Blogs Email Deliverability: 12 Quick Tips for Emails That Get There No Matter What

Written by Paula Chiocchi on 2015-08-05

 

You may be familiar with the old postal delivery slogan, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

If only your email marketing campaigns could be backed up by that much bravado when it comes to arriving in the right email inboxes.

Return Path says that one in six email messages never reaches the intended inbox. And while some experts say you should strive for 98% email delivery, and that anything less than 90% is cause for concern and needed changes, others claim email delivery rates can vary depending on the email platform.

The fact is that no matter how well your email was designed, how valuable the content and how compelling the call to action is, if it doesn’t reach the intended recipient, your effort has failed. As such, deliverability is critical to the success of your email campaigns, so a proactive approach is recommended.

Here are 12 quick and easy ways to safeguard your email deliverability, and ensure your messages arrive at their desired locations.

 

1.     Achieve a positive reputation – Meeting Internet service provider (ISP) expectations helps improve deliverability. Although dozens of elements contribute to your overall sending reputation, audience engagement with your messages is the primary measure ISPs use to determine your legitimacy. You can achieve engagement by sending email content that your audiences find useful – and desirable enough to interact with.

 

2.     Don't use a "no reply" address – Instead, encourage recipients to reply to your messages. Active email conversations send a strong and positive signal to ISPs to bolster your reputation. Sorting through replies may take effort, but it can pay big dividends in the form of improved deliverability.

 

3.     Include safe-sender links – Include a clear link in your email template asking your audiences to add your company's "from" address to their safe senders list or address book. When they do so, it's another solid signal to an ISP that your email is desired and should be delivered.

 

4.     Act quickly on unsubscribe requests – Make it easy for your audience to unsubscribe, and act on their requests within 10 business days.

 

5.     Maintain list hygiene – Abandoned email address are sometimes reused by email clients (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) to serve as spam traps. If marketers continue sending to these addresses without opens or clicks, after a while they are considered to be maintaining poor list hygiene, and can be blocked or blacklisted.

 

6.     Optimize email for mobile – The vast majority of emails are opened only once, which means the first impression you make will likely be your last. Still, only one-third of content publishers say their emails are fully mobile-optimized. As an ever-increasing proportion of emails is opened on mobile devices, messages must be optimized for reading on a wide spectrum of mobile screens.

 

7.     Don’t “cc” or “bcc” anyone – Copying a lot of people on your emails is another way to get your messages blocked. What happens is the message may get filtered and your recipients may never receive it.

 

  1. Don’t add attachments – Emails with attachments are more heavily scrutinized by SPAM filters, as many viruses can be spread via attachments. In addition, email clients have varying limits on the maximum allowable attachment size, only increasing the probability of an email being filtered.

 

  1. Watch the file size – An email that is over 100k will likely be blocked. Large file sizes can also be the result of using high-resolution images, too many images, or simply too long of an email.

 

  1. Stick to plain text – While images, animation and even video can grab reader attention, keep in mind that much of your audience may never see these -- according to MarketingSherpa, just 33 percent of email users have images switched on by default. Also, web-safe fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Tahoma, and Georgia are the safest way to ensure proper rendering.

 

  1. Give recipients control with preference centers – A preference center allows subscribers to control and customize the content they receive from you. They serve as a great way for your recipients to express their specific interests and enable you to send more targeted email campaigns, increasing the likelihood that your emails will be opened.

 

  1. Adhere to applicable lawsCAN-SPAM (U.S.) and CASL (Canada) mandate proper unsubscribe processes and provide guidelines for email content and sending behaviors. Laws vary somewhat from state to state and country to country, so adhere to the laws of the state or country you are mailing to, regardless of where you are mailing from.

 

Managing email deliverability can challenge even the most experienced marketers. Government regulations, inconsistent ISP policies, emerging technologies and changes in subscriber behavior all add to the complexity. Complying with the best practices above will serve to increase your ability to ensure that your marketing messages absolutely, positively get to their desired audiences. Do you have any tips to add to this list?

 

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Image credit: Copyright: rtsubin / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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