In today’s world, with the internet steadily increasing in its growth as a communications platform and with the countless ever-growing innovations that are constantly being introduced; from social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all the way to massive internet forums of Reddit and Quora - one thing still holds true even now.
Email will still reign supreme as one of the most used mediums for communication through the internet. According to Statista, there are about 3.9 billion active email users. That’s a considerable number. For comparison, social media users worldwide come close but not enough, with around 3.5 billion users only.
The myth of emails gradually dying out today is far from the truth because it is still the most preferred tool for communication by most people. This rings all the more true when it comes to professional and business-related activities.
You’ve got marketing, recruiting, customer support, and even scams, if that counts, all being done in this age-old system that has lasted from the birth of the Internet. It’s been used as a growth hacking strategy for many companies in the past and is still being used as one up to this day.
Now, after that slight introduction, let’s get back on track.
In this article, we’ll be talking about 10 proven ways that you can make sure that your email deliverability rates are at the top of its game. You’ll be provided with some examples along the way as well to visualize better what we mean.
Let’s dive straight into it.
Work on your sign-up system
Before you get started with your email system, you always have to provide a way for contacts to start pooling into your email list.
What’s the point of having all of this when you don’t have recipients?
The first step to a successful email campaign is through good deliverability in your emails. Make sure that your sign-up process is as intuitive and clear-cut as it can be. Check with your web developer on how they can make your user experience all the better and add in some requests that you would want as well.
You should consider putting up email verification systems so that the users that are signing up aren’t just putting in random burner emails that certain websites produce for convenience. This will help you by weeding out the emails that are fake and protecting your email system from potential bot attacks.
Don’t forget to also share some crucial information with data privacy-related concerns. Just like how websites tell visitors that their traffic is being tracked and they get data from what these visitors do, the same goes with emails. Make it clear what you intend to do with customer data, as this will alleviate some concerns from your viewers.
It also helps you avoid potential complaints in the near future from users that aren’t keen to receive your emails. The last thing that you want is someone signing up and ultimately putting you into the spam folder, and you don’t want that.
Reason being? Spam complaints will affect your sender’s reputation, and with that comes poor deliverability. As you read along, you’ll get an idea as to what a sender’s reputation is, but from here, you should already know that it can affect your email deliverability.
Invest Time in a Good IP Address
IP addresses are a big thing when it comes to email marketing, and they can impact how your deliverability success rates are. When it comes down to it, IP addresses are basically tell-tale signs of “this is me” to your audience, or in this case, your recipient.
There typically are two types of IP addresses: Shared & Dedicated.
Shared IP addresses mean that you share one IP address with multiple other companies that are in the same league as you. What that means is that if you have a good reputation with your email service providers, then you will most likely be paired up with other companies that are similar to your reputation.
However, the caveat is that one lame duck that falls from the usual standards can affect your email deliverability as well, even if you didn’t make any mistakes.
This can be a cost-effective strategy for you if you are a small business that doesn’t have a high volume to send out and you don’t regularly have a lot of campaigns running.
Dedicated IP addresses, on the other hand, are IP addresses that solely belong to you and you alone. Let’s use an example for this one, say you’re an NFT marketplace where huge chunks of valuable items that are up for sale are constantly being displayed.
In this scenario, if you want to maximize the publicity of these items through email marketing, you’re probably going to have a lot of people to send with, especially if you already have a lot of users signed up.
Dedicated IP addresses are a lot more convenient with this because if you have a good standing relationship with your email service provider, you can send out emails faster and a whole lot more convenient as the ESP can trust you since you’re the only one responsible with the reputation of your IP address.
At the same time, a dedicated IP address can also give you exclusive access to DNS records that are especially your own and this helps email deliverability as well because your brand has a specific history that can quickly be reviewed and tested by ESP’s.
All these are great features to have, and it’s quite a no-brainer for a lot of businesses, but it does come in with a hefty fee per month. Some even charge up to $100 per month, depending on the provider.
Not only that, but If you do something terrible with your dedicated IP address or something unfortunate happens, then the ESP can quickly figure out who’s the culprit and none other than you.
Consider Using Subdomains For Emails
Email subdomains are another way for you to have more leverage with your email deliverability. Basically, domains are the names of a website.
Take, for example, this link to Flamingo: helloflamingo.com
The name is what we call a domain, or sometimes you can also call it a parent domain. Subdomains are children of the parent domain, and this can easily be identified by the prefix of the subdomain name. From there, you can distinguish that it is only a part of a larger domain.
What’s great about this is that subdomains have a separate reputation when it comes to email. This essentially provides you with an easier way to segregate business emails into different categories.
At the same time, this prevents your parent domain’s email address from suffering if these children’s subdomains make an error in their email system.
This will ultimately keep your parent domain’s email reputation healthy and intact as these children are the only ones that are affected. You can also customize the name of your subdomain just before the @ symbol, so feel free to be creative with what you can come up with.
Here are some examples: (Note: These are not actual emails)
Email Authentication is Important
The prominence of email in the world has brought in a lot of spammers, phishers, scammers, and the likes, all trying to trick people into providing them private or financial information to steal data or even cash.
Take a look at this quick data from SpamLaws.
Luckily, email authentication exists in the form of Sender Policy Framework and DomainKeys Identified Mail which is basically providing a certificate to internet service providers that you own that specific domain.
Let’s use a real estate business as an example for this one.
Just like how agencies use predictive dialers to make outbound cold calling efficient, email authentication also makes the process of cold calling and email deliverability a lot easier to do as ISP’s will just let your email campaigns pass through their security quite conveniently.
With the right reputation and proof of your ownership on that domain with SPF and DKIM, you also provide significant evidence to your customers to believe which email is yours so that they won’t be victims of fraudulent activities, potentially saving you from lawsuits and problems.
Once you get authenticated with SPF and DKIM, you also need to make a DMARC record. This will help you know that your email is properly being authenticated, as well as provide warnings to you if there are authentication problems or signs of suspicious activities.
Check Your Email Spam Score
Major ISP providers have at their disposal complex and advanced spam detection methods to check email content that is being sent to their users and mail services. These algorithms ensure protection for the recipients that they won’t be exploited.
Consider this as the first roadblock that a lot of bad emails have to go through before being sent through. If your content is checked and passes through all tests, then you’re all set,, but if your content is flagged as something suspicious, then into the spam folder it goes.
There are plenty of 3rd party email spam filter checks out there that you can use to have an idea of whether or not your content will be flagged. However, just because you are flagged in one certain criterion doesn’t mean that your content will be immediately blocked. ISP’s gather and combine all of this data in one single score called email spam score.
From there you can have an idea of whether or not your overall content is passable, and if it’s not, then you can go through it again and check which parts are flagged as a problem using 3rd party tools.
To give you some tips, here are some methods that you can use to reduce your spam score:
- Avoiding the use of spam words and phrases
- Using good subject lines
- Fix HTML errors and don’t use unsupported methods
- Never hide or obstruct content
- Try to keep HTML code as clean as possible
Screen Your Mailing Lists
Oftentimes, you just need to declutter. This also includes your mailing lists. People come and go, and sometimes they didn’t even show up in the first place!
Decluttering your mailing list can feel like you’re cutting off some emails that you might get a lead from, but in truth, inactive emails will just hurt you more than anything else.
Take, for example, you’re this business, a drug rehab center that is looking to get the most out of your email outreach. You’re emailing thousands upon thousands of contacts and mixing this with other campaigns that you have from marketing, prospecting, and all that.
At that point, you just have a lot of contacts to consider.
Eventually, if you don’t declutter, you’ll end up with a significant portion of your email lists having inactive contacts, and this can affect how you measure the effectiveness of your emails
What if your most recent campaign targeting families actually works, but the metrics don’t show the same results since a large portion of your mailing lists were just inactive emails not responding?
This can hamper your future prospects and decisions when it comes to your email marketing strategy so it’s best to either remove inactive contacts or require them to re-confirm their intentions to subscribe to your mailing list.
Provide Options to Unsubscribe
Always provide an option for your contacts to unsubscribe from your campaign. The reason for this is quite simpler than you might think - it’s the law. Keeping contacts that don’t want your emails will just bring more harm than good as they might complain about your email methods.
This is all the more true if you are an eCommerce store. Let’s say that you sell Halloween Costumes as a product, and you constantly dish out sales and promos to your contacts.
However, a certain number of them that initially subscribed now wanted to stop receiving your emails, and they are starting to get a little bit annoyed. At this point, your previous clients now have a declining perception of how they view your business as a whole.
Sure, they might have had a great experience on their first purchase and had an amazing first impression experience, but if you keep spamming them with promos and they can’t find a way to unsubscribe, you’ll just end up in their spam list and now, you’re in a much worse position than having just simply lost an active contact.
Pro Tip: If they unsubscribe, send them a last-minute email saying goodbye, this might still let them reconsider their decision and come back.
Think About Timing & Scheduling
Just like how you manage how to post on social media or how you should always have a video asset management tool to properly coordinate the scheduling of posting videos on Youtube or other video sharing platforms, email marketing is the same but much more punishing with the statistics that they show on open rates.
According to research, email opening rates fall to about 1% after it has remained in the recipient’s inbox for more than 24 hours. So it goes without saying that timing how you send your email outreach is an important part of how successful your entire campaign can be.
According to data, the best chances that your email will be opened on the same day that you sent it is on Tuesdays, and the second-best option to go for would be on Thursdays. The reason for this is that you should always provide ample time in-between emails to avoid being mistaken for spam.
The worst days, on the other hand, are on the weekends because primarily, it’s a time for most people to rest and relax, so most would tend to hold off on emails until the week starts again.
For these types of data, you can always use them for almost anything that you use email for. If you have a cart abandonment system in place for your eCommerce site, then you can also consider timing and scheduling with how you tackle that problem.
The best course of action, however, is to experiment with it yourself and do some A/B testing. Basically, try all of these dates and compare them with one another and see which one works best.
What’s great about A/B testing on your own is that you can set the experiment on your own conditions to make sure that the results are as accurate as they can be rather than relying on external data.
But if you don’t have the time for that, this general concept can be enough for you to base your decisions on already.
Show Life in Your Emails
The content of your emails matters, that’s already a given, but oftentimes, it still needs to be stressed that in order to increase email deliverability is to constantly be reminded of the content that you produce.
This applies to a lot of things when it comes to sending out emails from marketing, recruitment, customer support, prospecting, and many more.
Great marketers know how much of an impact good content can provide in keeping contacts to keep reading through your newsletters and emails but to also click on it and get them redirected to your site where all the meat of the content can be.
Here’s an example of good email marketing content:
Aside from this, as mentioned before, always try to avoid spam words and phrases. These are not only bad written content but will also affect your email spam score.
Not only do you risk users having a bad impression on your written content, but you also risk not even delivering your emails to them in the first place (in which case might actually be better since they don’t get a wrong impression from bad and spammy content).
Subject Lines Matter a Lot!
Subject lines go hand-in-hand with the content that you write but oftentimes, subject lines actually play a bigger role, with about 47% of recipients saying that they base their decision on subject lines when it comes to opening an email.
An even alarming number is that around 69% of recipients say that they decide whether or not to report an email as spam on the subject line alone.
Not only that, but subject lines also provide a sense of connection with the recipient. To better illustrate this, let’s use the drug rehabilitation facility from this website as an example for this one.
Subject lines that are gunning for a family-related audience might do you a better job of getting leads and clicks as opposed to creating subject lines hip and cool that are better suited for younger audiences.
The reason for this is that most probably, the people that would be interested in availing your services are those that want to help their families who are suffering from these medical conditions.
If you create subject lines that are welcoming, helpful, reaching out, and just providing a sense of security for your audience, then you just might hit the right spot.
That said, crafty subject lines will boost your email deliverability just right, and as mentioned before, avoid spammy words.
Take a look at some quick, actionable tips that you can use to avoid spam words:
- Keep subject lines as short as possible
- Don’t use words that are influencing prices such as (Free, Discounts, Percentages, and etc.)
- Refrain from using punctuation marks such as exclamation points.
- Don’t start your emails with pretexts such as “Re:” or “Fwd:” as this looks spammy and terrible in general.
Increasing your email deliverability rates is not that hard as you might think, and there are actually pretty reasonable steps that you can take quite easily to start improving your email campaigns, whether it be in recruiting, prospecting, marketing, and many more.
What’s great about these steps is that they aren’t going to cost you as much, and they primarily only need proper execution, experience, and knowledge to get right.
The only thing that you need to do now? Is to get moving on improving your email campaigns and start running them as soon as you’re ready.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on novumhq.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.