Email marketing has the greatest ROI potential of any marketing channel out there, at $36 for every dollar spent. As a marketer, you grasp the earning possibilities and understand how valuable your email list is.
Sending useful content is an effective way to grow it, but that’s not enough. The cleverest emails in the world are worthless if they don’t land in the inbox. That’s why, as a diligent email professional, you need to be knowledgeable about email deliverability and work to improve it.
But how do you improve email deliverability? Read on to learn seven simple tactics to land your emails in the inbox and boost email marketing results.
What is email deliverability?
Email deliverability measures the number of emails that reach the inbox successfully.
It’s different from your delivery rate, which tells you whether your email was delivered or not. Emails that end up in the junk folder are still technically considered “delivered,” but what good does that do you?
It does you no good at all, which is why you should be trying to improve email deliverability. The inbox is the only destination where your email will get opened. You cannot get someone to make a purchase – or at least move along the sales funnel – from the junk folder. There’s a clear correlation between landing in the inbox and higher ROI, but how do you get better email deliverability?
These steps will benefit any email marketer. Implement them if you are serious about getting results.
1. Verify your email list
The best way to get better email deliverability is to verify your email list. Some people assume that since the majority of their contacts are good, a few bad email addresses can’t hurt them. It’s not true.
There are a variety of low-quality, harmful and inactive email addresses that accumulate on every email list.
- Every list will have abandoned email addresses. People use a new email and don’t check the old one anymore. Emailing abandoned accounts affects your engagement rate and implicitly, your email deliverability. Eventually, some of those emails may bounce back.
- There are also disposable email addresses that self-destruct after hours or even minutes. These types of emails are sure to bounce and affect your sender reputation.
- You must be aware of role-based emails, like [email protected] or [email protected], and catch-all emails which are also prone to bouncing.
- Abuse addresses belong to chronic complainers, people who are likely to mark you as spam. More than one spam complaint for every 1,000 emails you send can send your campaign to the junk folder.
- Then, there are harmful spam traps that can sneak up on your list and sabotage your email marketing efforts.
The easiest way to identify these risky email addresses is by using an email checker. You upload your list to a reputable email validation service and it will find the bad ones so you can exclude them.
There’s no good reason to keep bad data on your list. It only derails your deliverability and will cause your ROI to plummet.
2. Want great email deliverability? Check emails in real-time
Verifying your email list regularly will keep it in good condition, but why not keep bad data off your list, to begin with?
A real-time email verification API will do the job. Accessing it is easy: just talk to your provider and ask for access to your API. Then, you can connect the API to your sign-up forms so you can check emails in real time. Your subscribers will never know the API is running in the background – unless they make a typo or try to register with a bad email address.
Let’s say they try to use a disposable email because they don’t want to give you their real address. They will see a message asking them to enter a different email.
Or, they simply make a typo – maybe they write “gmial” instead of Gmail. The email verification API will ask them if that’s what they really meant.
Checking emails in real time keeps your list healthy. Here are just some of the benefits of using an API:
- It stops bots and careless and malicious people from joining your list.
- Bounces are less likely since no invalid emails can sign up for your emails.
- Your sender reputation and email deliverability will improve as you won’t be sending emails to unreceptive or destructive parties.
3. Make sure everyone has opted in
Your engagement rate has a critical impact on your email deliverability. The more people open and click through your campaigns, the more relevant you are in the eyes of mailbox providers.
Half-hearted subscribers will lead to less than positive results. Their lack of engagement can cause your emails to go to spam. People who would like to see your emails will no longer see them.
So, how do you make sure everyone engages with what you send?
Creating useful emails is the first thing, but building your email list the right way is just as important. The smart email marketer uses double opt-in to ensure that people want in.
Setting up double opt-in is simple. After someone enters their email address, they receive a confirmation link they need to click to confirm their interest. Anyone that won’t commit to this nominal step is highly unlikely to engage with your content. Making sure everyone has opted in will do wonders for your email deliverability.
4. Send content people signed up for
This one seems so obvious, but you’d be surprised how many marketers get off track with the emails they send. A good way to improve deliverability is to meet subscriber expectations. How? Give people a clear idea of what your emails offer, and then make good on it.
Don’t get off track and start going in other directions and don’t try to become all things to all people. Also, while you stay on brand with your content, always look for ways to improve.
Nothing will cause email deliverability to decline and spam complaints to go up like irrelevant emails. Instead, give your subscribers exactly what they want, but better than they anticipated.
5. Test your email deliverability
Marketing emails used to have an element of luck involved. Would they go to spam? Would they get delivered at all? It could feel like a crapshoot.
Today’s email delivery innovations would astonish those early senders. Modern email marketers have an inbox tester at their disposal that tells them where their email will land – before it is sent.
Using the inbox tester lets you check how your email will do in a variety of mailbox providers around the world. Then you’ll know in advance if you need to make adjustments before you hit Send.
Email marketers no longer have to worry about whether or not their email will reach the inbox. It’s as if they can see into the future.
6. Send your emails with a reputable company
If you’re going to put your hard work and time into making excellent emails, pick the right email service provider (ESP). There are a lot of factors to consider: pricing, ease of use, and customer service availability. But an overlooked question to ask is: what is the email deliverability that your ESP guarantees? It matters.
Even the savviest email marketers will see their emails go to spam when they use a poor-quality ESP. If you’re unsure, ask them about it. A lack of guarantees is a red flag. You don’t want your emails going to spam because you went with a lesser ESP.
Deciding on an ESP is worthy of your careful consideration. If you’re not confident about a particular ESP, consider doing some investigating and find one that you can trust.
7. Determine your sending schedule
Have you ever started receiving emails that didn’t follow a schedule? Maybe they sent a storm of emails one week and then nothing the next. It seems disorganized at best and at the least unprofessional. Most people prefer to receive brand emails routinely.
Disappearing or only sending emails when there is something to sell comes across as sloppy and untrustworthy. Irregular sending patterns also send a message to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that the sender is possibly a spammer. Legitimate companies don’t have disorderly sending schedules. They usually commit to a calendar, such as an email every Monday at noon. Emails going out at regular intervals sends the message that the sender is legitimate and not a spammer.
When you have a consistent sending schedule, you’re sending a positive message to your readers, as well. You seem reliable. You get more people opening your emails because they expected their arrival. This prompts a boost in email deliverability and puts you in a more positive light. It can lead to an increase in ROI, and your subscribers will even look forward to what you send. That is the ideal place to be.
About the Author
Paul Leslie is a content writer at ZeroBounce, an email validation and deliverability company. He has 18 years of experience creating content across various media platforms, and loves to share his insights into email marketing.