One of the biggest challenges faced my email marketers is low email deliverability. This means your emails are hitting junk folders or not reaching your subscribers at all. A few signs of poor deliverability are low open rates or high bounce rates. If you are struggling with these issues or just want to reach more inboxes then read on.
Test and measure your email deliverability
If you are struggling with low open rates and your emails are landing in spam folders, you can run what is called a seed list test to narrow down the cause.
Seed list test
A seed list involves sending an email to several test addresses and measuring how many reach an inbox. You can create your own list. Simply go to Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo to sign up for multiple addresses. however, that is time consuming and very very dull!
Unless you have a lot of time to spare, I would suggest using a tool. Glockapps provide a tool that allows you to run seed list tests. The tool is affordable and you can start by using their free tests.
To get a good measure of your email deliverability, run multiple tests on different days and at different times.
Also try different content in your emails for the tests. This will tell you if the issue is content related.
The test will allow you to see which email service provider you are having problems with. For example, 80% of your emails reach Hotmail inboxes but only 40% reach Gmail inboxes.
Setup email deliverability monitoring
There are several tools that will allow you to monitor your deliverability for free. Staying on top of these metrics will allow you to identify concerns before they become problems.
The tools are easy to setup and it’s something every email marketer should do. I would highly recommend setting up Google Postmasters and SNDS. Both of these are covered in our article about monitoring email deliverability.
If you are struggling to reach Gmail inboxes, Google Postmasters will show a low domain and/or IP reputation. Sadly they don’t offer any solutions but now you can start making changes and use Google Postmasters to measure improvements.
Use a double opt in
Once you have done the basics, ran a seed list test and setup your monitoring you can start working on improving your deliverability.
Start at the top of your user journey. Are you currently using a double optin?
For those of you not familiar with the term, a double optin is a way of verifying a signup. When a user signs up on your website you can either add them straight to your database or send them a verification email to confirm their address. The latter is known as a double optin.
Using a double optin means you are likely to get less sign ups than a single optin, so there is a trade off. However, using a double optin will increase your chances of sales by reaching more inboxes so aim for quality not quantity.
If you are not sure how to setup a double optin speak to your email marketing platform’s support team. The setup is straight forward.
Why this is a double optin so important?
Spam institutes (yes they exist!) are less likely to blacklist you if you are running a double optin as it shows good list hygiene.
With a double optin you are less likely to end up with typos or people providing fake addresses to get your freebie. Typos and fake addresses lead to high bounce rates and a poor reputation. You can could also end up with spam traps.
Remove non-engagers from your list
Email service providers like Google and Microsoft can penalise senders for constantly sending emails to subscribers that are not interested. If your subscribers are no longer opening your emails then stop sending to them.
The higher the percentage of subscribers that engage with your email the better your sending reputation will be.
That being said, don’t remove your subscribers without notifying them. Setup a series of automated emails. Get in touch with us if you need help creating a strategy for non-engagers.
Create a re-engagement campaign
Before unsubscribing people from your list send them a series of emails. Start by re-iterating the benefits of your service or products. Then ask the subscriber if they are still interested. If you don’t get a response then say your final goodbyes.
Before parting ways ask for feedback. This information can really help you get an idea of what your subscribers think of your emails.
Most decent email marketing tools will have automation features that will allow you to create re-engagement emails.
Segment your list and send relevant content
Don’t just send the same email to all of your subscribers. All of us now receive several email newsletters or promotions every day so make sure your content is compelling and relevant your subscribers.
Create a preference centre
The best way to get to know your subscribers is to ask them. This can be done by creating a preference centre on your website or through your email marketing platform. Ask your subscribers what they are interested in.
If your email marketing tool offers dynamic content then you can still send one email but change the content based on the subscribers preferences. Need help with that? Get in touch with us.
Keep your sending frequency and volume consistent
Email service providers use several measures to determine your reputation. We talked about engagement levels earlier, another key metric is your frequency and volume. If you send 10,000 emails a week and suddenly increase that to 100,000 emails twice a week your sending volume will spike and cause concerns. A sudden increase in volume suggests you have bought a list of email addresses and are sending unsolicited emails.
So make sure any increases you make to your sending volumes are incremental. This is especially important if you are sending emails from a new IP address or domain. Start slowly, a few hundred a day and increase volumes at a steady pace.
Are your emails going into spam folders? Follow these steps
Start by running a seed list test.
Set up monitoring as we discussed above.
Based on the results you might need a new IP address or domain.
Clean your data through an email verification tool like Zero Bounce.
Send emails to users that have engaged with the last two emails only. Varies of course based on list size etc.
Slowly introduce more subscribers back into your list.
Keep your volumes increases consistent.
Keep monitoring your reputation. Recovery takes time!
There you have it, several ways for you to reach more inboxes. Always remember to keep your lists clean, monitor your deliverability and keep your subscribers happy with relevant content.