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I love this quote from Debra Ellis of Target Marketing: “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%.
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 the reality is somewhat different (and more of a fine art in fact).
So, for those who are wondering what you can do to get that golden ticket, we’ve looked at six of the best practices you should follow for email delivery success.
First things first:
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. Also give them 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 one of the most effective ways to reach a subscribers inbox all the time. It’s as simple as making a note in your newsletter asking them to add you as a contact. 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 optimising 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 towards developing brand awareness and customers will soon start to recognise your emails simply from their design, which is great.
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 recognise 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.