the message is not relevant to them and block future communications. Worse, they might even report the business to their ISP – and this is something businesses can ill afford to happen.
As we try to deal with the excess noise from new technologies, spam filters have become widely used across nearly all marketing channels.
Forrester Research has found that 57 per cent of email users have filters built into the web-based email and 55 per cent into the ISP or workplace application. That’s a lot of clients trying to avoid your message.
So, assuming you have a clean subscriber list, what can you do to ensure your email gets through? Here are some top tips from Campaign Monitor to ensure email delivery success.
To authenticate means ensuring your email program is compliant by securing a valid identity on an email through authentication. This helps the ISP to identify a sender so they can protect their users from spam. As such, it avoids some filtering and reduces the chance for false positives.
There are two methods for authentication – IP based Sender Policy Framework and a signature-based approach supported by Yahoo! and Cisco. Both will help your deliverability rate, and when combined, work even better.
The process to modify your domain name records to indicate which IP addresses can send email may be costly. However, the repercussions of having a suspect domain/IP Address can be even more expensive to your business.
An alternative option is to outsource your email to an Email Service Provider (ESP) such as Campaign Monitor or MailChimp.
ESPs are whitelisted, have positive relationships with ISPs and ensure that their clients follow best practices. They provide easy access to email solutions that improve your ability to send emails recipients want to receive and open. They also:
- Reduce system-based flags that stop emails from being delivered
- Provide third-party spam scoring services, so problems are fixed before the email is sent
- Have a dedicated postmaster team to deliver emails 24/7
When 50 per cent of all measured email is considered spam and the average person receives 42 unwanted pitches a day, safe listing is an excellent way to avoid client filters and ensure delivery.
Safelisting is simply encouraging recipients to add your company to their address book or safe sender list. You have probably seen a request to do this in emails that you have opened. It can be the difference between successful email campaigns and failure.
In your next email campaign, ask recipients to add your business to their safe list – or make it easier and include a link to instructions on how to do it. This will fast track future emails to their inbox and not junk folder – at no cost to you.
Keeping it clean
Keep your list clean by asking permission to contact them by email as soon as possible – and as often as possible. List maintenance is crucial for deliverability success, so collect the right attributes and opt-in information and keep your data fresh by:
- Automating your opt-out suppression to cut stale names from your list
- Verifying data every month
- Delete persistent bounces
While your list may reduce in size, your deliverability will improve, and quality beats quantity every time. And remember, happy customers open their emails. Unhappy clients complain to ISPs.
Campaign Monitor suggests including an unsubscribe button at the top of all emails as well as in the footer. They believe that it is better to click this than the report spam button! It’s a quick fix that could prevent a complaint to the ISP.
Spam is no longer viewed as “I didn’t give permission”. Today, it includes “It doesn’t interest me” or “I don’t know who it is from”. And consumers know the difference between spam and opt-in email.
A recent study revealed that 93 per cent of users can tell the difference and won’t open spam emails. Indeed, 82 per cent won’t open a message from a sender they know if the information is not relevant.
How to handle this? Relevant, good quality content and targeted messaging from a trusted sender remains critical for success. You can also:
- Collect opt-in recipient profiles and preferences to target future content
- Personalise messages
- Tailor content to suit your profiles
- Respect their preferences and thresholds
And stay away from message overkill with hard-sell messages – do your clients need to hear from you so often? Would they prefer a weekly email over daily communication?
The ROI gains for relevancy and respect can be over 10 per cent. Remember, the critical factor in a consumer responding to your email is relevance – and more relevance.
Email real estate
Recipients place more value on whom the email is from than any other item when choosing which email to open. As a result, your email real estate – the from the field, subject line and content – is one of the critical targets that spam filters flag and a significant decider if a message is deleted or not.
- Make sure you always use the same name in from name, from address and subject line
- Use language to avoid any spam-catching phrases or special characters
- Avoid using words like free, you win, time-limited, guaranteed
- Test and re-work your subject lines to find the best approach
If your content looks spammy with loud colours, multiple fonts, capital cases, and exclamation points, the ISP is likely to view it as spam and flag it. And don’t send emails late at night. This is when spammers regularly mass blast.
Ensuring the deliverability of your emails is a complex issue but following these simple guidelines and complying with ISP policies, is a controllable problem. In addition, understanding and implementing best practices will help you create high impact communications that are read – and deliver results.
If you require any assistance with improving the deliverability of your emails, then check out the marketing consultants in our Supplier Network. They will be able to assist you at every step of your email journey.