Anyone currently running an email marketing strategy will know that getting your emails delivered to the inbox is not always easy.  With obstacles not only blocking your path into the inbox but also how your email is viewed and treated when it gets there, our job as email marketers has become even tougher.

So here at Shine a Light Media, we thought we would put together our list of top 5 things to look at in regards to your deliverability:

1. Authentication

It is important to ensure that the receiving email client can identify who the message is being sent from by publishing an SPF record and ensuring that DomainKeys, DKIM and Sender ID are properly set up on your IPs.

2. Content

Not only should you be looking at how your messages render in different email clients with images on and off, but also don’t forget to look at the spam content of your messages that may trigger the spam filters including:

  • Large images
  • A high image to text ratio
  • Number of spam words and phrases
  • Incorrect HTML coding

3. Database hygiene

If your data is not accurate or has been illegally collected, you are immediately getting off to a bad start in your deliverability mission.

A good place to start is to take a look at your sign up process to ensure that all data has been legitimately collected and where possible use a double opted in.  You should also ensure that your signup forms prompt users to correct email addresses if they are incorrect and resolve syntax errors.

Keep your database clean by ensuring that unsubscribes, complaints (reported from ISP feedback loops) and hard bounces are immediately marked as non-contactable in your database and (as an example) 3 consecutive soft bounces.

It is also a good idea to segment your database and remove inactives to also help eliminate spam traps as well as removing people who are not engaging with your communications.

A continuing high complaint rate can do a lot of damage to your reputation – try these additional top tips for reducing your complaints:

  • Use your registration form and welcome email to set subscriber expectations about your communications
  • Ensure you have an unsubscribe link (that works!) at the top of your email as well as the bottom to try and discourage people reaching for the spam button
  • Implement a preference centre to find out what consumers want to receive from you and segment your list and communications accordingly (dynamic content will assist you enormously here)

4. Warming up new IP addresses

A new IP has no reputation and so you need to get the ISPs used to you sending to them. You should slowly ramp up the volume of your sends per day over a couple of months so the ISPs can get used to you sending, when you send and the volume you send. It is not widely published for most what they will accept, but as an example, Hotmail will only accept around 4K per day for an IP with no reputation.

It is a common spam practice to send a large volume of emails infrequently. Make sure you don’t fall into this cycle and keep a regular, consistent volume being sent from your IPs.

5. Increase Engagement

With the rise in smart inboxes and filtering from ISPs, it is important to provide quality and engaging content to your consumers once you have got through to their inboxes to ensure consistent placement in future.

Engagement now not only includes the standard open, clicks, unsubscribes and spam complaints but more in depth elements based on how recipients interact further with communications such as:

  • Messages replied to
  • Messages read, then deleted
  • Messages deleted without being read
  • How frequently messages are received and read from a sender

“Deliver the right message at the right time, to the right person.”

By segmenting your base you can provide more relevant information to your recipient using information you collect such as:

  • Past/current behaviour
  • Past purchases
  • Email Activity
  • Demographic information

By using this information you can potentially increase the engagement of your campaigns through increased relevancy and timing of your communications.