Most marketers understand the importance of email marketing. Given that 73% of marketers rate the ROI of email marketing as either “excellent” or “good,” higher than any other channel, you can’t afford to ignore it. But marketers often forget about the importance of email deliverability.
You might have written killer email copy, the perfect subject line, and an irresistible call to action. But the best marketing email campaigns in the world are no good to you if they don’t reach your prospective customer’s inbox!
Read on and I’ll teach you my eight top tips to improve email deliverability.
1) Check your sender reputation
A strong sender reputation makes it more likely that more of your emails will be delivered correctly. It’s made up of a combination of IP reputation (more on that in a minute) and domain reputation. Factors that impact sender reputation include spam complaints, bounces, and engagement rates (such as opens and clicks).
It’s easy to check your sender reputation and there are several tools that can help you. Sender Score is a free tool that lets you see your score by entering your IP address and a few personal details:
Your sender reputation is a number between 0 and 100. Anything above 90 is considered a good score. Anything below that indicates room for improvement.
And if your sender score is lower than you would like, what can you do about it? Follow the rest of the tips in this article to start improving your reputation and your deliverability rate.
2) Improve your IP credibility
An IP address is a unique identifier for your device. Every internet-capable device has one. Since your IP address is connected to every email you send, email providers can monitor your sending practices and brand your IP address as credible or not accordingly. If you are struggling with email deliverability or a poor sender reputation, low IP credibility may be the culprit.
Here are a few ways to improve your IP credibility:
- Only send emails to those who have opted in.
- Separate your marketing emails from your transactional emails. Transactional emails include things like receipts and order confirmations. Sending them through different servers ensures that one does not negatively impact the other.
- Steadily build your credibility by sending just a few emails at first and then slowly increase the volume. This “warms up” your IP address, priming it for better performance later on.
3) Increase engagement
Did you know that email engagement, such as open rate and click-through rate, directly impacts on your deliverability score? This is because engagements are factored into your sender reputation. Therefore, everything you do to increase engagement will not only grow your conversions but improve your deliverability as well.
There are many steps you can take to increase engagement with your marketing emails. Here are just a few of the most effective:
- Segment your email list. By sending highly targeted email communications to specifically designated customer groups, you’ll increase relevance and therefore engagement rates. People are much more likely to open an email that is clearly relevant to them. Use factors like demographic data, purchase history, and geographical location to segment your list. For example, if you owned an ecommerce website selling clothing, you might segment your audience by gender.
- Personalize your emails. 82% of marketers reported that their email open rates improved when the messages were personalized.
- Use a great subject line. 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line alone, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. The most impactful subject lines are 6-10 words long and use the recipient’s name:
Don’t be afraid to try things out and tweak your emails accordingly. Run A/B tests with different elements to see what works best. A small change can make a big difference.
As your engagement rate increases, you’ll see your deliverability rating soar, too.
4) Keep your email schedule consistent
Erratic email activity, where you send nothing for some time and then a flurry of emails all at once, is a major culprit when it comes to low IP credibility.
Therefore, a simple way to improve your deliverability score is to keep your email schedule consistent. Aim to send the same number of promotional emails each week, and to send them on the same day at approximately the same time.
Exactly how often you’ll send marketing emails depends on your business. Smartrmail found that companies that sent 4 to 8 emails per month enjoyed the highest open rates.
5) Use a double opt-in confirmation
Most businesses use a single opt-in process. This means that the customer enters their email address, checks a box, and voila – they’re signed up. Though this might seem like the most sensible strategy due to its simplicity, it can actually lead to a high number of spam complaints.
The best way to mitigate this problem is to use a double opt-in. Here’s an example:
By using a double opt-in, you ensure that only those who really want to receive your content will end up on your mailing list. Your overall subscription numbers might be slightly lower, but they will be of much higher quality and your delivery rates will improve as a result.
6) Use an email verification tool to clean up your email list
Sending too many marketing emails to email addresses that are incorrect or no longer active will make your bounce rate soar and your deliverability score plummet. Therefore, you should clean up your email list frequently. The best way to do this is by using an email verification tool.
There are lots of great, and affordable email verification solutions on the market. Examples include Voila Norbert and Find Emails. Simply upload your list, let the tool do its thing, then download your newly cleaned-up data.
7) Use a consistent email sender name
Your email sender name is the name that appears alongside the subject line of your email, telling the recipient who it is from. Your email sender name should meet two criteria: transparent and consistent.
In other words, it should say exactly who you are and what company you are from. It should also be the same in every marketing email you send. This is because consistency allows your recipients to immediately recognize you, making them less likely to report your emails as spam. I recommend using both your name and company name to build familiarity.
8) Make it easy to opt out
This might sound counterintuitive, but stay with me. By making it easy for subscribers to opt out if they no longer want to receive your communications, you’ll end up with a higher deliverability rate.
There is one main reason for this: if a subscriber can’t find a button to opt out quickly and easily, they’ll likely mark your emails as spam to stop receiving them. More emails marked as spam means lower IP credibility, a reduced deliverability rate and more emails ending up in spam folders.
In addition, a disgruntled subscriber who can’t find a way to opt out is bad for your business reputation. If you wish, you can use an exit questionnaire to find out why they opted out:
Keeping your email deliverability high and bounce rate low
If you want to be successful with your email marketing, you need to make sure your emails are consistently reaching your subscribers’ inboxes. The only way to do that is to make an effort to improve your deliverability score and keep it high.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to keep your deliverability score up. You just need to observe a few points of best practice. Follow the simple strategies I’ve outlined for you here, and you should see fewer spam complaints, more engagement, and higher conversions.
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO and co-founder of Shift4Shop, an ecommerce software to build SEO-friendly online stores. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.