Email marketers spend a lot of time crafting their campaigns, targeting the right recipients, and debating the subject lines to use and the time of day to send messages to improve the likelihood of their being read. The most critical part of the entire process, however, is ensuring that the email reaches the inbox so it can stand any chance of being read.
The following are a series of tips to help marketers reach the inbox:
1. Choose an Email Service Provider (ESP) with a strong reputation.
Almost one quarter of emails go undelivered. The ESP you choose to work with can determine whether your email reaches your customers and prospects or falls into that undelivered percentage. ESPs that follow industry best practices will have a better email reputation and in turn, you will receive higher open and clickthrough rates.
Working with a reputable ESP affords a number of benefits, including: tracking details on each member of a distribution list; the ability to segment subscriber lists into interest areas or categories in order to send targeted information and personalized communications; the use of pre-designed templates; unsubscribe/subscribe options; multiple email servers; and SPAM testing.
2. Ensure that each email address is only on your list once.
It is easy for marketers to end up with the same email address on their contact list twice—very often due to having been captured as a lead from multiple sources. Email lists should regularly be de-duplicated to ensure that customers and prospects are not being sent the same email multiple times.
3. Check bounce rates to avoid being 'blacklisted'
Sending emails to outdated addresses can result in an email bounce. There are two types of email bounces: hard bounces, which mean the email address is not valid anymore; and soft bounces, which indicate the address is valid but, for some reason, is unreachable. Soft bounces may be the result of a full inbox or a server may be down. Hard bounces must be scrubbed from your list after each send, but it's OK to resend soft-bounced emails and many reputable ESPs will do this automatically for you.
4. Comply with CAN-SPAM
The CAN-SPAM Act permits email marketers to send unsolicited commercial email, as long as it adheres to the following: Do not use misleading information or subject lines, include your postal address, allow subscribers to opt out and honor all opt outs within 10 business days. Marketers should be familiar with each of these rules to ensure they are not sending spam.