Email Automation & Delivering

Running a successful email campaign is no easy task. But it’s even more complicated if your messages never make it to your subscribers’ inboxes. If you’re not taking the necessary precautions to ensure your emails are delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes, your efforts are doomed from the start. 

If you do nothing to improve your email deliverability, your emails will likely continue being sent to spam, having low click-through rates and leading to low conversions and sales – who wants that, right?

Fortunately, you can follow a few best practices to improve deliverability and increase the chances that your readers will see your message. This guide will discuss what you need to know and do to ensure that your emails reach as many people as possible.

The Difference between Email Delivery and Deliverability

Email Delivery: This is when an email is delivered to a receiving mail server. 

Email Deliverability: This is when an email is delivered to a recipient’s inbox.

  1. First, an email is sent to the mail server. 
  2. The mail server either accepts or rejects the email.
  3. Based on set criteria, the email is either sent to the recipient’s inbox, marked as spam or fails to send. 

Why should you care about email deliverability?

Email marketing aims to send emails to an email list to generate new prospects, engage your readers, and sell to them (conversion). But if those emails are not successfully being delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes, your email marketing efforts are going to fall flat.

Why? Because those emails are not going to be seen.

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your ideal audience and continue forming a profitable relationship and ensuring excellent email deliverability is one of the vital things that allow you to achieve that.

Reputation Monitoring

Email reputation monitoring measures how well you maintain your company’s email presence and follow best practices.

An  Internet Service Providers (ISP) like Gmail uses an email sender reputation to score you on a set of standards and based on how you meet those standards or not will determine where your emails are sent (or blocked) for example spam or promotions folder.

Monitoring your sender reputation is thus necessary for running an effective email marketing campaign. 

These are the primary aspects you need to look out for when monitoring your sender reputation:

  • Message content: The message’s contents can be flagged and filtered as spam through its text, imagery, links, and URLs.

It’s hard to know exactly what criteria to use to ensure the system doesn’t flag your content. That is because the server providers haven’t made it publicly available.

However, it is clear that there is a link to the sender reputation when there are high open rates, low bounce rates and spam complaints.

  • The domain and IP used: Domains that are not verified will be flagged as spam.

When you first start email marketing, your emails are likely going to go to spam as you haven’t yet proven yourself to the ISP, but as time goes by and you warm up your IP your sender reputation will improve.

Having a professional email account is essential to improving sender reputation as anyone can signup for a free Gmail account, and send spam all over the place.

  • Sender history: Your history and behavioural patterns communicate with the algorithm, and you can be flagged depending on inconsistencies.

For example, let’s say you typically send out emails once or twice a month, and now you begin to send out weekly. The algorithm is going to pick up on that change.

If you had an email list of 1500 email addresses to which you sent out those emails and now you are sending emails to a list of 25,000 it will flag the system. 

What is SMTP? 

SMTP = Simple Mail Transfer Protocol 

This is the protocol that mail servers use for sending emails. SMTP is the electronic version of a mailman.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. When you press send on an email, the SMTP comes to collect your email from Gmail or outlook. 
  2. It is then first sent to the email server.
  3. Then the email is sent to the recipient of that email.
  4. The email is now on the recipient’s email server. 

What is SPF?

SPF = Sender Policy Framework 

This email authentification technique prevents emails from pretending to represent your domain.

  • Verified SPF means that the email is sent from server to recipient.
  • Unverified SPF means that the email can potentially be meddled with.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. The SMTP server will recognise if the domain is not connected to the IP.
  2. If your email address is info@abcd.com and you send an email from info@abcd.com, your SPF will pass, and the email will be sent.
  3. If a hacker tries to use the email info@efg.net, your SPF will recognise it as neutral because the domain is not connected to the IP, but it can be sent since SPF isn’t verified. 
  4. If a hacker tries to use the email cool@paypal.com, the email will not go through because the SPF has been verified by PayPal. 

What is DKIM?

DKIM = Domain Key Identified Mail

This is a technology that connects an email to a domain. 

Here’s how it works: 

  1. An email server connects a unique signature (watermark) to the email.
  2. The email, when sent to the email server, can now verify through this unique DKIM signature that the contents of this email are from the specified domain and have not been changed. 

What is DMARC?

DMARC = Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance.

This is an email authentication policy and reporting protocol.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. A sender can use DMARC as an added layer to show that their emails are safe and secure by DKIM and SPF. 
  2. If the email does not pass their authentification process, the recipient can either send it to junk or flag it as spam. 
  3. This process makes it easier to expose hackers, and phishing emails and further protect the sender and recipients. 

What is Send Throttling?

Send Throttling is a technique that allows you to select a time range and limit for a specified amount of emails/SMS to be sent. 

Here’s how it works: 

  1. A specified number of emails/SMS are chosen to be sent out within a timeframe. This ensures volume restrictions aren’t imposed, which affect your bounce and sender reputation. 
  2. Emails are sent out in batches instead of one large campaign, which can trigger spam filters.
  3. Emails are delivered to the recipient’s emails without any issues.

Feedback Loops and ISPs

Feedback loops help the sender monitor their sender reputation and deliverability.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. A feedback loop with ISPs allows you to take corrective action on any receiver requests or ineffective practices.
  2. Scanning and responding to recipients wanting to be taken off the list, the number of spam reports and bounce rates going through can help increase and maintain your reputation and deliverability rate.
  3. Understanding why these drawbacks can help you improve your email campaign success. 

Tips for Deliverability

  1. Get your domain authenticated: The process of getting your domain authenticated helps the email server verify that it is, in fact, you sending the emails and thus improving email deliverability.

Here’s a step-by-step article on how to authenticate your domain.

  1. Do not buy an email list: List building should start by getting your ideal audience to ‘opt-in‘ to your list. In order to get the most ROI out of your email marketing, it is essential to build a list of people who are eager and willing to get emails from you.

Buying a list goes against email-sender policies. It will likely result in many people marking your emails as spam since they never opted in and a significant bounce rate with expired or inactive email addresses.

People consider their email addresses as sacred, that’s why businesses create opt-ins to encourage people to part with their email. If all of a sudden you start getting emails from a random email address, you are likely going to mark it as spam and never interact with that content.

  1. Warm-up your list: You need to prove yourself at first by sending out emails to your list. Over time this will verify your reputation and move your emails out of spam.

A great way to do this is by sending out a weekly newsletter to your list. 

  1. Segment your list: There are many reasons to segment your list. You can segment your list based on their needs and preferences and the audience who has not yet bought from you.

You can send out an email to your list asking them if they would like to be added to your newsletter or upcoming live training.

If they respond ‘yes’ they can be added to a segmented list called ‘Newsletter’ and when you create emails to send out, they will be automatically sent out to that group, and if they respond ‘no’ they will remain on the current list.

  1. Clean your list: Having a large list can be expensive, so it can be beneficial to either create a campaign by segmenting inactive subscribers to increase engagement or let your email provider remove email addresses who have not opened your emails within the last 6 months.

An email marketing platform can help you identify inactive users so you can easily remove or retarget them.

  1. Avoid spam filters: Avoid using words that have been marked as spam and create a text-to-image ratio to increase deliverability. Words such as free, guarantee & credit should not be used used to avoid being marked as spam in the subject line. 

If you want to avoid the failure of your email campaign, make sure that it is delivered successfully. 

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