Come on now, spill the beans!
No authentication, no go!
We knew this was key for a long time, but ISPs are now confirming it first-hand. If your sending domain doesn't have SPF, DKIM and a CNAME entry authorising your service to send emails on your behalf, you're gonna be in trouble. Many services do not require you to authenticate your senders, but it is important to highlight (again) how important this is.
No engagement, no inbox!
Also a familiar sight, but for the first time ever we have some hard data on what exactly ISPs see as their users' engagement:
THE GOOD - email opens, replies to sender (super-good), marking as not junk (also very good), moving to an archive or personal folder, adding to the address book.
THE BAD - trashing an email without opening it, flagging it as spam (this is very bad)
THE UGLY - how bad is having your email tagged as spam? So bad AOL will filter all your future mailings to junk if a user marks your email as spam twice! (This can obviously be reset if the same user marks them as not spam later).
Your reputation is meaningless if I'm not interested
ISPs place user preference above your domain and IP reputation (as they should). This means even if you have the absolute best sending reputation in the world, your emails will still land in the junk folder of a specific user if that user doesn't find them relevant. Personalised delivery is now a reality across all major ISPs.
Touch Gmail tabs at your own risk
The folks from Gmail were adamant on this one. Tabs were designed for a reason. Don't try to game them by looking to sneak up your promo mail into the primary tab! Just don't. You've been warned ;)
Where do clicks fit in all of this?
They don't! Yep, it's also news to us; no major ISP tracks clickthroughs. Clicks are still important for you to assess how engaging your contents is and track customers across your site or move them along a sales funnel, but ISPs don't really use it.
What about pushy keywords, like FREE, etc.?
Same thing, they also don't count! ISPs simply don't look at it. They'd rather watch how users react to your emails (spammy sales copy will obviously influence this).
So what are the takeaways here? How can I make it to the inbox?
If you haven't done so yet, authenticate your senders and add a CNAME authorisation entry to your sending domain. Do it now!
Even more important: say goodbye to business-to-consumer mailings. Loveable human-to-human emails are the way to go! Learn what makes your audience tick and make them love you with highly targeted, relevant contents. If they're eager to hear from you, you can be pretty damn sure your emails will land in the inbox.
YBC NOTE: This article is written by our new service provider, E-goi, who have one of the most powerful multichannel (email +++) marketing systems in the world, which is based in Europe. Click here to see how you can get a free account, with up to 10,000 subscribers, worth over £400 a year.