The problem of deliverability is one that has plagued email marketers since the advent of email marketing. With increasingly rigid anti-Spam filters, getting messages through to subscribers is becoming exceedingly difficult.
However, adhering to industry best practices can still ensure a high delivery rate – here’s how:
1. Get permission. It can’t be said enough how important it is to get permission from subscribers. The key to an effective email marketing campaign relies largely on sending relevant messages to subscribers that have requested them.
2. ALWAYS use double opt in. Enough said.
3. Encourage subscribers to add you to their address book. If your address is one that they have chosen to accept, you will never be relegated to the junk bin.
4. Practice good list hygiene, meaning, regularly remove inactive subscribers from mailing lists. If an email address bounces, delete it from your address book immediately.
5. Consistently use the same from name and address; this helps not only with deliverability but also brand identity.
6. Include an unsubscribe link at the top of every message; it encourages subscribers to unsubscribe rather than label you as spam or junk. Better to lose a subscriber than to lose credibility.
7. Make sure that the ESP (email service provider) you use complies with the US CAN-SPAM standards and the EU Privacy Drive. If they do, they’ll often state so on their website.
8. Take advantage of authentication services; your mail is more likely to be delivered if your message is from a reliable source.
9. Reply to challenge responses; this lets recipients know that you are a real person and it improves your mailing reputation.
10. Do NOT buy lists. As previously mentioned (see number 1), the key to email marketing is permission! Buying a list is never the answer—you simply cannot buy someone’s permission.
11. Use an email marketing service that has abuse reporting features with feedback loops. These features let you know who has clicked “report Spam” from big ISPs.
12. Take the time to look at the reports and statistics provided by your email marketing host. Marketing Sherpa reports that 30% of practicing marketers don’t take the time to figure out their actual rate of delivery. Knowing these numbers will help you understand where and why your campaign deliveries are falling short.