The Message Matters: 7 Obvious but Overlooked Email Deliverability Best Practices


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Your email infrastructure can often mean the difference between poor and great deliverability. As the key link to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and corporate mail servers, it helps eliminate potential bottlenecks, keeping the floodgates open for your email messages. Good infrastructure also automates many technical aspects of email deliverability, reducing marketing’s dependence on IT.

But let’s be clear: infrastructure isn’t the end-all, be-all of email deliverability. On the contrary, nearly every aspect of email marketing contributes to messages reaching the inbox—or not. One area that’s often overlooked, yet very manageable is the message itself. Below are seven key elements of email messages, with best practices that marketers can easily implement to improve deliverability:

  1. From – Recipients who can’t easily identify the sender without opening the message frequently, will typically block those emails. Make sure the ‘from’ field is clearly recognizable—whether you use the name of your brand, an executive, or both (e.g. “Executive, Brand”).
  2. Reply-To – Subscriber engagement is playing an increasingly important role in inbox placement. If recipients reply enough times, your address will automatically be added to their trusted contacts and subsequent messages will flow more freely. Therefore, we recommend using a valid email address (not ‘[email protected]’) and encouraging interaction.
  3. Subject Line – Subject lines should be brief (<45 characters), compelling, and action-oriented to drive opens. In addition, be judicious with use words or phrases (e.g. “free” or “discount”) that could lead your emails to be construed as spam—whether by spam filters or subscribers.
  4. Content – Because some recipients click the “report spam” button to unsubscribe from emails (whether they’re spam or not), sending irrelevant content can directly impact deliverability. To avoid this, make sure your messages are targeted and personalized to each recipient.
  5. HTML – High-quality HTML code is critical to successful email deliverability, as messages containing minor coding errors can trigger spam filters, as well as render poorly within many webmail interfaces. Use code parsing tools to remove redundant code and identify and fix any errors.
  6. Images – Although graphics are an important element of emails, you’ll want to use them in moderation: no more than one-third of the total message. Otherwise, your emails could end up in junk or spam filters.
  7. Unsubscribe – Many marketers bury the unsubscribe link at the bottom of emails, but a better practice is to place it up top. If recipients are forced to scroll down, they may click the ‘report spam’ button instead. Ultimately, these complaints are more damaging than unsubscribes.

Remember: every element of your email marketing program is important and should not be overlooked—in terms of deliverability as well as overall campaign effectiveness.

Want additional best practices for boosting email deliverability rates and revving up revenues? Download our free white paper, What Every Email Marketer Must Know about Reaching the Inbox.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mathieu Hannouz
Mathieu Hannouz is the senior product marketing manager at conversational marketing technology provider Neolane, Inc.. He is responsible for driving the launch of Neolane's key product features across North-America including identifying target markets and opportunities, the creation and development of messaging, positioning and launch materials. Mathieu is Neolane's resident expert on Social Marketing. You can follow him on twitter @repackaged.


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