I’ve discovered email marketing and house hunting have one thing in common: it’s easy to get caught up on what’s on the inside but you tend to forget about the foundations.
Your email deliverability depends heavily on sender reputation which is a score that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) assign to email senders. The stronger your sender reputation, the more likely your email will be delivered to your recipient’s inbox rather than filtered out in spam or blocked. This means your beautiful email design won’t matter if a large percentage of sends don’t make it to the inbox.
Whether you’re a seasoned email marketing manager looking for a refresh or ecommerce business owner considering an ESP switch, here are must-have foundation steps to consider for your sender reputation before you begin to focus on those granite kitchen countertops.
1. Set up a subdomain
This is important regardless of whether you share an IP or have your own because sender reputation is associated with a domain-IP pairing. Using a subdomain separates out your reputation - from other types of emails you send or other senders on a shared IP.
2. Warm up your IP/domain
Think of warming up like building credit history - you need to prove to ISPs that you are a trusted sender who sends emails your recipients are opening and engaging with. To ensure your sender reputation is on the right track, methodically increase your send volumes starting with your most engaged contacts. You may be inclined to skip this step but trust us, it will set you up for success in the long term.
Learn how to warm up the right way.
3. Develop a sending schedule
Once you’re fully warmed up, maintain a predetermined cadence for both sending volumes and frequency. ISPs become suspicious if you only send large blasts once every month or send a large volume of emails one week then go quiet for three weeks. Consistency is key.
4. Minimize complaints
Reduce the likelihood of recipients marking your emails as spam or junk by following these best practices:
- Send an opt-in email for contacts to confirm their email subscription
- Make it clear in every email how they can unsubscribe
- Keep content relevant - both to your brand (think about why contacts subscribed) and to your audience (segment your audience and speak to them differently)
- Create a winback strategy for subscribers who stopped opening your emails
- Take a hint - eventually, you should stop emailing inactive subscribers, they are not worth the hit to your sender reputation
5. Maximize engagement
This one is probably already top of mind but it’s good to consider how engagement positively affects your sender reputation. Here are tried and true tips we recommend:
- Put clear and obvious CTA buttons in your emails
- Consider setting up automations - a welcome series is a great way to get subscribers engaged from the beginning
- Relevance again! Same as above, two birds with one stone for this one
- Test different subject lines, delivery times, and design (see best ecommerce templates for 2019 so far)
Building a good foundation, comparable to a house, can help prime your sender reputation for strong email deliverability. And similarly, consistent maintenance is vital to ensure deliverability is sustained over time.
If you have any doubts about your email deliverability or need a clean start with your email marketing efforts, shoot us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!