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Fix Your Email Deliverability – 8 Tips From Our Experts

Carissa Hampton | April 25, 2019

Your content team crafts brilliant email messages that are relevant and personalized. Your MarTech experts use your top-notch tools to segment the right audience and create the perfect nurture flow. You come up with compelling subject lines and calls-to-action. Your email program is set up for success, right?

Spending time creating a thoughtful email strategy is definitely worth the effort and resources. In fact, research shows that email drives more results than any other channel, generating $44 for every $1 spent. But despite the value of email to your overall marketing strategy, all your efforts are wasted if your audience doesn’t actually receive your emails.

Twenty percent of emails never actually reach their intended recipient, which means your prospects and customers may not be seeing those valuable messages you’re spending time and resources developing. So how can you optimize your list and ensure more of your emails are hitting your audience’s inbox? We asked our team of marketing automation experts to share some of their favorite email deliverability best practices (and they didn’t disappoint).

Shannon Walsh, Senior Director of Marketing Technology

Get More Creative (and Less Spammy) With Your Email Content
As data privacy becomes increasingly critical to consumers, their security is more important than ever. Almost half of emails that don’t make it to your customers’ inbox are marked as spam or junk. But one way you can improve your chances of getting through sophisticated spam filters is by avoiding common spammy words. Check out this list of 455 words and expressions that could trigger spam filters and avoid them in your subject lines.

Personalize Your Emails
Compared to non-personalized emails, personalized promotions have a 29 percent higher open rate. But while personalization is important to your open rates and email performance, it’s also a great way to improve the deliverability of your emails. Get personal by including your recipient’s first or last name and/or company name in your email subject line, greeting, or body copy.

Configure and Use DMARC Reporting
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), is an email authentication, policy, and reporting protocol. It builds on the widely deployed sender policy framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) protocols, adding linkage to the author (“From:”) domain name, published policies for recipient handling of authentication failures, and reporting from receivers to senders to improve and monitor protection of the domain from fraudulent email. If you’re at a B2B company that sends promotional emails, it’s important that you implement authentication to verify email authenticity and improve deliverability. Review your DMARC reports and take action to improve your deliverability.

Mandy Hyde, Marketing Technology Specialist 

Experiment With Lowering Your Soft Bounce Threshold
Without close monitoring, your soft bounces can quickly turn into hard bounces, affecting your email deliverability (and your reputation). Marketo’s advice to email marketers? If an email soft bounces more than six times in 30 days, remove it from your email service provider (ESP). While you’ll want to retire the email from your ESP, you can keep it in your customer relationship management (CRM) platform for record keeping purposes. Monitor your bounce rate closely and aim for a bounce rate of two percent or lower.

Avoid Adding Dirty Data to Your Marketing Automation Platform
If you’re like other marketers, growing your email list is an important priority. While some B2B marketers turn to purchased lists to grow their database quickly, these lists can be detrimental to your deliverability rates. Because external email lists can contain old addresses and contacts that aren’t familiar with your company, they can impact your deliverability and drive bounce rates up. Before adding any lists to your marketing automation platform, make sure to scrub them thoroughly.

Remove Emails When Necessary
We frequently talk to marketers who have inactive or invalid email addresses in their marketing automation tool, but don’t know how to establish a process for removing bad records or may not know where those email addresses should be housed. By closely monitoring spam traps, email bounces, invalid, and inactive emails (and blacklisting, unsubscribing, and removing them when necessary), you’ll not only improve your campaign statistics and deliverability, you may actually save your company money. With many marketing automation tools, your monthly costs depend on the number of records housed in your system (and who wants to pay more money for bad emails?). Once again, these email addresses can (and should) be kept in your CRM for historical reference but shouldn’t be clogging up your MA platform.


KJ Janeiro, Marketing Technology Manager 

Maintain a Clean Preference Center
By allowing your customers to take charge of the types of communications they receive from you, you’re not only taking a step in the right direction when it comes to list maintenance, you’re also building trust with your audience. As an added bonus, you’ll increase deliverability by allowing recipients to choose the types of content they receive and email frequency.

Subscribe to a Feedback Loop
One of the top reasons for poor deliverability is spam complaints. Want to know who is marking your fabulous emails as spam so you can remove them from your list? Subscribing to a feedback loop will provide you with an email each time one of your email recipients marks you as spam. Armed with this information, you can pull them off your list, prevent too many complaints, and avoid being blacklisted from certain internet service providers (ISPs). While not all ESPs provide feedback loops, many do.

Building out a successful email program takes strategic planning, quality content that speaks to your audience, and expert knowledge of the capabilities of your marketing technology. Add these email deliverability tips to your repertoire and ensure that you’re maximizing your team’s hard work and actually delivering those great emails to your prospects’ inbox. Want to learn more about distributing the content you work so hard to create? Download “Content Distribution in Eight Easy Steps.”

About Carissa Hampton:

Carissa Hampton is Right Source's director of content marketing, helping clients engage their audience and drive results with valuable, relevant content that aligns with business strategies and goals. Carissa received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno and has more than 14 years of content marketing experience. You can find Carissa on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or read her other posts.

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