6 Steps To Increase Email Deliverability

Mar 22, 2023

Email Deliverability

Are you paying for Facebook Ads or investing time, money, and effort into guesting on podcast shows to grow your e-list? Have you been hoping for more sales from your list or cringing at the open rates you are getting from your emails? Part of the problem is likely your email deliverability. What a lot of marketers are not equipped with is the strategies and knowledge to increase their domain health and deliverability, clean their list, segment by engagement, and format emails in a way that increases their chance of being opened and read. This episode shares 6 steps to increase your email deliverability – let’s get started.

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One of the main goals for guesting on podcasts is lead generation. You want to capture leads and grow your e-lists, nurture and convert them to paying clients. What a lot of guest experts don’t realize is, that due to changes in technology, and spam rules many of those leads are lost. So all that time, money and effort put into lead generation is often wasted. 

I’m going to share some industry secrets that so many marketers don’t know. After cleaning lists, improving email hygiene, boosting email health and domain health and following new protocols I have increased my clients delivery dramatically, and increased open rates from 8-11% to 67%. More emails are actually hitting the inbox of the recipient and opening them. 

I have learned a lot of this over the years, gained insights from ActiveCampaign and Keap, deliverability experts and articles, but most of it is from Evan Samurin of Fundamental Marketing. I’ve worked with him with a couple of clients and the results have been amazing. 

 

1 – AUTHENTICATE YOUR DOMAIN 

This is absolutely crucial. The sad thing is, email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM tools don’t tell you this when you sign up. You have to figure it out yourself. 

As part of the email delivery process, receiving mail servers work to determine the authenticity and legitimacy of your email. They want to know that it’s from a reputable source. 

You should be emailing (in your CRM) from a domain – ie @businessname.com – Never email from a Gmail / Hotmail etc. 

And don’t send from multiple email addresses – stick to one. It’s also better to have someone’s name in it – susan@abc.com for example.  It’s not a good idea to use emails with a prefix of support@ or info@ for instance. 

And so in your email marketing tool you need to authenticate your domain. 

The easiest way to check to see if your domain is authenticated is to go to your Account Settings and find  Authentication. You’ll see verbiage about DKIM and SPF records. If it turns out that both your DKIM and SPF are not verified, then it’s time to get your domain authenticated. You’ll likely need to connect with your web support / developer, to change your DNS settings in your domain (your host). 

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2 – CHECK DOMAIN HEALTH

While in the authentication process you’ll also want to make sure that your domain is not blacklisted or has any other issues.  Tools like https://mxtoolbox.com/domain/ can assist you but your web developer can also assist (as they know what to look for and fix any potential issues) 

“It’s great to see that your list is 10, 000 contacts BUT if 6,000 are hard bouncing, not opening, invalid emails, unsubscribes or spam – they are pointless and killing your deliverability. Your email list size is not for vanity, it’s for marketing and serving your ideal audience to convert them to paying clients and making a bigger impact in the world.”

3 – LIST CLEAN UP 

Another unknown fact is that if you are sending an email to 5,000 people, but 40% of them don’t open anyway – the email servers (Outlook, Microsoft, Google etc) see that – and deem your emails unsafe, that people don’t really ‘want’ your emails and so that 60% of valid emails are less likely to get your email in their inbox. The deliverability is lowered. 

Unsubscribes / Opted Out – Remove contacts that have opted out or unsubscribed. Often email marketing tools have various ‘email status’ titles like Feedback, Spam Reported, Opt Out System, Unsubscribe, Opt Out… they all have slight variances. If they no longer want to receive emails from you and opted out – remove them. You do NOT accidentally want to email them and risk your reputation.

Hard Bounces – If they email addresses are not accurate, or maybe they created the email address and no longer use it, the email will hard bounce. It will not be delivered. You CAN look at the email addresses and see if there are errors and fix them – ie  if it says gmai.com and is missing the l – you can fix, reset and start emailing.  But otherwise – just delete them. 

Invalid – Likewise your email marketing tool should have an email status of ‘invalid’. That email address is reported as wrong. Kind of like when you call a phone number and it goes no where – it’s not an active number. 

Unengaged – Email marketing tools should have the ability to segment those contact records that have not opened, clicked or engaged in any way over a specific amount of time. If a contact has not engaged in 6 months or more, their email provider knows that they don’t care about your emails and so don’t put them in their inbox. They don’t get delivered and really if they aren’t opening or engaging – what’s the point.  It’s a dead lead. Drop the dead weight. 

Having said this, you should also have a re-engagement protocol where if leads haven’t engaged in over 60 days (or what ever time span you choose), you should have an email sequence that tries to re-engage them, entice them back into the fold *that’s a whole topic for another day though. And if they aren’t engaging still – again, drop the dead weight. 

 

4 – LIST HYGIENE

So now that you’ve cleaned out your list – you need to keep it clean. And that means having a regular schedule. 

Remove spam emails and bots – might have to do once a day or weekly depending on how many you get. 

Hard Bounces – fix any email addresses that look like a typo and save, or remove

Opt Outs /Unsubscribes – you may want to keep them there for a while to get stats on how many new contacts you have on your list, your list growth and attrition. But after you get the last months stats you can remove them. 

Unengaged – for those that haven’t engaged in a specific time frame (let’s say 60 days or 90 days), have them go through your re-engagement sequence. And if they don’t come back into the fold, remove them. 

Deliverability Defender is a great tool to tag your leads based on engagement so that you know how often to email them, when to put them through this re-engagement sequence or when to remove. You can check it out here.

 

5 – EMAIL THOSE THAT ENGAGE 

Some email marketing tools are more robust than others. Keap, for example, allows you to search based on engagement and so you are able to segment on a higher level. 

Instead of sending an email out to a big bucket or batch of contacts, we split it up into 3 tiers. [*but still send to your specific nurture/newsletter list minus clients or whoever you normally ‘minus’]

Tier 1 – Highly Engaged – Those that are new to the list and engaged in the last 2 weeks. These are the cream of the crop. If they are in a specific campaign after entering your e-list  and not in your main email ‘bucket’  yet – keep them in that sequence by all means. 

Tier 2 – Moderately Engaged – Those that have engaged 2 weeks ago, and up to 45 days ago. 

Tier 3 – Less Engaged – Those that have not engaged in over 45 days and up to 60 or 90 days (depending on what margin you are using). 

*then anyone that has not engaged since OVER 60 or 90 days ago – that’s when you put them through that re-engagement sequence. 

And so in essence you set up the email and ‘deploy’ 3 times to those 3 separate groups. It helps with deliverability so that those that are not as engaged are not dragging down the deliverability. 

You’ll see in your email statistics that Tier 1 and Tier 2 have higher open rates and more engaged (naturally). 

 

6 – FEW TIPS TO REMOVE SPAM TRIGGERS

No longer personalize the contact in the subject line – this used to be the way to go – that folks will see their name and open up the email. Now too many companies have spammed people to death and so the email providers have said this is a red flag. Personalize in the email body. 

No ‘camel writing’ in the subject line – As in each word has a capital. Ex: Three Hacks To Lose Weight, should be   Three ways to lose weight. 

Avoid linking to outside sources – you can link anywhere on your domain (as it’s been verified), but red flags are links to other sites, even YouTube. Try to keep that to a minimum. 

Test your emails: Create ‘dummy’ email accounts just for testing (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc) Send tests to those emails to see how they REALLY show up and if they deliver into the inbox at all. Use a spam tester – here’s one https://www.mail-tester.com/

Use preview text and avoid image in the top of the email – have you ever seen an email you received where the preview was a bunch of weird text or code? It’s because preview text wasn’t used and it’s pulling information from the image at the top of the email. It looks like spam doesn’t it? 

WARNING – This episode is not all inclusive. There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes and of course the ACTUAL content you send and the expectations you set up when someone new opts in is a huge variable. There are other strategies, tips and nuances to know to really optimize the deliverability and success of your emails. 

I am so grateful to have learned from Evan at Fundamental Marketing over the years and am dedicated to keep up to date with all the changes to ensure that my clients content is being opened, read, engaged with and bringing them business! 

At the very least I hope it’s opened your eyes as to why you may not be gettting the results from your new leads as you’d hoped and give you some starting steps to create a healthy email list and deliverability platform.

 

Resources mentioned: 

https://deliverabilitydashboard.com/

https://deliverabilitydashboard.com/defender/

https://fundamental.marketing/

https://www.mail-tester.com/

https://mxtoolbox.com/domain/

 

 

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