Email Delivery

Top 10 Email Best Practices

Email deliverability doesn’t have to be rocket science. There are very easy practices you can put into action every day and with every email you send to help increase your deliverability chances. Here are 10 (easily actionable) email deliverability best practices.

​Don’t buy lists (Seriously, don’t be THAT lady)

Purchasing and using third party lists will result in high levels of hard bounce based on the fact that many of these types of subscribers are un-verified. So while you have a big list of, let’s say 50,000 subscribers right up front, the trouble is that they didn’t choose to be on your list. A vast majority of those emails will go straight to the SPAM folder, many more will mark them as SPAM once they’re opened, and then another large number will unsubscribe immediately. So even if you’re left with a few thousand in the end, they aren’t people who are choosing to hear from you.

Create opt-in incentives that attract the right subscribers

Some opt-in offers are better than others when it comes to building an email list full of qualified subscribers. For example, because giveaways and freebies attract a wide range of people, you’ll most likely get a high volume of signups that will never open your later emails or might even move them to their spam folder. Their negative engagement can eventually end up sending your emails to other subscriber’s spam folders as well. 

To combat this, make sure your opt-ins are always targeted to an audience that would be interested in your topic. You always want to be attracting readers who would likely open your emails and eventually become customers.

So if you’re planning on running a contest with giveaways, make sure you’re setting yourself up for the outcome. If you’re wanting to grow your list with a targeted audeince, create a giveaway that only that group will want. Or if you just want to get your name out there and build a large list, create a giveaway that will appeal to a wide audience.

Use simple design (Or none at all)

Like I said earlier in the content section, simple emails will always deliver better. Even when it comes to images or tables in your emails, too many will decrease your deliverability.

Add alt text when you use images

Images in and of themselves are not bad. Everyone loves a beautiful picture or graphic and they often help convey a thought or point quicker than actual text. But when you use an image, make sure to write accurate alt text or title instead of simply using the image’s file name. This way if an image gets blocked for any reason, a reader will still know what your image is. This also helps prove that a human sent the email instead of a spam robot.

How to- After you’ve added an image to your email in ConvertKit, click the image again and then click the edit button that pops up. In the edit box, write a title for that image that describes what is happening in your image, ie- your call to action, the details of a promotion.

Watch out for these trigger words

Sadly, because of those spammers out there, there are some words that have developed a bad wrap. When used in subject lines for emails, these trigger words can signal the possibility of spam and usually will send an email straight to the abyss. Here are a couple of those words to avoid in your email subject lines (and your content, if you can):

  • Free
  • Financial freedom
  • Make money online
  • Credit card offer
  • Cash bonus
  • Apply now
  • $$$
  • Weight loss
  • Order now
  • Price
  • Increase sales

Enable double opt-in for all new subscribers

Setting up the double opt-in process adds an extra layer of subscriber qualification for you. If a subscriber clicks through a double opt-in:

  • You can confirm every subscriber so your list is more accurate. That means if there’s a typo in their entry they won’t end up clogging up your list with email addresses that will ultimately fail.
  • They are confirming interest and are more likely to open your emails in the long run, which improves your deliverability rankings.
  • You know they are not fake subscribers and spammers with false email addresses that can ultimately affect your monthly fees.

Set up a custom sending domain

Again, setting up a custom domain for your reply-to email address will increase your deliverability. That means your days of using freemail like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo are over.

Keep a clean list

No matter how exciting or targeted your content is, there will always be a group of subscribers who aren’t engaged with your emails. Since those unopens can affect your email deliverability, it’s a good idea to run a re-engagement email sequence every 90 days to filter out what we call cold subscribers. Cleaning out your subscriber list will help it be healthy and high quality (plus, you’ll save money).

Ask subscribers to move emails from their spam or promo folder to their inbox

Sometimes email to new subscribers end up in their spam folder for reasons beyond your control. If those subscribers end up getting in contact with you asking where the email went, ask them to check their spam folder and take a second to move that email from the spam folder to their inbox. It might sound like a silly request, but doing this teaches that ESP that your email actually belongs in the inbox. Doing this will not only help with that particular subscriber’s emails, but it will also help similar users whose emails might be ending up in spam as well. 

Optimize your email subject lines

The last thing I want to mention that often gets mistaken for a deliverability issue is the subject line. While a subject line could potentially impact deliverability, it has it’s greatest impact on engagement. A subject line is the first and sometimes only thing a subscriber reads of your email. If it doesn’t clearly communicate what the email is going to be about and entice them to open it, then they won’t. Subject lines are often the simplest thing to tweak that have the greatest impact on opens and clicks.

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