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Getting Email Deliverability Right

In the marketing world, there’s no shortage of frustrating scenarios that can happen on a daily basis. Lack of data, poorly performing marketing automation or CRM applications, and content that only a few people actually read (thanks, Mom and Aunt Jane!) is a true-life situation for many telecom agents and MSPs.

Also scoring high on the ‘marketing-frustration scale’ is spending your valuable time, energy, and resources to create an email marketing campaign, only to have 50% of your contacts fail to receive the email because it ended up in a spam folder. That’s not just stumbling out of the gate, it’s showing up for the big race on a wrong day. Issues with high bounce rates, email-flagging spam filters, and low engagement could be signs of email deliverability problems. It’s not just frustrating, it’s bad for business.

Email marketing has one of the highest ROI rates – when done right – compared to social marketing, direct mail and more, bringing in some $44 for every $1 spent, according to one study by Campaign Monitor. (Source: Campaign Monitor). With those kinds of ROI numbers, getting email deliverability right should be on the top of every marketer ‘to do’ list. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to maximize your email campaign efforts and optimize your email deliverability rates – all without breaking too much of a sweat. Let’s take a look at key email deliverability best practices.

What are you trying to do?

Getting smart about email marketing starts with zeroing in on your goals. At its roots, email aims to deliver killer content to subscribers (more on this below). By offering interesting and relevant content, you’re educating and engaging with customers and prospects in meaningful ways. You’re working to deepen relationships and create rich experiences that lead to purchasing decisions,  customer loyalty and retention, and more significant profitability for your business. Whether your Call-to-Action (CTA) is to download an ebook, read a blog post, attend a webinar, use a promotion, or schedule a consultation, relevant and targeted messages can help you build better relationships, creating an opportunity to bring in more business.

Get smart about your subscriber list

Now that you’ve reaffirmed your campaign goals and CTA, it’s time to build smart subscriber lists using responsible methods! Remember your subscribers are your most valuable asset, so you need to develop and maintain a list of people who regularly open, read, and engage with your messages. It’s also important to verify all email addresses before sending your messages and regularly scrub your contact lists to remove non-existent email addresses and unengaged or inactive email addresses. Don’t let your ego get in the way when it comes to building your optimal subscriber list. While taking these extra steps may cut your list in quantity, deleting both of these groups of contacts is critical to maintaining a quality list and improving deliverability rates and to avoid being penalized by email providers.

Go for confirmed opt-in

You want an audience that is looking forward to your messages so get permission from contacts before adding them to your list. Also, promise them something valuable in return for signing up, and then deliver! Using confirmed opt-in lists, or double opt-in practices, also help you build lists with subscribers that are more engaged from the start. And, because individuals are asked to validate that they definitely want to receive your emails, you’ll also improve your deliverability. Taking these steps can help you effectively build your sending reputation because you’re interacting with an active list. It also allows you to filter out potential subscribers who signed up to your emails by accident.

Custom authentication practices

Custom authentication is cited as a top recommendation by Google and others for ensuring your emails reach users’ inboxes. As highlighted in our earlier blog post, “Why does my email campaign suck?’ custom authentication allows ISPs to acknowledge the legitimacy of your emails. By putting authentication protocols such as SPF and DKIM settings in place, receiving mailboxes have valid information to cross-reference with your email campaigns to help verify your email is the real deal. (Source: Google).

Be transparent

Did you know it only takes two to three spam reports per one thousand emails to be considered outside the ‘acceptable spam report ratio’? If you reach those levels, it means ISPs can block you. (Source: Top Echelon). Luckily, giving your customers the option to easily opt-in or out of your list can reduce the chances of your email as getting tagged as spam. You can also suggest that recipients ‘whitelist’ your sending address and in the case of an opt-in list, remind people they’ve opted in to avoid confusion. Including a link to the privacy policy on your website and an easy-to-find unsubscribe button in your emails is critical. It’s also important to let your subscribers, and potential subscribers, know how you’re doing when it comes to email reputation stats like complaint rates, bounces rates, and your Sender Score rank. To check your Sender Score Rank, visit SenderScore.org. Rates are 0 to 100 and the higher your score, the better your reputation and the higher your email deliverability rate, based on a rolling 30-day average.

Start now!

A large part of email deliverability comes down to taking every step possible to avoid being perceived as a ‘spammy’ emailer in the eyes of spam filters, ISPs, and your recipients. When subscribers can easily choose what type of content they would like to receive from you, as well as the frequency, they are happier and your email marketing focus is sharper. When you apply confirmed opt-in practices and are open and upfront with customers, you’ll ensure better overall engagement and better deliverability. If you want help avoiding common email frustrations and you want to get email deliverability right once and for all,  talk to Carve Digital! We love helping companies use email marketing to engage customers in more meaningful ways to build loyalty, improve sales, and turn subscribers into brand advocates. Get in touch!