Reaching your contact’s inbox is the most important part of your email marketing strategy; however, in some cases reaching the inbox can be harder than anticipated. At Benchmark, we go the extra mile to ensure you have the necessary tools to deliver great-looking emails. We are also constantly adjusting our strategies to move past any roadblocks put by ISP’s (email clients).
But did you know there are things you can do to improve your email deliverability? It all starts with your sending reputation. If you have not established a good relationship with the ISPs, it could lead to your emails being filtered as spam or even never reaching the contact’s inbox. Creating and establishing good sending practices will help build your email sending reputation. Here are a few things you can start doing today to improve your email delivery!
Topics covered in this article
When sending email marketing from an ESP such as Benchmark, using a private domain is essential. A domain is your company’s website address, e.g., yourcompany.com. If your company has a website, it probably has an email address you can use. Check your website settings or contract details to obtain your email address. If you don’t own a website or domain, several companies offer domains at low costs, Google Domains, Go Daddy, and Blue Host, to name a few.
Internet service providers like Google, Yahoo, and Outlook filter large emails coming from public domains. Public domains are intended for personal use, not commercial use. If you are using a public domain to send your emails, this will mean lower open rates. By using a private domain, subscribers will recognize your company name, hence creating brand trust.
Apart from sending from a private domain, the next step will be to add an SPF Record to your domain. An SPF Record confirms you are giving Benchmark Email permission to send emails from your domain. ISPs use the SPF Record to confirm emails coming from your domain were authorized by your domain.
Email Domain Authentication
Authenticating your sending email domain will help improve your email delivery. To authenticate your email domain, you’ll need to enable DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) by adding a couple of DNS records.
DKIM works by placing a signature in the header of your emails that can be traced back to your domain, proving nothing was changed or manipulated in transmission. Benchmark automatically signs all messages with a generic DKIM signature, but using a custom DKIM signature grants additional authority to emails sent through Benchmark from your domain.
To enable DKIM, you’ll need to add a CNAME record to your domain, which will point at a key we host for you. Similarly, you can add a separate CNAME record to enable us to white label links in your emails.
A DMARC record tells email providers where to send deliverability performance reports. This is usually low-level data that is used most effectively by a 3rd-party reporting or aggregation service.
You can add DKIM records without an existing (Sender Policy Framework) SPF record, but adding both is highly recommended.
Before you begin sending to your contacts list, we encourage you to verify your list has valid/deliverable email addresses. To ensure you are sending to only valid contacts, you could use a 3rd party list verification service that can help with identifying invalid email addresses. Contact our support team via email or chat if you haven’t yet verified your contact list and would like to remove invalid email addresses.
Email bounces are emails that failed to be delivered. Email bounces are visible in every email report and also in your contact lists. To avoid resending to bounces, we provide a List Cleaning tool that can help remove bounced emails from your contact list. While list verification can help identify invalid contacts before emailing them if you didn’t verify your list, the Benchmark the list cleaning tool can help moving forward.
Remove contacts who are not opening your emails
Apart from removing bounced email addresses, we recommend you keep your contact list clean with only contacts who are engaging with your emails. Repeatedly sending to contacts who fail to open your email could lead to spam complaints. Our list cleaning tool can remove contacts who have not opened in the last 5, 10, 20, and 30 emails.
Creating a Targeted List
If your open rates have decreased over time, your sending reputation can be rebuilt by sending emails to engaged contacts. Benchmark offers a Targeted List feature that creates a list of your most engaged contacts; the list can be created based on opens, clicks, or clicks of specific URLs.
Using double opt-in signup forms
This means that when a user subscribes to your mailing list through your website or any other source, they will be sent an email with a link that they must click on to confirm their signup form subscription.
This is very important because many subscribers can accidentally enter an incorrect email address or even the email address of someone, and when that person receives a newsletter they did not subscribe to, they will assume they have been spammed and mark your email as spam. Double opt-in will also help you keep invalid email addresses out from your email list, reducing the volume and percentage of undeliverable messages or hard bounces.
In the beginning, some ISPs set a threshold for how many emails can be delivered in one session. If you exceed this threshold or limit, their system can flag you as a spammer and will block the rest of your emails. One way to avoid this is to send your emails in small bursts, with a pause of a few minutes between these bursts. Then, as you start building your sending reputation, you can send to bigger batches. Eventually, sending to all of your contacts at once Benchmark automatically does this for new high-volume senders, in a process we call Email Throttling.
Best days to send emails
Tuesday through Thursday + Morning sends = increased response
These days and times have been known to get a better response rate.
However, if these dates don’t work for you, don’t sweat it! The goal is to keep your email communication consistent. Your subscribers will come to expect that your email will arrive in their inbox on the same day and at the same time every week. If you keep things consistent, customers are more likely to open your emails.
Consistent “from” email address
Keep your “From” email address consistent. This helps subscribers that have added your email address to their whitelist/allowlist continue receiving your messages. Having the same from address also gives security to your readers, allowing them to get familiar with your sending.
While the permission reminder is not mandatory, we do recommend you keep this information in your email. The permission reminder allows your subscribers to reconfirm their interest in receiving your email communications.
Use a recognizable tagline or company name in your subject line
Add a subject line with a tagline or your company name so that customers recognize the email is coming from you. Here’s an example: Benchmark Email Newsletter
Stay consistent and add a tagline in your subject line every time. The more you do this, the less chance you’ll get marked as spam.
Text to image ratio
The percentage of text should be higher than the percentage of images. Therefore, we recommend a ratio of 60% text to 40% images.
Some inbox’s automatically block images to prevent possible viruses, e.g., Outlook. However, if users don’t understand what the email is about based on the text provided, they could report the email as spam.
HTML and plain text version
Every email sent from our system contains a text version and an HTML version. If you duplicate a previously sent email, make sure your new HTML version is synced with the plain text version. Both plain text and HTML versions must have the same or very similar content. New emails will automatically sync as you create your content; however, emails that have been duplicated will carry over the previous plain text.
If you are still having trouble improving your email delivery, please contact our support team via email, and one of our experts can review the account and help you achieve your delivery goals.