When it comes to email campaigns, deliverability goes hand in hand with email reputation. You can’t have one without the other.
Deliverability is the measure of your ability to deliver content to people’s inboxes. It’s a complex subject touching everything related to email delivery. This involves you as a sender, the recipients, and the mailbox providers and ISPs.
Senders influence deliverability with their mailing practices. Mailing frequency and volume, list hygiene and content quality – these are all major factors.
Subscriber behavior also plays a part. The way people engage with your content (opens, clicks, opt-outs, spam complaints) affects deliverability.
Based on these actions, ISPs use complex algorithms and filters to decide if your emails are spam or not. Emails that fail to meet these criteria go to junk or get blocked.
The following mailing practices can hurt your deliverability rates:
- using purchased or rented lists
- emailing without confirming consent (lack of double opt-in)
- poor email authentication methods
- making it difficult to unsubscribe
- spammy content and subject lines
- using URL shorteners
How does sender reputation fit into this picture?
Email reputation is the score ISPs and ESPs assign to your IP or domain, based on analysis of all the above elements. The score, ranging from 1 to 100, shows your adherence to good sending practices.
A high score identifies you as a legitimate sender. A low score signals the provider that you may be a spammer.
In email marketing, reputation is key. Good reputation ensures successful email delivery. On the other hand, bad reputation can undermine all your marketing efforts.
If your sender ranking is too low, your campaigns won’t even reach people’s inboxes.
So, what can you do to ensure good sender reputation?
Try these useful tips to maintain good standing and prevent inbox placement issues.
Don’t make unsubscribing difficult
Your unsubscribe rates reflect your mailing practices, content quality, and list health. The higher the unsubscribe rate, the poorer your reputation.
It may, therefore, seem counterintuitive to display a visible opt-out link so people can easily leave your list. But it’s better to let them go than risk a spam complaint, which is bound to happen if they can’t find a way to unsubscribe. Place a clearly visible opt-out link, at the top or bottom of your emails.Make it easy for people to unsubscribe from your email lists. You will get much better results in the long run.Click To Tweet
Making it easy for people to unsubscribe isn’t just good for business. It’s a legal obligation under the CAN-SPAM Act, governing the sending of commercial email. Under this law, you must give people a clear way to unsubscribe.
Of course, you can offer people the option to unsubscribe only from specific content.
If you’re an advanced marketer and do a lot of segmentation and multiple lists, you have more options. Perhaps the reader is only annoyed with the volume of emails or certain topics.
Allowing the reader to only unsubscribe from certain lists will let you keep some of these people from leaving you. However, you still need to make the “unsubscribe altogether from everything” option very clear and obvious.
Use good authentication practices
Email authentication offers protection against email forging i.e. spoofing. Spammers often misrepresent themselves to trick people into revealing sensitive data. Emails are easy to spoof and made to look as if they originate from a legitimate source.
In absence of authentication protocols, spammers can impersonate you, damaging your reputation. To prevent this, ISPs take action to ensure that senders are really who they claim to be. Email authentication also allows senders to control who can send emails on their behalf.
The most widely used authentication protocols include SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
SPF checks if the sender’s IP address matches the list of IPs published by that sender. If the addresses don’t match, the provider may not deliver the message to the recipient.
DomainKey Identified Mail (DKIM)
DKIM verifies that the message was sent from a specific domain. It also checks if the message was altered during delivery.
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)
DMARC builds on SPF and DKIM, and is designed to protect against direct domain spoofing. It helps determine if a message truly comes from that sender and which steps to take if it doesn’t. Additionally, it also allows domain owners to request that spoofed emails go directly to junk or get rejected.
Your choice of content is a major factor in marketing success. If people like your emails, they’ll engage with them. The higher your engagement rates, the more people who’ll buy your products and services.Better email content = higher email reputation. The ISPs can and do detect quality, and reward you for it.Click To Tweet
Additionally, though, high engagement rates give the provider a clear sign that your emails belong in the inbox. Are you starting to see the value in all of this? By focusing on engagement rates, you increase your conversion rates and your delivery rates. All at once.
How do you improve your engagement rates?
Above all, make sure your emails always provide value. Create helpful content that addresses subscriber concerns.
- But don’t email them too frequently. It’s highly unlikely you have something valuable to share every single day. It’s also a fast way to earn unsubscribes.
- Proofread your emails before sending. Misspellings and poor grammar are major spam flags. They also constitute low-value content, and that decreases engagement.
- Don’t neglect the importance of subject lines for engagement. They are the first thing people see and help them decide whether they should open the email. Avoid spam triggers like “free”, “buy now”, “you’re the winner”, etc.
To see which subject lines and content resonate best with users, test your emails on parts of your list. You can use our A/B split testing tool to tweak your campaigns to perfection.
- Content segmentation is important. Segment your audience into categories and personalize your content to resonate with each group. Personalized emails lead to higher engagement, clicks and conversion rates.
Emercury allows you to segment your lists to drive up engagement. Create segments based on demographics, past purchases, buying frequency, interests, and more.
Keep your mailing list clean
A large subscriber base doesn’t necessarily mean better sales opportunities. Keeping invalid or stale addresses will only hurt your delivery rates and reputation. So, you want to clean your lists at regular intervals, preferably at least twice a year.
Here’s what you can do to keep your mailing lists free from clutter:
Remove role-based addresses, such as info@, admin@, help@, etc. They are associated with a job or a position, not a real individual. Keeping them suggests you’ve obtained your list from sources other than confirmed opt-ins. So, as far as your reputation is concerned, you’re better off without them.
Unfair spam complaints do happen. People may forget they opted in or no longer find your content relevant. Whatever the reason, manage spam complaints without delay. ISPs interpret them as indicators that your content is not desired.
Misspelled and duplicate addresses don’t belong in your list either. Clean them regularly.
Remove inactive users from your list. ISPs use subscriber engagement (opens, replies, whitelistings) to measure sender quality.
Continuous sending to inactive users will damage your email reputation and deliverability rates.
Good email marketing platforms offer a list cleanup tool to assist with these clean-up tasks. Emercury’s list hygiene features can help you remove invalid emails, bounces, and complainers quickly. In fact, we pride ourselves on our commitment to helping clients achieve and maintain high email reputations.
Most email service providers seem indifferent about whether you keep a good reputation past “not being an outright spammer”. Most of them seem to reserve their best email reputation features for the high-level enterprise plans. Not us, we believe that every email marketer deserves all the tools they need to achieve peak deliverability.
We include a deliverability manager and every deliverability and reputation tool you need with every single paid plan. But that’s not all. We include most features on our forever-free plan. That’s right, you can get yourself a forever-free plan today and start using these features right away.