For a marketer, building effective email automation systems is a critical approach to maximize conversions. But when it comes to scaling up email marketing, there comes the deliverability problems. Putting in so much effort but ending up in spams or emails not getting delivered properly is a worst scenario for any marketer.
When I met the same situation, I was curious to know who controls this and what are all the factors that influence the email delivery process. Here, I am consolidating the learnings I had and also shared some best practices that can be followed to optimize email delivery.
Email Delivery rate vs Deliverability
Ever wondered why your perfectly crafted emails don't reach your subscriber’s inbox? But, still your ESP delivery might be showing as 99%. To understand this, you need to first know the difference between Delivery rate and Deliverability. Though we use these terms interchangeably, they do not carry the same meaning.
The Delivery rate represents what happens when messages first come in contact with a mailbox provider’s (MBP) gateway. This is just like your email has been accepted by the recipient’s server. At this point, MBPs can reject emails based on various factors which results in emails not delivering to the inbox.
Deliverability, on the other hand, gives you visibility on how many messages are landing in the inbox passing hundreds of filters set by the MSPs. All your hard work around creating and building your email marketing campaigns and crafting great emails goes to waste.
Deliverability being really critical, let’s take a look at what it entails.
Deliverability is influenced by 3 factors - Identification, Reputation and Content.
Every server would like to know your identity and authenticity before delivering your emails. So, it becomes essential to prove and claim your identity.
- DMARC (Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) - DMARC acts as a feedback loop to know if the email has passed the ISP filters. Having a good DMARC record can have a positive effect on deliverability because it lets ISPs know that an organization is working on improving the security of their domain by getting feedback. But you need to know that DMARC can only instruct the ISP how to handle emails that fail authentication, but it’s up to the ISP to take action.
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework) - SPF is a method used by email receiving servers to verify that an incoming email from a domain was sent from an authorized host. In nutshell, the SPF record is published by domain administrators that lists the mail servers that are authorized to send emails from that domain.
- DKIM (Domainkeys Identified Email) - DKIM is used to check if content is altered on the way to the server from the host. DKIM works by adding a unique digital signature - Cryptographic Private key to the header of the message. At the receiver's end that signature can be validated against a public cryptographic key in the organization's Domain Name System (DNS) records. This validation helps to conclude the message to be authentic and unaltered in transit.
An email sender reputation is a score that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to an organization that sends email. It’s a crucial component of your email deliverability. The higher the score, the more likely an ISP will deliver emails to the inboxes. There are various factors that influences the reputation,
- How often the organization’s emails hit the ISP’s spam trap
- How many of the organization’s emails bounce
- Open/Reply/Forward rates of emails
- The Number of unsubscribes
- The Total Number and the frequency of emails sent
To get and maintain a good reputation score, maintain a clean list of recipient lists by actively excluding the unsubscribed and bounced emails that are affecting the reputation. Continuously track your email delivery rates to understand the potential errors and rectify them. You can check the reputation in various tools listed here.
Clever Subject Line
Subject lines are critically important. These are the headlines that convince a subscriber your email is worth opening. It's recommended to do an A/B test among those with a small subset of your subscribers and choose the right Subject line before sending bulk emails.
Things that work in subject lines include:
- Ideally 20-30 characters
- Personalization - Recipient's name
- Starting with Action Verbs
Things that don’t work are:
- All capital letters and using exclamation marks
- All uppercase letters
- Including Spammy words like Free, Offer, Guarantee
Engaging body content
On the body of the email, the goal is to get the attention of the reader quickly and urge him to take action. So, follow these while you craft the body content,
- Create both Plain Text and HTML versions of the email
- Personalize your content but make sure the content is kept simple
- Inspire action with the right CTAs
- Avoid Irregular format : Maintain text to image ratio, Use less font styles and colors, Use less links and avoid stuffing keywords
With these principles in mind, you are ready to craft and send great emails for your readers.
But Hold on!
Test before you send with these online checkers,