If there's one part of my job that continues to make me beat my head up against the wall, it's email deliverability. We continue to grow an engaged list of email subscribers but geesh, ISPs are ridiculous. In businesses, one thing that happens is that emails turn over as employees come and go. We'll have subscribers consistently interacting for months and then – poof – the emails bounce. Or worse, they're routed to some other employee who reports it as SPAM.
We can literally go weeks without any reports of SPAM and very minor unsubscribe rates… and then inexplicably see the percentage of emails that make the inbox jump up or down. Same subject lines, same delivery time, same IP servers sent from, same reply addresses… same, same, same… and kaboom. A drop in deliverability. A few weeks ago, we were even blacklisted by a small ISP. When we requested why, they just whitelisted us… never telling us what happened. It's as if they were just testing us to see if we were legit. And we're not a big emailer – our list is about 75,000.
If you're using an email service provider (ESP), you don't even know what your inbox percentage is. Email vendors always promote deliverability scores – that is, the number of emails that make it to the destination. They'll even have a clause typically that you need to send to your list a few times before seeing great deliverability numbers. No kidding… all the bad email addresses will bounce and be removed, so your inbox deliverability percentage should get to the numbers they sold you on.
The problem is that number or percentage is only what was delivered… not delivered to the inbox. That's why we use 250ok – to monitor our inbox deliverability reputation as well as our sender's reputation. With 250ok, we've been able to correct some real issues over time… but we still have some ups and downs that simply are inexplicable.
That said, there are best practices that you can institute that will improve your results (for now). TechnologyAdvice Research released an infographic, 5 of the Top Email Mistakes that Will Send You to the Spam Folder. The infographic features common email marketing errors:
- Inadequate permissions
- Spammy content
- Legal violations
- Unauthenticated sender ID
- Irrelevant content
There you have it… send with permission, send great content, and send from a great email provider.