Good email deliverability is becoming a luxury nowadays. In the old days, it used to be that you only had to focus on not sending complete spam, and that was enough. Nowadays email filters are much more sophisticated.
They may decide that your email doesn’t deserve resting in the recipient’s inbox based on a variety of factors. These days they’re increasingly looking at behavioral factors as well. This can (for example) include measuring how often people open your emails (if at all). It’s one way for them to determine your “relationship” with the receiver. This is just another reason why it’s becoming increasingly important to focus on building relationships with your readers.
Let’s look into some of the most common mistakes that can hurt your email deliverability.
1) Treating your list like an undefined general pile of wallets
One of the most interesting paradoxes in email marketing is that you have to broadcast, but still make each recipient feel like an individual.
The first thing you want to master is always having a personal tone. Just imagine as if you’re talking to someone you know very well. How do you do that with a random person who signed up to your list? Well, you actually have to understand them to an extent.
There are many ways to achieve this feat. Being specific on the upfront helps. Offer a very specific reason why people are getting onto your list and you will attract a very specific kind of person. This allows you to talk to them with an understanding of their issues and desires.
2) Wrong focus (help first, sell second)
You might assume that most mistakes to kill deliverability are technical in nature, and you’re kind of right. If we went into your emails we could find hundreds of little specifics that make the tone of that email wrong.
Fortunately, we don’t have to analyze each of your emails one-by-one. There’s a more general framework that influences how and why you write the emails that you do. If you’re looking at that list as an unconverted pile of potential cash you’re doing it wrong.
Yes, your ultimate goal is to convert these subscribers into actual profit. You should be conscious of bottom line metrics (such as $ earned per subscriber). Yet at the same time, you want to avoid communicating this in your messages.
Ironically, this is another paradox, because your list is, in fact, a pile of cash just waiting to be taken. But you don’t want to focus on this goal when crafting your emails. You want the focus to be on helping the reader, on providing value and knowledge.Treat your email subscribers well, and the will reward you for it in the form of increased profits.Click To Tweet
The idea behind the emails should be giving so much value that the reader gives you their trust and loves opening your emails. You want to genuinely have a different mindset. Your mental frame should be: “let me help this reader get results first, and if I do it well, they’ll repay me in the future”. This will boost deliverability in the long-run.
3) Sending more than one email per day
You want to take this on as a rule when you first start out. Make sure that subscribers never receive more than one email a day. You can “bend” this rule in specific circumstances, but they will be very specific.
For example, you might discover a super excited & engaged segment of readers. You would then be able to send them multiple emails a day in some cases.
Or you might be holding webinars or launches that require multiple reminders. All of these, however, are very specific events and situations. As a general rule, remember “no more than one email a day”.
4) Sending too few emails when they’re new to the list
Getting the frequency right is crucial when people are new to the list. Sending too many emails can annoy people to where they mark you as a spammer or just keep deleting your emails. This will kill your deliverability.
But if you send the emails too far apart, you will fail to “hook” them in those crucial initial stages. This will lower your engagement and many will end up ignoring your emails. This also lowers your deliverability in the long-run.
First some bad news: nobody knows what the right frequency is for your list. The good news is that you can find out the right frequency by using the right tools. A good provider like Emercury will provide those tools for you.Don't be shy. When a sub is new to your email list, email them often enough to hook them. But don't overdo it.Click To Tweet
An easy rule of thumb is to start out with 1 email a week as a general guideline. You can then use our reporting and segmenting tools to learn what’s happening and experiment with higher and lower frequencies.
Mind you, there is one clever trick that allows you to start off with more frequent emails. You might have seen some marketers offering “A free 10-day email course”. This allows you to get people on the list with the express intent of sending them an email every day for the first 10 days. After this you’d switch to the general “once a week guideline”.
5) Lack of contact for an extended period (forgetting they exist after a while)
This is something we see quite often. You start a list, engage them for the first month or two, but then get sidetracked. You forget all about those subscribers and take them for granted. After all, you did give them lots of good value for a few months, why should they be mad if you take a break for a while?
Then you decide to send them a promotional offer out of the blue after a long break. Many of these people will have forgotten about you. They might even forget how well you treated them for those first months (when they were new). If enough of a gap happens, when you do start sending them new emails, it won’t go well. They will just not open your emails or even worse flag you as a spammer.
You want to make sure that you’re sending emails to each list (or segment). It’s wise that you prepare some content in advance. The best tip is this, create a reserve of emails. When you’re in that creative mode and writing emails is easy, just create more than you need. So that you have something to send when a gap occurs.
6) Not maintaining your list hygiene
This one isn’t entirely your fault. For some reason a lot of marketers never even mention list-hygiene! Most courses on making money with email marketing won’t even mention it. In fact, even most email providers will remain silent about it.
You’ll never meet a big list owner who doesn’t do list hygiene though. In fact, that’s why we’re so popular with big list owners. You can say that we here at Emercury are kind of “obsessed” with things like deliverability and list-hygiene, and we’re proud of this reputation. So much so that we include it with every account.
7) Lack of clarity about their subscription
You might see a lot of successful marketers tricking people onto their lists. They offer you some freebie download, you ask for it, and boom you start getting promotional emails on a daily basis.
This isn’t a valid strategy to copy if you’re starting out (or perhaps ever). These people are quite clever and use a lot of tricks to make sure this doesn’t backfire on them. If you try to do it, you might just end up with a ton of spam reports that destroy your email reputation for good.
Make sure that you make it very clear what people are signing up for. You don’t have to give every detail upfront though. It’s ok to inform them about some of the specifics in the welcome email. Tell them what to expect, and let them know easy it is to unsubscribe.
8) Too many promotional emails
This is another one where experienced marketers give you a false impression. You might have signed up for some marketer’s list, only to be bombarded with one promotion after another. This might lead you to think “hey, he’s successful and bombards people with promotions, so that’s the way to go!”
What you might not realize is that these marketers use very advanced segmentation to decide who gets those promotions and who doesn’t. When you’re starting out you want to set up your general campaigns and autoresponders in a more conservative fashion.Super-advanced marketers can get away with drowning their subscribers in promotional emails. You can't.Click To Tweet
Try to make sure that most of your emails are informative in nature. These kinds of emails can mention or link to something that makes you profit, but the focus is on giving the reader information.
Try to keep strictly promotional emails at a lower ratio, perhaps as low as one in every 10 or even 20 emails. These are the emails where the entire email is about promoting a specific service or product.
Over time you can use our advanced reporting and segmenting features to identify the people who are ok with more promotional content.
9) Using too many links
If you do a lot of website content, this may just be a habit you’ve acquired. If you have an informative site, it’s should be littered with useful links. When you write website content, you should link to and reference as many other posts and pages and products on your site as possible.
The opposite is true with email marketing. You want to be focused. Most often you only want to link to 1 or at most 2 different things. It’s ok to drop the same link in 2-3 locations within the email, but no more.
Reading an email isn’t like browsing websites where people research and open multiple tabs. You want to have one conversion goal, or at most one primary and another secondary goal.
10) Not thinking about email reputation
This is more of a mental frame than anything. Whilst most of the other tips will work well to improve your reputation, you also need to think about it directly. You want to get educated on what email reputation is, how it works and how to improve it.
11) Assuming that you’re well acquainted after just one welcome email
Some might have missed the welcome email. Others might not have been that impressed. You want to view that initial sequence as the “getting to know each other” period.
One welcome email isn’t enough. It is the most important in that initial sequence, yes, but you want to view the whole first week or month as an onboarding process.
You might have heard some marketers give you the advice to treat the reader like a good friend from day one. It applies to the tonality and wording. But it doesn’t mean that you can act as if they’re an admiring fan right after that welcome email.
It doesn’t matter how good your welcome email was, the entire first month is a “getting to know each other” phase. Sure you want to have a “Hey there good friend” tonality throughout, but not a “hey admiring fan, do this” tonality.
You want to win their trust. Don’t assume you have it after saying welcome to this list.
12) Forgetting to do your spam check before hitting send
There’s no excuse for this one. There are plenty of free spam checker tools online. Just pass your message through them.
And if you’re an Emercury user? You’re in luck, every account comes with our advanced spam checker. It checks your campaign for every factor that matters.
13) Using an email provider that doesn’t care about good email deliverability
You might think that all email providers care about deliverability, but you’d be wrong. They only care to a very limited extent. As long as they can make sure that most of their users aren’t hurting the service a whole, they seem to be fine with it.
This can be seen in the fact that most do not even include list-hygiene by default. They make you pay extra for something we believe has to be part of every email marketing account.
When you go with Emercury, list-hygiene is included with every account and every plan. Every paid plan includes Delivery Analysis to help you get your emails to the inbox. You also get Delivery Management and Advanced Delivery Alert Notifications.