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It’s true. Even your email has a reputation. And if you don’t manage it, all of that effort to create a great email and enticing subject line could be going to waste—or worse—getting you in trouble with CAN-SPAM laws. Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, use a number of factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. If you break many of those, they won’t allow you to reach your contact’s inbox. And if you can’t reach their inbox, how will they know about your awesome content or great offer?

If you’re suffering from a bad case of email deliverability, know that it can get better—and not with getting some rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Here’s the scoop…

First, understand why your email is not sending: 

There are many possible reasons why your email is not arriving in your contacts’ inboxes. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you been given explicit permission to send emails to your contacts?
  • Could your subscribers easily unsubscribe if they wanted to?
  • Are you honoring unsubscribes and removing bounces?
  • Do your subject lines generally include multiple exclamation marks, ALL CAPS, or words like “Free” or “Click Here”?
  • Are you including video, Flash, or JavaScript?
  • Have you used red font or white font on a white background?
  • Are you double checking for spelling and grammatical errors?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you might be contributing to the reason your emails are not reaching their destination. Luckily, you can get back into the good graces of the email reputation gods.

Here’s how to improve your email deliverability! 

It all comes down to the email golden rule. Treat others’ inboxes the way you would like your inbox to be treated. If you haven’t been very nice in the past, you can always start today. Here’s what you can do:

  • Make sure the contacts are expecting to hear from you.
  • Reengage inactive subscribers by using double opt-ins.
  • Do not use purchased lists—these contacts are not expecting to hear from you.
  • Ask your subscribers to add you to their address book (whitelisting you) so you don’t get caught up in spam filters.
  • Always include a clearly visible unsubscribe link and physical mailing address in your email footer.
  • Use a familiar sending name—if you can use an actual employee name instead of your company's name, that's even better!
  • Offer an HTML, plain text, and web browser version of your email.
  • Keep a clean list by removing unsubscribed, bounced, and unengaged contacts.
  • Personalize your emails.
  • If you are including images, optimize them with alt text.
  • Aim to create a short, sweet and valuable message (don’t forget the subject line!)
  • Avoid spammy language and styling at all costs!
  • Get email sender accreditation.
  • Don’t include video, Flash, or JavaScript because most contacts won’t allow it or can’t see it—instead, link an image in the email to a video on your website.

Monitor your email’s reputation using tools like Sender Score or SenderBase. And if you need more details on what not and what to do, check out this Marketer’s Guide to Getting Past Email Spam Filters. If you can remember one thing from this article, remember the email golden rule. Your contacts chose to subscribe to your email list out of thousands of other options. Don’t make them regret that decision!

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About the Author

Sheila Villalobos | Account Manager
Sheila Villalobos, Account Manager

Sheila Villalobos is a PMG Account Manager and trend tracking extraordinaire. When she’s not being her naturally resourceful self and figuring out new ways to use old marketing tools, you can find her staying up to date on all things web design, ABM, contextual marketing and strategy (and writing blogs about them).

 Tags: Email Marketing

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