Just like physical mail, email marketing isn’t an exact science. You (or your client) can set up the double opt-in; you can segment the lists, draft the emails and send them regularly. If they aren’t being read, the whole process becomes invalid. Help your clients improve the email deliverability of their campaigns with these tips.
Avoid Dodgy Words
It’s an old joke in the email marketing industry that for a while, spam filters blocked any email containing the word “analysis” because it registered the first four letters and concluded it was porn. Filters have become far more sophisticated since then, which is both good and bad. Words that can get your email fast-tracked to the spam or junk folder include:
HubSpot has published a full list of “spam trigger” words by industry, so you can check out what’s safe to use and what’s not.
Protect the Sender’s Reputation
Email programs such as Google and Yahoo use complex algorithms to determine whether you’re a “quality” sender or not. If you keep sending emails to people who don’t open them, the algorithms can decide that you’re unreliable and are sending spam. This can result in your emails being processed as junk and in extreme circumstances, your IP address could be blacklisted. Protect your sender reputation by practicing good list hygiene and cleaning up your list regularly, removing email addresses that bounce often. Encourage your subscribers to add you to their Safe Senders or White List and make the emails you send enticing enough that they get opened more often than not.
Write Good Emails
Your client’s email marketing list is a powerful tool for business, but it only works if it’s used correctly. This means writing emails that recipients actually want to read.
A good email message needs to have:
- An interesting subject line. This is what determines whether the user opens it or deletes it. Make the subject specific, personalized and short—and avoid any of the spam trigger words in it. Don’t use subject lines like “Monthly Newsletter.”
- Just enough images. An email without images is a solid block of boring text and nobody is going to read that. If you have too many images in proportion to the text, however, once again it could trigger the spam filter. A good rule of thumb is two to four images per email message.
- Personalization. Most email marketing programs have the capability to include a variable field with the user’s name in it, so use this feature where possible. If your client’s list doesn’t include first names, don’t put anything. At all costs avoid the “Dear Friend” disaster, which sounds like a template that you forgot to fill out!
These are the most important tips to improve email deliverability, but to succeed you also need to create the right type of calls to action similar to those you’d use on your blog.