As mentioned in our last blog post, ESPs (email service providers) are making it harder for email spammers to get emails through. The knock on effect of these measures, however, is that legitimate emails also fall foul of going to spam.
Here are a few things you can do to help avoid going to spam folders:
1. Strengthen engagement
The most important thing to remember is to send messages to your subscribers (members) that they are interested in. Are they engaged with your organisation? Are they opening, reading, clicking and interacting with your emails. Interacting may mean registering, purchasing or even getting involved with the discussion depending on your type of organisation.
To ensure your emails are opened you need an interesting subject line that the recipient wants to engage with. And then you need good content. During our roadshows, Ryan Kilfoil spoke about having short and to the point content with links for further information to keep the reader engaged.
2. Keep up the good hygiene
Current and up to date lists with current email addresses. People change email providers and addresses often and do not always notify you that they have changed. Some people don’t close or delete the old address so while it is still a legitimate address it is never checked.
ESPs check if emails are being opened, or are deleted without opening and mark them as spam. Good list hygiene means monitoring engagement for all the addresses in your database (via opens and clicks), and regularly removing those who are inactive after a period of time. The period of time depends on how often you send emails, if weekly then after 2- 3 months, if monthly then 6 months.
3. Take care of bounces
Check the address is valid and there is not a typo. Do not keep sending to email address that have bounced, remove them from your list. Check if they have been blocked or unsubscribed from your list. Bounce policy is what sets you apart from the bad guys and helps you build a positive sending reputation.
4. Include an Unsubscribe link
Giving your readers the option to unsubscribe. When the process to unsubscribe from emails is difficult, exasperated users tend to simply mark messages as spam instead, which is far more harmful to email deliverability than unsubscribing. Single-click unsubscribe links should be included in every email you send. Unsubscribing is required by the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. You must have a working electronic unsubscribe.
5. Don’t buy lists
Best practice is to make your list via a subscription process. This means subscribers are giving clear consent, understand what they will receive, and from whom they will receive it upon sign-up. Completing a form allows the recipient to enter valid email address and be certain they want to receive email communication from you. Including a CAPTCHA is best practice too. A bought list can be filled with invalid email addresses and email traps (legitimate addresses that do not belong to a real user and are used as a tool to measure the quality of a marketers mail program, and as a way to catch spammers.)
6. Verify your sending domains
A verified domain means you are the owner of the domain. SPF, DKIM, DMARC, ARC these are all part of a category of technologies called email authentication and they are really important because they help you protect your brand, and your customers, from phishing and spammers.
7. Make it personal
Content is another metric, Use persons first names make it look natural and personal. Send each email individually and not Bcc‘ed. Loose the images. Gmail sees images as a sign of a promotion or spam message. You will increase your readership by not having pictures.
8. CALL THEM
Depending on your organisation it may be worthwhile calling people who have not opened an email for some time or an email that has bounced. Having a conversation can bring back the engagement that has been lost, check the validity of the address, as they say “Its good to talk.”
Email deliverability is a metric for the rate of success you have at getting your messages into people’s inboxes. It’s affected by a lot of factors, with spam and spam-related things generally being the primary ones.
9. Analyse you frequency
Too much and too often will cause reader fatigue and less likely to open emails. According to a study done by “Everyaction” the average open rate is only 13% for 2 million emails sent. 18% of emails in 2016 went to spam folders. This increased to 36.6% on #Giving Tuesday. (the Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a movement to create an international day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.)
Sources: runbox.com, Sparkpost blogs, Everyaction.