Recommendations for Email Delivery Best Practices and Why They’re Important
In years past, companies could email anyone they liked, and it wouldn’t really matter.
16:23 01 October 2018
In years past, companies could email anyone they liked, and it wouldn’t really matter. There was no control or rules about who could be contacted, how often, or consideration for how well the email was being received. This led to phrases like “sending an email blast” indicating a large batch of emails being sent out to people in a bulk email sending process.
The Dangers of the Single Opt-in
An opt-in is when someone decides to provide an email address, which is then added to an email list. Emails are then sent out periodically using the information supplied.
A single opt-in is where the person provided their email address, but it was never confirmed (by sending them an email follow-up) to verify that they really wished to sign up. This led to more junk email because it was possible to maliciously provide an email address to 100 websites that all started sending email newsletters to someone who never opted in at all.
Use Double Opt-in to Avoid Spam Reports
The double opt-in wasn’t previously used by all email service providers that manage large email lists on behalf of their clients. However, it’s now become far more commonplace and should be considered a key part of email deliverability best practices.
The idea with a double opt-in is to take the email address and then send a query email to double-check the person did indeed opt-in and it wasn’t someone doing it without their consent.
With a double opt-in, it prevents emails being sent continually to people who don’t wish to receive them. Such emails would often be marketed as spam, which in time affects the ability of that mailing list operator to get emails delivered successfully.
For instance, if mrandmrsjones.co.uk repeatedly sent unwanted emails, eventually their domain would get flagged as spam and future newsletter emails wouldn’t be received. Therefore, it’s in every businesses’ best interest to avoid sending email to anyone who doesn’t want them otherwise both their general communication and marketing emails will hit the spam folder or get bounced back.
Monitor Open Rates and Lack of Engagement
It’s one thing for an email to be sent and received, but quite another whether it’s opened. When a company is sending out an email every week and none have been opened for months, then the customer is showing a lack of engagement. There’s a greater risk that they will have forgotten they ever subscribed and mark a future email as spam. It’s unfair, but it’s a reality.
When looking at subscribers by open rates, it’s possible to screen for people who only open occasional emails. This might indicate reducing their sending frequency – perhaps making it a bi-monthly newsletter for them – would be a better fit.
Sending out an email to subscribers who barely open emails or who haven’t looked at one in a few months to double-check if they still wish to be subscribed is a good way to carefully unsubscribe the ones who fail to respond. This, in turn, reduces the total number of subscribers, which for most email providers reduces their monthly subscription cost and for others who charge by email volume, saves money over the years.
Avoid Questionable Email Subject Lines
As much as people are used to link bait by way of exciting, suggestive wording to get them to click a link or open an email, it’s easy to cross a line.
It’s good best practice to avoid making false statements in the subject line (or body of the email for that matter). The intention should be to attract the subscriber with relevant, useful information that might be of interest to them.
Using a Clear Sender Name
Sometimes the sender’s name isn’t clear enough about the identity of the person or company that blasted the email out. Maybe it just says ‘John’ as the sender and the receiver happens to know three Johns.
It’s best to be transparent about whom the sender is, so it’s clearer. Opening an email thinking it’s from one person and it’s really from a company feels misleading, causing a spam red mark or a complaint to be filed.
If you think about it from a company’s standpoint, misled customers are rarely, if ever, going to buy something once the misdeed is done. It doesn’t serve the company well and leads to lower email deliverability later when the spam rating raises a red flag.
Following best practices for email is important because when it’s poorly managed, it irritates subscribers that unsubscribe in a hurry, increases the spam rating for the domain, and makes delivering quality emails virtually impossible. Simply put, businesses that abuse email marketing by sending unwanted email soon discover that Gmail, Outlook and other email services re-route their emails to junk folders. For email marketers, this is like the third circle of hell.
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