Getting In (the Inbox)

The key to successful email marketing campaigns starts simply with deliverability — making it into a subscriber’s inbox can be half the battle. Email users and email service providers grow savvier by the day, filtering out unwanted email by any means necessary.

Whether sending emails from in-house or working with an email service provider (ESP), improving deliverability rates requires a carefully crafted, well-executed strategy. To avoid the dreaded delete, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Get in: First things first, determine your current inbox placement rate to see how many of your emails actually make it to the frontlines. Redraw your battle plan if necessary.
  • Get out: If an account hasn’t opened your emails in 12-18 months, there’s a good chance that user won’t be reading future emails either. Review and remove inactive subscribers periodically.
  • Make the list: Get whitelisted with Internet Service Providers to ensure your emails won’t be filtered out as Spam. A good ESP partner can provide whitelisting coverage with upwards of 20 ISPs.  
  • Test out text: Try adding a line of plain text to an HTML email to improve deliverability rates; this can sometimes get an email past a Spam filter. Monitor for a few campaigns.
  • Ask questions: Review feedback complaints to see what made a subscriber unsubscribe. Get to know your email audience and consider collected feedback when planning future campaigns.
  • Stay secure: Online security is crucial in email campaigns; nothing can kill your subscriber list (and credibility) faster than being hacked. Take precautions and emphasize subscribers’ security.
  • Expert advice: Most ESPs offer a deliverability team to track and analyze your current impact for you. When in doubt, solicit expert analysis to handle complaint resolution and blacklisting.
  • Market watch: Stay ahead of the curve by watching for new email features from ISPs fighting for new customers. Google Labs, Hotmail, and Yahoo are constantly trying to one-up the competition with the latest and greatest email options.

Overall, stay compliant with security and online regulations and focus on delivering high quality, useful information to your subscribers while determining how to make a long-term impact on their inbox.

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