How to get emails into the inbox

Keeping emails out of spam folders is a challenge that’s easy to overcome when you know how. Get a headstart with Rahul Makhija’s tips on email deliverability.

Before the year 2000, when mass email campaigns reached a height, email service providers established minimum rules protecting spam. To protect an individual’s interest, spam laws were introduced, imposing fines and warnings on businesses worldwide and preventing the misuse of emails as a service.

Long story short, brands want to keep raising their voices and delivering maximum ROI for their customer email communications. It typically requires minimal investment and is still considered a top marketing channel. Internet service providers want to prevent ‘bad voices’ negating their network users.

Fast forward to 2019, and we now have a ton of spam rules and spam check tools. We also have some laws in place that work in the favour of ISPs’, which analyse your email before it gets delivered to the user. If anything suspicious comes up in this analysis, the pesky junk mail folder won’t forget your brand.

Should I fear the spam box?

Wish it was so simple to make a spam-free email? If you use a good email service provider and follow its best practices, the junk box poses no threat.

Although industry statistics vary, Return Path tells us that on average 14% of emails go missing while a further 6% go straight to spam. If your spam rate is higher than this, it could be that you are:

  • Forcing emails into the inbox despite being deleted or marked as spam
  • Using outdated email data
  • Using incorrect email addresses
  • Not sending relevant emails
  • Not listening to your customers
  • Using biased messaging instead of looking at the data
  • Not segmenting preferences.

How can brands improve deliverability?

Good email sounds as easy as this: Just have a ‘good-looking’ layout, keep the content simple, add interactivity, hit send and hey presto! But the science is what happens after you click the send button, once the ball is out of your court. You have no control over anyone’s inbox.

The good news is, with a little process implementation and quality check, you can get you there. There are a few important steps to follow:

Stage one: Check email authentication

Simply put, email authentication means verifying the origin of emails or the domain attached to the address you are sending them from. The basic standards enabling different aspects of email authentication are:

  • DMARC – Domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance
  • SPF – Sender framework policy
  • DKIM – Domain keys identified mail.

Checking can be done with a send-score tool using the IP address or the email send domain.

Stage two: Follow best practice

Deliverability is not the destination but an evolving process. Once the technical consultants have put the system in place, it’s down to the digital marketers and campaign managers to be vigilant on following the process. Here’s my checklist:

  1. Get the opt-ins right
    Setting expectations is a good start to any relationship. To strengthen your links with subscribers, give them a good reason to get value out of your brand email content.
  2. Build trust and engagement
    Send relevant content which subscribers can interact with and give their feedback, so you can improve content for the next send.
  3. Use the right email marketing platform
    There’s a vast array of email service providers that have built-in tools to improve deliverability. Many are sophisticated enough to handle bounce codes, feedback loops, automation and connection optimisation.
  4. Overall list hygiene and data cleansing
    An average rate for data decay is 14% annually. So it’s important to look at data from time to time and filter emails that spark your bounce and spam rates. A good way to start cleaning data is to look at the bounce data.
  5. Use unsubscribe link
    Make it easy for subscribers to opt out from messages. As spam complaints are not shared back by ISPs, subscribers need an option other than moving emails to their spam box.
  6. Use the right sender address
    Do not use ‘noreply’ or ‘donotreply’ email addresses as ISPs often identify these as spam.

So now you have a head start on monitoring and improving the deliverability process. To get the process going, from authenticating email domains to selecting the right email marketing platform, Profusion’s consultants can help you. Connect with us for a chat and get your emails placed where they belong – in the inbox.


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Rahul Makhija


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