Email deliverability is crucial for any email marketing campaign. It’s really not a difficult leap: even if you come up with the finest marketing strategy, if no one sees your messages, what’s the point?
Achieving high rates of email deliverability is a continual process and is closely linked to your overall strategy.
First of all, you should focus on your email reaching recipients’ inboxes and not their spam folders. However, even that isn’t enough — it is also crucial that your emails don’t get marked as spam.
To decipher email deliverability properly, monitor the inbox placement rate (IPR). The IPR is the percentage of emails delivered to recipients’ inboxes, messages flagged as spam, and rejected and blocked messages.
In this regard, there are two crucial points, which we will explain briefly below.
Firstly, make sure to include a clearly visible unsubscribe button to all emails you send. Once again — a button, not a link or highlighted text.
Why is this important?
This allows recipients to opt-out of receiving further emails from your business instead of marking them as spam. You shouldn’t worry too much about this as audiences naturally change over time.
In addition, emails that get marked as spam affect your email deliverability negatively. The same applies to emails that bounce, so keep an eye on bounce rates, too.
Secondly, you should think carefully about the volume of emails you’ll be sending. Even if your offer is unique, you’ll still be losing subscribers if you send too many offers or if you do it too often.
Once you have ensured you’re following these two simple tips, it’s time to consider the next obstacle: high email deliverability doesn’t equal high open rates…. which brings us to the next crucial step — mastering the skill of writing stellar subject lines.
Brainstorming Subject Lines
Much has been said about this topic and much has been accepted as a golden standard. However, an approach that is successful for one business may not work for another for one simple reason: different audiences need different addressing.
First things first; let’s take a look at the universal tips you should keep in mind when composing your emails’ subject lines:
The optimal length for a subject line is ca. 41 characters; the cut-off point is 55 characters, but keep an eye on the developments as Google keeps changing the rules of the game all the time;
The shorter the subject line, the better. If you can intrigue recipients with up to 9 words (remember the character limit) in the subject line, you’re one step ahead of the competition;
- Compose relevant subject lines
- Personalize subject lines
- Localize subject lines
- Test subject lines
Also Read: 5 Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid
Testing Subject Lines
Digital marketers usually use one of the two following testing methods:
- A/B testing
- Multivariate testing
A/B testing examines the impact of a single change to a subject line (or an element in your email). Keep track of each variant’s performance and compare results to see which method works best.
Multivariate testing examines the impact of multiple changes to a subject line (or elements in your email). It may work better when you’re short on time and cannot check different variants by applying A/B testing methods.
Once this has been cleared, it’s time to think about more complex topics, notably email authentication protocols.
Email Authentication Protocols
First of all, you should use proper email infrastructure. It basically translates to the hardware and software you use to send emails. This includes, but is not limited to, your IP address and Domain Name System (DNS).
A DNS links domain names to specific IP addresses, telling emails where to go. Each such exchange forms a DNS record, which is information that email service providers use to verify whether a sender is authorized to send and receive emails and is using a legitimate emailing program.
Shortly put, these are the so-called email authentication protocols that protect recipients against spam, hacking, and phishing by verifying that an email comes whence it claims it does.
To make sure everything is as it should be, you should set up authentication properly. The authentication protocols include: sender policy framework (SPF), domain keys identified mail (DKIM), and domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC).
Sender policy frameworks (SPFs) record the IP addresses authorized to send emails on behalf of target domains. SPF checks the path emails take to get from the sender to the recipient.
Domain keys identified mail (DKIM) adds a digital signature to each and every email. Each signature takes the shape of an encryption-secured header that is added to the corresponding email and serves the purpose of establishing if the email was altered in transit.
Domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC) identifies phishing attacks by preventing unauthorized access to a domain in the “From” field in each email.
DMARC allows the sender to communicate to an email service provider (ESP) what happens to unauthenticated mail, as follows:
- Policy is “none” (p=none): ESPs will take no action
- Policy is “quarantine” (p=quarantine): ESPs will send the message to spam
- Policy is “reject” (p=reject): ESPs will drop the message (it won’t be delivered)
As you can see, this step is crucial as if you don’t set up authentication protocols, it won’t matter much how stellar your emails are as they may not even reach recipients!
Next on, you should consider your mailing list and list engagement so let’s see what it exactly portends.
Compiling Mailing Lists
Now, this has been reiterated many times so saying it once more won’t hurt: take your time compiling a proper mailing list. “Proper” means that you shouldn’t use any means to come by people’s email addresses.
E.g., using social media channels to collect your followers’ email addresses is not the best of ideas. It may backfire as people don’t like their info being distributed without their permission.
Instead, focus on attracting subscribers. For this strategy to be successful, your business needs a solid website and an extra bonus that will attract new subscribers.
There are numerous strategies detailing the “extras.” Some businesses offer a free ebook to each subscriber, while others promise discounts for the next purchase. Neither method is superior to the other, so analyze your audience’s needs to determine which approach works best.
Once you’re happy with your mailing list, monitor how subscribers interact with your emails. Fortunately, this is not complicated as there are only two types of interactions of interest: positive engagement and negative engagement.
Positive engagement includes the following:
- Recipients are opening emails
- Recipients are clicking on the link in an email
- Recipients are replying to the email
- Recipients are forwarding the email
- Recipients are marking the email as “not spam”
- Recipients are sorting the email (adding it to a folder or labeling it)
Negative engagement includes the following:
- Recipients are deleting the email without checking it out first
- Recipients are flagging the email as spam
To prevent negative engagement, make sure to check your mailing list for unengaged subscribers and incorrect email addresses. This is known as “list hygiene.”
One important thing to keep in mind here is that audiences change over time. Also, not everyone is a recurring customer. There will always be people who are interested in one product or service, so forcing them to change their minds is not the best of ideas.
Use insights to determine customers’ needs and adjust the emails you send (personalize them) for the best results.