OK, you’ve compiled a mailing list of opt-in subscribers. So now what? Having a list is only one small step. Without the proper implementation, your e-newsletter or bulletin may never reach people on your list.
This is such an important factor in email marketing. Too many organizations or businesses claim to have X number of ‘people’ on a subscriber list, however, they are unable to: a) confirm exactly how many actual emails ever reach their intended destination on a weekly or monthly basis; b) how many email addresses are legit and active because there is zilch tracking/purging of bogus spammer addresses that routinely crowd email lists. (Note: If you have a subscriber confirmation system configured whereby subscribers have to respond to an email before they are confirmed, this can significantly help reduce spam addresses from invading your list.)
Here are five key steps to improve your deliverability and marketing:
1. Invest in using a professional email marketing company. Unless you have your own server, your Internet Provider (IP) will likely not be thrilled about you sending out hundreds of emails daily or thousands weekly. That’s because most IPs have strict rules on what constitutes spam. Even though your emails are not spam, your IP may still frown about your email volume because it puts them, and you at risk of being labelled as spam sources. Two of the leading and most respected email marketing companies are iContact and ConstantContact. They also have agreements in place with all major Internet Service Providers to (ISPs) to ensure emails sent via their email marketing channels are ‘white-listed’. Professional email marketing firms automatically scan your subscriber lists and purge fake email addresses, originating from spammers. Bounced email addresses are also removed. This means your email list is consistently ‘honest’. Why is that so important? Professional email marketing services track and measure their deliverability. It’s usually exceptionally high — 98% or higher. On the otherhand, if you use free, do-it-yourself-listserves, etc., the delivery rate is unknown. Your email list will also be, very likely, filled with spam/fake email addresses. You will never know precisely how many legitimate email addresses you have on your list, or exactly how many emails even reach their intended destination. That’s hardly credible email marketing.
2. Always include tagline in messages to add sender’s email address. This can help fight spam filters. If a recipient has approved your email address and added it to his/her address book, you’ve just increased your odds of favourable delivery. It just takes a simple sentence to prompt this action: To ensure deliverability of our e-newsletter, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book.
3. Think about your target audience when planning deliverability. Are your recipients mostly businesses? If so you’ll want to aim for delivery sometime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., taking into account time zones. Whatever you do, try to avoid sending e-newsletters on Mondays. That’s email overload day. It’s the first day back at work and countless emails already await the user from the weekend. The delete button goes into overdrive on Mondays and your newsletter could be lost in the crowd and among the casualties. If your target audience is hobbyists or donors, for example, you may want to consider sending emails at night. This way they will get read in the comfort of the user’s home. Alternatively, most people check home email first thing in the morning.
4. Find a nice template and limit images. Many users can’t stand waiting more than 30 seconds for something to download. If they wait and wait, and then discover it’s your e-newsletter that’s bogging down their email downloads, your e-newsletter could be deleted. Make sure all images are optimized for size. For styling, find a nice email template and add some professionalism to your newsletter. First glance can mean the difference between reading and deleting. Professional email marketing services provide easy-to-use newsletter templates. Plus, always have both HTML and text versions available for your recipients (some professional email marketing services allow subscribers to choose which version they wish to receive, or are configured to automatically detect versions).
5. Beware spam trigger words. These are words that spam filters are automatically configured to block. Here’s a comprehensive list of words to avoid (Source: “The Seven Dirty Words you can’t say in subject lines; plus 100 others you shouldn’t use either.”): 100%free, 50% off, act now, All words that relate to sex or pornography, All words that related to cures or medication, amazing, Anything that looks like you are YELLING, apply now, As seen, As seen on Oprah, As seen on TV, avoid, Be your own boss, Buy, Call now, cash bonus, cialis, Click here, Collect, Compare, consolidate, Contains $$$, Contains word “ad”, credit, Dear Friend, discount, don’t delete, Double your, Double your income, E.x.t.r.a., Punctuation, earn, Earn $, earn extra cash, easy terms, Eliminate, debt, extra income, fast cash, financial freedom, For Only, for you, FREE, Free, Free access, free gift, free info, Free Instant, free offer, Free Samples!, Friend, G a p p y T e x t, Get, Get out of debt, Hello, herbal, Hidden, home based, Hot, Information you requested, Instant, levitra, Life Insurance, limited time, Loans, lose, lose weight, Lower your mortgage rate, Lowest insurance, rates, make money, medicine, mortgage, multi level marketing, notspam, Now only, numerical digits at the end, Offer, Online degree, online marketing, Online pharmacy, only, Open, opportunity, Promised you, Refinance, Removes, reverses, satisfaction, Search engine listings, serious cash, Starting with a, dollar amount, Stop or Stops, Teen, Undisclosed recipient, valium, vicodin, winner, Work from Home, xanax