10 Best Practice Tips for Inbox Placement Deliverability

deliverabilityThe successful art of email marketing is built upon inbox placement deliverability guidelines. Deliverability is a factor of many things, but is generally achieved through domain authentication and configuration, motivating content, and active subscribers. Understanding the technical nature of these guidelines and staying current with industry standards will help overcome the challenges of inbox placement. The following ten tips can help put this all into perspective.

  1. Authenticate your email “from” address. Authentication essentially says you are who you say you are AND your email service provider (ESP) is authorized to send email in your behalf. There are a few different ways to manage authentication. Check with both your ESP and IT department for best recommendations.
  2. Invite customers to sign-up. Consider multiple sign-up options on your web and blog digital assets. Include sign-ups at your social sites, as well. Whether the signup is within a sidebar, a feature box, after a blog post, on the footer or header, on the about us our contact us pages, or the infamous pop-up, make it simple, but make it bold.
  3. Begin the on-boarding experience with a positive first impression. The moment a new subscriber signs up for your newsletter, your email marketing program should trigger a welcoming campaign. The purpose of this is twofold:
    • Takes advantage of the moment. The new relationship is fresh and your brand is in the limelight.
    • Sets up proper expectations from the word GO! Outline the type of email you will send, when you will send it and encourage subscribers to add your “from” email address to their contacts.
  4. Balance your content’s text-to-image ratio. Generally around 60% text and 40% image, your message should include sufficient text content that can be read and acted upon without loading images.
  5. Avoid hard-to-read color combinations. This trick has been used to bury invisible content and won’t be well received by today’s intelligent content filters.
  6. Check spelling and grammar errors. Spammers are not spelling-bee champions and they often purposefully misspell words to bypass content filters. You will also want to avoid over-stated punctuation !!!!! and CAPITAL LETTERS.
  7. Use a spam filter utility to test your message content. Overt sales or marketing offers, large numbers or sums of money, free incentives, and a false sense of urgency all add up to spam.
  8. Regularly review your campaign replies. There may be an unsubscribe request and the CAN/SPAM Act requires opt-outs to be honored within 10 business days.
  9. Monitor campaign reporting benchmarks: emails sent and delivered, bounces, unsubscribe requests, complaints, and overall inactivity. Email address “churn” – the ratio between disengaged members and your entire list – is estimated at 30% annually. Make churn manageable by segmenting your list (active versus less active recipients), implementing a preference center where people upgrade their profiles, and signup programs.
  10. Fix email address typos. Valid email addresses happen at point of entry.

Good campaign metrics build a respectable reputation as an email marketer. If you sow the right seeds, you will reap the benefits over time.

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