Email Deliverability: 5 Tips to Dodge the Dreaded Spam Folder
Newsletters take time to create. Imagine spending time on crafting the perfect newsletter only for it to end up in the recipients’ Spam folders. How frustrating!
In today’s post, I’ll share five common mistakes you may be making when sending mass emails and share tips on how to improve your email deliverability so your emails stay out of the dreaded Spam folder.
Some of the email delivery problems we mention in this post are easily fixed by email content alone, but there are a couple that may require some technical knowledge. No need to fret; as you read on, you’ll find solutions that will significantly improve your email delivery!
Let’s dive in.
1. Avoid using Spam Trigger Words in your Emails
First and foremost, keep your email content engaging, relevant and helpful to your audience.
Avoid using all caps, excessive punctuation, or spam trigger words like “free”, “buy now”, or “urgent”. Especially inside the “Subject Lines” – this is the first line of your email that gets viewed by readers and (the Google bot!). Make it catchy, not spammy.
Tailor your email content to resonate with your audience’s interests. Avoid excessive use of sales language, excessive punctuation, or capital letters that may be perceived as “shouting.” We’ve all seen AND ignored those, eh?
This brings us to the next point: Email List Management.
2. Build a Quality Email List
One common mistake that often leads to spam folder placement is using outdated or purchased email lists. (We never advise our clients to use “purchased email lists” – you could really hurt your sending reputation if you blast people with unwanted emails.)
Always make sure to obtain explicit permission from your subscribers before adding them to your list. Think downloadable freebies or lead magnets that a subscriber can view when they enter their Name and Email on a sign up form. You can embed the form on your website, most email marketing platforms allow you to create forms. The subscriber then decides whether to opt-in to view the freebie or decides to not opt-in at all (and that’s ok!)
In some countries it’s required by law (Canada, Germany to name a few) to have the double opt-in enabled where the subscriber has to verify their intent even though they entered their Name and Email on the form – by the way, to verify their intent means to click on the first email that asks them to simply confirm “Yes, I did want to subscribe to the newsletter”. It’s an additional step for a subscriber but this will result in a higher-quality list and engaged readers.
The downside of enabling double opt-ins is that people often forget to go back to their Inbox to click the “Confirmation” link. This is when you can be extra creative with your email copy and subject lines to entice people to open the email.
Tip: Remember to regularly clean and update your email list, removing inactive or disengaged subscribers. Focus on building an organic and engaged audience through opt-ins, lead magnets, and providing valuable content. If you need to have the double-optin enabled, get creative with that first delivery email, create catchy subject lines instead of the boring one: “Confirm your subscription”.
3. Include a Clear Unsubscribe Option
Bombarding your subscribers with daily emails can overwhelm them and prompt them to mark your emails as spam.
It’s surprising how in this day and age some companies still make ‘Unsubscribe’ links invisible.
Or they make it super tiny and it can take forever to find it. (If you make the ‘unsubscribe’ difficult, this doesn’t look great to your prospects and they may choose to never re-subscribe to your emails again!)
So, don’t be afraid to include the Unsubscribe link in your emails, ok? This is how you weed out those who are not interested in hearing from you.
Why would you want to talk to someone who is not interested in talking with you?
Always include a visible and easy-to-use unsubscribe link that allows users to opt-out effortlessly if they no longer wish to receive your newsletters. It’s just a nice thing to do.
Tip: Make the unsubscribe process frictionless and respect your subscribers’ choices. Basically, be nice, don’t piss off subscribers as they may choose to re-subscribe to your newsletters in the future! Additionally, encourage them to provide feedback when they hit the ‘Unsubscribe’ link. This will help you to improve your email copy and give people something they want to read about. People won’t unsubscribe if they receive the content that they want to read, i.e if it’s informational, educational, keeps people hooked, talks about trends, and so on.
4. Monitor Your Sending Reputation
Here’s a tip: If you’re sending emails (aka campaigns) using email platforms like ActiveCampaign or Klaviyo, you should always look at your campaign performance. Check for open rates, click-through-rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates. Ensure your unsubscribe rates are well below 1%!
High unsubscribe rates can damage your domain reputation.
A bad sending reputation can quickly land your emails in the Spam folder. Regularly check the reports and keep an eye on blacklists, sender scores, and spam traps. High bounce rates, excessive complaints, or even low engagement (meaning ‘very few people are opening or clicking on emails’) could really damage your domain reputation.
Tip: Regularly monitor your email deliverability metrics. We recommend all business owners to use reputable email service providers (such as ActiveCampaign or Klaviyo), maintain list hygiene, and promptly address any issues affecting your sending reputation. The best way to avoid damaging your send reputation is to send your subscribers the right content, the content they subscribed to and expect to see!
Follow the link here to check your reputation with Google Postmaster.
5. Important: Authenticate Your Emails with SPF, DKIM, DMARC
Here’s where things get a bit technical. Don’t worry it’s not that hard!
There’s an update from Google and Yahoo: as of February 2024, you’ll be required to set up all of the authentication protocols on your email domain.
Neglecting email authentication protocols can potentially – you guessed it – send your messages straight to Spam.
The sooner you do it the better. The ESPs need time to get to know your domain so they can trust it.
What you’ll need to do is:
- Access your hosting account. An example domain looks like this: exampleshop.com – remember where you purchased the domain from?
- Ensure you have access to something called ‘DNS Manager’ available on your domain. Most domain hosting platforms provide DNS Management for free but some may have it as an add-on feature.
The protocols we’re talking about here are: SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) which are essential for verifying your identity and ensuring deliverability.
Updating your DKIM records authenticates your domain address – your ‘ From’ address, so the ESP’s like and trust you. (ESP – Email Service Providers).
Why should you care about this step?
Put simply, these settings improve your Open and Click-Through Rates.
If you’re sending emails using your ‘business domain’ – that’s anything after the ‘@’ at sign in the email address – then it pays to set up your DKIM settings with your domain hosting provider so your emails are verified as a true source.
Think of DKIM as your brand’s online signature. When you send an email to your list, the domain will show as a familiar, credible source not only to your subscribers but also Email Service Providers like Googles and Yahoos.
Tip: It’s very important to configure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your email domain to authenticate your emails and establish trust with email service providers (ESPs). Do it as soon as you can.
For more information on the required Google changes for 2024 please refer to the link below:
OVER TO YOU
What we’ve shared in this post can easily be implemented by anyone with little to no tech knowledge. But at the end of the day, what you should do is plan on sending emails your readers actually want to read! That’s the main reason they opted-in to your list in the first place.
Then follow the rest of the tips we shared in this article. If you need help setting up your authentication protocols don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help.
In our five years of working alongside many business owners, we’ve seen just how crucial it is to monitor email metrics, whether it’s in a campaign or an automation. Just remember to keep a close eye on email performance, because low email engagement means low sales!
When you’re ready to implement marketing automation in your business, click here to book a chat with us.
eCommerce Strategist at Bumper Leads
Milena loves helping small business owners grow their business through smart systems and automations.
Milena lives in Adelaide, Australia with her Chileno husband and her best friend Netflix. She suffers from mild email OCD, ie hates small font and cluttered newsletters. Milena is on a mission to make online business a less confusing place for a business owner.
She loves anything podcasting, eCommerce and is honoured to be supporting clients all over the world with her coaching.
You can follow Milena on Twitter (@MilenaTheGreat)