Sending an email is easy, right? Just write it up, enter in the appropriate email addresses, and let it go. Marketing emails don't work that way; only 85% reach their intended recipient. Too many marketers don't realize this until they've incurred significant losses from that lack of knowledge. If you don't know what email deliverability is or how to improve yours in your campaigns, you're not operating at your full capacity as a marketer.
What is Email Deliverability?
Simply put, email deliverability is the likelihood that your emails will reach the inbox of the people you're sending them to. It hinges on a combination of many factors, most notably email quality, sends frequency, and technical setup. You can measure your email deliverability by checking your email delivery rate, which will tell you how many emails make it into inboxes out of every 100 that you send.
Why might an email not make it to its destination? There are a few reasons for this. Perhaps the most common one is that your recipient has marked your messages as spam and is, therefore, receiving them in their spam folder instead. Someone may have also given you a non-existent or misspelt email address. Worst of all, you may have ended up on an ISP blacklist. These blacklists are curated based on the number of spam complaints that a particular IP address accrues over time; if you end up on one, no one using that ISP will get your messages, whether they want to or not.
You shouldn't expect perfection with email deliverability; you can't control everything that goes into it, so almost no one achieves that. However, with time and effort, you can and should come very close. Settling for a poor delivery rate is the equivalent of leaving money on the table.
4 Steps To Getting Closer To Your Leads' Inboxes
Improving your email deliverability is simple on paper, although harder to achieve in practice. To make it easier, we've broken it down into a series of easy steps.
1. Start With a Great Email
Marketing with a purpose is perhaps the single most important part of keeping delivery rates high. Almost all issues in this area start with a single spam complaint, and if you send out messages that have nothing to offer, you will rightfully receive a lot of them. Give your leads something to think about in your emails, whether that's a new sale you've got coming or a quick overview of one of your new business ventures. Empty and generic copy pasted onto dull templates won't do. In other words, you need to make sure you're providing something worthy of their inbox space, not just taking it for granted.
It's interesting to note that there's a gender difference in content preference: women mainly use marketing emails to find discounts and promotions for their shopping, while men prefer to see news about the company and updates on what you're doing. In order to capture the attention of as many of your leads as possible, you'll want to include a healthy mix of both of these things.
2. Check Out Your Technical Specs
The next thing you need to do is take a look at your IP address and the various parameters it contains. As we said before, blacklists track and categorize you primarily by your IP, so ideally you want to have your own private one for your marketing efforts to avoid having your deliverability contaminated by the actions of others. If you can't do this, make sure that the shared IP you're using has a good reputation. For the same reason, you also want to make sure you have top-notch security to keep meddlers out. Ideally, you'll want to make sure you have a DKIM or SPF signature in place for authentication too - this will lock out spoofers and prove that you are who you say you are, winning you points with spam filters. Even little things like whether or not your IP is configured to receive emails as well as send them can have an impact.
The very specific knowledge this stuff requires can be a little intimidating for many marketers, but you can't ignore these things if you really want to improve your email deliverability. There are lots of tools and step-by-step guides available to help you out, so don't back down! Once you've gotten used to tracking and dealing with this stuff, it won't seem nearly as daunting anymore.
3. Get Your Timing Down
As a professional marketer, both your leads and the algorithms that try to cater to them expect consistency from you. Erratic email send patterns can therefore do significant damage to your email deliverability.
Someone who rarely receives messages from you and has no idea when the next one will come may lose interest in your emails altogether. This, obviously, goes directly against your interests - you need them to stay interested, and more importantly for these purposes, subscribed. Leads like knowing when they can expect to hear from you next. Studies show that most people like to see a promotional email about once a week, but don't overdo it: excessive email frequency is one of the surest ways to earn yourself a soaring spam report rate. Find your ideal frequency and stick to it, sending your messages on the same day and preferably at the same time each week.
This doesn't mean you have to forgo the increasingly popular marketing technique of segmenting emails according to a lead's place in the buyer's cycle - doing that can be extremely effective and rarely annoys customers if it's done right. However, that technique should always be used in combination with a regular, predictably scheduled email campaign to avoid looking too unorganized and slapdash.
4. Get Updates Frequently
Even if your email deliverability is good now, you never know what might happen in the future. All it takes is a simple change of algorithms or a few fickle blacklists to significantly dent your scores, and if you're not keeping up with the changes, you'll have no idea this is happening until it's too late. Since every day you spend with sub-par deliverability practices causes you to indirectly lose revenue by missing the chance to convert more leads, you really don't want to leave this problem unattended for too long.
To avoid this, make sure to check on your current email delivery rates fairly often - at least once a month. Any major fluctuations are probably indicative of something going very wrong with your email strategy and should prompt a thorough investigation from you to find the cause. This shouldn't happen often, and when it does, you may simply have run afoul of a particular blacklist or accidentally gotten a little off-track with your content and caused an uptick in spam complaints.
Email verification can help a lot in this department by trimming the problematic recipients from your subscriber's list, keeping everything functioning optimally for you and reducing the chances that you'll need to step in. If you set things up right, this step should take almost no time, but never skip it!
One More Step Toward the Perfect Email Campaign
Learning how to account for and optimize your email deliverability is part of a good marketer's job. It makes all the work you do on your email campaigns go further and definitely generates more revenue for the brand you're representing. Once you've gotten the hang of it and start to see results, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it.
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