Email Marketing: How to Make Sure That Your Emails Are Delivered

Posted on: October 12th, 2009

No matter how good your email are, you won’t generate results from your email marketing campaign if you don’t even know if your messages are being delivered. Today, email filters have have become a major obstacle for all email marketers but there are things you can do to make sure your emails aren’t being routed to your subscribers junk folders.

Here at Appleton Creative, we collaborate on a variety of email campaigns with clients. Planning a successful campaign often starts way before hitting ‘send.”

Email marketing is often misused to send out unsolicited commercial messages. This is why it has become more and more difficult for marketers to ensure the deliverability of their messages. Also, recent studies show that only 4 out of 5 emails sent out by email marketers are actually delivered. That means a good portion of your marketing budget is wasted on 20% of your subscribers. You may even be wasting opportunities if those included in the 20% are those who are more likely to make a purchase. Although reaching 100% deliverability is unlikely, we at Appleton feel following the tips below will dramatically increase the likelihood of your messages being delivered.

1. Don’t Make Your Emails Look Like Spam

Email clients now provide users with filters that automatically block or junk incoming messages that are regarded as spam. These filters are programmed to look out for specific words, phrases, and styles often used by spammers. To keep your emails from being blocked by these filters, you need to make sure that they don’t seem at all like spam. Avoid using words like “bonus” and “amazing” as well as phrases like “limited time offer” and “special promotion.” Also, refrain from typing your subject lines and messages in all caps. Lastly, don’t use multiple exclamation points and big fonts.

2. Screen Your Emails with Mail Filters

To make sure that your emails will not be regarded as spam, run them through spam filters yourself before you send them out. You can use tools like SpamAssassin to check your messages and determine what changes you need to make in order to ensure deliverability.

3. Authenticate Your Emails

As your online business becomes more and more successful, you run the risk of being the focus of scammers and face the problem of spoof emails and anonymous phishing. When users realize that emails similar to yours are being sent by scammers, they can easily take certain measures that will affect your relationship with them as well. This is why it is important to make use of email authentication technology protocols such those offered by Sender Policy Framework, DomainKeys, and Sender ID.

4. Send Emails Only to Verified Addresses

The likelihood of being considered a spammer is reduced if you send only to email addresses that subscribers have verified. To do this, send a unique link as part of your welcome email to new subscribers to your mailing list. Subscribers should then be instructed to click on the link to give you permission to send them emails. Keep in mind that email users now have the power to report emails as spam. If you make sure you have permission to communicate with them through the email address they provide, you won’t need to worry about being reported.

5. Get Your Subscribers to Include You in Their Contact List

Apart from getting new subscribers to verify their email address, use your welcome email to ask the recipients to add you to their contact list. This will get them to white list your email address and keep your messages from being automatically routed to their spam or junk folder.

6. Delete Addresses You Can’t Deliver To

Whenever you send an email that returns to you as undelivered, be sure to remove the address of the recipient from your mailing list right away. Keep in mind that you need to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. Once your bounce rate goes of over 5%, you are likely to be flagged as a spammer and your emails will be blocked.

7. Limit the Quantity of Emails You Send Out at a Time

Generally, it is not recommended for anyone to send more than two hundred identical emails at a time. Doing so may spark issues with Internet service providers who are also tasked to look out for spamming activities. If you end up catching their attention, you risk getting your service suspended. For this reason, you should limit the number of emails you send out at a time. If ever you do need to send out large quantities of identical emails, try to separate them in batches and allow for a few minutes to pass between sending each batch.

8. Don’t Use Graphics in Excess

Many email marketers feel the need to use graphics to make their messages look attractive. We love graphics, too! However, doing so actually increases the size of the email making it slower for recipients to load it. If downloading your email becomes slow enough, recipients can easily become impatient and be prompted to delete it right away. Besides, many filters remove graphics from emails so use them sparingly. When you do, be sure what you use is relevant to what you are offering and never rely on them to carry your message.

9. Refrain from Using Attachments

Like graphics, attachments increase email size and slow down mail downloads. In addition, recipients have become wary of opening attachments because they have often been used to spread harmful computer viruses. If you do need to show your subscribers an important document, host it on your website and lead your recipients there through a text link.

10. Offer Different Email Formats

HTML is often preferred by email marketers because this allows them more freedom to make their messages look more attractive. For this reason, HTML emails are known to generate higher response rates than emails in plain text. However, these fancy emails that are also easily mistaken by filters for spam. Many email users have also set their preferences to display emails in plain text and therefore see odd characters when viewing messages in HTML. Rather than sending just an email in HTML, you might want to consider sending “sandwich” messages that contain both formats. Doing so will allow you to make sure that at least one version will be delivered.

When engaged in email marketing, you need to realize that there’s much more to it than sending out your emails and waiting for recipients to make purchases. Appleton Creative can work directly with you to get your messaged received. There are a number of things you need to make sure of to guarantee success. The first of which is to ensure that your messages are making it to your subscribers’ inboxes. Keep in mind that, no matter how informative your messages are, you’ll gain no results if your subscribers cannot receive them. By following the ten tips discussed above, you can make sure that your email marketing messages are delivered to your subscribers in a timely manner.

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