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100 Percent Inbox Delivery – Fact or Fiction?

A check list for 100% inbox delivery

Even though a 100% inbox delivery on an email campaign is 100% fictional due mainly to temporary errors and soft bounces, it is possible to secure your email delivery through a few steps.

Here is a checklist, of requirements, which should help you to reach near 100% email deliverability:

1 – Do you have enough dedicated IPs?
Your ID when broadcasting newsletters is usually based on the couple IP/Domain.
Some ISPs and webmails limit either the number of hourly or daily number of emails to be received from an IP. You therefore need to have sufficient IPs according to the volume of emails sent to these ISPs.
Sharing your IPs with other senders might get you into troubles should the other senders send poor campaigns.
It is also necessary to build your own sender reputation always using the same IPs and slowly getting the ISPs’ confidence.

2 – Are your Domain Key/DKIM and SPF correctly configured?
Yahoo! and Hotmail use the Domain Key (or recently DKIM) and SPF to identify sender domains. Having an accurately set ID will help you build up a solid reputation.

3 – Is your reverse DNS working correctly?
Most of the email receiving servers query the reverse DNS to see who is sending, so you need to make sure your reverse DNS is correctly set before email blasting.

4 – Are your email headers correctly set?
There’s a few things to know when email blasting, Gmail for example asks for “precedence=bulk” to be stated in the email header.

5 – Do you use double optin in your newsletter subscription process?
Double optin is the only way to make sure of two things:
a) the user wants to register for your newsletter
b) the real owner of the email went through the proper process of subscribing.

6 – Do you have a simple and efficient unsubscribe process?
With the SPAM complaint button easily accessible, in every email, you need to have a simple unsubscribe process.
The more complicated the unsubscribe process is, the more likely the user will click on the SPAM complaint button.
For the same exact reason you want to take every unsubscribe request into account ASAP, any email received after the user having unsubscribe is a potential complaint to the ISP.

7 – Do you correctly identify complainers and remove them systematically from upcoming email blasts?
Several ISPs provide email senders with feedback loops. These feedback loops are useful to measure the perception users have of your newsletter and of course to stop sending to complainers.

8 – Do you sometimes check for inactive profiles and remove them from your list?
An email that has not reacted (opened) on any email sent to him/her for a long time should probably be removed from your list; it is likely you will never get any benefit from sending to this person. You probably pay a fee to send emails to this user, and you also take the risk of this email being a SPAM trap.

9 – Do you avoid SPAM words, special characters and ALL CAPS in your subject lines?
Part of the email filtering is made on the email content itself. You therefore need to check your email subject line for common SPAM words. It is preferable to avoid special characters such as $, £, % or accents and avoid using too many capital letters.

10 – Is the Image/Text ratio correct in your email?
One of the most common technique Spammers use to bypass content based email filters is to use images instead of plain text. Having only images in the email you blast can make the ISPs suspicious and sometimes lead to false positives – (i.e. legitimate emails being blocked by filters).

11 – Is your HTML code orderly?
One important thing when sending an email to users is to have a clean HTML code. The first reason being all webmails, browsers, and email readers might deal with your bad HTML in different ways, and therefore your email might be displayed incorrectly on several of them.
The second reason is the SPAM filters are likely to block poorly coded emails.

12 – Do you monitor your marketing pressure on your subscribers?
When people subscribe to your newsletter it is recommended you tell them how often you will send emails to them, even if the time of year is special (sales periods, holidays, etc.) you need to make sure you do not over communicate with your subscribers. If you do not you might see an increase in your unsubscribe and complaint rates.

Did you Know? In general, a delivery rate of 80% or more is considered satisfactory; 90% is very good. You will never achieve a 100% delivery rate, as there will always be a few soft bounces (full email boxes) and hard bounces (invalid email addresses) on your list. Keep in mind that this figure does not factor in the emails that are automatically sent to the recipient’s junk folder.

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