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How To Improve Your Deliverability Rate (Using An ESP)

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on Email Deliverability and Reputation .

There are many different tactics you can use to improve your email deliverability rate. And the tactics you use depend partly upon whether you’re using an Email Service Provider (such as Mailchimp or Klaviyo) or if you’re using a dedicated IP address and email pipeline. In this section, we’ll discuss how you can improve your email deliverability rate if you’re using an ESP. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to do so using your own dedicated pipeline (more complicated and probably best for advanced email marketers).

So, here are some strategies you can use to increase your deliverability rate if you’re using an ESP.

  • Keep your email list sparkly clean — If you’re consistently sending emails to addresses which are invalid or to people who are uninterested, that will hurt your deliverability. The higher that your bounce rate climbs (hard or soft) and the lower your open rate, the more your deliverability will suffer. So clean your list consistently of email addresses that bounce, send a re-engagement campaign to people who haven’t engaged in a long time, and remove people who probably aren’t your target market anyways.
    • Here’s a helpful guide that goes into detail about how to clean your email list.
  • Don’t hide your unsubscribe button — The best thing you can do when someone wants to unsubscribe from your list is let them. In fact, the CAN-SPAM Act requires that marketers include an unsubscribe button on every email campaign that they send. Not doing so might get you blacklisted, will hurt your deliverability rate as people report you (since they can’t unsubscribe), and is a big loss for your business. Just put the unsubscribe button in the footer, where it should be.
  • Use double opt-in — If your deliverability rate is suffering, it might be because the people on your list aren’t the right people for the content you send. Maybe you unintentionally collected subscribers who are interested in the wrong things or maybe you purchased an email list. Whatever the case, after you’ve cleaned your email list of uninterested subscribers and bouncing addresses, consider using a double opt-in process when new people subscribe to your email list. This requires new subscribers to opt-in on your website and then confirm that opt-in at their email address, ensuring that they’re interested in your content, that they’re a real person (not a robot), and that their email address is actually deliverable.
  • Write non-spammy subject lines — Certain words trigger ISPs that your email might be spam. One of the first things that most ISPs look at is your subject line. If the ISP thinks the email might be spam because of what’s written in its subject line (“FREEE MONEY!” for instance), then it won’t even show your subscriber the email, but will instead put it in the spam box. So make sure that your subject lines are clear of typical words that trigger ISPs that your email might be spam. Hubspot has a long list of spammy trigger words over here that might be worth bookmarking and referencing every now and again.
  • Allow subscribers to set preferences — Complaints from subscribers hurt your deliverability rate. And at the heart of optimizing your email deliverability rate is sending the right subscribers the right content at the right time. Do that and you’ll never receive a single complaint from any of your subscribers (people only complain when they’re frustrated and annoyed with your content). And the best way to help your subscribers dictate what kind of content they receive from you and when they receive it is by setting up a Subscription Management Center where they can manage their preferences. Then segment your email list based on what your subscribers select — that way, everyone is receiving what they want to receive, when they want to receive it and they’ll have nothing to complain about.
  • Be wary of purchasing email lists — I can’t overstate how careful you should be when purchasing an email list. It’s probably a good rule of thumb to just not purchase an email list. But if you do, before sending any emails, check for spam traps, which are fake email addresses set up by online email marketing “police” who will blacklist you if you send to that address, and it’s really tough to get off a blacklist. Also, be aware that the subscribers on a purchased email list didn’t opt-in, they don’t know you, and they might not even like you, which will increase your bounce rate and complaint rate. So… be careful. Building your list organically is probably a better idea anyway.
  • Focus on quality over quantity — The higher quality content that you send to your email list, the fewer problems you’ll encounter with your deliverability rate. When your audience is engaged, they’re opening, clicking, and converting consistently, then your deliverability rate will soar sky-high, right where it should be. So value the quality of the content you send more than quantity. Your audience and your deliverability will thank you for it.

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