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1 in 4 emails fail to reach the inbox: 12 tips to boost your email deliverability

1 in 4 Emails Fail to Reach the Inbox: 12 Tips to Boost Your Email Deliverability

Email marketing is a hugely popular channel for both B2B and B2C marketers, and is known to be a highly successful channel – that is if you have a deliverable email list. Unfortunately, email deliverability has seen a sharp decline over the past year. According to recent research by Return Path, average deliverability saw a decline from 87% to 76%, meaning that almost 1 in 4 commercial emails are undeliverable.

Here is a look at how different industries fare, based on research from May 2014 to April 2015.

How Effective is Email?

With the rise of so many new digital channels, it is tempting to ditch email in favor of mobile ads, social marketing, Big Data, and so forth. New forms of digital marketing should always be evaluated and integrated into an overall multi-channel approach, but even with the rise of so many new tools, email marketing remains the most effective marketing tactic.

According to eConsultancy’s Email Marketing Survey, 68% of respondents rated email as Excellent or Good for producing ROI. This survey confirms that email is certainly not going away anytime soon!

With email being such an effective channel, marketers must not overlook the state of their email lists. Yes, we know it is tempting to dive into the latest and greatest social media or mobile marketing tactic, but as you do so, also pay attention to a tried and true tactic – email marketing.

Tips to Boost Your Email Deliverability

Here are some tips to boost your email deliverability rates and create winning email campaigns.

  1. Boost your delivery rate with data validation. Another way to execute more effective campaigns? Always work with clean, current email addresses. Taking the time to remove fraudulent addresses, validate emails, and screen for spam traps can boost your deliverability rate to an impressive 95% – 97%. 
  2. Know thy audience. Rather than simply relying on numbers of readers, shoot for more detailed data, including age, income, ethnicity, gender and family status. Find out what your “best” customer looks like and place more focus on these types of customers during future campaigns, so you can continually increase your ROI. 
  3. Carefully craft your creative. Appealing emails are always key – especially with new and prospective customers – so craft call to action subject lines, use your most identifiable brand or name in the “From” line, avoid spammy words, include compelling content and make sure the body of the email is mobile-friendly. 
  4. Precision reporting leads to results. Start by generating email campaign reports that are more precise and analytical than your typical report. Instead of just compiling numbers of emails delivered, opened and clicked, take your analysis a few steps further. Calculate your ROI, find out how many people are clicking on different links, gather detailed engagement information and track how many purchases arise from these emails. 
  5. Follow the rules. Of course, your hard work can go to waste if most emails are bouncing back or landing in spam folders. Protect your messages and your sending reputation by using multiple creative variations for large volume campaigns, spreading out delivery over a few hours, and fully complying with all required email practices.

Comply with CAN-SPAM regulations

Your email campaigns must be CAN-SPAM compliant. The CAN-SPAM Act stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing”.  Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly.

Here’s a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message. 
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message. 
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement. 
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations. 
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests. 
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. 
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Email marketing is a proven method for producing great results and even higher ROI. Having deliverable email addresses is half the battle. Take the time to get your email list checked, cleaned and appended with missing addresses. Using a third-party email append service, you can quickly ensure that a great deal more than 76% of your emails reach the intended recipients.