I was having a conversation with a colleague recently about deliverability, and as these discussions sometimes do, it started to become a bit heated. This person was disgusted by the rules and filters emails are currently subjected to. He said, “I send properly authenticated emails, make sure my emails are active on white lists, and have an engaged, current subscriber list. Why do I still have deliverability issues? What did I do to deserve this?”
The fact is, he hadn’t “done” anything wrong—and in fact was doing most things right. The problem is that spammers have wreaked havoc on the email ecosystem over the years, creating deliverability challenges for email marketers. And recent studies show that spam is still alive and well—and adapting every day! As a result of spammer tactics, others—like my colleague—end up suffering decreased deliverability.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. ISPs and inbox providers are working steadily to improve the email delivery experience because they know their recipients want to receive the good and not the ugly. So while it may sometimes feel that all we hear about are new email deliverability requirements, these steps are being taken to ensure the good get through and the bad stay out. In the meantime, here are three things you can do to help keep your delivery rates strong:
- Authenticate, authenticate, authenticate! Make sure all sending domains have a valid SPF, Sender ID and Domain key/DKIM signature.
- Keep your lists clean. Remove subscribers who haven’t opened any emails in the past year, or place them in a special re-engagement campaign.
- Make sure your users stay engaged. Recipient behavior has never been more important. If you find open and click rates are starting to drop off, take a step back and re-evaluate your sending practices. It could be you’re sending too often, too infrequently or that your recipients are just no longer interested in your content. Mix it up. The happier your recipients are, the happier you’ll be with your deliverability.
Curious about what other steps you can take to improve email delivery? Check out the Silverpop deliverability Webinar, “Email Deliverability 201: Why Even Good Senders Get Blocked” this Thursday, March 18 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. I’ll be presenting it with Tom Bartel, VP, Receiver and Certification Services, Return Path.