By: Stephanie Padovani, Wedding Business Consultant, Book More Brides
Return Path’s Email Intelligence Report reveals that only 84% of Email is actually delivered to the inbox, down 5% from the previous year. This means that 16% of Emails sent never even have a chance to get opened. Email clients are increasingly vigilant with anti-spam filters, and consumers are more apt than ever to hit the “this is spam” button on anything that is unwelcomed in their overloaded inboxes. Complying with your Email marketing service’s best practices guidelines and the CAN-SPAM Act simply isn’t enough. If you want your Email to actually get delivered, follow these little known tips to increase your deliverability rate.
1. Publish an SPF record2 on your domain that includes the IP addresses of the third party (your Email marketing service) who sends your messages. When those nasty spammers send an Email from a forged sender address, it’s called “Email spoofing.” Email clients like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail use the SPF record to verify the sender IP address to avoid delivering these spoofs. When you send an Email through your Email marketing service, it’s IP address doesn’t match your domain, making it impossible to verify, which means your Emails may not be delivered. The easiest way to add an SPF record is to contact your website host and ask for assistance.
2. Sign your Email message with a DKIM signature associated with your domain. A DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) signature allows you to verify that your company sent the message. As long as your domain’s reputation is good, this will improves your deliverability.
3. Add a PTR (reverse DNS lookup) record to your domain. The PTR connects your IP address to your domain, so that when an Internet service provider checks for validation, it confirms that yours is not a spoof Email. Without this record, there is no way for them to verify that your Email is not spam, and your chances of getting stuck in the Spam Folder increase. Contact your website host to add a PTR record to your domain.
4. Encourage your Email subscribers to open, click, and respond to your Emails. When Gmail or Yahoo! Mail notices that subscribers are not opening your Emails, they take it as an indication of spam. If this continues, your Emails will end up in the Spam Folder without even a single spam complaint. To prevent this, design your Emails to get action. The more engaged your subscribers are with your Emails, the more your Emails get delivered.
5. Avoid spam trigger words in your Emails. The words associated with spammers and phishers are awarded spam points by ISPs; the more points you get, the more likely your email is tagged as spam. Common words and phrases to avoid:
While using these words doesn’t mean you are spamming, each one of them adds to your Email’s spam points and can tip the scale. Avoid them whenever possible, and read Hubspot’s Ultimate List of Spam Trigger Words to learn which apply to your industry.
6. Stop Emailing the subscribers who don’t open your Emails. I know how painful it is to remove subscribers from your Email list, but if they aren’t opening your Emails and you keep Emailing them, it hurts your deliverability. Will your ego be satisfied to have more subscribers if no one gets your Emails?
A good rule of thumb: if a subscriber does not open one of your Emails for three months, put them on an “active re-engagement” Email sequence. Send them a series of Emails that first attempts to re-engage them with a compelling Email subject and offer, then asks, “Do you still want to get Emails from me?” If those inactive subscribers don’t open or respond after going through your re-engagement sequence, remove them from your Email list. Your open rate and deliverability will improve as a result.
7. Certify your Email IP address. Most Email clients use a whitelist of “good” IP addresses when filtering spam. If your IP address is whitelisted, it can increase your deliverability up to 40%, according to companies like Return Path who provides this certification service. You earn this certification by submitting an application, meeting the qualifications and paying an annual fee. Yep, this certification is going to cost you, but so does all the potential income you lose due to undelivered Emails.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to engage with your prospects. Use these tips to boost your Email deliverability and reap the rewards.
Stephanie Padovani and her husband, Jeff are the dynamic husband-wife duo behind Book More Brides, the #1 online resource for transformational marketing strategies for the wedding industry. Visit BookMoreBrides.com to be entertained and empowered with low cost, effective wedding marketing strategies.
Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.