Getting Your Message to the Inbox: It Takes More Than Hitting Send
When it comes to email marketing, a lot of business leaders ignore one facet of their campaigns that is crucial to success.
Perhaps you have a polished subject line, strong links, and a message that’s engaging. But have you taken steps to pave the way for your emails to be delivered? Fifteen percent of emails don’t make it to inboxes, according to the latest figures—which means this is an issue that business leaders can’t ignore
As it turns out, there’s a lot that can go wrong between the time that you hit send and the moment that an email gets to its final destination—which is hopefully that inbox! A variety of issues can prompt service providers (ISPs) to flag a sender’s address and block their emails from getting through. Spam complaints, for instance, can play havoc with a “sender score,” as can large numbers of recipients who choose to unsubscribe from a sender’s email lists.
But making it past the ISPs is only one step in the process of getting messages delivered. Recipients’ spam filters will further narrow down the messages that reach their destinations. One of the factors that can help you earn a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” is whether the owner of the inbox opens the mail you send, clicks on your links, or otherwise engages.
Here’s what you can do to improve the chances that your emails will be seen.
One Important Step: Narrow Down Your List
Experts suggest you narrow down the names on your mailing list, keeping just those contacts who demonstrate an interest in the messages you send.
That will improve your score by lessening the numbers of spam complaints, bounced emails, and recipients who unsubscribe. Here are some suggestions from the experts.
- Avoid using contest entries or free goodies to get people to subscribe. This might seem to be a good move, at the least in the beginning when you see a surge of interest, but these new contacts aren’t the sort to ever make a purchase—or even pay attention to your emails in the future. In addition, new subscribers trying extra hard to win a prize might sign up several times with addresses that aren’t valid—and too many emails that bounce back can be another mark against you when it comes to landing inboxes.
- Speaking of those pesky bounces, consider hiring a service to purge your list of duplicate addresses, outdated domains, and more.
- Ask every new subscriber to confirm their interest in getting the offers and updates that you send. This can go a long way in cutting back on spam reports that can tank your score.
- Periodically purge your list of contacts who have not opened messages, clicked links, or bought services or products. “Remember, sending emails to those who don’t want them is about as effective as trying to sell Kanye West on the idea of a vow of poverty,” advises Infusionsoft.com. If a subscriber on your list has not engaged with your company or opened one of your emails in four months? Remove them from the list or shoot them an email and ask if they’d like you to stay in touch.
How is Your Sender Score?
You can check your sender score for free at www.senderscore.org.
A Checklist for Success
Here are some other ways to best ensure your emails get delivered.
- To cut back on reports of spam, make sure the option for unsubscribing isn’t hard to find. Giving contacts a way to unsubscribe in a single step is a great idea in today’s hectic business climate.
- Put your brand name in your subject line. This will make it more likely that your message will be opened and welcomed by consumers, according to researchers.
- Make sure that your internet protocol (IP) isn’t on a blacklist of IPs with large numbers of complaints.
- Nailing the right frequency increases customer engagement and improves the chances that your emails will get through. If more than a month goes by without an email to your contacts, you might risk losing a connection they might have begun to feel. On the other hand, emailing more than twice a week might irritate your clients or potential customers. Much like Goldilocks was, consumers are turned off by extremes and more easily won over by the sweet spot in the middle.
- Take care with your links. If you link to a domain whose reputation isn’t good, your own reputation could take a hit as well with the sometimes tough gatekeepers of electronic mail. Much like in the world outside the internet, your worthiness is judged in part by the company you keep.
- Before sending out an email to your list, test the mailing with a tool that can predict the kind of spam score it will have. Mail-tester is one of the testing options you can try. If the score is disappointing, analyse your email. Can it be improved with more engaging content or more inviting links?
Changes on the Scene
According to a 2018 report published by Return Path, which studies trends in deliverability, eighty-five percent of emails landed in inboxes during the last twelve-month period of study. This was an improvement—an increase of five percent. AOL had an average success rate of ninety-six percent during the period that was covered, while the average was ninety-two percent for Gmail and Yahoo and seventy-five percent for Outlook.
The improvements came as changes made their way into the world of email marketing. Emails grew more interactive while at the same time, Gmail and others made it easier for consumers to unsubscribe from lists. There were new challenges for marketers, the report concluded, but the writers also noted that the changes may bring long-term benefits as well.
Those with the best shot at success will keep a careful eye not only on their content but also on the factors that have to come together to get their emails to the customers that they want to reach.
There's a lot more to getting your emails through the noise of the everyday inbox. If you want some more information let's chat.