Improving the Deliverability in E-Mail Marketing: 8 Important Steps

Whether you are just starting deploying e-mail marketing in your company or want to optimize the existing campaigns, use this short guide to improve the deliverability of your messages.

Double Opt-In

Make sure that all the addresses in your e-mail marketing base are collected using DOI. First, this is required by law in most countries. Second, this will prevent complaints (which negatively influence the delivery rate) as well as bounces due to invalid or misspelled e-mail addresses.

Organic Growth

Use legal methods of growing your e-mail list. Avoid borrowing or buying contact lists at any rate. Besides, a sudden surge in e-mail traffic from a domain may be a spam signal for many ESPs.

Verified Domain

When using an external E-mail provider, make sure to configure DKIM (Domain Key) and SPF (Sender ID) in the settings.  You can learn more about those here.

IP Reputation

The reputation of a sender’s IP has significant impact on deliverability. You can proceed with a shared or dedicated IP for your e-mail marketing campaigns. In case you do not send large e-mail volumes, a shared IP would be a better choice. In case of a dedicated IP, it is best to start increasing the volume of sent emails gradually (“warming up” the IP) and once the e-mail volume has increased to the full size of your list, you should maintain a consistent flow of e-mails from this IP.

Valid Code

Remember that deliverable E-Mails are always based on very simple HTML code.  Avoid embedding any interactive elements e.g. based on JavaScript. Also, do not attach any documents or embed videos. You can still realize some of this functionality through placing those elements on your website and linking to them.

For aligning the elements within the e-mail message, use HTML tables. Make sure that your images have standard PNG or JPG formats and keep their size to a minimum. Do not forget ALT-texts in case the images cannot be loaded.

By the way, to achieve even better results in displaying your email on a variety of devices and in different e-mail programs, include a link to the Web version of the email.

Opt-Out Links

Always include a valid  and visible opt-out  link into your e-mail. Opting-out of the list must be possible within a maximum of two clicks. Never make users sign in to their accounts in order to opt-out. Otherwise, you risk a surge in complaints that will negatively affect the e-mail deliverability for all of your future campaigns.

In addition, it is a good idea include the information why the user is receiving this marketing e-mail: “You are receiving these emails because you signed up for fresh updates on bakery goods and recipes from the heart of our kitchen at XYZ Pâtisserie. If you no longer wish to keep in touch, you can opt-out here.”

Sender’s Info

Provide means to contact you in directly the e-mail. The user should be able to identify clearly who the sender of the email is. In Germany, it is a law to include legal company information (Imprint) into all of your emails.

Another thing is to include a valid From address into your e-mail  (also avoid noreply addresses as well as personal addresses, such as name@company.com). Never mask the sender address as this is a spam signal for ESPs.

Working Links

Make sure that all links in your email are valid and work fine. Avoid using URL shorteners and redirects. If you work with UTM codes, avoid including such parameters as IP Addresses, as this violates data protection laws and impacts deliverability.

Additionally, be careful with links to third-party domains (that is, links that do not point to your domain). If you cannot exclude them, just limit their number to a minimum and always check their domain reputation.

List Maintenance

After each campaign, clean up the contact base by removing the addresses with hard bounces as well as all complaints and opt-outs (unless this is done automatically).  If an email has soft-bounced (e.g. due to an autoresponder) more than 5-6 times, remove it as well. Also, you should not include alias emails such as info@ into your mailing list.

You can deploy an e-mail address verification service if your contact base has not been used for a while or if you are skeptical about its quality. Ensure that the personal data remains protected during the verification process. The rule of thumb: when in doubt about the address validity – remove it from the contact base.

I hope that this concise guide will help you to increase the deliverability of the e-mails in future marketing campaigns. If you want to learn more about the optimal mailing frequency, please refer to this post.

email deliverability 8 steps infographic

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Author: Elena

I acquired a BA degree in International Business with a specialization in Marketing from Nuremberg Technical School and a parallel degree from Leeds Metropolitan University. In 2013-2014, I worked in the field of performance and conversion optimization with an IT company and then was employed in content marketing. In 2016, I went back to working with Web Analytics and gained additional experience in project management. During this time, I received an Award of Achievement in Digital Analytics from the University of British Columbia (Canada). Currently, I am employed in Online Marketing. My areas of specialization include online marketing strategy, content creation, web analytics, conversion optimization and usability.

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