Getting super fit email delivery doesn't need to be hard, you can break it down into bite-sized chunks and take it one day at a time. Follow these steps to maximise your email deliverability.
Send smart - be compliant!
Check that the domain you use for sending emails is configured to enable authentication (SPF/Sender ID/DomainKeys).
Make sure you are sending your emails at a steady rate, from a dedicated and consistent IP address. This will help to build your reputation with the ISP's. This will also help prevent to keep you off an ISP blacklist, which could impact your day to day emails sent from your business domain.
Check that your messages are sent from a meaningful ‘friendly’ from address in the message header – It is important you ensure your emails are NOT sent from a string of numbers.
Providing a positive ‘Opt-in’ box for your recipients to check. This is a fast and effective way to gain permission to email contacts.Don't email to contacts without prior permission. It is important for your brand reputation and your sender reputation to email your marketing messages only to addresses collected legitimately. Non compliant senders are quickly added to ISP blacklists.
For more information on email compliance and best practice, click here.
Confirm the validity of your email addresses and your permission to email, by sending a ‘non-commercial welcome email’ to your new contacts.
You can use the welcome email to invite new contacts to add you to their ‘Safe/Trusted Senders’ list within their inbox or to add you to their address book.
You should also consider using a ‘double opt-in’ for new contacts, so your welcome email will require the contact to click through and confirm their details and consent.
There are pros and cons to double opt-in - Decide if it is right for you: This function may build you a database of highly engaged and responsive contacts but it could also increase the chance of drop-out and limit the size of your database.
Make sure your opt-ins are collected offline (i.e. via call centre, customer care, sales team, registration cards) with new contacts captured via these channels. It is important that email addresses collected offline are emailed and validated before they are added to your main contact database.
Always provide a highly visible unsubscribe link in all your email messages. Check that your unsubscribe link requires no more than two clicks on the part of the unsubscriber. Your unsubscribe page should be branded with your company name, logo etc, to instil trust in your unsubscribers. This will encourage them to choose this channel for unsubscribing, instead of clicking the ‘Junk’ button in their inbox. Make sure that your Unsubscribe Link processes unsubscribe requests in real-time.
Check that unsubscribers can get in touch offline. These points of contact could be a phone number or postal address. Requests should be processed within a reasonable time frame.
Make sure your lists are clean! Treat your email database as you would treat your mailing database – keep it deduped, up-to-date, and free of hard and soft bounce risks.
Manage your soft bounces (these are your undeliverable emails caused by temporary errors such as a full inbox or an Out of Office reply). Be aware that as few as three consecutive soft bounces could be enough to classify your contact as a hard bounce.
Delete all hard bounces (these are your undeliverable emails generated because there is a permanent error, such as non-existent email address).
Flag ‘dead’ contacts and long-term inactive recipients who never respond to your emails. You need to test email them to see if they can be reactivated, and if not you should stop emailing them.
Identify from your email database who the key ISPs for your campaigns are, and establish a relationship with them. Contact them to introduce yourself, explain your opt-in policy and ask for advice on how to avoid their black list.
If you receive a bounce back with a black list message, always contact the ISP and get a named contact to speak to about the black listing. Have a copy of the bounced message to send them and be ready to explain your privacy and opt-in policies and to ask for advice on how to avoid their black list.
Refine your game:
Consider subscribing to a Delivery Monitoring Solution that will provide continuous monitoring of your reputation and black list status and provide snapshots of your authentication levels. Email Service Providers (ESPs) provide this service by default. Sending your emails via an ESP such as BrotherMailer.co.uk means you can benefit from their acquired reputation, white listings, accreditation and ISP relationships which have been built up over many years and over large volumes of legitimate email marketing. This level of reputation is priceless.
Choose an ESP that is signed up to ‘Feedback Loops’ on the major ISPs such as Hotmail. AOL and Yahoo. These ‘Feedback Loops’ allows the ISP to send an unsubscribe email to your database when a recipient of your email hits the ‘Report Spam’ button. This gives you the chance to unsubscribe/suppress the complaining recipient from any future sends, so you can avoid repeat complaints and protect your sender reputation.
Tool up! You can double-check that your email campaign content isn’t being strangled by spam content filters at the last hurdle, by using a spam checker to analyse and score your templates. Use an ‘Inbox Preview’ or ‘Email Proofing’ tool to check how your email templates render in different ISP's inboxes - particularly where images are turned off.
Trim the fat - Avoid a high proportion of graphics to plain English text, or large graphics as these can be scanned by a spam content filter. Don't use lots of different colours for text and links or include an excessive number of links in relation to the number of words your email contains.
First impressions count! You should avoid suspicious subject lines, web text words such as 'free', 'special offer', words in full caps and lots of exclamation marks. Consider using graphics to display words like ‘FREE’ if necessary.