It seems like delivering email should be straightforward, and for the most part it is. But if your organization has ever sent an email that’s gone missing, you know how frustrating that can be.
So how do you avoid the problem and reliably get your emails delivered?
Here are 3 simple things you can do to help your messages reach recipients’ inboxes.
1. Authenticate Your Messages. When a sender authenticates its email marketing campaigns, receivers can more reliably check and trust that mail purporting to be from that sender is actually from that sender.
You may already be familiar with SPF, which is relatively easy to implement by publishing the appropriate text record in DNS. You may also find it useful to review Sender ID, which involves similar implementation as SPF but is somewhat different. Microsoft has a Sender ID resource center that you may find helpful.
Another authentication protocol you should implement is Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM). This protocol has grown in popularity and trust since its inception in 2004. It involves “signing” outgoing messages by adding a series of tags in the message headers. Recipients can then check incoming messages against the sender’s public key to see whether the mail is indeed from that sender.
2. Set up feedback loops. You’ve probably noticed the little “Mark as Spam” or “Junk” buttons in web email clients. Users click them to get rid of email they don’t want (for whatever reason that may be).
When a recipient marks one of your emails as spam or junk, you’ll want to know about it so that you can remove him or her from your list.
Sending repeatedly to people who mark your emails as spam can result in receiving ISPs routing your emails to all recipients’ junk folders, so it’s a good idea to get these people off of your list before they impact your delivery rates.
You can sign up for feedback loops (FBLs) with a number of ISPs, including AOL, Yahoo, Windows Live Mail Comcast, and others.
3. Make sure your unsubscribe process works. You’d be amazed at how many organizations are sending email newsletters and marketing emails with unsubscribe links that don’t work.
In some cases the unsubscribe link returns a 404. In others the process on the unsubscribe page itself is broken. Sometimes, the process appears to work but the recipient isn’t unsubscribed.
Test your unsubscribe process by seeding your mailing list with a few of your own addresses. Periodically unsubscribe an address and make sure everything works as intended. Subscribe with a new test address and repeat as often as you feel is appropriate.
Doing these 3 things won’t guarantee that every email you send will end up in recipients’ inboxes, but they go a long way to getting more of your emails delivered. Happy emailing!
One last note: If you are using a web-based email service provider, it may already handle one or more of these for you. You should ask the provider.
About the Author: Justin Premick is an award-winning email marketing expert and Director of Education Marketing for AWeber, the leading small business email marketing software company. Visit www.aweber.com to learn more about email marketing best practices from Justin and the entire education marketing team.