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If you’re running a small business, you’ve probably already acquainted yourself with the necessity of email marketing. Despite the surge in social media users, email continues to hold a massive pool of potential customers.

However, it’s not enough to simply write up some snazzy emails and send them out to your mailing list. There are a number of considerations to be made, particularly in regard to email deliverability.

Only by truly understanding the ins and outs of email deliverability can you maximize the potential ROI of your email campaign.

Read on to learn some simple, actionable email deliverability tips that will have your email campaign reaching more people than you ever thought possible.

How to keep your email reputation strong

In order to get a strong return on investment with your email campaign, you need to make sure your emails get to the largest possible portion of your mailing list. To make sure that’s possible, you need to ensure that your email reputation is in good shape.

A good email reputation means that email providers are likely to consider your emails as relevant and wanted by the people on your email list, based on those users’ past behavior.

A poor sender reputation is likely to see your emails filtered. Here are some tricks that have been put to good use.

Establish your own domain reputation

While using providers like Yahoo and Gmail may be more familiar, receiving email servers consider free webmail “From” addresses to be more suspicious than those from custom domains, increasing the chance emails from those addresses will be rejected. Consider sending emails through a professional domain and through an ESP (e.g. Campaign Monitor 👋).

What’s more, a business domain simply looks more professional than a free webmail address. In order to establish brand recognition, you might go even further and create multiple emails with the same domain, such as news@yourcompany or sales@yourcompany.

Not only will this increase engagement through better open rates, but will also make emails more relevant to customer interests.

Set up authentication for your domain

Another step in establishing your domain and improving your deliverability for that domain? Setting up authentication.

Setting up authentication for a domain can be a bit technical and difficult, so it’s best to get in touch with a support team who can walk you through the setup process. You may manage your authentication through DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) or you may choose to authenticate manually by setting it up on your own.

To learn more about authenticating your domain, visit our help center here.

Only send emails to willing subscribers

When you send out emails, they should only be going to consumers who willingly subscribed to your mailing list. Not only is this is a good idea because willing subscribers are more likely to engage with your content a second time, but sending unsolicited emails also happens to be illegal.

For these reasons, you’ll want to stay away from any purchased lists. Luckily, most ESPs have built-in protections.

In order to ensure that you don’t become a bother and that your mailing list is highly likely to engage, you may want to offer a double opt-in. While this might result in fewer subscribers in the short term, it will guarantee that your current mailing list will have a higher return on investment.

Quality is more important than quantity.

Quality is more important than quantity.

Source: Really Good Emails

While “spam words” are mostly a thing of the past, good copy still matters

Most spam filter AIs are pretty “smart” now, and spam words aren’t as much of a trigger as they used to be. We recommend staying away from certain words, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Some phrases to replace with better copy might be:

  • 100% free
  • Apply now
  • Credit
  • Limited time offer
  • Thousands

Again, these phrases probably won’t be targeted, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. After all, users may feel certain phrases are too promotional, which could lead to unopened emails. And if subscribers don’t open your emails, this can affect sender reputation.

Sender reputation is based on user behavior, and consistently not opening emails shows the user doesn’t want the email, so the inbox provider will filter the email to the spam folder.

An email going to spam happens as a consequence of poor reputation (rather than one email landing in the spam folder impacting reputation).

It goes something like this: user behavior > sender reputation > emails lands in the inbox or the spam folder. (Of course, if you’re sending outright spam content, your emails will get filtered and blocked.)

Keep a watchful eye on your email analytics

One of the most strategic ways to better your ROI and email deliverability is to pay close attention to the data that is coming in from your email campaigns.

While these numbers might initially seem a bit convoluted, analyzing them can help you better understand your email campaign’s strengths and weaknesses. Then you can take what you learned and apply it to your campaign going forward.

When looking over your email campaign data, these are a few of the most important metrics to consider.

Open rates

Open rates provide a look into the success of your subject lines and preheader text. Your opens give you the clearest picture of how well you’re enticing subscribers.

You can take this information and use it to either keep your subject line strategy the same or spruce it up. Additionally, utilize A/B testing to see which subject line performs over another, then use the winner. After all, it’s hard to get a good ROI if your subscribers never even open your emails.

Bounce rates

If you’re worried about your emails being filtered or blocked, you’ll want to give bounce rates your full focus.

Bounce rates will tell you how many of your subscribers never even received your email. Bounces could be caused by old and inactive emails bouncing back, or it could also be because of poor sender reputation, or in some cases because the domain or IP is blacklisted.

A low bounce rate means there are few invalid email addresses on the list, which is great. Still, a low bounce rate doesn’t mean a good email list: After all, the list could still have low open rates, high unsubscribe rates, and of course, high spam complaints.

A strong mailing list of active subscribers means a higher ROI, so, if you notice your bounce rate climbing, consider an audit on your mailing list.

Generally speaking, the industry standard for bounce rates is 2%, and a bounce rate over 10% is concerning. However, this could change depending on your specific profession. Check out our email benchmarks report to learn the standard for your industry.

Click-through rates

Click-through rates are one of the most closely linked metrics to ROI. These rates track whether or not a subscriber clicked on your email.

In some ways, this makes click-through rates the last metric on the chain of subscriber behaviors. If you have a strong enough call to action, an enticing enough offer, or just a really well-designed email, click-through rates mean you’ve successfully made your case.

By tracking this data, you can see which parts of your email are most effective, then tailor your emails to the behavior of your subscribers. One of the best ways to get a high ROI is to give the customers exactly what they want, and there’s no better way to do that than by analyzing click-through rates and which links were clicked.

Don’t be afraid of the unsubscribe button

It’s required by law to include an unsubscribe button in every email, providing an easy way for your subscribers to opt out of hearing from you.

This may seem like bad news for your brand but, In actuality, the unsubscribe button isn’t so bad.

One of the fundamentals of email marketing is keeping a healthy mailing list, so allowing people to easily opt out when they become disinterested is better than if they remained dead weight.

Dead weight results in low unique opens and click-throughs, which hurts your email reputation. Additionally, you’re potentially looking at high spam complaints if you continue to email people who don’t want your emails.

Here's one of our email deliverability tips: Dead weight results in low unique opens and click-throughs, which hurts your email reputation.

Source: Really Good Emails

To accompany your unsubscribe button, it’s a good idea to add a subscriber preference center for the consumer, so you can get information from your subscribers. Naturally, this information will aid you in preventing future subscribers from losing interest.

Wrap up

Getting a high ROI is the ultimate goal of the email marketer, and there are many elements to consider when developing a high performing marketing program.

One of the most vital elements is good deliverability, which ensures that your emails get to as many active subscribers as possible.

To strengthen your deliverability, you must juggle a handful of considerations that each require your full attention. Among these considerations are:

  • Sending emails from your own domain and set up authentication
  • Only sending emails to willing subscribers
  • Refraining from using spam words
  • Learning from your unique open rates, bounce rates, click-through rates, and spam complaints
  • Making the most of the unsubscribe button and adding a subscriber preference center

By focusing on these simple email deliverability tips, reaching an impressive ROI will become not only a reality for your small business, but it will also become a habit.

Now that you know how to improve your ROI, you need to know how to maintain it. Here are 4 advanced tools to track and improve the ROI of email marketing.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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