Creating the perfect email campaign consists of many stages; choosing target audiences, gathering information the audience will find valuable, crafting your message – the list goes on and on. But all that time, money and effort building the perfect campaign could be wasted if the message is going somewhere your audience may never look – their junk or spam folders – or is never delivered at all.
Inbox providers like Gmail and Hotmail have their own internal algorithms that determine whether your mailing will be accepted and whether it goes to a folder where the user is far less likely to see it. These companies drive the email marketing industry because they continue providing a better end-user experience year after year. They do this by rewarding those senders that provide the best and most engaging experience for their users with better inbox deliverability and accessibility rates. Here are seven ways you can be among those rewarded senders:
- Set your alt text. Google announced recently that one of the many factors its crawlers look for when it comes to SEO and organic search rankings is the alt text, so it should come as little surprise that this is also a factor in email deliverability and accessibility – especially in Gmail inboxes. The alt text essentially tells the screen readers what images they are looking at, and what these images are for. When creating email templates, take an extra few seconds to add alt text for the images in your email.
- Create text versions of your emails. One of the most overlooked yet easiest fixes in email marketing is adding a plain text version of your email. Believe it or not, in 2017 there are still people who either cannot or do not wish to receive HTML emails. Adding a plain text version of your email template is an easy way to provide some additional support to your email send. Including a text version of your email has also been proven to decrease your spam score. And adding a text version of your email is easy.
- Make sure there is a high contrast between text color and the background of the email. Ensuring there is a contrast between the text color and the background of your email is a basic rule of thumb when it comes to email marketing. Spam filters are putting more emphasis on this recently due to the increasing trend of spam and phishing attacks. In fact, having a similar text and email background color can add up to one point to your total spam score, making it more likely that your email will end up in a junk folder. Typically, a total spam score under 3.0 is what we recommend, but the lower you can get your score, the better.
- “Warm up” your domain before mail to the masses. Gmail is notably one of the most stringent email tools on the market. Google uses a reputation algorithm for their search engine rankings, and they have also chosen to include this in Gmail’s filters. If Gmail’s reputation algorithm thinks you are sending from a relatively young domain still in the “sandbox” phase, it often won’t deliver that email directly to the user’s inbox tab. Most reputations with Gmail will eventually build up over time if you follow general best practices, and usually these marketers find their way to the right side of Gmail’s reputation algorithm. While Gmail doesn’t have anything against marketing emails per se, its ongoing fight against “spam” and “phishing” messages can sometimes trap well-meaning marketers. Google also measures customer interactions with certain emails through a variety of different factors, such as opens and clicks, but most of the information for the inbox algorithm is not available to the public. Follow Google’s bulk senders guidelines for more successful conversion rates.
- Maintain your marketing lists. Maintaining and updating your marketing lists in CRM not only helps enhance deliverability, but it also helps you avoid adverse effects on your sending efforts, enhances your online reputation and could even increase your ROI. Maintain your marketing lists by monitoring excluded emails, keeping a close eye on email events, removing invalid emails and prompting customers to update their information to ensure you have the most current and accurate information.
- Keep a solid text/image ratio. Adding images to your email template is a great way to increase engagement among recipients, and the longer your audience is engaged, the higher your chance of bringing in sales. But sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing. Having images in your email is great, but you will need to maintain a solid text to image ratio to satisfy most spam filters. A bad text/image ratio in an email can add up to 2.1 points to your overall spam score, which can drastically impact the likelihood that your email will end up in your recipients’ inboxes.
- Set up an SPF record. When sending with BDWEB IT SMTP, having a valid SPF record is extremely important. The SPF record tells email recipients and their spam filters that you have given BDWEB IT SMTP permission to send these emails on your behalf. The SPF record can become an issue when sending emails because when the email server sees these emails, they appear to be coming from your domain, but it recognizes that they were actually sent through another company (BDWEB IT SMTP). Not all mail servers check SPFs, but it is a good practice to set one up to prevent your emails being flagged as fake or phishing emails.
This post originally appeared on the ClickDimensions blog and is republished.