When it comes to marketing, emails are still one of the best strategies to get your message delivered to the right people. Email marketing allows you to maintain consistent communication with your target audience and drive engagement with your messages. After completing a Gmail mail merge to organize and establish your email list and sending out a few campaigns, you may feel like the hard work is done. Without constantly monitoring your email list and campaign results, you may run the risk of low deliverability.
The average person receives over 100 emails per day—and that’s not even including spam messages! Now more than ever, email deliverability rates are crucial to ensure that your message is being seen by your recipients. That’s why today we are going to be discussing what exactly email deliverability is, what impacts deliverability, and the strategies you can use to improve your email deliverability rate. Let’s get started.
What Is Email Deliverability?
Explaining the difference between email delivery and deliverability
In simple terms, email deliverability is measured by how often your email has been successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox. When understanding your email deliverability, often times this metric is confused with email delivery. Email delivery is measured by how often your email has been successfully delivered to the receiving server. Both work hand-in-hand to deliver your message to the intended recipient, but there are some key differences to note.
When you think of email delivery, think of the Email Service Providers (ESPs). ESPs are really the gatekeeper in the whole delivery process. The ESP will determine whether or not the message is rejected or delivered to the inbox of your recipient. Messages rejected can be due to a soft bounce, a temporary error in sending, or a hard bounce—meaning an invalid or blocked email address. When your email is delivered to the inbox of the recipient, the deliverability of your email isn’t a sure thing yet! Your email still may deliver to their spam inbox. Because the most important place for your email to be delivered is the main inbox, you will want to consider the factors that impact your email deliverability rate with your mass email software. Let’s discuss!
What Can Decrease My Email Deliverability?
Sender score and low email engagement can harm your deliverability when using a mass email software
There are many factors that can decrease your email deliverability, which is why it is important to constantly monitor the metrics of your email through your mass email software. While this list does not cover every factor that can cause a decline in your deliverability, these are some common reasons for a lower deliverability rate. Let’s dive in.
- A low sender score – Your sender reputation is a score that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) designates to your organization if you send emails, and directly impacts the deliverability of your emails. This score is determined by a slew of factors, but there are plenty of ways to protect your sender reputation.
- Purchasing email lists – Especially when businesses first start sending emails, it can be tempting to buy subscriber information to bulk your email list. Especially when an email subscriber has not opted in to receive emails from you, they will most likely not engage with your emails, mark your emails as spam, or block your address entirely. Ultimately, buying email lists will ultimately do more harm than good.
- Low email engagement – If your recipients don’t engage with your emails, this is a sure way to damage your email deliverability. When people do not open or interact with your emails, your messages will likely end up delivering to their spam inbox rather than their main inbox.
While these factors may seem overwhelming—no need to worry! There are quite a few tactics you can use to improve your deliverability rates to ensure your message is being delivered to the right place for your recipients.
What Can I Do To Improve My Email Deliverability?
Mass email software strategies like A/B testing and cleaning your list will lead to better email deliverability
No matter if you are troubleshooting email deliverability issues or trying to understand how to keep your email deliverability high, there are plenty of strategies you can use to improve your deliverability. While this list is non-exhaustive, here are 5 strategies you can implement on your mass email software to avoid the spam filter.
Strategy 1: Clean Your Email List Regularly
Once you have established a healthy email list size, it can feel counterintuitive to clear out contacts from your email list. Always remember that good marketing is about quality rather than quantity. Cleaning your email list ensures that only the most relevant people are receiving your email list. If you have noticed decreased open rates or click-through rates, or increased spam complaints, it is time to start scrubbing your list.
To start, check your soft and hard bounces. As we discussed earlier, a soft bounce is a temporary server issue. On the other hand, hard bounces are more permanent. This could be due to an incorrect or deleted email address or the server permanently blocking delivery. More often than not, your mass email software will automatically clean hard bounces from your email list, but you should always double-check that these email addresses are cleaned from your list.
Once you have ensured that your hard bounce emails are removed, take a look at your email list and identity your unengaged audience. Have they opened an email from you in the last three months? Have they clicked a link in your email within the last six months? To clean these emails from your main email list, consider segmenting these disengaged emails into separate lists. You can create separate lists for people who have not opened an email or clicked a link within a certain period of time. With these emails identified and segmented, you can start a re-engagement email flow, offering special discounts or messages to try to get recipients to engage again. After they have gone through the flow and have not engaged, you can set up logic within your re-engagement flow to remove the email from your list.
Strategy 2: Set Up Double Opt-In Confirmation
Especially when a recipient has joined your email list through a website pop-up or through other methods, it is crucial that you set up a double opt-in through your mass email software. A double opt-in message encourages a new email subscriber to click a link in an email after signing up to confirm that they want to be officially added to the email list. This method not only reduces the number of spam addresses that sign up for your email list but also shows a higher level of interest from your email subscribers. While this extra step may seem counterintuitive, this ensures that the subscriber is actually interested in your brand and your content. If they are less interested, they may not open your emails as often or could mark your emails as spam, which only hurts your email deliverability rate.
Strategy 3: Allow For an Easy Opt-Out
There are many reasons why an email subscriber may want to unsubscribe—and it is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be that your content is no longer relevant to them, or they may be receiving too many emails. No matter the reason, allowing for an easy opt-out for your email subscribers is always the best practice. If they want to unsubscribe but can’t figure out how to do it, they will likely mark your emails as spam or just stop interacting in general, which, of course, harms your email deliverability rate.
While an unsubscribe button at the footer of your email is required by law, it’s a good idea to also include a link in the header of your email as well. This way, your email recipient will always be able to find it if they need it. Instead of sending the recipient to a page that exclusively offers an unsubscribe link, you can include a link that can update their email preferences so they can stay subscribed but choose how often they are contacted by you.
As a further step, you can also ask your contacts why they have unsubscribed to better improve your marketing strategy. If you notice that a large number of people are unsubscribing because they receive too many emails from you, you can make a note to send fewer campaigns to your subscribers.
Strategy 4: Send Emails Consistently
Consistency is key, especially when it comes to email marketing. Consistency can build trust and build a relationship with your email subscribers. When the line of communication is clear, your email subscribers will start to expect your messages. As you create messages that inform and educate your subscribers on your brand or product, subscribers will look to you as an expert within your industry.
To send emails consistently with your mass email software, start by establishing a sending schedule. Whether you choose to send a message out to your subscribers multiple times a week or once every two weeks, stick to that schedule consistently. If you start at a lower cadence and decide to increase your emails, do so over time so as not to overwhelm your subscribers. If you notice a higher unsubscribe rate or spam rate with a higher frequency, that’s a sign that you need to send fewer emails out. Use your email newsletter as a baseline, and supplement that schedule with one-off campaigns for special announcements or promos.
Not only should your schedule be consistent, but your content should be consistent too. That comes into play with templates. Using your mass email tool, you can create templates that lend themselves to your email marketing objectives and themes. Have a template that can be used for all of your newsletters, and create other templates for any other campaign types you plan to frequently use.
Strategy 5: Test Your Emails
No matter if you are new to sending mass emails or if you have been sending emails for years, you can better understand your audience by testing different elements of your email. A/B testing is a feature that is usually supported by your mass email software. This allows you to send out different versions of emails to your subscribers so you can better understand how they react. If you have noticed a lower click-through rate recently, you may want to test different email subjects. If you have noticed lower link clicks in your recent campaigns, you can test different design features or email copy to better entice your audience. Always remember to test one element at a time. Testing too many elements at once can convolute your data and make it more difficult to understand the results of the test.
Email subjects are the most popular element to A/B test. One of the most common strategies is to test short vs long subject lines. While you can do preliminary research to see what character length in your subject line will work best, the only true way to know is to A/B test so you have the data to find the best approach. You can additionally A/B test personalization in your email subject. In one group, see if adding in the recipient’s first name in the subject line, and in the second group, do not include personalization. After your A/B test, you can see if this extra step pays off with a higher click-through rate.
You can additionally test the length of or verbiage included in the email copy to see which version your audience prefers. Try the differentiate the language used in your call-to-action or the color of your button. Consider sending on different days or times as well to determine when your audience list is most active.
There’s no point in testing your emails unless you take action on your results. After you send out each test, take the time to review the results and make a conclusion on what worked best. Implement that in your future emails and study your results over time to ensure that the data from your test compare to the results of your regular, untested campaigns. Don’t stop at one test either—keep testing over time to better understand your audience.
No matter if you have just started using your mass email software or are working to improve your email marketing strategy, it is crucial that your messages are delivered to the recipient’s inbox. While these aren’t the only strategies you can implement, by cleaning your email lists frequently, adding consistency to your emails, and continually testing your messages over time, you will notice a significant improvement in your email deliverability so you can be sure that your messages are being properly delivered to your recipients’ inboxes.