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Email Deliverability 101

We’ve talked a lot about email deliverability recently, and while deliverability scores may not be the most exciting topic to talk about, there are few topics that are as important to the reputation of your company and the success of your marketing as a whole. After all, even a perfectly crafted and targeted email is rendered worthless if it never reaches its mark. So take a look at three important aspects of deliverability that need to be taken into consideration — whether you’re a beginner or well on your way to being an email marketing expert.

Warming Up Your IP Address

If you’re just kicking off your email marketing strategy or sending out blasts from a brand-new domain name, it’s imperative that you “warm-up” your IP address by gradually ramping up to larger sending volumes. This allows you to work out the kinks in your strategy at smaller volumes, and ensures that your IP address doesn’t end up on a blacklist before you even have a chance to get started.

The process for ramping up sending volumes will differ depending on your database size and sending goals, but will generally take two to six weeks. To stay on the safe side, keep emails under 5,000 per day for the first week, and send blasts to your best lists first (the lists that you feel confident will have the least number of bounces) to build up your reputation. The key is to implement a gradual and steady ramp up — and the worksheet below can help you map out a strategy!

Implementing Opt-In/Out Best Practices

Once you’ve ramped up to full sending volumes and established your reputation, it’s important to protect that reputation — and the best way to do this is by adhering to best practices for email opt-ins and opt-outs.

When it comes to obtaining permission for email communication, it’s a good idea to go beyond CAN-SPAM laws — meaning a passive opt-in doesn’t cut it. Whenever you’re obtaining contact information for the purpose of sending emails, make sure to include a check box and clearly outline what type of information will be sent, and how often. To thoroughly cover your bases, consider using double opt-ins, where recipients confirm the opt-in via email after the initial form submission. Also make sure that opt-outs are easy and fast — having a recipient click the “Unsubscribe” button won’t hurt your email reputation, but a “Report as Spam” click will.

Perfecting Your Content

No matter how much of an email marketing expert you are, you can always take precautions to further protect your email content from spam filters. For the most part, making sure your emails reach their mark is straightforward: just send valuable content to people who have opted in to receiving it. But sometimes a simple (and honest) mistake can land your email in the dreaded spam folder. Examples of common spam filter triggers include:

  • Emails that include phone numbers, messages in all capital letters, or the phrase “for only” followed by a dollar sign symbol
  • Emails with a high image-to-text ratio
  • Emails that start off with the greeting “Dear”

The good news? You can conduct some simple research of your own.  Just browse through some emails in your own spam folder and keep an eye out for recurring words and phrases — then steer clear of these when crafting your own email blasts.

Interested in learning more about optimizing deliverability rates? Download our free Email Deliverability Handbook for worksheets, hints and tips, and best practices.

IP Warm-up Worksheet

email deliverability handbook