The job of ISPs and Inbox Providers is to successfully deliver mail that is safe, legitimate, and wanted by their customers. If a marketer’s emails appear to be anything other than safe, legitimate and wanted, they will have trouble with mail being delivered to the inbox. There are both behavioral and technical best practices for email deliverability. Below are some tips to get your email to your audience.
Practice permission-based email marketing
Permission-based email marketing and data quality are the most important part of getting your emails in the inbox. What is permission-based email marketing? It's only sending marketing emails to recipients that have provided consent directly to the sender. Lists from a 3rd party (including purchased lists) are problematic and against our Terms of Service.
When acquiring email addresses for marketing purposes make sure that you are 1) asking for consent, 2) clearly identifying the sender, and 3) providing information about what will be included in the emails and how often they are sent. Data quality goes hand in hand with permission-based marketing but can include taking some extra steps to ensure that the email addresses you have are valid and still active. Email verification, confirmed opt-in, or a welcome program can aid in checking that an email is valid. If they don't want it, and it gets caught in their spam filter, then the spam filter is doing its job.
Send timely, relevant content
Engagement is increasingly becoming an important factor in deliverability. The old ways of sending to everyone one your list, every email, no matter what the messaging, no longer works. You want to segment and target your audience so that the messages they receive are relevant to them. When the recipient receives relevant emails, they are more inclined to open and click (engage). When inbox providers see your recipients engaging with your emails it shows them that they are wanted. Offer your audience a reason to read your communications and engage.
Stay in touch
Once you've gained someone's permission to communicate with them keep your communication levels consistent. Ideally, you’ll be sending them emails at a cadence that you described when they signed up. Monthly is usually a good minimum if your product has a longer sale cycle. There are two reasons why you want to email your entire database on a regular basis.
- Brand recognition. You want recipients to be familiar with your company name and the emails that you send. Familiarity is good as it promotes trust and reminds them that they have signed up for your email. If you only send to a recipient once or twice a year, they may not remember they signed up for the email, think its spam, and mark it as junk.
- Removing invalid email addresses. When an email address is abandoned, the inbox provider will send out an invalid recipient bounce. They will provide hard bounces for a set period of time. There is the possibility of the email address eventually being recycled to another user or becoming a spam trap. If you don’t send to an email address for 6 months (or longer) you run the risk of missing the window for the invalid recipient response and have an increased chance of sending to spam trap.
Provide a way to opt-out
ClickDimensions enables marketers to include unsubscribe links or subscription preference links in their emails. Always include these in your emails. Always honor an unsubscribe.
Email authentication is an important factor for email deliverability. Inbox providers use email authentication to determine if the email is legitimate. If you have DMARC set up on your sending domain, you’ll need to make sure your ClickDimensions email is configured correctly. If you don’t use DMARC, we have DKIM set up on all emails standard. It’s always a safe bet to update your SPF record
We recommend using a branded domain in your email links. This helps the emails look professional and trustworthy (the subdomain for link tracking should align to the sending domain). If you don’t have the CNAME (aka tracking domain) set up properly, it may cause broken links which may cause the email to be flagged by the spam filter. Also, it will break any reporting for click activity.
In addition to making sure the CNAMEs are set up properly, there are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to links.
- Make sure the links resolve. Test all the links. Make sure they resolve to the correct page. In addition to it being a poor customer experience, a 404 error will cause a spam filter to flag your email.
- Don't use shortened URLs. Short URLs (bitly, tiny, cutt.ly) are often used by spammers and will instantly get your email flagged.
- Know your third-party URLs. Inbox providers will look at the destination of all links. If a third-party domain is listed on a blacklist or is having reputation issue, it will impact your mail.
Mailbox providers and spam filters like to see emails that come with a HTML and text version (called Multipart MIME). If you are unfamiliar with how to create a text version of your HTML email, you can read our help article about text versions.
Spam filters parse the HTML of an email to determine if there are any elements that look like phishing. If there are errors in the HTML, the filter will be unable to parse it and will most likely flag the email as a result.