Email, Marketing, Marketing Classes

The ultimate guide to email deliverability

Follow along with special guest Kate Emiley as she shares 7 proven strategies to keep emails out of spam in her ultimate guide to email deliverability.

You work way too hard on your email marketing for it to receive a lackluster response. Why shouldn’t your emails have great deliverability?

We invited guest expert Kate Emiley to share seven proven strategies to ensure that your emails land in the inbox and not the spam folder. Kate is an Australia-based marketing educator with over 15 years of experience and over 15,000 YouTube followers.

These strategies will help you stay off your customers’ promotion tabs and, even more importantly, out of the spam folder.

Lifecycle of an email newsletter

Imagine this: you have worked hard on crafting an email newsletter, designing it, and sending it out to your subscribers. But then you receive an uninspiring response. What could it have been? Your subject line? The time you sent it out? Or maybe your email didn’t even land in your subscribers’ inbox.

This is called the deliverability of your emails, and it’s something that affects a lot of small businesses getting started in email marketing.

Most business owners crafting email newsletters use this approach: They write the email, they design the email, they send the email, and it’s done.

But this is just half of the lifecycle of that email. That’s the creation and the distribution.

What happens next is really important, because it is the determining factor as to whether that email newsletter was a success. The next part of the life cycle is: the email lands in the inbox, that email is opened, and then the link in the email is clicked.

These are the next three steps you want your subscriber to take.

The email landing in the inbox is a deliverability thing, the email being opened is a subject line thing, and the link in the email being clicked is a call-to-action thing. These are things you can control as a business owner sending out emails to hopefully create higher open rates and click-through rates of your email newsletters. In this class, we’re going to focus on deliverability.

Email deliverability is the rate at which your email makes it into your recipients’ inboxes. An email deliverability rate can be lower when an email bounces or gets automatically filtered into spam.

Email Deliverability

A good deliverability rate is 95% or higher. Depending on your email service provider, it could be even higher than that.

Here are some factors which may affect email deliverability.

Bounced emails – You may have emails that bounce, which may be a temporary thing. Maybe there’s something wrong with the server of those particular email addresses, which is called a soft bounce. But there are also hard bounces which is a permanent error and happens because the email address is no longer valid.

Spam filter – The spam filter helps to identify dangerous unsolicited or unwanted content. If the email service detects this type of content, it pushes the email into the spam folder instead of the inbox. The recipient is unlikely to check or open any email in their spam folder.

Promotions tab – The promotions tab is Gmail-specific. This helps to filter out potential promotional emails, which see a 10% or lower open rate. Most open rates are around the 20 to 25% mark. So if you receive 10% or lower, that is not many people at all.

It’s important to learn about Gmail specifically, because it has 1.8 billion users worldwide, and 40% of email addresses are in Gmail. So you want to be accommodating to the deliverability rules of Gmail.

1% of emails land in Gmail’s primary inbox; these are primarily emails that are addressed to the person, personal emails from your friends and family, particular appointments, or things that are considered important.

9% of emails land in the social inbox, which is mainly just updates from LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms.

90% of emails land in promotions. These are marketing emails, the emails you’re sending. But we want to try and get them out of the promotions inbox and into the primary inbox because that’s going to improve your deliverability and your open rate.

Master the art of email marketing with our tools and tips.

7 Strategies to improve deliverability

Here are some strategies to improve your email deliverability.

1. Build a quality email list

Create a list of people that actually want to subscribe to your newsletter.

A lot of business owners get sucked into the trap of buying an email list or just filtering websites and picking out people’s email addresses and sending emails to them. You don’t have consent from those people, which means that they’re going to be less likely to open your emails in the first place. And if they do, they’re probably going to unsubscribe, or they’re going to flag your email as spam, which we don’t want.

Instead, create a quality lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free product or service given in exchange for gathering a customer’s contact details This offers value for free to build your list of engaged, relevant, and ideal customers. 

If you sell a product, whether this be online or in a physical location, offer a discount, a freebie, or something that they get as a bonus when somebody purchases from you.

If however, you’re a service-based business, your lead magnet needs to be something of value that’s going to help create a transformation in that new subscriber’s life. This can be a mini training, a guide, a checklist, a cheat sheet, a template, something that will make their life easier, that will position you as the expert, and get them to book into your service.

All of these kinds of lead magnets are provided in exchange for a quality email lead.

2. Use a double opt-in form

A double opt-in form only adds those users to your mailing list who confirm their subscription two times.

The process for a double opt-in form looks as follows: your ideal client gives you their email address and you send them a double opt-in form or get their confirmation that they actually want their email address to be given to you. And then you send your welcome email.

A lot of small businesses are missing out on the confirmation step. The problem with this is it means you could get too many spam emails or bot emails. It could also mean that people have accidentally put the email address in and they didn’t actually want to hear from you.

There are two ways to circulate your double opt-in form among customers.

You can send a double opt-in email. This is a confirmation email to each new subscriber asking them to validate their email address. This is mandatory in some EU countries.

However, if you’re a local business and you’re not getting people subscribing from Europe, then you may want to opt for a reCAPTCHA feature to your form.

3. Clean your email list

This can be quite a scary strategy because it means your email list will reduce in size—but don’t worry, it will increase your engagement, and potentially save you money. Depending on what email service provider you’ve chosen, you may be charged based on how many people are on your email list. So if you have people on your email list that aren’t relevant, why bother sending emails to them?

When you clean your email list, you need to remove invalid email addresses. This will reduce your bounce rate straight away and reduce the possibility that your email won’t reach anyone. People who haven’t engaged in your content, even your email newsletters for six months probably aren’t ever going to come back.

4. Recognizable sender address

Don’t use Gmail or Yahoo to send your newsletters; you want to set up an email with your domain instead. Whatever your website is, you want your domain to be an authenticated domain. A lot of email service providers require you to do this as a step in their setup process.

The exact details for this process depends on which email service provider you end up choosing. But this will help you to get more emails in the primary inbox.

5. Consistent content calendar

When’s the best time and frequency for you to send out a newsletter? It depends on your community.

While deciding when to send your email, there are a couple of questions you can ask yourself. What’s your subscribers’ daily routine? What’s the day of the week that makes the most sense to receive your content? Where in the world are they located? Are they local to your business? How often should you send your emails?

Send emails weekly, or at least fortnightly, depending on how often you can create content.

A restaurant, for example, might email on Friday at 12 pm, local time, and send emails fortnightly. Maybe you could send your specials or you could send something new that is happening

An online store, maybe sends their emails on Tuesday at 5 am in the timezone of the majority of their customers and sends that weekly. So every time they’ve got a new product coming in, or they want to create a new boost of sales, they can send that newsletter.

6. Simplify your emails

Here are some ways you can simplify emails:

  • Don’t add too many images.
  • Reduce the number of links in your email to one call to action.
  • Stop using capital letters in the entire sentence, especially in your subject line.
  • Don’t use too many capital letters or exclamation points in the body copy of your emails. These can be immediately triggered as spam.
  • Choose a black-ish font. This means you can choose black, dark green, or dark blue.
  • Use your brand colors for highlighted points. But if you have a brand color of red, avoid using it, because red is likely to be flagged as spam.

7. Avoid trigger words

Trigger words such as are reported as promotional or spam. But that’s not to say you can’t use these, because you’ll need some of these words to get people to open your email.

Here are some examples of trigger words.

If you’re ensuring that all these other six strategies are on point, and using some trigger keywords, then it shouldn’t be flagged as spam because you’ve ticked the boxes for the other six things.

How to become a high-reputation email sender

Here are some handy tips if you’re looking to become a high-reputation email sender.

  1. Include an unsubscribe button. Never send out an email without an unsubscribe button. You might be thinking you’re doing yourself a favor by stopping people from unsubscribing, but if someone wants to unsubscribe, it’s really important that you let them. It’s also illegal to send emails to people without this button available.
  2. Personalize your emails with the recipient’s first name.
  3. Only email people who have subscribed to your email list. Don’t buy lists or take emails from random places on the web.
  4. Keep copy free from odd formatting or over-the-top punctuation, and only include links to reputable websites. Make sure you’re only linking back to your website or to websites you know are reputable.
  5. Share valuable content that puts your subscribers’ needs first; don’t always send sales and promotional emails. Make sure that the content that you’re sharing is actually going to offer value, and not just going to promote what you do.

Email copy best practices

To wrap things up, here are some email copy best practices you can start using in your copy for your next email newsletter.

  1. Keep your sentences short.
  2. Don’t write long paragraphs.
  3. Use ellipses to break up long sentences.
  4. Use conversational language.
  5. Add headers and bullet points to make it easy to skim.
  6. Bold the key points you want read.
  7. Have one call to action, whether it’s a button or linked text.

If you’d like to hear more from Kate, you can snag her tips on Instagram, or watch her training videos on YouTube. For bonus content, Kate has shared a special download for one year of binge-worthy email newsletter ideas.

Finally, we invite you to try out PosterMyWall’s email marketing platform experience, the only platform that lets you design videos and graphics, plus, create beautiful email messages, send them, and measure the results.

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