The 5 Deadly Sins of Email Deliverability

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Email Marketing

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You could have the biggest contact lists, the absolute best creative, but if your contacts don’t receive the email…it isn’t paying off. Since I’m in the email deliverability field, I often get asked why a sender’s email marketing isn’t performing the way they’d hoped. The majority of the time the same five things stand out.

1)     Assuming you have permission

Just because someone made a purchase from your store does not mean they want to receive your marketing email. It’s always a best practice to request permission before you add that contact to your marketing list to ensure you don’t trigger complaint issues. To increase the chance of that contact opting in to your marketing list, you could provide an incentive such as a coupon or eBook in return for confirmation.

2)     Thinking more has to be better

Chocolate is delightful, but more isn’t better; you could end up with a stomachache. It can be easy to think that if you increase your volume or frequency you will make up for low deliverability numbers or lack of opens, but it can be exactly the opposite.

Increasing your volume or frequency can lead to list fatigue, which in turn could lead to increased unsubscribe numbers and spam complaints. If you want to increase your volume or frequency you should do so slowly and constantly monitor your metrics. If you notice an increase in complaints or unsubscribes you should dial things back immediately.

3)     Continuing to send to contacts without any engagement

If you have contacts in your list who aren’t showing any engagement (such as opens or clicks in the past 12 months) it’s time to get rid of them because they could be doing more harm than good. I can hear a senders argument, “But they might convert and lead to a huge sale” and while I agree that’s a possibility – it is extremely rare.

After 12 months if a contact is not showing any engagement, such as opens or clicks, they should be removed. It’s possible that they aren’t responding because they abandoned that email address,  and if that’s the case, the potential for that address to be turned into a spam trap by an internet provider is high. The potential deliverability issues from continuing to send to these contacts are not worth it. They should be suppressed so you can make way for newer contacts.

4)     Ignoring spam complaints

If you notice an increase in the amount of spam complaints your emails are generating, it’s time to look into them. If your complaints are higher than .1%, or 1 in every 1000 emails sent, you should take a close look at your current practices. Did your frequency increase? Is this a new list? Or an old list? Try to find out what’s been changed.

5)     Making it hard to unsubscribe

You’ve worked hard to build your contact list and hate to lose anyone, but you’re much better off having a contact unsubscribe rather than mark a message as spam. Too often I see senders make unsubscribing from their email incredibly hard. Either they make the unsubscribe link really small or they make the link almost the same color as the background.

One thing to try if you notice an increase in the amount of spam complaints is moving the “Unsubscribe” link to the top of the email. You want to make it easier for the contact to unsubscribe than to reach for the “This is Spam” button.

If your expected deliverability is off, take a look in these areas. You may find that you have been hurting yourself. These things are fixable; you can make some changes, and you’ll be that much closer to getting the deliverability you deserve.