Optimize Content for Email Deliverability and Improved Engagement

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Email Marketing

Email is an effective marketing tool that plays an important part in the buyer journey. But it can only allow marketers to guide customers through the sales funnel if it does what it’s supposed to: reach our buyer’s inbox and motivate them to take action. Therefore, the challenge for many marketers is optimizing to ensure email deliverability and engagement.

To accomplish this task, each factor, from authentication to list management to content creation, needs to be managed to clear different hurdles to getting inbox placement. While some of these steps are simple and intuitive, others are not.

All it takes is the wrong subject line or phrase to send your email straight to the spam folder. Even a poorly placed call to action may prevent your customers from taking the next step in the buyer journey. That is why it’s important to make sure all your boxes are checked before sending out your next email campaign.

Are you ready to create emails that get delivered and seen? Here are a few tips on how you can optimize your content to ensure email deliverability and improve engagement:

1. Remember to use best practices

To ensure your email makes it past spam filters, gets opened and inspires your customers to engage, you have to start with a good foundation. Following a few best practices will help you have a successful email campaign. A few good rules to keep in mind are:

  • Keep your subject lines interesting: Your subject line is the first thing your customers see in their inbox, so it’s important to deliver something that is punchy enough to catch their attention, is concise and explains what content you have in store for them, and encourages them to click through. Also, don’t use language or phrases that can sound too “salesy” and send your emails straight to the spam folder.
  • Keep it short: Create your message so it displays well in the preview pane; 600 pixels is a good maximum width. Be concise with your copy so your reader doesn’t get lost or stop reading before they reach your call to action. The point of the email is to keep customers engaged, so provide just enough content to keep them wanting more and motivate them to take the next step in the buyer journey.
  • Remember to include a good call to action (CTA): Sure, your email successfully landed in your customer’s inbox and the catchy subject line moved them to open and read it. But now you have to ensure they do what your email intends them to do. Adding a good call to action will make them want to engage with your company.
  • Be transparent: Don’t forget to include a link to the privacy policy on your website and an easy-to-find unsubscribe button.
  • Use a dedicated IP: Having a good sender reputation is crucial to email marketing success. If your company regularly sends out emails to a wide distribution list, having a dedicated IP address can help you maintain control of your sender reputation.
  • Use alt text on images: Make sure your customers don’t miss any part of your message by using alt text on your images. That way, they don’t just show up as boxes with little red Xs if there are problems with the display. This is a best practice for readability as well as deliverability.
  • Ask to be added to address books: Suggest that recipients whitelist your sending address. And if you’re mailing to an opt-in list, add a line at the top reminding people that they opted in.

2. Segment your lists

Many companies fall into the trap of making email content that is one size fits all. Using list segmentation can help you target the right customers at the right time. Not only that, it will allow you to analyze where your customers are and how they interact with your company throughout the buyer journey. Doing this will not only improve your ability to create and deliver content that pertains to where they are at in the sales funnel, you’ll also see an increase in customer engagement and conversion rates.

3. Use A/B testing to measure what works

Even if you are satisfied with your current open rates, there is always room for improvement. While a segment of your customer base may already be engaged and moving through the sales funnel, you probably have many missed opportunities. Performing A/B testing on a segment of your list before sending out an email campaign allows you to see what types of content and subject lines receive more engagement and secure conversions. You can then use this information to decide which message to send to your wider distribution list.

4. Ensure your email is mobile friendly:

More than half your customers  are less likely to stay engaged with a company as a result of a poor mobile experience? That is why it’s important to remember not everything easily translates from Desktop to mobile. You may have already ensured your website is responsive in order to improve your customer’s experience, but email is just as important.

Using an email template that is responsive is a good place to start in creating email campaigns that are mobile friendly. But, before sending out an email, also look at your email content on different devices to make sure that it’s easy to read and follow at that size. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer to ensure they have a good experience every step of the way.

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5. Avoid “spammy” email content

While a marketer might build the most beautiful and interesting piece of content, it only takes a wrong combination of  words or a flagged phrase to trigger filtering that would get that email tagged as spam. When crafting your content, avoid using any formatting or phrases that may be perceived as spam. For example, avoid using ALL CAPS, too many exclamation points, and using phrases indicating a deal such as “bargain” or “free,” or spelling words with strange letters or characters. Don’t use phrases such as “click here” or “click below” to offer a link to people. Instead use link title, color, and placement to signify a call to action.

Furthermore, ensure all copy is visible and easy to read. Check that all assets in your email are visible and that all links direct to the correct place. Insert graphics that are quick to load, and minimize the use of flash or JavaScript. If you’re using HTML, make sure you also use plain text, and keep that text as close to the HTML copy as possible.

6. Give readers the ability to easily opt-in or out:

Did you know some ISPs block sending servers after only 2-3 spam reports per one thousand emails? Luckily, doing something as simple as giving your customers the ability to easily opt-in or out of emails can reduce the number of times your email is tagged as spam.

To avoid this, give your customers the ability to choose what type of content they would like to receive as well as the frequency. And even consider using double opt-in to ensure individuals are on board to receive messages from you. Finally, while it’s common to have the opt-out in the footer of the email, our team recommends moving it to the header of the email to help avoid filtering.

And if you need hands-on help with deliverability, Act-On’s Professional Services Deliverability Team has the expertise to make sure your email marketing protocols are industry-standard and your team knows how to proactively manage them.