While email marketing can be an extremely effective lead generation and nurture tool, there are inevitable mistakes even experienced marketers don’t know they’re making. For instance, do you know whether you’re on a blacklist? You can be creating the most compelling content and offers, but if you’re on a blacklist, your emails will never reach your recipients’ inboxes.
Here are our solutions to five of the most overlooked issues email marketers encounter that they don’t even realize they have in the first place.
1. You’ve Been Blacklisted
Sometimes you think you’re doing everything right: You’ve designed an excellent email marketing campaign, segment your audience for maximum open and click rates, including multiple calls to action, and scheduled delivery in the middle of the sweet spot. But, alas, you’ve been blacklisted.
If you’ve been blacklisted, then many of your emails will not be delivered, and you will notice a dramatic decrease in email open rates and an increase in bounced messages. Here are a few tricks to ensure that your emails don’t get stuck in:
- Ease into your new IP address. Start emailing only your most targeted and responsive lists and work your way up.
- Allow recipients to opt out. Highlight your opt out link, especially in early correspondence with new email addresses. If a recipient chooses to opt out, the email’s link should take them directly to the unsubscribe page.
- Give the purchased lists a break. No matter where you stand in the debate, marketers buy lists. Make sure that some email campaigns contain no purchased email addresses.
- Check yourself before you wreck yourself: Verify that all email addresses in your database are valid. Sending to misspelled or nonexistent email addresses not only flags you as a spammer but increases the amount of bounced email responses in your inbox.
- Pay close attention to the balance between text and images. Try sizing down images and beefing up your email’s text if you find yourself blocked.
- Don’t continue to email invalid or full mailboxes. You may have to adjust your email delivery system’s settings for hard bounces.
- Monitor new subscriber lists. Ease into your new email contacts and begin communications with stringent design rules until you’ve determined how their email clients filter your messages.
- Email responsibly to maintain a flawless reputation. Maintain an open line of communication with email recipients, so they do not report you as a spammer.
2. Too Many Images
Certain things work great for your website but will ruin your emails. It’s great to have pretty images in your email. Still, emails that contain more images than text run a high risk of being flagged as spam or sent to the junk folder and, unless your recipient has already opted into always displaying images for you, your images are going to display as boxes.
When your entire email is a box, there’s nothing to pull the recipient in and make them want to read your email. Well-styled, immediately digestible text that will help your email both on its journey to the inbox and your readers’ eyeballs.
3. Your Email Great in Gmail, but Awful in Outlook
Just because you defined your font somewhere in the email and it looks great in your marketing automation software and Gmail, it doesn’t mean it will render the same in Outlook, mobile, or other email clients. Make sure you re-define the font-family and font-size for each table cell or a new set of text to avoid the dreaded Times New Roman.
Marketing automation software like Sugar Market includes mobile responsive drag-and-drop email builders and preset templates, so you don’t have to worry about email coding again.
4. You’re Getting Filtered Out
We usually love our spam filter for protecting us from all sorts of poorly targeted solicitations. Then we watch it transform into a six-headed monster when it’s time to send a marketing campaign that we know is more relevant to our recipients than diet drugs and personal data requests.
To help you play nice with increasingly sticky spam filters, we put together a list of best practices to follow during your email marketing efforts:
- Include plain text in your email. Emails that are entirely HTML or include just images and links are flagged for spam. Personal emails contain plain text, so having this text will tell spam filters that you are a real person—not a spammer.
- Know your target audience. Which email clients do they most commonly use? Which browser do they prefer? Knowing these things will allow you to design your email with the audience in mind.
- Avoid using attachments. One of the dangers of spam is it can contain virulent attachments. Uploading and hosting images and creating links instead of attachments will avoid spam rules and help your emails load faster.
- Avoid using phrases that can trigger spam filters. Many spam filters function by text alone, and a high density of risky keywords means that your mail will be caught and flagged as spam.
- Avoid red text in your emails. Since red text usually appears in phishing emails, spam filters will pick up on it and grab your emails away from inboxes.
5. Your Preheaders Aren’t Meaningful
You focus so much energy on creating the perfect subject line, but what about the text from your email that gets pulled in right after the subject ends? Preheader text is usually pulled from the content at the top of the email.
Email marketers often place content-irrelevant hyperlinks such as “display in browser” or “forward to a friend” in that space, not realizing this text appears in the preheader.
Think about what you want your recipient to read immediately after the subject line. Do you want it to be the beginning of your message to them? Your company name? An attention-grabbing phrase? Whatever it is, “Display problems?” and “Company Logo” probably didn’t come to mind.
If you’re new to email marketing, this might seem like an overwhelming amount of information to remember. Take advantage of marketing automation tools that enable you to score your emails’ potential for being filtered as spam. Preview your emails to as many clients as possible on as many devices as you can. And as always—test, test, test.