The 12 ways non-professional Email Marketers can increase email delivery
You own a business, have few employees, long hours, and you use email marketing. You’re not getting paid as a professional email marketer, however like the company those professionals work for, you depend on the success of your email campaigns. You both have the same goal: successful inbox delivery with a shot of the message being read.
Normally professional Email Marketers use strategy, creative technology, and charts. graphs, professional images, and a copywriter or two. Sole proprietors do not have the luxury of an email marketing team, and most likely, have a limited amount of time to work on their email campaigns. Therefore small business people who rely on themselves using tactics and these 12 suggestions that will increase the likelihood recipients will get and consider opening your messages
- Double opt-in subscription process. Research shows that many professional email marketers are wary of moving to a double opt-in process to confirm an email address. The reason this method will lose many new subscribers. However, a well-executed double opt-in approach will likely capture 80 percent or more of the subscribers and provide additional benefits.
These benefits include:
- A cleaner list, with fewer bounced addresses from input errors
- An audit trail in case of subscriber spam complaints
- Higher quality list due to recipients confirming their interest in your messages.
2. Do not use prechecked boxes. A prechecked “subscribe box” may collect a higher number of subscribers, but the lack of confirmation to join your list will result in an inferior subscriber. This means customer trust is lower, as is response rates, and potentially this method mars your brand. Most importantly, recipients may not recall subscribing to your list, therefore they do not expect that initial email, resulting in a spam complaint, an unsubscribe, or they will simply ignore your email.
3. Visible update email address of preference link. Statistically speaking most if not all lists lose about a 1/3 of their subscribers per year because your subscriber’s email addresses changed. Therefore, include a very visible “email address change”, “update preference” or similar link to a place on your website where your member can update their information.
4. A familiar, expected, consistent sender name. When scanning more than a full inbox, recipients may only look at the sender’s address, name, subject line, or both. I know I do. Use and stick with the same sender’s name. Make the sender’s name simple, and easily recognizable, so it is expected by subscribers.
When it’s possible use a sender’s email address that is easy to read, such as the firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Branded subject lines. On average, email recipients receive a few hundred inbox messages a day, and most of it is spam. As they review these messages, most likely they are looking for ones that are clearly spam (to delete) or ones they opted into, trusting the sender and wanting to read the message. Therefore, both the non-professional and professional email marketer needs their message to be immediately categorized as “recognized and wanted” by the recipient. We find It helpful to brand your subject and reinforce it in the sender’s name.
For example, if your email is sent by “Dog Treats and Fun” the subject might include “Dog Treats and Fun” at the beginning of the subject line. Though this tactic uses a lot of valuable subject line real estate, your message will stand out, while reducing the chances of being missed, overlooked, filtered, and unopened. Do a few A/B split tests to determine what works best with your subscribers.
6. Subject line content. In addition to using a branded subject line, complete it with copy that is creative and compelling, but not off the wall so that it triggers spam filters or get deleted by users who confuse your message with spam.
7. Content filtering. Unfamiliarity with content filters may be a reason your messages are not being delivered. No one can be expected to keep up with the nuances of common content filtering and understand the different kinds that make content high-risk and ripe for spam filters. Therefore, read bounce messages, track which messages have higher bounce rates and low open rates, and see if you can reverse engineer what the filters see as offending content.
8. Message proofing and retesting. Always send a copy or a proof, of your message to yourself, employees, and, if possible, a larger seed list. When others proofread your email before you send it out, you may uncover typos, missed changes, bad links, incorrect image paths, and potential blocking or filter problems. With lists of several hundred or thousand members send test messages to a small percentage of your overall list: testing different variables and potential delivery problems.
9. Personalization and segmentation. Relevant and personalized messages have a better chance of being recognized by a subscriber and therefore read and not missed or deleted. If you haven’t used segmentation before, start small and simple. Build a simple segment with click-through activity, based on links they clicked in the past. Then send those people messages with subject lines targeted to each interest segment. Put yourself on the segment to see how it worked. Don’t forget to personalize the message, “Dear Patricia” is much better than “Hey You”.
10. Images instead of text. Some industries are offer and discount driven. These types of industries have ongoing problems with content filtering because it is believed they use spammy terms repeatedly. A number of these businesses, specifically the travel and hospitality sector have moved to image-based content format. This is where certain content is contained in images rather than as text.
As a business owner, you may have considered employing this method. However, this approach has potential downsides, including image blocking, increased file size, slower loading, and potentially more work for both the non-professional and professional email marketer. If this is something you like to try, make sure you test, test, and test to get a consensus if this is worth your time.
11. Managed user expectations. On sign up, clearly convey to your subscribers the frequency, email type, content, purpose, and value of your list. This will reassure you that your recipients will not be surprised when they receive your message.
12. Send time. As most spam is sent in the middle of the night, avoid sending your email then. The best time of day depends on the industry, location, and message.
Experiment for the best time to send an email campaign with testing:
- Get to know your subscriber with an easy- to-access profile page. Ask them when and how often they would like to receive your messages: Monday? once a week, twice a week, etc.
- Send email between the hours when most of your list members initially signed up to your list.
- Segment your list with the right demographics; pay attention to the different time zones: East Coast, West Coast, overseas?
- Plan to send when they most likely will be there-which may not be Friday afternoon.
Even if you’re a non-professional email marketer, you have the same goal as a professional email marketer: successful inbox delivery with a shot of the message being read. We hope these 12 suggestions get you the results you aim for.