With holiday gift giving now in full swing, sending out your packages early enough to ensure they arrive on time is essential. A gift arriving after the fact just doesn’t have the same impact. The same can be said for email marketers – if their messages do not reach their intended targets, the time they invested in crafting a valuable message will also be marginalized.
That’s why ensuring email delivery is a crucial step that marketers should master. While email delivery statistics vary by industry and email platform, some studies estimate that as many as one in six emails are blocked, placed into junk folders or otherwise not reaching their intended recipient, while others estimate this number at one in five.
Don’t settle for a hit or miss strategy when it comes to getting your emails to the right person at the right time. Here are eight tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure good standing with your ISP: Make sure you are meeting the expectations of your internet service provider (ISP), which usually focus on audience engagement. In other words, if your recipients are generally not opening or responding to your messages, you could be in trouble. Fortunately, there’s a solution: ensure your messages are genuinely of interest and useful to your audience--enough so that they will open and respond to them.
- Keep a clean list: If marketers continue sending to email addresses that never open or click, it could be a red flag to email providers (e.g. Google or Yahoo), who sometimes employ abandoned or dummy email addresses as spam traps. If you don’t get any response after a year or two, drop the contact. For those using outside email data providers, investigate a more reputable source for your data.
- Encourage action: Active email engagement with your audience sends a positive signal to ISPs and verifies your reputation. As such, always include some sort of call-to-action (CTA), and never use a “no reply” email address, which can also seem unprofessional.
- Give your audience control: Make it easy for your targets to unsubscribe to your messages, and be sure to act on unsubscribe requests within 10 business days of receiving them. Include a link for recipients to add your “from” address to their safe senders list, which itself is also a positive signal to ISPs. Finally, consider establishing a preference center, which allows subscribers to control and customize the content they receive from you.
- Watch the file size: Large email sizes (e.g. over 100k) increase the likelihood of blockage. A large file size is typically due to too many high-resolution images, or to the email simply being too long or including an added attachment. Because attachments can contain viruses and are scrutinized by SPAM filters, don’t include them in your campaigns.
- Simplify design: While images, animation and video can grab reader attention, know that some of your recipients may not see these due to their email preference settings. (To get around this, provide a link to allow them to view the images properly.) In addition, skip the eccentric fonts and stick to the business standards (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, etc.) to ensure proper rendering.
- Ensure mobile viewing: As more emails are being viewed on mobile devices, if your emails don’t look great on smart phones (or worse – don’t render at all), your message will not get viewed and may get blocked by the recipient (again, red flags to ISPs). Be sure to test your campaigns on myriad mobile platforms to ensure success.
- Stay within the law: CAN-SPAM (U.S.) and CASL (Canada) mandate proper guidelines for email content, sending activities and unsubscribe processes. These laws can vary by state or country, so be sure to adhere to the guidelines within your target region. Violations will only land you in hot water with your ISP.
Ensuring their emails arrive to their intended targets should be a top priority for B2B email marketers. Otherwise, all the time and effort that’s put into well-crafted messages, eye-catching designs and valuable CTAs will only get lost in the electronic mail, making for a very disappointing holiday season indeed.