Creating and transmitting a bulk email broadcast via a good quality email marketing service, is relatively straight forward and is an undertaking well within the capability of most people. It is possible to achieve a high level of email presentation quality and to achieve rapid transmission to a volume bulk email list without difficulty. However, email transmissions that are not optimised for delivery performance may well achieve awful response rates which render the transmission almost useless in terms of its marketing effectiveness. No matter how well constructed is the content of the email, if certain rules and steps are not followed, it is possible that very few of the transmitted emails will ever reach the inbox of intended recipients, let alone get opened.
Achieving a good delivery rate can never be guaranteed as there are factors that can have an adverse effect on delivery performance which may be outside of the control of the originator, but taking note of our insider tips and hints as set out below will help.
1. Take measures to eliminate spam like characteristics from the subject line and the main body of the email.
Most email service providers incorporate anti-spam firewall software that looks for and filters out (reject) emails that exhibit overtly spam like characteristics. Use email marketing service provider software that identifies and corrects spam like characteristics (email blaster’s spam ferret for example) before committing to and sending an email.
2. Keep the email address list up-to-date.
A clean address list will increase delivery rate and reputation. Update the list regularly to remove opt-outs, hard and soft bounces, corrupt addresses. Email marketing service providers will usually offer software that does a lot of this automatically
3. IP and sender server reputation is key.
Choose your email marketing service provider carefully to avoid those that exhibit poor server scores.
4. Use a service that has its servers located in-territory, i.e. in the UK for a predominantly UK marketing address list.
Related to server/IP reputation as presented in hint 3, an originating server located in the UK will usually be better policed and therefore exhibit a better server reputation than one located in, say, a third world territory. Even if the office address of the email marketing service provider has a UK postal code at the end, find out where the emails will physically originate from.
5. Choose the wording of the subject line with great care.
Achieving a good delivery rate in terms of getting into the inbox is not the final objective. Open rate is the key success determinant and this can be dominated by the wording of the subject line. Avoid spam like characteristics yes, but also follow the guidelines of tips and hints number 1 – Ten tips for a clickable subject line (please visit www.emailblasteruk blog page)
6. Ensure a plain text duplicate of the HTML original is an identical ‘carbon copy’.
Clever anti-spam software will usually detect any inconsistencies between an HTML and plain text pairing and will bounce an email that fails this test. Using market leading email marketing software will ensure that duplicate transmissions of HTML and plain text are identical as far as is achievable for the avoidance of this anti-spam test software.
7. Avoid too much graphic content.
A high graphic content will cause two particular problems; the email code size will increase significantly, potentially causing problems with some email service software, it can be interpreted as a ‘spam like characteristic.
8. Don’t incorporate your company logo as a graphic or, if you must include the logo, add an ‘alt tag’.
If it is essential to incorporate the company logo, don’t embed it in a banner (it makes it code heavy) and add an ‘alt tag that says ‘company log’ where the graphic is not presented by receiving email software. Again, a code heavy email will suffer a higher bounce rate that a lean one.
9. Avoid code generous format or font management.
Every font change, use of bold, italics, underscore etc. will add a line of code. Similarly, over-use of colour will be code generous and will ratchet up the email size at the expense of delivery rate.
10. Email coding size is inversely proportional to delivery rate.
Not mathematically predictable but undoubtedly true that a large email will suffer a lower delivery rate than a smaller one, all other factors being equal. Be lean and mean.