Don't fret though - there's plenty of ways to ensure the chances of your emails making it through are as high as possible!
Using the YBC Premium Benefit supplied by E-goi, you will get help to achieve this, but there's a handful of tips you need to always bear in mind to keep your deliverability high. Look at the infographic for a quick rundown (but make sure to check out the nitty-gritty details below as well :)
The Road to Email Deliveryville!
Make sure everyone in your contact database opted in to receive your mailings.
This is the big one! It's by far the thing that most impacts your deliverability and the main cause to toss you in the junk folder. Major ISPs such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo keep a close eye on your mailings to gauge how people respond. The more people open, click through, answer or forward your emails, the more they're engaged with your brand.
ISPs will make a note of this and use it to assign you a sending reputation. The higher your sending reputation, the more ISPs will love you and the better your inbox placement will be (you can take a look at your current reputation by placing the mouse on the upper right corner menu of your E-goi account).
However, if your emails are:
- Ignored and deleted by most of your target audience (with lots of unsubscribes as well)
- Flagged as spam by a number of people
- Sent to lots of dead, hard-bouncing addresses (old contact databases are just teeming with those)
- Sent to spamtrap addresses (these are decoys or very old addresses that usually thrive in purchased and harvested lists - one single spamtrap hit will wreck your reputation!)
Then you're in big trouble! ISPs will be quick to crack down on your reputation, karate-kicking your emails straight to the spam folder or blocking them altogether. Your E-goi account may even be automatically suspended!
How can you prevent this? There's one single surefire way: send emails only to people who gave you prior, express consent to receive those emails (preferably by signing up using a double opt-in subscription form in your site). Click the infographic below to learn whether your list is OK to use.
Crush the spammer in you!
Keep your target audience engaged
Building an opt-in contact database (congrats! :) is only half the equation. You can't just carpet-bomb those people with daily emails and expect tons of opens. That'll actually work against you.
Why? Remember what we said about your sending reputation above? ISPs look at the way people behave when you mail them. If they don't respond well, your sending reputation will be downgraded (too few opens and clickthroughs may actually flush it down the drain), so it's vital that your emails build a relationship with your target audience.
How? Make sure to:
Clearly state in your sign-up form that subscribers will be sent emails from you and how often (weekly, every two weeks, etc.).
- Honour that pledge and add a small reminder to all your emails letting your contacts know where and when they opted in to receive your emails (E-goi can do this automatically for you).
- Send emails which are highly relevant to your audience. If they signed up to learn about X, don't keep telling them about Y or Z. Use E-goi's segmenting features to create targeted mailings
- Include engaging contents and short (40 chars max) subject lines which clearly identify you and drive people to open, click through and share your emails. We can't give you specific tips (it depends entirely on your business and audience type), but your contents must connect strongly enough to stand out from the inbox clutter and offer your contacts something they're really interested in and can't find anywhere else. Testing, testing and re-testing is key (our split-test features can help you with this)
- Mail your audience often but not too much. Consistency is one of the things that tells ISPs you're a good sender, so a large-volume one-off campaign (especially to a rented or partner-traded list) may ruin your reputation! However, blasting out huge email volumes every day will also have you reported for spamming. If you need to send daily emails, segment your audience and send them small batches of targeted mailings.
- Keep your mailing list healthy. Consider cleaning it up every few months to whittle it down to those contacts who are consistently responsive to your emails (E-goi's segmenting and auto-reminders make this a doddle). At the same time, run a win-back "haven't-heard-from-you" campaign to salvage those non-openers who are still interested in your mailings. This is especially important if you haven't mailed the list in a long while (more than one month).
Manually authenticate your email sender (and consider adding our CNAME to your sending domain)
In addition to looking at how people respond to your mailings, ISPs run a couple identity checks to make sure you're a legitimate sender instead of someone just spoofing your name.
When using E-goi, we'll be sending your emails on your behalf, so you need to tell ISPs that you've granted us authorisation to do so. That's what sender authentication boils down to. E-goi already does it for you automatically, but ISPs like it even more when you do this yourself manually. Setting it up is easy (your IT staff shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to do it); just follow our step-by-step guide.
Even after manually authenticating your sender, your emails will usually go out with one of our sending domains, which are shared across other E-goi clients. If some of those clients mess up and send a mailing which performs badly, the ISPs' temper tantrum can sometimes affect your emails as well. You can avoid this by adding our CNAME record to your own sending domain, which also gives you the nice bonus of displaying your domain in all email links instead of E-goi's (for added confidence among your audience). This is as easy to set up as sender authentication: just follow our how-to.
Check for content issues
Even relevant, authenticated emails consistently sent to an engaged opt-in list can land in the junk folder. If you already followed all the above guidelines, the culprit may well be something in your content which triggers spam filters:
- Check your Spamassassin score. This is one of the most commonly-used spam filters in the world and it'll point out anything in your email that can be mistaken for spam. You can run this test while editing your email in E-goi (we'll actually offer to run it for you prior to sending out your email).
- Make sure both your mailing's HTML source-code and the images you're using are email-friendly and light as a feather (ISPs hate emails with trashy HTML and humongous pics). If you create your email using our Easygoi editor, you should be on the safe side, as it generates clean, standards-compliant code and auto-resizes your images. Avoid using editors such as Frontpage, Dreamweaver or any software with an "Export to HTML" option unless you really know what you're doing. E-goi will help you by checking your code for errors before your email goes out the door.
- Temporarily change your sender. Start by simply using a different sender name and keep the same email address. Alternatively, try to use a completely different sender. If delivery is successful, your original sender may have been blacklisted for some reason. Can't find out why? Just give us a shout and we'll try to look into it for you.
Consider applying for Return Path certification
The next best thing to being a great sender is having someone vouch for your awesomeness! The folks at Return Path - the industry-leading email whitelisting service - can do just that, with ISPs trusting them enough to improve your deliverability by an average of 27% if you're certified (plus a bevy of other cool benefits, like having your images automatically unblocked on Hotmail).
Their certification programme is simple yet thorough - they'll audit your email practices top-to-bottom (which basically means you must comply with all the guidelines listed on this article). Plus, as an E-goi client, your application process will be faster and you'll also get a discount on the Return Path fees.