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8 ways to improve the delivery rate of your email

Guest contributor

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8 ways to improve the delivery rate of your email

There's nothing more frustrating than putting in a lot of effort and receiving no reward – which can be the case for your email campaign if you aren't diligent in how you set it up.

After all, everyone across the globe is boasting about the success of their email marketing campaign – so why can't you get it right? 

Given the fact that every dollar spent on email marketing is supposed to have a return on investment of $42, there's a good chance you don't see success because of your email delivery rate. Fortunately, there are a few key steps you can take to make sure your subscribers see your emails. 

In this guide, we'll give you eight simple tips you can start implementing today to boost the delivery rate of your emails and improve the bounce rate. These tips won't cost a fortune, and will undoubtedly improve your bottom line.

1. Start personalising

The internet can feel like a pretty lonely place at times, and a little bit of personalisation can go a long way in making customers feel engaged and appreciated.

In fact, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a site offering a personalised experience, while 90% agree that personalisation features make a site intrinsically more appealing.

So what does personalisation look like when it comes to your email marketing campaign? Truthfully, something as basic as listing the customer's name in the subject line can markedly improve open rates, as does merely adding the word "you."

That's not all, though. Personalisation is about more than just slapping the customer's name in a subject header; it's about creating content that your customers can engage with on a personal level.

This will provide you not only with a higher email delivery rate, but also a notably more engaged audience. After all, what's the point in getting them to open your email if they don't care about what's inside?

2. Clean up your email list

We've all been there, signing up for email lists that we have no interest in following up with. While it may seem inconsequential, these inactive subscribers can put a serious dent in your email delivery rate, particularly if you let them pile up without cleaning them out.

More specifically, inactive subscribers that don't open, read, or engage with your content can dramatically lower your engagement metrics, making it seem like you don't have anything worth reading in your emails.

Fortunately, any email campaign software can quickly help you keep track of your inactive subscribers, and all you have to do is take action.

While it might be hard to delete subscribers that went through all the trouble to put their email address into your newsletter form, the reality is that they're doing a lot more harm than good, and deleting them will help you reach more active subscribers in the long run.

If you truly can't pull the trigger on deleting inactive subscribers, another option would be to launch a reactivation campaign. Reactivating inactive but valuable subscribers is much cheaper and easier than acquiring new subscribers.

You could simply ask them if they still want to receive communications from you, which will ensure that those unnecessary inactive subscribers will be removed, and free you up some space on your list. And yes, it will boost your email delivery rate.

3. Don't send too many emails at once

When it comes to email marketing, quality is a lot more critical than quantity. In fact, according to one study, 90% of successful email marketers send no more than one email per week, with 48% sending them no more than once a month. So if you're following the lead of experts, it's safe to say less is more.

If you're still not convinced, the reality is that there are nearly 300 billion emails sent every single day, with 4 billion email users worldwide – so there's no need to go overboard on what you send. Email fatigue is a genuine problem and can result in swathes of unsubscribers in a matter of days.

Keep your email delivery rate intact by sharing less, more valuable emails.

4. Segment your email list

Instead of bombarding your entire email list with every single update, why not segment the list and send relevant emails to relevant parties?

This will help you to personalise the customer experience via email while ensuring that the right people are opening the right email more frequently. And boy do the statistics back this theory up on the email delivery rate.

According to research from MailChimp, segmented emails have a 14% higher open rate compared to non-segmented emails, a 100% higher click-through rate, and a 9% lower unsubscribe rate. So the real question is, why on earth aren't you segmenting your emails right now?

5. Get rid of barriers to unsubscribe

It might have been trendy a few years ago to make it hard to cancel your subscription. However, in 2020, customers are sick and tired of having to jump through hoops to stop receiving emails that they don't want – and it's time for your business to take notice.

After all, unsubscribe numbers don't affect email deliverability rates, so the only things you're holding onto are your poor engagement numbers. 

How can you get rid of barriers to unsubscribe from your email list? Literally by making it as easy as possible to cancel a subscription. Place a big button or a prominent link at the bottom of your emails that asks subscribers if they still want to receive emails.

If they don't, don't ask them a lot of questions like "Are you sure?" or "Is there anything we can do to make you stay?" If you want a little insight into why they're leaving, offer a brief survey, but simply put, don't make it hard to unsubscribe.

6. Avoid spammy subject lines

The email has admittedly become overrun with spam complaints over the years. Heck, most providers even have a spam folder to try to keep your inbox organised, so you know the spam issue is a serious one.

In that vein, sending out marketing emails that look like spam is widely discouraged – particularly when you consider that only one in 12.5 million spam emails receive a response.

To make sure your email doesn't come off as spammy, you're going to have to keep your subject line simple. Your best bet is to avoid trigger phrases like "free offer", or using dollar signs or exclamation points to drive your point home.

Additionally, anything gambling related typically gets sent right to the spam folder, so keep your "jackpot" subject lines to yourself. This may seem innocuous, but 69% of email users use the subject line to differentiate real emails from spam, so it's a valuable practice to get in the habit of before it's too late.

Don't know if your subject line is too spammy? You're in luck! There are dozens of free spam checkers online that can help you figure it out. These free tools, like Email Subject Line Grader, will do a basic check of your subject line, and give you some pointers to guide you on your way, and help you boost your email delivery rate.

7. Include a "whitelist me" link

Email marketing isn't just about making sales; it's also about building a community of loyal customers that can spread the word about your business.

However, with inboxes being a bit ambiguous about what makes it through to the primary inbox and what ends up in the spam folder, it can be hard to keep your community informed regularly. Fortunately, by including a "Whitelist Me" link, you can facilitate a more consistent readership.

Whitelisting is the idea that a newsletter subscriber will take the extra step to make sure you achieve a high email delivery rate - every email from your brand is seen, every time.

No more junk folders and no more accidental deletions. Whitelisted subscribers will quickly turn into some of your most loyal customers, by giving them access to the content they want, which in turn gives you the insight you need regarding the success of your campaigns.

8. Keep it simple

When it comes to email marketing, the phrase "less is more" takes on a wide range of meanings. From the importance of not over-sending to the value of a consolidated email list, quantity over quality rings painfully true when it comes to reaching customers.

This philosophy applies, even more, when it comes to what kind of content you put in your emails. While it might seem like engaging graphics, high-quality images, and other flashy additions would make your email attractive to potential customers, the reality is that it can come off a bit too salesy.

In fact, sometimes those images don't even load properly, which is why keeping it simple is typically your most effective move. If you feel the need to include this kind of content, make sure to provide a text-only option so that the receiver can view the text without all the distractions.

About the author

Conor Cawley is the Senior Writer for Tech.co. For the last four years, he has written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion.

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