As a digital marketing agency, we’ve created, coded, tested, sent, analysed, reviewed and optimised hundreds of emails for our clients across industries and company sizes as part of a number of successful email marketing strategies.
We often get businesses that complain that their “emails aren’t reaching enough people” or “our bounce rate on emails is too high” or “Insert email tool just doesn’t work for our business." All of these are valid concerns.
First things first - Email delivery is not the same as email deliverability. Email delivery means that your message has reached the recipient’s server (which could also be in the spam/junk/promotions folder). Email deliverability refers to when your email has reached your recipient’s primary inbox.
Email marketing is a powerful channel where your prospects have personally given you permission to contact them. You spend hours with your sales team, your email marketing agency, your internal staff and operations to put together content, an offer, beautiful design and copy that’s crafted to convert. However, all that time, effort and energy is wasted if your emails don’t even reach your prospects’ main inbox.
Avoid using URL shorteners in emails for better deliverability.
No-one wants to see the entire breadcrumb structure of the link you want to include, but Bit-ly and other such providers don’t help you reach the recipient’s inbox.
Make sure you don’t get caught up in the bells and whistles of a fancy-looking email. Optimise the size of the images on the email (try and keep it to less than 2MB), minimise the styling and keep things relatively simple.
If your email is too heavy, it’s unlikely to reach your recipients’ inbox.
Maintaining list hygiene will go a long way in not only the success rate of your email but also your general digital marketing strategy (considering audience lookalike options on Facebook and custom audiences on Google Ads). Send your email to a carefully segmented list of recipients. Make sure that the email content and context is relevant to everyone on the list.
Avoid a blanket email approach. If you have to send the same message to the entire database, look for opportunities to segment your audience regardless and then edit your subject line and the first line of the email copy so that the email is more relevant to those separate lists.
As a general rule, don’t buy a list of cold prospects to run your email marketing. Almost always, emailing a list of contacts without their explicit permission is considered spam.
There is a two-fold reason why this is bad for email deliverability. One, the cold list will generally not engage with your email, mark it as spam, or report the email/sender. And two, because of the poor response from point number one, the success of any future emails is also jeopardised.
So, it’s important to maintain the health of your database with relevant, active email subscribers that want to hear from you and your brand.
This may be obvious to most from just a brand perspective, but don’t use email id from open sources such as Google, iCloud and the like as the “From email address” of the email.
Broadcast emails from open source email accounts usually land in spam/junk folders and as a result, defeat the purpose of email marketing.
It’s good practice to exclude contacts that would otherwise never receive your emails. Set up exclusion lists of unsubscribed contacts, hard-bounced contacts, disengaged contacts and the like.
You can take this a step further - review the hard-bounced email contacts and replace their email address or the contact itself with an active contact. You can also run a specific nurture sequence for disengaged contacts to reactivate them before sending them any generic comms.
Industry best practice and legal requirements dictate that businesses must provide a clear option and an easy way for recipients to unsubscribe from emails.
Using a legible but smaller font for the unsubscribe option is fine, but avoid sneaky methods like white text on white backgrounds.
Almost all email automation providers recommend that businesses operate emails using a double-opt-in method.
Double opt-in makes sure that the person filling the form/subscribing to your emails is genuinely interested in the content. Before receiving any further emails, readers have to confirm from the first email that they are keen on receiving emails.
As it is with all marketing, your buyer persona/recipient should be at the centre of the email. Create and send content via email that is genuinely useful to the reader. Only then will you have a higher engagement rate and a better sender reputation.
If the content is valuable, you’ll automatically drive website traffic through clicks, increase forwards, get replies and generate an audience that wants to hear more from you. Better engagement metrics leads to better email deliverability.
Maintain a healthy and consistent frequency of emails to your database. It does not bear down well for email deliverability if you’re on radio silence for months on end and then suddenly start sending 6 emails a month.
Give your recipients time to warm up to your content and give yourself time to warm up to the patterns of your lists’ email behaviour.
Better marketing results start with a conversation
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