When building an email campaign you have lots to think about - content, pictures, promotions, targeted messaging - just to name a few. After all that hard work, the last thing you want to hear is that your customers didn’t even receive your email in their inbox or at all.
Before we get into how to improve your email deliverability, let’s define what exactly it is that we’re talking about. Successful email deliverability is your email arriving in the inbox of your recipient as intended. Failed email deliverability is when your message is either routed to the junk/promotions/spam folder or blocked from delivery by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Ask recipients to Whitelist you
One key thing you can do to ensure your emails do get to your contacts’ inboxes is to get them to whitelist you - that is, add you to their email program's address book or Contacts list.
This is so important that we wrote a separate article about how to get recipients to whitelist you.
A good way to start is to have your internal staff whitelist the email addresses you usually send from, as well as asking your subscribers/readers to do so.
Follow email best practices
By following email best practices, you improve the chances that your email goes into the recipient’s inbox.
These best practices include:
- Clean Up Your Email List
- Remove bounced email addresses
- Remove generic email addresses (like info@ or sales@)
- Remove people who never open your emails
- Run older mailing lists (over a year since mailing them) through an email verifier tool like hunter.io to get rid of invalid email addresses before you send
- Don’t use link shorteners like bit.ly - include full links
- Site-optimize images so they load quickly (try tinypng.com) and & add alt-text describing the image in your email editor
- Text to image ratio: Include at least 2-4 sentences per image so spam filters know what your email is about. If your email is all images there's a good chance it will be flagged as spam.
- The alternative to a dedicated IP address is a shared IP address, in which the sending behavior of others will indirectly affect the deliverability of the emails you send.
- Moving to a dedicated IP lowers your risk of poor email deliverability since the address is used only by you or your company to send emails
Improving your sender reputation
Another factor that affects your email deliverability is your sender reputation. Senders with good online reputations get their messages delivered, and those with poor reputations either get blocked at the gateway or their messages land in the junk folder.
As discussed above, having a dedicated IP address will help improve your sender reputation. Other things you can do to improve your sender reputation include:
- Send consistently - how often you send email and how many you send
- Email content - content containing little value or the repetition of flagged spam words (like cheap, winner, free, urgent)
- Clean your email lists regularly - sending to large numbers of invalid email addresses can indicate sending to lists of uninterested recipients or people you don't have permission to send to
- Aim for engagement from recipients via quality content and clean lists. You're graded on:
- Adds to address books
- The number of spam complaints submitted over time
Finally, remember that building up a good sender reputation is a process and there is no “instant fix” to make emails suddenly appear in the inbox. This requires a lot of effort and work over time, and will require patience and consistency.