Deliverability is often an issue for companies that send emails. Moreover, it is difficult to keep up with the evolution of best practices, because the algorithms that define the inbox placement rules evolve very quickly. It’s becoming a challenge for many marketers to keep track. This is why the subject of deliverability is so misunderstood… Just because you were good five years ago doesn’t mean you have to stop trying because that’s when your deliverability might be affected.
There are several reasons that can affect your deliverability, but the main one, and therefore most often observed, is the reputation of the sender. Basically, any company that sends emails to a contact base has a reputation to maintain with email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, and others. Your reputation as a sender can be broken down into several factors that influence it:
- The engagement ratio of your mailings: If your emails get a good average engagement rate, it’s good for your reputation as a sender. On the contrary, if you send your emails to contacts who do not interact with your brand or who are inactive, it can greatly harm you. Many of our tips in this article help to improve the engagement ratio because this point encompasses several elements that can be improved.
- The number of spam complaints received: Spam filters record complaints made by users and place future campaigns from the same sender directly into junk mail when they exceed a given percentage. So, the more spam complaints you generate, the more your reputation is affected and the less your emails will be delivered.
- Similar content: Most messaging services use algorithms to compare incoming messages to those marked as spam, which helps identify senders, links, and similar content. And too many similarities can make it look like spam.
- No unsubscription link: Compliance with Consent and Unsubscribe laws is a critical part of your reputation with messaging providers.
- Use a purchased contact list: The purchase of contacts allows you, yes to increase the number of contacts in your database quickly, but they are also contacts who have not subscribed to your mailings. Therefore, they will most likely not be engaged with your brand, unsubscribe or make a spam complaint, which is not very advantageous.
- A poor sending infrastructure
- Not being a certified shipper
Although this is not an exhaustive list, these are the elements most often observed as causes of poor deliverability. We will therefore focus on these to give you our recommendations in the next few lines of this article.
Here are a few tips to put all the chances of delivery on your side while keeping a good reputation as a sender:
1. Details about the subscription
When offering to subscribe to your communications, mention the type of content sent and the frequency of sending. This way, recipients will know exactly what to expect when they sign up and will be less likely to identify your email as undesirable. Also, don’t wait too long before sending your first communication after a subscription. This avoids confusing your new subscribers who may wonder why they are receiving your email if the delay is too long.
2. A dedicated IP address
If you have a large sending volume, using a dedicated IP address will allow you to keep control over the quality of the emails that are sent via this address, unlike using a shared address. You will therefore have the assurance that your reputation as a sender will not be altered by a reckless third party. However, note that this can have the opposite effect if you don’t send a lot of emails to that IP address, so only use this tactic if you send emails on a regular basis.
In addition, it would be appropriate to dissociate your transactional mailings from your commercial mailings by using two separate IP addresses. This will prevent any blocking of your important mailings.
3. Authentication protocols
Authentication protocols make it possible to confirm the identity of the sender and therefore to pass more easily through the various filters. Any legitimate sender should therefore have authentication. The most common are DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), SPF (Sender Protection Framework), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). In fact, these are the first elements to configure when you first connect with Dialog Insight. If you omit these important steps, you may run into problems with your mailings at some point.
4. Choosing your sending platform
When sending emails, it is recommended to choose a serious and credible sending platform such as Dialog Insight. The reason is simple, serious solutions have expertise and reputation in the field and have a more robust infrastructure. This greatly enhances deliverability since ISPs are already familiar with the platform being used.
In fact, Dialog Insight was built to provide the best deliverability to our users and we are always looking for the best options to improve our platform in this regard.
5. Make your emails responsive
Sending non-responsive emails is also one of the reasons why your email may be blocked before it is received by the recipient. Today, e-mail opening rates on cell phones have surpassed those on computers. However, an email that is not adapted for mobile will naturally generate less engagement from your recipients, which impacts your reputation as a sender, as we have seen previously. So be very careful to adapt your mailings so as not to be, in the long term, penalized for this.
6. Engaging content
Email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo often use open and click rates to determine if messages from a particular sender are spam. Thus, a message that is never opened or clicked is likely to end up in the junk mailbox. In fact, the largest messaging providers have the ability to move inbox messages even after they have been received. They can therefore adjust the live shot according to the behavior of your contacts.
Irrelevant content will decrease the engagement rate or worse, will lead to complaints. That’s why sending the right content to the right people at the right time on the right channel is the best strategy you could use.
Moreover, several tools are offered in the Dialog Insight platform to help you get to know your contacts better. Use them to increase the relevance of your messages! And with relevance comes engagement. Also, think about sending e-mails that read quickly and contain calls to action to encourage clicks.
Also avoid overly marketing terms (free, offer, promo, urgent, etc.). The abuse of exclamation marks or the excessive use of capital letters are often considered spam techniques. The content of the message should also be consistent with your brand image, however, make sure you use images only to support your text (don’t overuse them).
7. A striking email subject
The email subject line is one of the first things the recipient sees when deciding whether or not to open your email. So it’s worth taking the time to write the best possible email subject to get your contacts to click and see the content of your message.
Also, in principle, there is no character limit for an email subject. On the other hand, each email provider displays a different number of characters in the inbox between 50 and 80 characters. This is why we advise you to aim for all 50 characters, to avoid this one being cut off. In addition, a shorter email subject allows for greater efficiency. Finally, adding personalization is also a good idea because it provides better opening results.
8. A good hygiene list
It is essential to keep a close eye on your contact list and identify deliverability errors in order to remove non-existent or abandoned addresses. It is essential to keep a close eye on your contact list and identify delivery errors in order to remove non-existent or abandoned addresses. And just like the spam rate, the rate of invalid addresses demonstrates poor list hygiene, which is not ideal. It is therefore recommended to target fewer people who will be more engaged to maintain a good reputation.
An emailing platform such as Dialog Insight offers all the necessary tools to allow you to easily automate the management of your inactive contacts. The two possible options would be to mount a campaign to reactivate inactive contacts or simply to automate the deletion of those that have been inactive for too long.
It is also suggested to mix the two: You start with a reactivation campaign and then, for all those who did not respond positively to your campaign, these contacts will be deleted automatically by the system.
A well-maintained list avoids being blocked by Internet service providers, so you should update your database regularly.
9. Acquire contacts properly
Some may think that buying contact lists is a good strategy to quickly increase their database… The problem with this practice is that not all of the contacts you obtain in this way have consented to have emails sent to them from your company. In fact, these contacts will receive your emails wondering why they are receiving them since they have not subscribed, have probably never visited your website, and probably don’t know your products either.
This is a spam tactic to send emails to people who don’t know anything about you and haven’t given their consent to be contacted… It can only end badly! And indeed, three scenarios are often observed. In the best case, these contacts remain subscribers but are not at all engaged, which considerably affects your sending results. But often these contacts unsubscribe as quickly as they appear, and in the worst case, can flag you as a spammer.
These three scenarios have a big impact on your reputation as a sender. This is why you should make it a point of honor to respect the Laws concerning the sending of spam and to respect the consent of your contacts. It may take longer but naturally acquired contacts are more valuable and much less damaging to your reputation.
10. Regularly monitor its results and reputation
It is also important to keep an eye on the performance of your mailings and to react quickly if results decrease. Since your contacts’ engagement has an impact on your reputation, be sure to monitor it on an ongoing basis and adjust when necessary.
Compare yourself to the rates in your industry to see if you’re on track or not. Several benchmarks are available to compare you to other players in each industry. This is valuable information that you should consult in order to have an indicator that allows you to evaluate your results.
There are also several tools that allow you to monitor your reputation: TalosIntelligence is a tool to search for different threats in real-time. MXtoolbox lists the MX records of a domain in order of priority. Mail-tester allows you to test your emails and check their spam score, you can also test your SPF and DKIM and make sure they are properly configured. Then, SenderScore is a tool that assigns you a number between 0 and 100 that represents your sender reputation score and gives you tips on how you can improve that score.
Email deliverability is a complex field and the rules for blocking spam are constantly evolving. Algorithms are becoming more and more restrictive and adapt faster than we can. This is why we must constantly review our ways of doing things and always be informed of best practices to keep up with the evolution of technology in the field.
We hope that our advice will help you better manage the various obstacles to delivery. It is also important to be vigilant and monitor your delivery results so that you can react quickly in the event of a problem.
Dialog Insight has all the necessary resources to accompany you and provide you with the right support in improving your email delivery rate. Do not hesitate to contact our team for specialized advice and support.