All the email marketing advice you’ve read thus far in this series on improving your email strategy by Q2 means nothing if your messages never reach your audience. Deliverability refers to a message’s ability to arrive in intended recipients’ inboxes.
It is an often-overlooked metric that has a large effect on your marketing efforts. According to Return Path (PDF, 9 pages), one in six marketing messages never make it to the inbox — that’s 17%! Why? Six percent are caught in spam or junk filters, and the other 11% are either rejected by subscribers’ email clients (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail) or Internet service providers, or are blocked by subscribers’ own filters.
So, how do you beat the odds to increase the likelihood that the messages you work hard to develop actually make it to their intended recipients? Enlist these three management principles:
1. Manage Reputation
- Use DomainKeys Identified Mail and Sender Policy Framework tools to authenticate your Internet Protocol (IP) address.
- Keep track of your sender score.
- Monitor recipient complaints by creating an abuse-reporting email address and registering it.
- Follow subscriber-acquisition best practices.
- Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
2. Manage Subscribers
- Rely on organically-generated audience growth.
- Avoid buying or renting lists unless you are 100% certain of the data’s sources and any underlying opt-in agreements. Monitor these very closely.
- Remove hard bounces and honor unsubscribe requests immediately.
- Segment subscribers by interest or other grouping factor, and target relevant content to these common elements.
3. Manage Content
- Set and consistently meet audience expectations.
- Analyze content for spam triggers, using the tools offered by your email service provider.
- Follow design best practices.
- Develop a testing strategy, and test everything – from frequency and timing to subject lines and calls to action. And don’t forget to evaluate the metrics.
- Check in with subscribers on a regular basis to obtain feedback and preferences.
- Recover from mistakes quickly and gracefully.
Don’t gamble with your messages. You can take control of their destiny. Share your deliverability challenges in the comments.
Amber V Hammond is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.