There is an abundance of learning content and feature-rich email platforms available for marketers. Yet, many make mistakes with their email marketing campaigns that hurt future campaign deliverability. When your emails land in the Spam folder it affects engagement rate on your campaign and your sender reputation with it, which in turn affect your future chances of landing in the subscribers Inbox.
Check out the list below and see if you can find an opportunity to make improvements for your email marketing campaigns.
1. Not creating a plain text version of an email
You are probably thinking – who needs text only version these days? Maybe a tiny fraction of your audience, but a spam tool SpamAssasin assigns 2 points to not having a plain text version available and if the emails gets the score of 7 it is identified as spam. So 2 points out of 7 is a pretty big penalty for something that’s not that hard to execute for savvy marketers. Some email platforms (like BigMailer) auto-generate the plain text version from the html version but most, if not all, platforms don’t require the plain text version. Don’t cut corners when you create a text version either – it should match the message in the html version and not be shorter. Check out this article from Litmus on best practices for formatting plain text version for more guidance.
2. Not using a preview (aka pre-header) text
I cringe every time I see an email with a subject line followed by “View this email in a browser”. Many platforms, and BigMailer is one of them, support specifying a pre-header text which isn’t a visible element of your email. But if your platform doesn’t support it you can have a pre-header element as part of your email template design.
You should think of pre-header as a 2nd subject line and an additional opportunity to convince your email recipients to open your email. The better your open and engagement rates, the better chances you have for landing in the Inbox.
3. Using a generic or no-reply sender (from) email
It’s not uncommon for email recipients to want to reply to emails they receive with a question or feedback, which is why it’s best if your reply-to email address goes straight to your support team (or at least forwards to). You don’t want to discourage your subscribers from replying because replies are part of engagement metrics that some ISPs (like Gmail) use to determine the importance of your email to determine whether your message belongs in the Inbox or Spam folder.
Sometimes customers reply to request to be removed from a mailing list and when they see a firstname.lastname@example.org they are more likely to hit Spam or Complain buttons instead. Complaint is the worst form of engagement you can have on your email campaigns.
Furthermore, as this GlockApps article states: “Some ISPs, network spam filters, and customers’ personal email security settings are set up to move messages with “no-reply” addresses to the junk folder.” So if you care about your email campaigns’ engagement rate and future deliverability, don’t use email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org emails as your reply-to email.
4. Not using a descriptive Sender label
It takes more than a clever subject line to standout in a crowded Inbox. Your subscribers need to recognize your brand’s communication when they look at their Inbox and not wonder why they are getting this email from some person they don’t know with some cryptic subject line that promises to solve their pain point XYZ.
Here are some examples of the senders with no brand/product mention I got into my Inbox just in the last 2 weeks:
There are 3 basic options for Sender labels (not counting the method described above):
- [Brand or Product Name]
- [Brand or Product Name] + [Function, e.g. Support, Sales]
- [First Name] at/from [Brand or Product Name]
With option 3, consider the name of the person as well as your product name – is your product name a single word, 1-2 words, or longer? Will the entire label fit in the “From:” field? Whatever format you choose to go with make sure to be consistent across all your sender accounts!
5. Using a global unsubscribe from a brand
Offering subscribers a way to opt-out from certain communications instead of all has always been under utilized by marketers, but it has become a more urgent need with introduction of GDPR in May 2018. According to GDRP, the consent to receive emails should be explicit and not be bundled, e.g. if subscribers only opted into receiving product updates you can’t also send them promotional emails or messages on behalf of your partners.
You work hard building your email lists so it’s important to retain subscribers on them to not miss out on future opportunity to engage them.
6. Not allowing unsubscribe with 1-click
Some brands use “Manage Preferences” link in your footer instead of the more expected “Unsubscribe”, which is fine if it takes a user to a page where they can actually select message types they want to received from a brand (see example above). But many high profile brands link that text to a page that requires you to log into their site with your account in order to retrieve or save your preferences, because they use their own built-in-house email tools. That is a barrier to unsubscribing, which can encourage users to use a Complain option instead, and is actually against the anti SPAM laws.
7. Not testing every email with spam testing tools
While most of the mistakes above can be corrected with tools, routines, and established practices, testing every email is typically an extra step that has to happen outside email marketing platform with tools like Litmus, Email on Acid, or Glock Apps. Understandably, the step of testing an email is often skipped because of the extra effort involved. And of course sometimes even experienced marketers can’t avoid landing an occasional email in the spam folder, especially for Gmail, often due to the topic of the message.
So if your occasional email gets a low engagement rate because some spam keywords made it into your message, know that you are not alone. What really needs to happen is for marketing platforms to embed email testing into their platforms, to simplify email marketer’s campaign workflow. This is exactly what we at BigMailer are working on now and hope to delight our customers with this workflow improvement in a few weeks.
Was this article helpful to you? Were you able to identify improvement opportunities for your email campaigns? Please leave a comment – we would love to hear from you.