This post is the third in a four part series on best practices for email marketing. Want to learn more? Download our ebook here.
Relying on a good service provider and email sending infrastructure that follows best practices makes your work much easier, however, it does not guarantee high email deliverability rates. Service providers will look for suppressing known spam-traps and bad email addresses, among the other things, but cannot guarantee high deliverability rates. You are ultimately responsible for the content you send and to whom you send it. This section describes what you should do to maximize your email deliverability rates.
Keep your marketing lists clean and up-to-date
Attempting to send to outdated email addresses in marketing lists is a common cause of sending reputation damage. The process of keeping marketing lists up-to-date is called “list hygiene” and is essential to keeping bounce rates low and avoiding spam traps.
Services like Microsoft Dynamics Marketing ensure automatic handling of hard bounces. Even with this support, periodic cleanup of marketing lists is always beneficial.
Avoid acquiring third-party marketing lists. While the promise of instant marketing databases is alluring, employing such lists is a recipe for disaster in terms of deliverability.
A good way to ensure you have a high quality marketing list is having a double opt-in mechanism in place where users will need to verify the subscription to your list via opening a link in a confirmation email sent to the email address they indicated.
Make sure you are compliant with the law
If you are new to email marketing, you should study the local laws regarding email marketing communications before reaching out to recipients in a region. It is important to be familiar with the details of these laws in all the regions you plan to reach and design your communication accordingly. For instance, in order to comply with the US Federal CAN-SPAM law you will need to comply with a number of requirements, among them:
▪ Provide a working unsubscribe mechanism clearly accessible in all email communications. It is critical that if a recipient wishes to remove himself from the communication he can do so in a few clicks. Also, a link to the subscription center is a useful addition.
▪ Include your official business street address in all email communications. It should be your corporate headquarters or another address where official communications are handled – no PO boxes!
▪ Handle all unsubscribe requests immediately – at least within 10 business days.
Other laws like Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), Australia’s Spam Act or the various European equivalents can be seen as extensions on these principles, usually being stricter in requiring preliminary recipient consent, before being eligible for promotional communication.
Include a subscription center link in all your promotional emails
Provide your recipients a direct way to unsubscribe without marking your email as spam. Apart from complying with the legal requirements, providing a link to a subscription center in all your promotional emails will also improve your overall sending reputation as a genuine company.
Monitor your results and complaints
Another best practice is to constantly monitor the results from your email campaigns and reply promptly to any request from your email deliverability service desk. The latter is critical. If you don’t act immediately at the request of your email deliverability service desk, you might be quickly excluded from sending emails.
Monitoring the results of your emails is also important to finding deliverability patterns and acting upon them. Some ISPs treat some aspects of an email differently so monitoring the results across various ISPs can give you insights on what to tweak. For example, an unusual high number of soft bounces might be caused by deliverability issues.
Provide a plain text version of your email
Make sure you always provide a plain text version of your email along with the main content that matches closely the HTML version. This will increase your deliverability rates and provides an easy-to-read format for recipients using text-based email software. Keep in mind that in many cases this text version will be read on mobile phones, so structure the content accordingly (shorter text, clearly separated paragraphs, etc.).
Add content that is relevant to your recipients
Combine this with a professional sending infrastructure as described earlier and you will be able to contact your recipients with precision and at scale, delivering the right message to the right subscriber at the right time seamlessly over millions of contacts.
Relying on a good service provider and email sending infrastructure that follows best practices makes your work much easier, however, it does not guarantee high email deliverability rates. Service providers will look for suppressing known spam-traps and bad email addresses, among the other things, but cannot guarantee high deliverability rates. You are ultimately responsible for the content you send and to whom you send it.
Want to learn more?
Missed something? Read the first two posts in the series: