Email marketing is a relatively simple marketing technique that offers a great ROI, but only if it's done right. Furthermore, it's one of the best ways to reach leads, build relationships and increase sales, especially if you’re on a budget.
Did you know that many of your marketing emails may never be reaching your subscribers' inboxes?
If you weren't concerned about your email delivery rate before reading this, you should be.
What is "Email Delivery Rate"?
There are two ways an email can fail to be delivered:
- Hard bounce : when delivery cannot be completed due to a logistical problem, like a non-existent address or domain.
- Soft bounce : when delivery is interrupted or rerouted, like when a message is sent to the spam inbox.
You can calculate the delivery rate for a given email marketing campaign by subtracting the number of hard and soft bounces combined from your total emails sent, then dividing by 100.
The final figure should be as close to 100 as possible, reflecting that the majority of subscribers are receiving your messages.
Poor email delivery rates have a direct impact on your conversion numbers, and by extension, on the company's bottom line. Working to improve that rate, then, can be expected to pay off both statistically and financially.
How Can You Achieve a Higher Rate?
These ten tips to boost your email delivery rate take little time or effort to carry out and can help ensure that your email marketing efforts get as wide a reach as possible.
- Know Your Starting Rate
It sounds obvious, but if you don't know exactly where you started in terms of your delivery rate, you won't know how much you need to improve or be able to measure the impact of any changes you make. You'll usually be notified of any hard bounces through your email service provider; soft bounces can be a little harder to detect, but some providers do include a tool to track them, so check if yours does. If you can get both numbers, run the calculation. If you're lucky, you may already have a higher rate than you anticipated!
- Make Sure You Haven't Been Blacklisted
To help protect their users from irritating spam and malware, many ISPs keep databases of disreputable senders called blacklists. These lists identify senders by their IP address, and if yours ends up on one, all your messages will be blocked from getting to any recipients using that ISP. Most lists remove senders after a period passes, but you'll still have to wait for that to happen if you show up on one. You can check the status of your current IP address using tools from organizations like Sender Score and MxToolBox.
Did you know that the share of spam in email traffic in 2018 decreased by 4.15 p.p. to 52.48%?
- Consider Using a Fresh IP Address
Depending on what your blacklist queries find, it may be necessary to mitigate the damage by changing IP addresses. This will essentially give you a completely new start on your reputation as a sender. You can still use most of your existing email marketing content and lead lists, but you won't have to worry about the aftereffects of missteps you may have made in the past. Just be sure to determine why you ended up being blacklisted in the first place so you can avoid repeating that mistake.
- Build Your List Organically
Never purchase a subscriber list. The subscribers you'll receive from this are people who have not expressed their interest by opting in to your campaign. Not only are they unlikely to purchase anything from the company, but they are also highly likely to report your messages as spam.
Instead, collect your email marketing subscribers directly through things like your social media connections and your website landing pages.
A list built this way will be smaller, but it will contain genuinely interested leads who will be happy to receive your emails and will not contribute to your spam statistics.
- Alter the Frequency of Your Emails
Research shows that most subscribers want to receive at least one promotional email every month, and chances are you have too much to say to fit into just that one. If subscribers don't hear from you very often, they may lose interest in what you say. On the other hand, sending an email every day will probably trigger many spam reports. Take the time to figure out the best email marketing rhythm for your business and you should see lower spam stats and better delivery rates.
- Pay Attention to Reader Engagement
Emails that recipients want to read rarely get tossed into the spam pile, so reader engagement is a key factor in good email delivery rates. Make sure that your content is relevant, informative, and not too long - trimming some of the fluff from a lengthy message or adding a little more information about an upcoming sale can do a lot to keep cursors away from the spam button.
You should also make sure to proofread your emails carefully and check them for any broken links before sending them. Both things may make your messages look unprofessional and leave a negative impression on your subscribers.
- Tailor Emails to Specific Demographics
Every consumer likes to see email marketing that is highly pertinent to them. Separate out some key demographics from your subscriber base and make a special version of your base email for each one; for example, one being sent to older subscribers might highlight an available senior's discount, while one for parents might show off some products for children.
This does require a little more work than most options on this list, but not as much as you might think. As a bonus, this intervention also tends to drive more purchases, boosting the potential monetary payoff and making the greater investment more worthwhile.
- Make Sure Your Formatting Works
You've probably spent hours designing, organizing and coding your email marketing messages, but have you considered what will happen if all that formatting doesn't load up correctly on the recipient's end? Many email systems will automatically filter out messages that will not display properly for most users, and they'll be nigh-impossible to read even if they do make it through.
Test your current layouts on mobile, desktop, and several different email clients to ensure that your messages don't befall the same fate. If you're still worried about it, you can include a separate plain-text version of the email's content alongside the fancy coded one - this will increase your chances of making it past the spam filters and will provide an alternative reading method just in case.
- Don't Hide Your Unsubscribe Button
If your recipients want to opt out of your campaigns but can't find the button to do so, they may resort to labeling your messages as spam. While losing a subscriber isn't ideal, it's far better than the alternative of taking a hit to your sender reputation. Make it easy for people to remove themselves from your email marketing mailing list by making your unsubscribe button fairly large and placing it in a location with good visibility.
- Use an Email Quality Verification Service
If you're still struggling to improve your delivery rates or can't spare the resources to put these other tips into action, email quality verification can be your best friend to improve email marketing performance. They weed out all the troublesome subscribers on your list, including those whose ISPs have you blacklisted and those who are statistically likely to inflate your spam report rates. These services will eliminate a lot of hard and soft bounces and take a lot of the guesswork out of optimizing your delivery rate. If you work with them on an ongoing basis, you can keep your list clean as it grows and never worry about anything but producing high-quality campaigns.
Strong email delivery rates are the backbone of every email marketing campaign. With these easy ways to improve your performance, there's no need to settle for less than a stellar delivery rate. Use these tips as needed and watch as your email marketing ROI soars - and with it, the company's overall revenues and profit.
Check how much your leads can bring you when you do email quality verification