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Email Marketing: Deliverability Best Practices

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You’ve spent countless hours taking your email marketing campaign from concept to reality.  But it won’t be worth the time spent, if it can’t be delivered.  While it’s hard to ensure a 100% delivery rate, there are some things you can do to increase the chances that your emails are delivered. 

  1. Get permission.  The most successful email marketers use permission-based lists. Everyone on your list should be expecting emails from you.  Always give your contacts the opportunity to opt-in and out of your mailings. 
  2. Look at your bounce report.  If an email address on your list bounces more than 2-3 times, it’s probably a dead end address.  If this is the case, you should remove the address from your list.  ISPs (Internet Service Providers) monitor your bounce percentage and can block your emails if you attempt to continually send to closed mailboxes.  Some email sending systems, such as HaleyMail automatically monitors your bounces and remove these dead end addresses for you automatically.
  3. Authenticate.  If you are using a third-party email sender such as HaleyMail, you should set up a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record.  An SPF record helps prevent your emails from ending up in someone’s spam box. Setting up SPF proves that an email from your company sent by a third party is indeed coming from you and is, therefore, not spam. 
  4. DomainKeys  will also help authenticate. To take this a step further, make sure to set up DomainKeys. DomainKeys requires that a digital “signature” must be attached to each outgoing message. When the recipient gets the message, they’ll be able to verify the domain name of the sender, confirm the message content hasn’t been altered, match the “from” address to the sender’s domain name to prevent forgeries, and trace the message back to the sender’s domain name.  According to Clickz.com, the ability to trace email back to the sender (at least, to the sender’s domain name) has long been cited as part of the technical solution to spam. It adds accountability.”
  5. Comply with CAN-SPAM regulations. Email marketing must comply with CAN-SPAM law.  There are several rules but the two most important rules are to have a valid postal address on all email messages and to have a working opt-out link so that a user can unsubscribe without any hassle.
  6. Build your relationships.  Maintaining positive relationships with ISPs and email providers is a step in the right direction to getting your emails delivered.  Many providers such as AOL or Yahoo have specific white listing programs and postmaster website areas that help make sure your emails are delivered if you meet their policies and procedures.
  7. Ask users to white list you. Ask your opt-ins to put you in their address books or add you to their safe sender list.  
  8. Be sure about your content. Choose your language carefully.  Some words are triggers for emails to be marked as SPAM.  Also, be sure to avoid attaching anything to your email.
  9. Beware of images.  When it comes to email marketing, images help support your message and add a little oomph to your design.  But you need to be careful.  First, don’t use too many images.  If you do use images, be sure to include alt tags or descriptive words so that someone who has their images turned off can view your email and have a good idea of what it is about.  Second, don’t embed images, it won’t work.
  10. Throttle delivery speed.  Sending emails in smaller batches will help get your messages delivered.
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