The Ultimate Guide to Improving Email Deliverability with Constant Contact

Email marketing is one of the most popular marketing channels, and for good reason. Every dollar brands spend on email marketing earns $36 in return. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that more than 90% of marketers say email marketing is key to their company’s success. 

Many factors determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, but email deliverability is among the most important. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to improve email deliverability for more successful campaigns and, ultimately, more revenue. 

Introduction to email deliverability

So, what is email delivery vs. email deliverability? Email delivery is the number of messages you successfully send to recipients without them bouncing. In contrast, email deliverability is the number of emails that reach the recipients’ inboxes. 

You can have a high email delivery with low email deliverability. Why? In this case, your message is probably getting dumped into spam folders. It’s not bouncing back, so delivery is high, but it isn’t landing in inboxes, so deliverability is low. 

Factors influencing email deliverability

Your email deliverability rate comes down to many different factors. Some examples include:

  • Your email volume
  • Your sending frequency
  • Your email subject line and body content
  • Your reputation as a sender
  • The quality of your email list
  • Your IP address reputation
  • Spam complaints

With these factors in mind, which strategies can you use to improve your deliverability performance? Let’s break down some best practices to improve email deliverability in your email marketing

Best practices for email deliverability

If you’re not happy with your current email deliverability rates, there are probably some things you can change to see improvements. Try these tips:

Authenticate your email domain

Your reputation as a sender has a huge influence on email deliverability rates. Protect your reputation and prevent bad actors from taking control of your email domain through email authentication. 

The three most common email authentication methods are enabling Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Confidence (DMARC). Use these methods to prove you are who you say you are. Doing so will show internet service providers (ISPs) that you’re more reliable. 

But does DKIM improve deliverability? Setting up DKIM, SPF, and DMARC will protect your sending reputation and thus increase your odds of high email deliverability. 

Maintain a strong IP reputation

Similarly, you need a strong IP reputation for the best email deliverability rates. If you’re sending 25,000 emails per day or more, consider setting up a dedicated email address. You’ll need better email infrastructure to handle this larger-scale email program.

When you set up a new dedicated IP address, you’ll have to warm it up by sending messages to a smaller subset of your email list before sending them to everyone. Doing so will show the ISP that you’re trustworthy and sending wanted messages, not spamming people. 

If you damage your IP reputation or end up on email sender blacklists, your email deliverability will plummet. ISPs will suspect spam and prevent your emails from going through to your recipients. Ensure this doesn’t happen by keeping a strong IP reputation. 

Manage opt-in processes

How you create your email list is key in determining your email deliverability rates. Ideally, your list should only contain people who are engaged and interested in the messages you send. If you send messages to people who aren’t interested, they’re likely to report you as spam. Too many spam reports will jeopardize your sender reputation and possibly keep ISPs from delivering your messages to any recipients. 

Keep your email list full of engaged users with a double opt-in process. In a double-opt-in system, users have to provide their email addresses and confirm they’re interested in your messages by clicking a link in your message. This process ensures no one accidentally ends up on your list. 

double opt-in constant contact
This email shows the double opt-in feature in Constant Contact’s email marketing software. Once activated, the software sends an email to all new subscribers to confirm they want to be on the email list. Image Source: Constant Contact

Clean your email lists

Even with a double-opt-in system, you should still regularly clean up your email list. People who were interested in your messages months or years ago may no longer be engaged. Regularly go in and weed out any people on your list who haven’t interacted with your messages lately. If they never respond to your emails, open them, or click on the included links, consider taking them off your email list. 

You can also implement segmentation strategies to improve engagement. For example, sending a special discount code or offer just to people who haven’t interacted with your messages lately can pique their interest again. 

Content and design best practices

Beyond more technical approaches to improving email deliverability, you should also examine your message content and design. Recipients prefer well-designed, well-written emails. If you’re consistently sending emails with great content and design, they’re much less likely to report you for spam. 

Focus on crafting non-spammy subject lines. Avoid phrases like:

  • Free
  • Winner
  • #1
  • Fast cash
  • Guaranteed
  • Giveaway
  • Miracle
  • Prize

Instead, create subject lines that engage audiences and honestly reflect the content of your message. Not only will strong subject lines boost your deliverability rates, but they will also improve your email open rates. It’s worth taking your time to write the best possible subject lines.

Spend time getting your email design right, too. Using videos or images can make your emails more engaging and likely to convert. Incorporate headers and lists to break your text into lengthier messages and avoid overwhelming readers. The better your email design is, the better your email deliverability will be. 

Email testing and monitoring

Even if you incorporate all the best practices in email marketing, no email campaign is perfect. You should always test your emails ahead of time to narrow down what works and what doesn’t. Send small batches of the same email with minor tweaks to see which works better, then send the higher-performing email to your whole list.  

When you test emails, focus on the preview text — the snippet of the message that appears after the subject line in recipients’ inboxes. Intriguing preview text helps your message stand out and prove it isn’t spam, improving deliverability rates. 

Remember to monitor your email analytics regularly. Changes in key email metrics like open rates, click-through rates (CTR), and spam complaints can dramatically affect your email deliverability rates.  

Advanced email deliverability techniques

Once you’ve tackled basic email deliverability best practices, there are some more advanced techniques you can use to boost your deliverability even further. Try these techniques:

Setting up feedback loops

To protect your deliverability rates, you must monitor complaints and concerns from email recipients. Luckily, feedback loops can help. 

Most email service providers offer feedback loops that notify you when your recipients mark your emails as spam. If you use feedback loops, your email provider will send you reports when they receive complaints about your emails. Use the data from these reports to create better emails, avoid future complaints, and improve email deliverability. 

Avoiding spam traps and filters

Spam traps and filters exist to catch people sending unwanted emails and stop those messages before they reach recipients. You need to avoid these traps to keep your email deliverability high. Ensure you send to engaged users and never purchase email lists to avoid these traps. 

Managing sending frequency and scheduling

Constantly sending messages will frustrate your recipients and ultimately reduce your deliverability rates. Manage your sending frequency to keep readers engaged without overwhelming them. If you’re not sure how often that is, provide a preference center where they can select email frequency. 

The schedule of your emails also matters. Avoid sending emails far outside of business hours because this can annoy recipients and make them more likely to flag your message as spam. 

Personalized and behavioral email targeting

You may wonder which strategy will improve email deliverability the most. One possible answer is personalization and behavioral email targeting. 

Instead of sending the same email to everyone on your list, segment your audience based on their interests and behavior. For example, send re-engagement emails to people who haven’t interacted with your brand lately, and send thank you messages to people who make a purchase. 

Targeting and personalizing your emails makes them more appealing to readers, improving your reputation and email deliverability over time. 

Email deliverability and marketing impact

Email deliverability is only part of email marketing and marketing as a whole. The strategies you implement to improve email deliverability should align with your broader marketing goals. 

For example, companies hoping to increase customer retention should focus on segmentation and behavioral targeting. Sending targeted emails to existing customers will make your messages more relevant — boosting deliverability — and encouraging customers to stick with the company. 

If you want to get more out of your email marketing drip campaigns, use strategies for improving deliverability that align with your marketing goals. 

Email deliverability tools and software

Email deliverability tools and software can also help you increase your deliverability rates. Email automation platforms like Constant Contact include a variety of tools to improve your email marketing campaigns, including their deliverability rates. 

Constant Contact, for example, uses AI to craft engaging email subject lines and body content with just a few keywords. The improved content keeps readers happy, improving your email deliverability. 

Email deliverability tools also help with the following:

  • Segmenting your email list to send more targeted emails
  • Running tests to determine the best emails
  • Sending automatic emails in response to user behaviors like abandoning a cart
  • Identifying inactive users on your email list to filter out

This software allows you to track and analyze the performance of your emails to gain insights into what you can improve. 

Common issues with email deliverability

Negative actions taken by recipients are a common problem that lowers deliverability rates. If your recipients consistently report your messages as spam, your reputation will suffer, and your deliverability will, too. Address this by removing uninterested users from your email list and only sending well-designed, relevant messages. 

Similarly, to mitigate high bounce rates, test your emails before sending them to see if there’s any issue that could prevent your message from reaching recipients. Something as simple as a poorly-formated image or an attachment could be the culprit. 

Finally, it’s crucial to understand and take steps to rectify clone phishing attacks. Clone phishing is a type of scam in which a scammer imitates a legitimate brand and sends fake emails to customers in an attempt to steal sensitive information or send malware. Clone phishing is considered harder to detect than spear phishing because emails generally include similar or the same details as the business’s real communications. If you become aware of a clone phishing attempt that impersonates your business, alert your customers and report the attempt so that your legitimate email deliverability does not suffer.

Monitor your email deliverability and other key email metrics on a regular schedule to check for sudden changes that can indicate a problem. If your email deliverability isn’t as high as you’d like, investigate which of these issues may be the cause. 

Legal and ethical considerations

Regulations exist to prevent companies from spamming people with unwanted emails. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States both outline how companies can use personal data and send commercial messages. 

Violating these email regulations can lead to fines and other actions against your business. Understand your obligations as a commercial email sender to avoid these legal problems. 

Why purchased email lists are a risk

Purchasing an email list is a quick way to add more email recipients, but you should avoid this practice. When you buy an email list, you have no way to know whether those users will be interested in your messages. Sending them emails is a great way to get mass reported for spam and damage your sender reputation beyond repair. 

Conclusion and next steps

Your email deliverability rates tell you what percentage of your emails are actually reaching recipients’ inboxes. The higher this rate is, the better your email marketing campaign will perform. Implement best practices like using a double opt-in feature, cleaning up your email list, and setting up feedback loops to improve deliverability.

Keeping your deliverability rates high is an ongoing task. Always look for new ways to improve email deliverability, whether that’s through new email marketing software or new approaches to crafting your emails. Sign up for Constant Contact for free to see how the platform can help you get your messages in more inboxes.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Improving Email Deliverability with Constant Contact appeared first on Constant Contact.

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