Constant communication is key to moving prospects through the conversion funnel, and it is proven that email marketing and automation is a fundamental component of doing so. However, this activity can be rather time-consuming, so it can be frustrating to learn that after all of your efforts, your emails aren’t getting opened because spam filters are catching them.

The good news is that with email marketing, unlike other activities, you can control certain aspects of the process to help your performance. Let’s take a look at a few best practice that you should utilize to improve your email deliverability:

Avoid Buying or Renting Email Lists

Building an extensive email database can take a long time and require a bunch of effort. With all of the data vendors out there, it is easy to fall into the trap of purchasing or renting a list to begin your email efforts.

However, buying a list often comes back to burn people in the long term, especially when you look at the long-term effects of your deliverability. Most of the time, sending to a purchased list will result in very high bounce rates, and spam complaints, which will likely get your IP address flagged by your provider.

Once this happens, even the people who want to receive your messages may not be able to do so as their ESP (email service provider) will immediately assign your email to their spam folder. If you can’t reach your audience, all of your email marketing efforts will be for naught.

This is especially true for a more personalized service like ReferMeIQ, which is geared towards getting referrals directly from your personal network.

Avoid Using These Common Title Spam Words

One of the first things that every service provider analyzes to ascertain whether or not an email is spam is the title of the communication. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of words that can alert the ESP, and give them a warning that the email may be spam.

Some of the more common words include things like “Free”, “Sale”, “Limited Time”, and other similar words that are synonymous with an offer or deal that is most likely coming from a solicitor. These words are akin to the 1-800 numbers of yesteryear that would pop up on your caller id during dinner. More often than not, you knew what they were and avoided the call like the plague.

So when you are crafting your title, pay close attention to your subject line. Make it sound personal, and don’t make it too long. Imagine that you are crafting the email to a friend or co-worker.

If you need a comprehensive list of words to avoid, check out this list of spam keywords from Hubspot. This list is a few years old, but it still is very useful in providing some words that you should avoid.

Keep Your Emails Lists Current and Up to Date

It is easy to get caught up in the following scenario. You import your existing list and clean it up, then set up a newsletter opt-in form on your website that automatically populates your new subscribers into your list. Since this is on autopilot, all of your focus goes into the content of the send, and over time you forget to give your records a proper review.

Since people change jobs and change emails regularly, over the course of time more and more of these emails will result in bounces, which can send a negative signal to your email service provider and affect your deliverability rate.

Make sure that you are reviewing your email lists, and try to get to them on a quarterly basis to remove all of the bounced emails and undeliverable addresses. By doing so, you will make sure that your lists are clean. You can even use this as a reason to reach out directly to a prospect via a phone call to let them know that their email address has been bouncing, and to obtain a current address. Often, a simple call like this can be the opportunity to have a conversation and get more business.

Honor Unsubscribes

Last, but not least, make sure that your email has a clearly labeled unsubscribe link that people can use to request that they are removed from your list. Not only is this required by the CAN-SPAM act, but it is also probably going to be a requirement from your email service provider as well.

Pay close attention to people who don’t use your automatic “unsubscribe” link, and instead, email you directly to ask that they are removed. It’s easy for these requests to fall between the cracks since you have to take a manual action. However, there are incidents where these people become perturbed if they continue to receive emails, and submit your company and domain to blacklists if they are so inclined.

Getting on an email blacklist can be extremely harmful, as the process to get removed can be rather tumultuous. Better to just eliminate these people as they come in or at least have a process where you pick a certain day to go back and make sure that you haven’t missed anyone.

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Post author: Mike Rowan