Are you looking to improve email delivery rates for your organization? If so, you’re in luck! In this blog post, I will discuss 19 email delivery actions that you can take now to help ensure your messages reach the inbox. Many of these tips are simple and easy to implement, but they can make a big difference in terms of email deliverability. Do these things right now, for higher inbox rates!
Benefit From Double Opt In Subscriptions
One email delivery action that you can take is to use double opt-in confirmation for your email list. This means that when someone signups up for your email list, they will receive a confirmation email requiring them to click a link to confirm their subscription. This helps to ensure that only people who actually want to receive your emails are on your list, which can improve email deliverability.
Relying on a single sign up system, can result is increased spam complaints, which can result in service disruptions. Using double opt-in, ensures the subscriber really did subscribe – And is interested!
“Zen-ify” Your Email List
Another email delivery action you can take is to clean your email list regularly. This means removing inactive subscribers, bounced email addresses, and people who have unsubscribed from your list. Keeping your email list clean can help improve email deliverability because it ensures that you’re only emailing people who want to receive your messages.
Besides, sending email to non-existent email addresses causes “hard bounces”, and is a sure fire way to get you placed on block lists – Or worse, email service suspension. This has a negative impact on your overall email reputation as well.
Use Email Validation (“Freebie” and “Contest” Subscribes)
A great (“must do”) email delivery action you can take is to use email validation when adding new subscribers to your list. This means using a tool like Kickbox (and others) to verify that an email address is valid and not likely to bounce. This is especially important for email addresses that are subscribed through a “freebie” or contest, as these are often people who only want the free thing and have no real interest in your email list.
Validation services will also “catch” duplicates, typos, and other related issues. This ensures your bounce rates go down, and your email reputation improve.
Welcome Email to Set Subscriber Expectations
Another email delivery action you can take is to send a welcome email to new subscribers. This email should introduce the subscriber to your email list and set expectations for what they can expect to receive from you. This helps to ensure that people on your email list are actually interested in hearing from you, which can improve email deliverability.
The most common points covered in the welcome email include:
- A valuable (usable) example of the type of email you’ll send them
- The type of email content they have subscribed to, and it’s intended benefits.
- How often you’ll be sending them email content.
- How they can get in touch with support if needed.
Ensure Opt-Out is Simple
Interestingly one email delivery action you can take is to ensure that opting out of your email list is simple. This means having an unsubscribe link in every email you send, and making it easy for people to find. It’s important to make sure that people can easily opt-out of your email list if they want to, as this can help improve email deliverability.
Holding an email addresss hostage on your mailing list will almost guarantee spam complaints. Besides, I should mention here that making opt-out available is a requirement of CAN-SPAM legislation.
Ramping Your IP Address Up for Success
It is important to warm up an IP address before sending email, in order to improve email deliverability. This means gradually increasing the number of email sent from a new IP address over time. This helps to ensure that your email is not flagged as spam by email providers.
When first start using a new IP address, you might not be able to successfully send lots of email from that address (as it has no worthy reputation). You need to “warm up” the address by sending email from it gradually over time, until it becomes established.
ISP’s by the very nature of the services they provide their customers, work hard to filter spam, while your IP address has little (or no) good email delivery reputation, large batches of email will likely be refused.
When you start sending in small batches, and slowly (over time), work your way up to maximum capacity, this allows ISP to also monitor, and evaluate your reputation, then increase their allowances in step with your warm-up period.
Authenticate Your Sending Domain: SPF, DKIM, DMARC, BIMI
When email is sent from a domain, that email should be authenticated. This means that the email should include information to verify that it was actually sent from that domain. There are several authentication methods that can be used, including SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and BIMI.
This is a way of demonstrating that email sent from your services are more trustworthy. In particular, ISPs can determine that the IP address used to relay your email sending, is allowed by your domain (so it’s less likely to be spam).
BIMI works a bit different though (from the SPF, DKIM, DMARC relationship). BIMI (Brand Indicators for Email Messaging) is a email authentication method that uses images to verify that email was sent from a particular domain. This helps to improve email deliverability, as it helps email providers to verify that the email is from a legitimate source.
Using a Subdomain for Email Operations
Another beneficial email delivery action you can take is to use a subdomain for email operations. This means using a separate domain for email that is different from your main website domain.
For example, if your website is example.com, you might use email.example.com for your email operations. This can help improve email deliverability because it allows you to keep your website domain separate from your email domain.
This tends to be more technical, and arguably is not as common – It’s something found more when you operate your own server(s), and are able to customize more.
The main benefit of this (using a subdomain) is that you can better monitor the IP reputation, separate from that of the domain reputation. It gives a more granular insight of IP reputation vs domain reputation. This way you can better troubleshoot some issues.
Monitor RBL Blacklists
Another email delivery action you can take is to monitor RBL blacklists. This means checking to see if your IP address or email domain is on any blacklists that could cause email deliverability problems. There are many RBL blacklists, so it’s important to check them all regularly.
RBLs exist to help protect against spam, they are well used by countless ISPs – So you do NOT want to be on these lists.
A couple I use more often, to check IP address reputation are:
If your IP address get’s listed on an RBL, it’s important to follow up immediately, as each RBL will have their own removal process, which you must follow (to achieve resolution).
MXToolBox for example, will provide you with a full output, illustrated in the image below.
Monitor Your Sender Reputation
It is also important to monitor your sender reputation. This means checking your email deliverability score with a tool like Sender Score. This score is based on a variety of factors, including email deliverability, complaint rates, and more.
Sender Score, for example, provide a simple to read rating, as seen in the image below.
Arguably, most email is not delivered because of low reputation scores. So it’s best to ensure your score is in the high 90s (95-100).
Always Follow up With Feedback Loops
Another email delivery action you can take is to check feedback loops. Feedback loops are a way for email providers to give feedback about your email to you. This feedback can be used to improve email deliverability.
Feedback loops will include information about the email recipient’s complaints, spam complaints, and unsubscribes. This information can help you to improve email deliverability by identifying email recipients who are not interested in your content, or who are unsubscribing from your email list.
It’s important to ensure to follow up on any actionable items, so that there is no (or minimal) negative impact to your email delivery.
Comply With Legislation (CAN-SPAM, GDPR, etc.)
It is also important to comply with all relevant legislation when sending email. This includes CAN-SPAM in the US, CASL in Canada, GDPR in Europe, and other laws in other countries. Failure to comply with these laws can result in email deliverability problems.
The good news is that many ESPs (email service providers) will help insure your email is compliant. This likely is the best approach for many of us (as it’s one less thing to manage).
Particularly for Canada, and EU subscribers, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that the recipient (your sending email to), must have provided you with consent (usually this means they, themselves, opted-in).
Avoid Purchased Email Lists
One email delivery action you can take is to avoid purchased email lists. These are lists of email addresses that have been collected from sources like public records or other websites. These lists are often inaccurate and can lead to email deliverability problems – And they might include honeypot (spam traps), where sending email to them get’s you on a block list.
While purchasing a mailing list might seem a simple fast-track way to populate your subscriber list, in’t going to have a detrimental effect to your email delivery effort.
There are 4 common issues with buying email lists:
- Invalid, non existent (or no longer active) email addresses
- Under some legislation it’s not legal
- Email owners have not provided you with approval (to email them)
- It can contain honeypot (spam trap) addresses
Bottom line… Avoid purchased (or freely provided) email lists.
Leverage Branding (From Name)
Another email delivery action you can take is to leverage branding in your email. This means using your brand name in the “from” field of your email. This can help improve email deliverability because it helps to build trust with recipients.
And also, when recipients see a familiar name (that they know), this helps to reduce the spam complaint rate, while improving the open rate (again because they are familiar with the name).
You can take this a step further…
Designate one person in your organization or business to coordinate email campaign sending. This results in their name and your business (or organization) being branded on all sendings – This also adds a more personal touch, increasing open rates, reducing spam notification rate, while providing a personal approach to your mailings.
Personalize Email Content
Another email delivery action you can take is to personalize your emails. This means including the recipient’s name in the email, as well as other personalization features. Personalized email can help improve email deliverability because it helps to build trust and engagement with recipients.
Use Email List Segmentation
Another email delivery action you can take is to use email list segmentation. This means dividing your email list into smaller groups based on factors like location, interests, or purchase history. Segmenting your email list can help improve email deliverability because it allows you to send more targeted and relevant email.
Typically there are 5 ways to segment email lists:
Lifecycle: This where subscribers (usually automatically) are moved to different segments in the relationship. They can include, new subscribers or customers, existing customers, long term (loyal) customers, frequent buyers (for ecommerce) and so on.
Demographic: This is when your subscribers are segmented by things like age, ethnicity, occupation, gender, etc.
Lfestage: Segmenting your list (for example) based upon where they are in the funnel. Brand / Product awareness, the consideration stage, or the decision stage (and more).
Social: The list is segmented based upon engagement, interaction history, survey responses, and much more.
Geographic: Segmentation based upon things like Country, state, provice, city, zip code, postal code, etc.
Avoid Sending Spammy Content
One email delivery action you can take is to avoid sending spammy content. This means avoiding email that is promotional or has little value to the recipient. It also means avoiding email that is sent too frequently or is not relevant to the recipient.
One big factor is the use of spammy words, which a lot of spam filters will catch. While many of us want to promote some product or service, using words like:
- Get your discount now
- 100% free
- Only $xxx
- Get it now
- …and others, are going to negatively impact your email delivery.
Further, don’t use ALL CAPS in your subject line (or email copy), avoid using special characters in the subject line (!, >>, $, and so on), finally avoid embellishing or exaggerating your email with multiple characters or related words like:
- Risk free
- …and others. Again, this increase the “spammy” reputation of email you send, which in the long-term reduces the success of your email delivery efforts.
Ensure Appropriate Email Sending Frequency
Another email delivery action you can take is to ensure appropriate email sending frequency. This means sending email only as often as is necessary, and not more than that. Too much email can lead to email deliverability problems.
They key is not to send to frequently, and not too little. A good starting point may be once a week, then evaluate.
As a side note, earlier this year SendinBlue wrote a post: Best Time to Send an Email: User Data Study by Industry where they discussed this very subject. The below image is just a small part of the suggestions in their post.
Monitor Performance and Fix Issues
Finally, it is important to monitor email delivery performance and fix any issues that arise. This means using a tools to track issues that effect your email delivery. It also means fixing any email delivery problems that occur, such as bounced email or spam complaints.
Typically you’ll want to keep in touch with:
- Sender reputation scores
- Bounce rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Spam complaints
- Click through rates
- Subscriber engagements
By taking these email delivery actions starting today, you can improve your email deliverability, resulting in a much higher inbox rate, ensuring your email reaches the inbox – And ultimately can lead to a significant increase in your conversion rate!
You can learn much more about email delivery and related information by visiting our Small Business Email Marketing posts. As well as find out more about Email Delivery.