If an email gets sent out to your list, but it doesn't show up in their inboxes, does it even count?
Usually, the answer is no. You're trying to get people to open, engage with, and click on your emails -- getting delivered is the first step. And it's a big first step. If you have a poor sender reputation and low deliverability rate, you're drastically cutting down your chances of being opened and clicked on.
So make sure you're not shooting your email marketing in the foot by knowing how to figure out your current deliverability status, and tweaking your emails to improve it. The video below is the second video in a series we've put together on email marketing for beginners. We'll walk you through the basics of email deliverability, and give you tips for improving the likelihood your contacts will receive your emails.
Don't have five minutes to watch the video? Read the transcript below.
How to Get Your Emails Delivered to Your Contacts' Inboxes [Transcribed]
Hi, I'm Bryan with HubSpot. We spend a ton of time drafting email copy, designing templates, and crafting the perfect subject lines.
But have you ever stopped to ask yourself if your readers are even seeing your emails? No matter how legitimate your message is, there are many things that can affect your email reaching their inbox. It's to your benefit to know everything that can affect that. Because the last thing you want to do is build an email list, write awesome content, and then have no one read it.
Today I’m going to show you what a Sender Score is, show you how improve your Sender Score, and then give you tips to help you improve the likelihood of your message getting past the spam filters.
What is Sender Score?
There are many factors that affect your email's deliverability, but one metric that can give you an idea of where you stand is Sender Score. The Sender Score is an algorithm that ranks every outgoing mail server's IP address on a scale of 0 - 100 (with 0 being really bad and 100 being excellent).
They do this by scanning data from over 60 million mailboxes. A company called Return Path manages the Sender Score and records how many people unsubscribe and report your email as spam. They then use this data to compile your unique Sender Score.
Think of your Sender Score as a report card. Get a bad grade and you might be grounded for a few days.
That score does change over time based on your readers' response. It's a crucial number to stay on top of, because mail servers will often check your Sender Score before allowing your emails in. The lower your Sender Score is, the harder it is to get into someone's inbox. Return Path reports that a large portion of the time that emails are marked as spam, it is due to a poor reader response in the past from emails sent from that IP address.
(Editor's Note: Sender Score is extremely important to people who manage their own IP address. To learn more about that, click here.)
How do you find out what your Sender Score is?
How do you find your Sender Score? To find it, go to Return Path's registration page. You can generate a report that looks something like this:
Scores are calculated on a rolling, 30-day average and represent the rank of an IP address against other IP addresses. The closer your score is to 0, the worse it is, and if you're close to 100 you're in really good shape.
So, what's a good score? If your score is over 90 you are doing extremely well. If your score is between 50 and 80, something isn't quite right and you need to dive into the report to find out what is going on. If your score is less than 50, you probably need to rethink your email strategy.
Your Sender Score is extremely important, but it’s not the only factor in determining if your emails will get through to your readers.
Here are 8 more tips to improve the likelihood that your emails will be delivered.
1) Reach out to inactive subscribers to see if they still want to be included on your list. Doing so decreases the likelihood that they'll flag you as spam and keeps your list current and clean.
2) Ask your subscribers to whitelist you. Spam filters are aggressive, and sometimes email that people value still ends up in spam folders. By asking your subscribers to add you to their address book, it tells spam filters to back off.
3) Include a clear unsubscribe link and a physical mailing address in your email footer to help be CAN-SPAM compliant.
4) Use a familiar sender name to decrease the likelihood recipients won’t recognize you in their inbox.
5) Offer both an HTML and a plain text version of your emails. It’s not only an indicator of legitimacy to ISPs, but it also makes your emails more user-friendly.
6) Test emails you send with the email clients your subscribers use to make sure they deliver successfully to all of them.
7) Honor unsubscribes. It’s not only good for basic list maintenance, but it’s also illegal not to. If people want off your list, make it easy for them to do so, and do it stat.
8) Get email sender accreditation from a third party so ISPs know you are a trusted sender.
So remember, regularly monitor your Sender Score, and implement these eight techniques into your standard email marketing operating procedures -- doing so will increase the chances that your email will make it to the inbox. Because no one likes spam, man.
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Originally published May 13, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated June 09 2021