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Email Marketing can make all the difference if your emails actually reach inboxes.

Understanding Deliverability

Email deliverability is the most important aspect you need to look at, much more important than Open Rates, Click-Through Rates, keeping up with the latest design trends or even your offers.

This is because, even if you spend a lot of money on designing the perfect emails, and you lose a lot of profit by offering deep discounts, you will still be limited in the number of recipients if you have not taken following easy steps to ensure you are good to go.

Are your emails reaching your subscribers?
The answer, in most cases, will be either “I don’t know”, or “I think so, why wouldn’t they”.
There are 3 main components that can affect the deliverability of your emails: Incorrect Technical setup, Blacklisting, and Poor Domain Reputation.
1. Technical Setup
If your emails are not going out from an @yourdomain.com email address then you have not configured your SPF and DKIM records correctly. Reach out to your Email Service or Hosting provider and ask them for help. They will point you in the right direction for setting up you sender email.
DMARC is another email authentication protocol that often gets overlooked. This is an extension to the two existing mechanisms, SPF and DKIM and it is designed to give email domain owners the ability to protected their domain from unauthorized use. Having DMARC configured correctly shows email service providers that you are a safe and responsible sender.
There are 2 easy ways in which you can configure your DMARC record:
  • reach out to your hosting provider and ask for help would be the easiest if you are not tech-savvy
  • follow an online guide like this one from MXToolBox: How to setup DMARC
2. Blacklisting
A blacklist is a real-time list that identifies IPs or domains which are known to send spam or malicious emails. These blacklists are used by ISPs, anti-spam vendors and mailbox providers (gmail, verizon, aol, yahoo, etc) to prevent spam from entering their systems.
You can send good quality emails and be a great marketer that respects inbox privacy but still get on these lists by accident or due to abuses that are happening on your website.
How can you get blacklisted?
  • sending to subscribers that are not interested in your newsletters and getting a lot of spam/abuse reports
  • sending emails to subscribers that you have purchased from 3rd parties (big NO-NO)
  • getting fake registrations on your site which cause your system to send out automated emails to fake addresses
  • system errors in your hosting provider or on the blacklists themselves

Black Friday -> Cyber Monday -> Cyber Week -> Christmas 2019 was a great example of doing things right and getting blacklisted for some of my clients. Last season was about a week shorter than 2018 and so, there was a flood of marketing emails going out from everyone and anyone in an effort to get as many sales as possible. It was a good thing that I have reminders and notifications to check blacklists on a regular basis as I found two clients get blacklisted through no fault of their own so I was able to quickly settle things and clear their names but most professionals out there will not have seen this.

Getting blacklisted is not the end of the world if you are a correct sender. You just need to appeal and share information on how you do things and in most cases, within 12-48 hours, your blacklisting will be resolved.

3. Poor Domain Reputation

 

The Domain Reputation is how ISPs make filtering decisions – if your reputation is good then your emails will go through.

Poor Domain Reputation and Blacklisting go hand in hand but they do not exclude each other. Meaning, you just checked your site and it’s not blacklisted by domain or IP but this does not mean you have a great domain reputation.

Lookup your Domain Reputation on SenderScore.org – Free Signup.

 

If you have gone through SPF, DKIM, DMARC settings and made sure they are OK and your domain and/or IP are not blacklisted but your sender score is not as close to 100 as possible here are 4 tips to get your domain reputation up with as little effort as possible.

1. Purge your list

Clients always hate when I tell them this as they feel like they will lose sales when the truth is always the exact opposite.

Review your list and get rid of:

  • make sure all emails that bounced are no longer on your list.
  • review inactive subscribers and remove people that have not opened your emails in the last 3-12 months (the period depends a lot on your business and seasonality.

2. Decrease your bulk emails sending frequency

Another aspect you need to respect is that the more emails may equal more sales in the short term but it also means dead-end in the medium and long term. One bulk email per week should be more than enough for 99% of eCommerce stores.

3. Be consistent in your sending

Sending one email per week for 3 months, taking a summer holiday with zero emails for 2 months and then blasting your list with a few newsletters to make up lost ground will create spikes in spam/abuse reports. ISPs and mailbox providers do not like spikes. Create a schedule and stick to it – make sure you send out 3-4 emails per month, every month.

4. Use your brand in the FROM name

More and more brands are now trying to get more close and personal by using individual names instead of brand names in the FROM field. This is not wrong, but the approach could be different and you could use both.

i.e. instead of ASOS.com, you could see Jim from Asos.com

DO NOT use generic department names in your FROM field like Customer Support or Sales.

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