When you hit the send key, one of four things happens to every email in your database:
- The ISP accepts the email to its network
- The email is delivered to the recipient’s inbox (including inbox tabs)
- It lands in the recipient’s spam folder
- The recipient’s email server rejects your email
Authentication — If a MBP legitimizes your email it will land in your intended recipient’s inbox. A set of standards then identifies who you are as a ‘sender’. These standard measures include:
- Sender policy framework (SPF) - detects forging sender addresses during the delivery of an email
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) - ensure messages aren’t altered in transit between sender and recipient servers.
Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) – instructs the MBP what to do with emails that don’t authenticate (1 or 2 above methods). It also routes how to/where to send you feedback reports of these failures
Sender Reputation — Sender reputation is the “score” tied to your domain and IP used to send emails. They determine whether your email arrives to its intended destination. Examples of this score:
- Spam Complaints - If too many recipients mark your email as spam, it sends a signal to mailbox providers that your email probably belongs in spam.
- Bounce Rates - If a significant percentage of a sender’s emails bounce, it indicates that the sender is buying email lists or not managing their existing lists…causing mailbox providers to send email to spam.
- Sending Mail to Spam Traps - Spam traps are email addresses used to catch senders who buy email lists. It typically isn’t bad if you collect emails legitimately, but mailbox providers can repurpose abandoned emails as spam traps, so just routinely remove inactive subscribers from your list.
- Low Email Engagement - When subscribers actively engage with your email, it signals to mailbox providers that your email belongs in the inbox. Conversely, poor email engagement may prevent emails from arriving.
- Domain and IP Reputation - If the domain or IP address you use to send email is associated with low-quality emails, it can negatively impact your future deliverability.
Audience — List and data quality significantly impact how you target the correct audience and make quality connections into the receiving network.
Content — What you send can determine if a message is going to make it to your recipient’s inbox. Formatting copy and the relevance of the email all have a positive or negative impact on the ability to get there. Be sure to create content your audience wants to receive then segment and target your audience effectively.
Do Unsubscribes Negatively Affect Sender Reputation? — No. When a recipient unsubscribes, they are giving you feedback to improve your email program and saving you from a definite impact on your sender reputation by hitting the spam button.
More Emails Sent - the More Revenue Made — Email marketing ROI: for every dollar you spend on email marketing potentially brings you a $44 return. Focus on quality over quantity. Higher volume causes recipients to ignore or even complain about your emails; the best approach is email a segmented highly engaged audience.
Sending to A Purchased List – Yes/No? — Just because a recipient list promises to have been “opted in”, doesn’t make it OK to send to them. No matter how brand-relevant the list is, the recipients didn’t sign up to receive emails from you. If you do so, you may encounter lower engagement, higher spam complaints, potential block listings and a negative impact on sender reputation.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Inbox Placement
- Use Email Authentication - Authenticating your domain validates the origin of your emails, preventing spoofing and signaling to mailbox providers that your email is legitimate. Doing so benefits deliverability and also provides peace of mind to your subscribers as well.
- Check Content - Engagement is critical to healthy inbox placement. Look at your best-performing emails, learn what your subscribers like, and adapt your content and sending habits to your audience.
- Fix Formatting - Good email design makes it easier for subscribers to engage with your content. Ensure your HTML is clean and maintains a good text-to-image ratio; image-heavy emails with short text appear spammy.
- Minimize Spam Complaints - While you may not be able to avoid all spam complaints, make sure your required unsubscribe link is easy to find. Clean your list of disengaged users. Use your opt-in process to set clear expectations for the communication new subscribers will receive.
- Segment Your Email List - Email segmentation helps ensure that users receive the most relevant email, making them more likely to engage – potentially improving your reputation with mailbox providers.
- Be Transparent - Always disclose what the email address will be used for/sent in any sign-up process. That way your audience doesn’t experience any nasty surprises or unwanted email.
- Implement a Preference Center - With an email preference center, recipients choose which emails they receive. When subscribers can self-select the content they receive, it’s possible they may engage with your email more often.
- Track Your Deliverability Performance - Following these tips will help improve your email deliverability.
As you can see, creative and interesting deliverability is a process and takes time to review your email marketing strategy and implement the right tactics that work best for you. Track what works and what didn’t until you find what works.
HQZ Experts’ team can help you evaluate your email strategy ... give us a call.