Email delivery is a complicated subject, so hopefully by the end of this, you'll have a better idea of what you should and shouldn't do when sending an email campaign to maximize your email delivery. There are a number of factors to consider for email deliverability, many of which we take care of for you! The most important items that you can control are:
- Your contact list
- Your message content
- Your reputation as a sender.
Let's look first at your contact list. This is the one of the most important elements for email campaign deliverability, so make sure your list adheres to the following rules:
1) No list information older than two years.
While it's sometimes hard to determine which emails are old and which are recent, categorizing emails using their signup date ahead of time will allow you perform this 'old-data' purge. emails older than 2 years fail or "bounce" much of the time, and too many failed emails will cause your campaign to go into Spam or be blocked completely. Sending to data over 2 years old is a violation of our anti-spam policies, and can also lead to our compliance team taking action against your account.
2) Users requested to receive information from you
Just because someone has given you their email on a business card doesn't mean they've opted in to receive your monthly newsletter. If you've got a list of addresses that have made general inquirers through a contact us form, given you a business card, or contacted them via some other means, send them a message asking if they'd like to receive the newsletter first. Those who reply saying "yes" can be added to your newsletter list safely. All others should be removed. Any form you use to collect email addresses should have an unchecked "add me to your newsletter list" option that users can enable to be added to your list. Alternately, the form should be clearly labeled as a newsletter subscription form.
3) No third party lists, data, or offers.
When you're sending to your list, make sure that it's YOUR list. Sending emails to data that came from any third party (even if the user "requested third party offers") is a very bad idea that will result in poor delivery and complaints. Without knowing the true source of the data, you could be sending to email old, invalid addresses or spam trap email addresses that will get you blacklisted. In the same vein, sending third party content to a list you collected can result in complaints and legal action taken against you. Including third party offers in your newsletters is okay, having your whole newsletter being an ad for a third party is not.
Now that you've got an idea of what a good contact list is, let's take a look at best practices for email marketing content creation:
1) Be creative, not deceptive!
This means use honest subject lines for the content you're sending. Don't use RE: if it's not a reply and be honest about what's inside. If readers registered for a newsletter, don't send them a sales email. Be creative as you'd like, just make sure at the end of the day you're being honest with the reader.
2) Avoid common spam word in your message body
Avoid 'spammy' words like "Viagra," "Drugs," "Financial," "Loan," "Pay Day," "Cash," and other spam-affiliated terms since many spam-check tools are built to block on these keywords. Avoiding these words all the time isn't always 100 percent possible, but you should be aware that some types of content are more likely to be junked due to unscrupulous practices of some people in the same or similar industry as you.
3) Recognition, recognition, recognition!
If your users have signed up to receive your newsletter from your website, it's always best to send them an email from an email address that is from a similar address. This helps users recognize you or your brand and makes them much less likely to report your message as spam. Sending emails from a free address can harm your delivery as free addresses are commonly used to send spam. Many popular free domains publish information that tells spam filters that only their servers are allowed to send email from their domain.
Let's touch quickly on reputation. Each mail server that sends mail has a reputation, whether you're sending through your Gmail address or through your corporate email. SimplyCast has its own mail servers, which all have different reputations. Depending on the results of your campaigns, you're placed to be matched with similar clients. In most cases this system works very well, however in some cases, users who don't follow best practices can hurt a server's reputation temporarily, which could affect your results if sent at the wrong time. One way to avoid this is the dedicated IP extra we include.
While this is only suggested for high volume users (40,000+ emails a month sent) this extra can greatly help prevent this effect as you are the only person affecting the reputation. The downside to the dedicated IP is that if you don't send enough in a month the reputation starts to dwindle, so for smaller users it's best to be on a shared IP with other users. If you've got a clean record, odds are the users on your IP currently do as well and you're helping each other by increasing volume.
This is a lot to take in all at once, but hopefully you've got a better idea of how email deliverability works and what you can do to help boost your results. To learn more about email marketing, visit this page.