Dealing with stagnant – or even dipping – email deliverability rates is one of the most disheartening experiences possible to slog through for both seasoned veterans and new members of the email marketing community alike. Unfortunately, with Jess Nelson of Media Post’s Email Marketing Daily blog reporting that deliverability rates fell by as much as four percent worldwide in 2015, far too many brands are currently facing down this unwelcome reality heading into 2016.
If your recent deliverability rates reside in this stagnant or sagging company, don’t worry – there’s plenty of time to rebound and return to a more engaged and efficient standing in the inbox. To help you along with this email marketing restoration, here are five ideas that can enhance and improve your deliverability outlook moving forward.
Focus on Quality and Not Quantity
The first tip for improving email deliverability rates is all about focusing on the quality of your inbox offerings, and not on how often you send these messages. As Nelson goes on to explain, poorly formatted emails ensure that your content ends up getting caught by the spam filter, while a sub-standard opt-in process inhibits your ability to pair up relevant subject matter with your greater inbox audience.
Fixing the first issue and cutting down on avoidable errors is fairly straightforward; take some time to review and proofread your content multiple times before hitting that “send” button. As far as cutting down on awkward or irrelevant inbox connections, being choosy with your membership criteria ensures that you have a contact list chock full of responsive and engaged readers and not disinterested or tangentially related individuals.
Purge Hard Bounces after the First Bounce
When it comes to bounces, Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today suggests that letting hard bounces stick around is one of the quickest ways to drop your deliverability rate in the tank. Instead, you’re much better off purging these hard bounce addresses after even just one such bounce.
The reason behind this “scorched earth” policy relating to hard bounces rests solely on the fact that the big email service providers – Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. – all keep track of these events and suppress delivery of all of your emails if you trigger too many bounces. The numbers on how many it takes to end up on the wrong side of these service providers can vary based on the company and the situation, so you’re simply better off removing these outdated addresses as soon as possible.
Avoid Spam Traps at All Costs
Much like the closed or inactive addresses that serve as the source of hard bounces, accounts that have been taken over by service providers and converted into spam traps also represent a potentially covert threat to your email deliverability rates. If you don’t want to watch your Sender Score drop by up to 20 points after getting caught in one of these easily avoidable traps, the solution is actually pretty simple: Don’t buy an email list from a third-party source and enact good contact list hygiene by removing all contacts that haven’t been active for more than six months.
Personalize the “To” Section of Your Emails
One of the smallest – yet most effective – ways to boost deliverability comes in the form of personalizing the “To” section of your outgoing messages. In his look at this process, Justin Zhu of Marketing Land explains that service providers prefer seeing the actual name of the recipient in this field when compared to a base email address since this distinction helps solidify the fact that your brand is reaching out to individuals who have clearly given consent to receive your marketed content.
Consider IP Bonding
The final suggestion to make its way on the list – again from Zhu – posits that IP bonding enhances deliverability by removing the limitations of utilizing just one IP address. If you’re not familiar with the term, IP bonding refers to the tactic of harnessing multiple IP addresses to send large quantities of marketed messages.
The key takeaway here is that leveraging multiple addresses during a large outpouring of emails diversifies your reputation and speeds up the process, all while circumventing the cap on individual connections that some service providers place on incoming messages and inbox content.
Naturally, what works and what doesn’t for your brand depends entirely on your unique situation and prior deliverability history. Even so, with these tips and tricks leading the way, there’s nothing that can stop you and your future email marketing campaigns from taking the first step toward a more engaged and efficient stance on deliverability.