As the holidays draw closer, it’s a perfect opportunity to reflect and refine your email marketing campaigns. This is the time of the year that marketers send the most emails, and the time that subscribers have the most content to choose from in their inbox. So to help messages stand out, it’s our job to send the most interesting content and ensure it gets to our subscribers. But how to do we make sure our content has the best delivery?
There are two sides to the issue of deliverability: the technical configuration for your sending domain and sending best practices. We’ll start with the baseline, authentication.
Sender authentication helps protect your brand by reducing the chance that your email is mistaken for spam. It also helps build and maintain a good sender reputation for your domain.
From a technical perspective, authentication is a process by which a sender’s digital identity is validated through published records. The recipient of an email or an Internet Service Provider can confirm the identity of the sender. If this identity cannot be identified, the message will be put through more filters or rejected completely. Without sender authentication, a sender’s chance of being blocked or rejected by an inbox provider is much higher.
Setting up sender authentication can be done relatively easily with access to your DNS provider, by setting up the SPF and DKIM records.
1) Set up Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
SPF is an email authentication protocol that allows the owner of a domain to specify which mail servers are allowed to send on their behalf. This tells the internet where your content can be sent from. This SPF record is posted to the DNS and not only helps deliverability, but also protects your subscribers and your reputation against phishing attacks. Find out how to configure SPF here.
2) Set up Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
DKIM is an email authentication protocol that allows an organization to take responsibility for transmitting a message in a way that can be verified by mailbox providers. This is a digital signature to verify a sender. Where SPF can fail when an email is forwarded, DKIM will continue to function. DKIM tells the internet who can send on your behalf. Find out how to configure DKIM here.
Critical Impact makes it quick and easy to set up sender authentication for your domain. Our Sender Authentication tool will generate tailored instructions that you can easily send to your website admin. The tool will also let you know when your domain’s sender authentication is set up correctly or if it still needs adjustments. Talk to your account manager today if you need help using this tool.
Best Sending Practices
Now that the technical configuration is set, we can focus on content and behavior. Many clients ask how to increase their deliverability, and come to discover the solution is in their hands. Here are some things you can do to increase your deliverability.
3) Warm Up Your IP
If you’ve been with Critical Impact, you’ve likely done this process already. During an IP or domain warmup, you gradually increase the send volume over time. During this slow increase of sending volume, you can build meaningful reputations with mailbox providers. In contrast, sending out an irregular volume of traffic can look like suspicious behavior and can hurt your sender score. That’s why it is best practice to send out a staggered growth pattern of your send size to grow your sender score over time.
So if you’re planning on increasing your send volume during the holidays, it’s best practice to do this over a period of time. You can easily avoid delivery delays or spam placement by warming up sending IPs or domains in advance.
4) Maintain Active Lists
Keeping your lists comprised of your most engaged subscribers ensures that your deliverability stays high. For example, you can create a list that removes subscribers that haven’t interacted with your content in a while. Read more about Dynamic Suppression Lists.
5) Monitor Your Sends
Every marketer needs to monitor campaign performance, and with reports like our Statistical Charts view, you can see a wealth of different views with a variety of tracking information. You can use this to see when, where, and what is reaching your subscribers the most and cater your content to what performs best with your specific group of subscribers. Read more about the Statistical Charts report.
With these tips in mind, you can start keep creating quality content for your subscribers and continue building a great campaign right into the holiday season.