Tips for Successful Delivery
When it comes to email marketing, there is perhaps nothing more frustrating than discovering that only a portion of your mailing list is receiving your messages. Whether it be the result of “spam-like characteristics” in your mailings, expired contact information, or undecipherable error messages, it may very well seem as if reaching your entire customer base via email is an impossible task. However, fear not; for every digital marketing problem there is almost always a solution, and this article intends to help guide you toward these solutions in a way that is both effective and user-friendly.
In order to achieve the best delivery results, one must be familiar with the fundamentals of email delivery and what factors contribute to either a message’s arrival or return. Unfortunately for most e-mail marketers, it can be hard to even distinguish why a message has been bounced in the first place. Although minor preliminary errors can sometimes halt your messages, it is more often than not spam filters which are truly affecting your delivery numbers. Unfortunately, understanding this filtration process is perhaps even more difficult than understanding the delivery process as a whole; but, above all, it is essential to know that, just like your company itself, your IP carries along with it a reputation. This reputation is easily damaged and difficult to fix, so it is paramount to develop a logistical process which maintains your reputation’s positive status. As spam filters become stricter, your reputation becomes more easily malleable. In fact, many hosts’ filtration processes are becoming tougher and more selective by the day, and it may now often seem as if your messages are being marked as spam for no reason at all.
Common sense might tell you you’re right, but, from a modern spam blocking host’s perspective, even the slightest details are now enough to have your message bounced back to you. Here are some key factors to consider when preparing your sends to best avoid being inaccurately blocked by spam filtration:
- SUBJECT LINE: Your subject does more than summarize the content of your message; this is prime real estate, as we’ve described in our previous post emphasizing the significance of subject lines. This is the first text your subscriber will read and therefore your most opportune time to address the theme of your send. This is not an opportunity you want to waste by using generic sales phrases, exclamation points, and overall insincere customer service. These factors are precisely what set off spam filters and can almost always guarantee a bounce. Take time to craft your subject line—keep in mind what you would read or open yourself as a consumer based on this brief text alone.
- VOLUME: If you’ve regularly been sending 5,000 messages per job and suddenly increase your send volume to 100,000 messages per job, hosts will recognize this as suspect and alter your MTA reputation accordingly. If you’ve found that your send volume needs to increase, do so gradually and be sure to craft your content in accordance with all regulations you typically would and both your reputation and delivery rate will increase.
- CONTENT: Spam filters are not the brightest when it comes to sifting through message content. And, unfortunately for you, although it might seem obvious, content is the most important factor in determining what will make or break your delivery. It is likely you have been bounced multiple times on account of your content when there is nothing seemingly “spam-like” about it. This is possibly because it does not adhere to the very strict regulations of the CAN-SPAM Act and other growing legislation concerning spamming and phishing. These regulations seek to close the portal on these issues all together, but in doing so are a bit over-protective. This, as you likely know, can become quite a nuisance for bulk senders. Indeed, there are many aspects of sending bulk content which can trigger red flags that one might not expect, including, but of course not limited to: multiple hyperlinks within your text; blatant advertisement; embedded images with little to no text; failing to provide a physical address where you may be reached; faulty header information; attachment use; and failing to tell users how to opt out of your messages are just a few examples.
- LIST MAINTENANCE: This should be done regularly in order to guarantee the best delivery rates possible. You can easily avoid large bounce rates and unnecessary host blocks by making certain your send lists are “cleansed” and do not contain any non-responsive subscribers.
- GET WHITELISTED: Ask your subscribers to Whitelist you, guaranteeing that your messages go straight to their inbox. By adding an address to your Whitelist, you certify that the content is not spam and the host, by default, must let the message through.
- TEST YOUR JOB BEFORE SENDING: Perhaps the most important rule of all is to test your send job on multiple devices before finally sending. This ensures that the job is not only up to standard content-wise, but also that delivery has been prepared effectively and accurately.
Now that you are aware of some of the key factors leading to high bounce rates and poor delivery, it is imperative that you continue to educate yourself and remain vigilant and knowledgeable when it comes to the most current spam regulations. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to the Critical Impact support team.
By utilizing the methods and tips above, you’ll be sure to improve your delivery results.