Mastering Email Deliverability: Best Practices for Successful Inbox Placement
As a business owner or marketer, you know how critical email marketing is for communicating with your audience and driving engagement. However, even the most thoughtfully crafted emails won't be effective if they don't reach your subscribers' inboxes. And boy is it a process to do that consistently!
That's where email deliverability comes into play. Let's explore best practices for mastering email deliverability and ensuring your emails land in the inbox every time.
- Build a High-Quality Email List: There's a reason this is #1! The foundation of good email deliverability starts with a high-quality email list. Avoid purchasing or renting email lists, as these can contain outdated, inactive, or low-quality email addresses. Instead, focus on organic list growth through opt-in methods such as website sign-ups, online forms, and double opt-ins. Regularly clean and update your email list to remove invalid or inactive email addresses. Keep your bounces super low!
- Use a Reputable Email Service Provider (ESP): Your choice of an ESP can significantly impact your email deliverability. Select a reputable ESP with a strong sending reputation, good deliverability rates, and anti-spam measures in place. Ensure your ESP is compliant with email regulations such as CAN-SPAM and GDPR to maintain a positive sender reputation. This is why most people just use gmail / outlook so they don't have to worry about this.
- Authenticate Your Domain: Authenticating your domain is crucial for email deliverability. Implement Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) to verify your domain's legitimacy and protect against spoofing or phishing attacks. These are annoying but critical steps to maximize deliverability
- Craft Engaging and Relevant Email Content: Create compelling, relevant, and personalized email content that resonates with your subscribers. Avoid using spammy language, excessive capitalization, and excessive use of images or links. Segment your email list based on subscriber preferences, behavior, or demographics to send targeted and personalized emails, which can lead to higher engagement and better deliverability.
- Monitor and Analyze Email Metrics: Regularly monitor and analyze your email metrics to gain insights into your email deliverability. Key metrics to track include open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and spam complaints. Use these metrics to identify and address any issues, such as low engagement, high bounce rates, or spam complaints, which could negatively impact your sender reputation and deliverability.
- Practice List Hygiene: Maintaining a clean and engaged email list is critical for good deliverability. Remove inactive subscribers, unsubscribe requests, and hard bounces from your list promptly. Implement a double opt-in process to ensure subscribers genuinely want to receive your emails. Regularly update your contact list to remove any email addresses that have repeatedly bounced or marked your emails as spam.
- Manage Complaints and Unsubscribes: Respect your subscribers' preferences and promptly honor unsubscribe requests. Make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe from your emails by including a clear and visible unsubscribe link in every email. Additionally, manage complaints efficiently by monitoring and addressing any spam complaints promptly. High complaint rates can harm your sender reputation and affect your email deliverability.
- Warm Up New IP Addresses: If you're sending emails from a new IP address, start with a warm-up process. Gradually increase your sending volume and slowly introduce your emails to ISPs to establish a positive sender reputation. Avoid sudden spikes in email volume, as it can trigger spam filters and negatively impact your deliverability.
- Regularly Monitor Blacklists: Keep an eye on popular email blacklists to ensure your domain or IP address is not listed. Being blacklisted can result in your emails being blocked or filtered, significantly impacting your email deliverability. If you find your domain or IP address listed, take immediate action to investigate and resolve the issue.
- Stay Compliant with Email Regulations: Comply with email regulations such as CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and other local email laws to maintain a good sender reputation and avoid legal repercussions. Familiarize yourself with the requirements and guidelines of these regulations, such as providing a clear opt-out mechanism, including your physical mailing address, and obtaining proper consent from subscribers before sending them emails.
- Test Emails Before Sending: Before sending out your emails to your entire list, it's essential to thoroughly test them to ensure they are rendering correctly, free from broken links or formatting errors, and are not triggering spam filters. Use email testing tools or send test emails to different email clients to verify how your emails appear to recipients and identify any issues that need to be addressed.
- Monitor Feedback Loops: Feedback loops are a mechanism provided by ISPs that allow you to receive notifications when subscribers mark your emails as spam. Set up feedback loops with major ISPs to promptly receive and address any feedback, unsubscribe requests, or complaints from recipients. This will help you identify any issues and take corrective measures to maintain good email deliverability.
- Stay Ahead of Emerging Email Threats: Email threats and spamming techniques are constantly evolving, and it's crucial to stay informed and proactive in protecting your email deliverability. Stay updated with the latest industry trends, technologies, and best practices related to email deliverability. Regularly review and update your email marketing strategy to adapt to changes in the email landscape.
- Build Relationships with ISPs: Establishing a positive relationship with ISPs can greatly impact your email deliverability. ISPs are responsible for filtering and delivering emails to recipients' inboxes, so building a good rapport with them can help ensure your emails are delivered successfully. Follow ISPs' guidelines, adhere to their rules, and proactively communicate with them if you encounter any issues.
- Have a Plan for Handling Deliverability Issues: Despite following all the best practices, email deliverability issues may still arise. It's crucial to have a plan in place to handle such situations. Develop a contingency plan to quickly address any deliverability problems, such as being blacklisted, experiencing high bounce rates, or low engagement. Having a plan in place will help you take prompt action and mitigate any negative impact on your email deliverability.
In conclusion, mastering email deliverability requires a multi-faceted approach that involves building a high-quality email list, using a reputable ESP, authenticating your domain, crafting engaging and relevant email content, monitoring email metrics, practicing list hygiene, managing complaints and unsubscribes, warming up new IP addresses, staying compliant with email regulations, testing emails, monitoring feedback loops, staying ahead of emerging email threats, building relationships with ISPs, and having a plan for handling deliverability issues. By implementing these best practices, you can ensure your emails are delivered to the inbox and achieve successful email marketing campaigns that drive results for your business.
If all else fails, just spin up a new domain. Or have 2-3 domains with 2-3 email addresses per domain warming up at any given time so you can switch the second your deliverability starts to drop!