Archive for the ‘Email Deliverability’ Category

Top 10: Improve Email Deliverability and Response

Keep emails fresh

  • Relevant: Appeal to each of your primary audiences

Unless you only offer one product/service and subscribers would only subscribe for one reason, you need to segment your list and provide relevant content to each segment. See my recent post: 6 Easy Steps to Implement An Email Segmentation Strategy

  • Deliverable: Dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
    • Setup domain authentication (previous post)
    • Keep your list clean (stop sending to unopens)
    • Watch your text to image ratio
    • Don’t go overboard with the superlatives, ALL CAPS and spammy words
    • Include a copyright and link to your privacy policy
    • Use clean HTML code – sloppy errors are flags

Don’t let mistakes affect deliverability. All sorts of things affect deliverability but don’t let the basics slip by.

  • Compatible: Design for the various previews in email clients

Preview your email templates in the major email tools such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple Mail.

This is the best reference I’ve found for understanding which CSS styles render in which email tools:

  • Personable: A friendly person wrote this – not a company

The days of stuffy corporate speak are over. You are trying to build a relationship with your prospects through multiple channels. Don’t blow it in email.

  • Focused: Don’t create distractions and keep it shortFor whatever reason, many email templates are full of distractions (navigation links, house ads, etc). Focus on:
    • Your subscribers’ needs
    • Your goals

Again, reference my post Email Segmentation Strategy for tips

  • Test: Test everything before you change something

If I had to guess, I’d say 5% of all email marketers test their emails in any way. Marketing = Testing.

  • Simple: Simplify the layout

Unfortunately, most marketers don’t revisit their email layouts and templates as often as they should. If you aren’t testing, how do you know what to change?

  • Fresh: Work in design elements that keep it fresh

Just a visual queue to your subscribers that this isn’t a resend and they should take notice.

  • Recognizable: Review your from, subject line and headline strategy

Don’t get too generic with your from email and from name and don’t change them. You want subscribers to add you to their address book. If you change your address and/or from name, it won’t be in their address book. Choose something recognizable and run with it.

  • Viral: Make it interesting and incorporate share icons

How much effort does it take from the first key strokes of an article to the moment you hit send to get your email out to your subscribers? If you add up the hours and cost, you might take your email marketing more seriously. Take another hour or so to review headlines, intros and photos to make your email something people want to share (assuming your content is compelling in the first place).

  • Useful: Reference previous and up-coming content

Just a bonus tip: People don’t read every email you send. Reference previous content and hint and upcoming content.

Download the Presentation Email Deliverablity Checklist

How to Manage Your Email Reputation

This is a quick reference cheat sheet to keep tabs on your Email Reputation and specific steps on how to improve your Email Reputation through email authentication. Don’t let the techy term put you off. It’s critical you know this stuff or send it to your technical administrator so they know this stuff.

What is Email Reputation?

How to Manage Your Email ReputationIt’s a number of things. It’s the reputation of your domain, email addresses, shared or dedicated IP address at your Email Service Provider (ESP), your email server, etc. You build it over time. You actually start out in a little bit of a negative situation so it’s important to get your campaigns right – right out of the gate. It’s determined by everything you do in your email campaign so follow best practices or else. This post focuses on the technical aspects of Email Reputation.

Briefly, there are things that happen behind the scenes when you hit send that you may not be aware of. Each recipient’s email server conducts a “hand shake” with your ESP. The server asks “‘HELO’. Are you who you say you are and do you have authority to send email to me?” The server is asking for the PTR record, or reverse-lookup record, which validates the authenticity of the originating IP Address of the email sender by resolving IP addresses to hostnames. That’s as technical as I’m going to get but take it seriously. Seriously! This is the absolute minimum you should have setup before sending out your email marketing campaigns.

Beyond PTR, there are a number of additional steps you can take to ensure greater deliverability and protection of your Email Reputation. Read on.

Quick Reference for Email Authentication and Email Reputation Management

Email Authentication

  1. Determine Your Email Server’s IP Address
  2. Generate SPF Record using this Sender ID SPF Record Setup Wizard
  3. Setup PTR Record
    • Send the information you collect to whoever controls your DNS and ask them to setup your PTR record.

Get this Email Reputation Management Quick Reference Guide in PowerPoint.

Email Sender Reputation Management

Check Blacklists

Check Email Reputation

Email Authentication Types

Wikipedia on Email Authentication

  • PTR (reverse lookup – all mail servers)
  • SPF
  • Sender ID
  • DKIM
  • Domain Keys

Improve Your Email Deliverablity With Third-Party Certification

Get this Email Reputation Management Quick Reference Guide in PowerPoint.

Posted: March 5th, 2010
at 7:49am by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , , , ,

Categories: Email Deliverability,Email Optimization

Comments: 2 comments

Email Marketing Lists – How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign

This post is the beginning of a series about Email Marketing Campaigns. Even if you’re a pro, this will be a nice refresher for you.

An old Direct Mail rule can be applied (for the most part) to Email Marketing Campaigns. It goes like this. List. Offer. Package. Message. Without the right List, your Offer doesn’t matter. With the right Offer, the Package doesn’t matter and so on… You have to start with the right list.


Don’t choose one Email Marketing List over another one just because it was cheaper. Scale back the size of your buy so you can afford the higher quality list. In the long run, cheap email lists aren’t cheaper. Your response rates will be terrible and your CPL/CPS will be through the roof.

If that isn’t clear enough, why buy a $2000 blast and generate $500 in sales when you could buy a $1000 blast and generate $2000 in sales? Cheap email lists are “hit” too often or aren’t segmented enough. The recipients are trained to ignore the emails from the sender.

On the flip side, a responsible third-party vendor who values their list and cares for it will charge more to preserve the quality of their list. They will probably have editorial guidelines to ensure your success as well as theirs.


Without the right offer i.e. incentive, your targeted list probably won’t give your message a second thought. You need to understand your audience. Are they likely to respond to a monetary incentive such as savings or a coupon? Would they act on something such as free download of content? Would they respond to a contest for a chance to win something?

Don’t just pick something and run with it. If it is not meaningful to them, you are wasting your time and money.

Package / Message

In Direct Mail, this is the mail piece in the mailbox. Packaging is design, copy, etc. This is where I spend most of my time. How does my email perform on all levels? Does the design say my company is trustworthy? Does it lend or detract from message and Call To Action (CTA). Is the message concise and compelling? Does the message compete with other messages? Does the layout technically interfere with the audience’s ability to act on the email i.e. can they still read the offer with images disabled? What shows up in the preview pane? How does it look on their phone?

In email, there’s another dimension to the Package: the recipient’s experience after the click. I realize this isn’t technically in the Package. But recipients can immediately act on an email offer. In Direct Mail, the next step is a little disconnected. In email marketing, you have the opportunity to send recipients to a dedicated landing page to fulfill your offer immediately.

Slideshare: Email Marketing Lists – How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Next in the Series:

Landing Pages – the other 50% of Email Marketing Campaigns and the Package/Message.

Posted: January 30th, 2010
at 10:17am by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Categories: Email Deliverability,Email Marketing

Comments: 2 comments

    Newer Entries »

Online Marketing Toplist