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Email Deliverability: Getting Your Message to the Inbox

Altaf Shaikh | October 5, 2017 

As marketers, we work hard to make sure our emails make it to the inbox. But … no matter how hard we try, some emails go straight to the junk or spam folder. Why is that, and how can we improve email deliverability?

Getting the right message to the right inbox is a must for successful digital marketers. In this article, we look at three key areas that can help you improve email deliverability. If you need help implementing some of these, let us know so one of our marketing experts can contact you.

Practice good list hygiene

Sending to a large list that isn’t performing well can hurt your Sender Reputation. Repeated blocks, bounces, unsubscribes, and non-opens can eventually count against you. They can also skew campaign metrics.

  • Only send to people who have given you express permission to email them.
  • If you have a high level of repeat bounces, remove those email addresses from your list.
  • If you have subscribers who never open your emails, consider doing a campaign that reconfirms consent. Ask them if they still want to hear from you. If they remain unengaged, remove them from the list.
  • Let subscribers choose what they want to receive and when. Allow them to “opt down” instead of opting out of everything. Perhaps they only want to receive your monthly newsletter, not daily or weekly emails.
  • Make sure you provide a clear, easy way for someone to unsubscribe.

Improve data collection

Minimize bogus sign ups by blocking robots from filling out your forms. Google’s reCAPTCHA, is a free tool that makes users verify they’re human.

Requiring double entry validation of the email address will help the entrant catch typos before submitting the form. Your customer service and sales teams should also validate email addresses as they interact with customers.

If your company purchases lists from third-parties, clean them up before sending emails en masse. Cold emailing to a purchased list is one of the fastest ways to rack up complaints and destroy your reputation. Plus, if you don’t have permission to email those on your list, you may be violating your country’s anti-spam laws.

Manage blocks and bounces

If your email got “blocked,” it means the Internet Service Provider (ISP) didn’t allow it through. It may have looked spammy or your IP address wasn’t recognized. If you have a new, dedicated IP address, it’s critical that you warm it up first to establish your reputation with ISPs as a legitimate sender.

During IP warming, you gradually increase the volume of emails sent over the course of several weeks. Ideally, send to your most engaged subscribers to ensure a higher rate of opens and clicks. They will also be least likely to bounce, get blocked, or unsubscribe. Once the IP address is established, regularly monitor its sender reputation through tools such as Salesforce’s Inbox Tools or Return Path’s Sender Score.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud automatically manages blocks and bounces with Bounce Mail Management. We also recommend removing “hard bounces” from your subscriber list. A hard bounce has been rejected by the email server due to a permanent condition — such as the email address no longer existing.

A few more email deliverability tips

Optimizing your email for mobile and providing a text-only version will also help it reach the inbox. Major email providers look for this to help differentiate between legitimate senders and spammers.

Remember, your subscribers signed up to receive emails from your company because they wanted to hear from you. Keep them engaged by personalizing the content they receive based on their needs and interests.

Contact the email experts

ListEngage has helped businesses improve email deliverability since 2003. As a Salesforce services partner, we excel at providing innovative, multi-channel digital marketing and sales solutions. Call us at (508) 935-2275 or email us, and let’s set up a time to talk about what your company is doing and how ListEngage can help.

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Altaf Shaikh

Altaf Shaikh | Founder, CEO

Altaf Shaikh is ListEngage’s Founder and CEO. Altaf has been in software development and digital marketing for more than 25 years. He started ListEngage in 2003 to help businesses transform their email and digital marketing. ListEngage has supported the Salesforce Marketing Cloud since 2003 when it was ExactTarget. As a dedicated Salesforce Partner, ListEngage has served 900+ customers and earned multiple awards, such as: 2013 ExactTarget Global Services Award, the Inc. 5000 three consecutive years, and the Boston Business Journal's FAST 50 two years in a row. Contact Altaf at