Your message is compelling, you’ve tweaked your design, honed your prose and targeted your relevant subscribers. The final challenge is to make sure as many of your subscribers as possible get the opportunity to read your message, by ensuring it gets to their inbox – yes, we’re talking deliverability.
We automatically take care of a number of vital aspects for you – from static IP addresses to ISP whitelisting, blacklist monitoring and RFC compliant transmission – so I won’t dwell on those here. Instead we’ll focus on things you can do to tweak that extra few percent or performance out of your message.There are a number of easy things you can do to make a real difference, without becoming an uber-geek:
Test, test, then test again:
Start with the ‘Check Campaign’ tool in your account – this will flag up any errors or content that will likely get your message incorrectly flagged as spam. Then move on to sending previews to as many email accounts as you can – we recommend testing hotmail, yahoo and AOL as a minimum. If any of these end up in the junk folder, try tweaking the content of your message. Spam filters are constantly changing so there are no set rules to ensuring that your message gets through, except for the common sense basics:
- Don’t use just images as spam filters can’t read them, so they assume the worst and flag it as spam anyway.
- Don’t overuse capital letters (that’s ‘shouting’ and generally annoying anyway), exclamation marks, especially in subject lines
- Avoid spammy phrases
- Use a consistent from name and make your subject lines clear – this will help avoid spam complaints as users will recognise you
Ask users to add you to their address book:
In many of the web-based email services, if a user adds your sending address to their address book you’ll bypass all of their spam filters and go straight to the inbox. So you want to encourage as many people as possible to do this! Try adding a line to the top of your message encouraging them – and then make sure you always use the same sending address for every campaign.
Set the Sender ID and SPF records for your domain:
This one’s a little more technical – setting up Sender ID and SPF for your domain is a way of telling ISP’s that you’re allowed to use the domain name you’re sending from, and it can help you get past some filters. To set this up you will need access to the DNS for your domain, or you’ll need to be nice to the person who does. You can find out more about setting this up in our guide.