6 Email Deliverability Best Practices

Debra Ellis from Target Marketing said: “Not since the Pony Express have there been so many obstacles to getting mail delivered. Bandits, rugged terrain and wild animals have been replaced with blacklists, spam filters and apathetic recipients.”

To drive home this fact, a report by ReturnPath Reputation Benchmark Report states that the presence of just one spam trap can drop your deliverability rating by up to 53%. At the end of our previous article on the top 3 email deliverability issues, we mentioned the importance of sender reputation. Play by the rules and get the ISP’s onto your side and you’ll see your email delivery rates increase. A further study by ReturnPath showed that sender reputation accounted for 77% of email deliverability.

While email marketing newbies can be forgiven for thinking that getting your email campaign into your recipient’s inbox is as simple as writing what you want and hitting send, seasoned pros know that the reality is somewhat. For those who are wondering what you can do to get that golden ticket, we’ve looked at 6 of the best practices you can follow for email delivery success.

1. Sign up for ISP feedback

This way you can get immediate notification when your subscriber makes a spam complaint, which means you can take action straight away. Bear in mind though that you’ll have to apply to each ISP individually.

2. Make sure you have your subscriber’s explicit permission to send them emails

The best way to do this is with a double opt-in sign-up. Give your subscribers the option to choose which of your newsletters they want to receive and how often they wish to receive it, and then honour their request. If they start getting emails that they aren’t interested in and are irrelevant, they’ll simply unsubscribe or worse, report you for spam. If you take the time to get it right from the beginning and give your customers exactly what they want, you’ll have already started on the path to a long and prosperous relationship with them.

3. Ask your subscribers to add your address to their contact list

This is possibly one of the most effective ways to reach subscribers inbox all the time. It’s as simple as making a note in your newsletter asking them to add you. Get this done and most of your deliverability problems are solved right there.

4. Be consistent with when you send your campaigns

Not only will your subscribers come to recognize and look forward to your emails every Thursday (or whichever day you choose), but the ISP’s also appreciate and acknowledge your consistency.

5. Spend time optimizing your design

Follow your consistency through to your templates and stick to the same (or at least a similar) design depending on if you are sending out your newsletter, promotional or transactional email. This also goes a long way to developing brand awareness and customers will soon start to recognize your emails simply from their design, which is great. Try to avoid adding attachments or large images, which often raise red flags with ISP’s. Flash and JavaScript are also best left out of your email, Flash because it’s not viewable with most email clients, and JavaScript because it’s often disabled automatically.

6. Make sure you always use the same “from” name and address

Not to harp on too much about consistency, but this will also help your subscribers recognize you, and quite simply it’s much more professional than sending out each new campaign from a different address.

Remember that ISP's and ESP's are constantly on the lookout for new ways to catch spammers, and although you might be as legit as they come, there is always a chance that your emails can be mistaken for spam. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to get reported, so as far as deliverability is concerned, adhere to as many of these (and other) best practices as possible if you want to ensure your email reaches its target.

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