Email Deliverability and Cold Outreach: A Guide to Best Practices in 2023
Email is one of the most widely used communication tools in today’s digital world. It’s an essential tool for businesses and individuals alike to reach their target audience and build relationships with prospects, clients, and customers.
Email deliverability is about having the knowledge to make sure every email you send gets through to the recipient. But email deliverability can often be a challenge. This is particularly true for cold outreach emails, where the recipient may not be familiar with the sender or their brand. In this e-book, we will explore common mistakes that can harm your sender reputation and email deliverability, and provide best practices to follow in 2023 to prevent these issues.
Common Mistakes That Can Harm Your Sender Reputation and Email Deliverability
- Sending too many emails: Sending too many emails per day for each domain in a short amount of time can overwhelm your recipients and lead to them marking your emails as spam. This, in turn, can harm your sender reputation and lower your email deliverability rate.
- Using purchased email lists: Purchased email lists often contain invalid or outdated email addresses. This not only reduces your email deliverability rate, but it can also harm your sender reputation.
- Using a generic sender name: Using a generic sender name like “info” or “sales” can make your emails seem impersonal and less trustworthy to your recipients. This can lead to lower open and click-through rates, and ultimately, harm your sender reputation and email deliverability.
- Sending emails with a large attachment: Large attachments can slow down the delivery of your email and increase the likelihood of it being marked as spam.
- Failing to personalize your emails: Personalizing your emails with the recipient’s name and other relevant information can increase the likelihood that they will open and engage with your email. Failing to personalize your emails can make them seem impersonal and decrease their effectiveness.
- Using a free email service: Using a free email service like Gmail or Yahoo can harm your sender reputation because these services are often associated with spam. Additionally, free email services often have strict email sending limits, which can limit your ability to send large volumes of emails.
- Lack of segmentation: poor targeting of email campaigns in, for example, email blasts.
- Not including an easy-to–spot unsubscribe link: If people cannot unsubscribe easily, then this will result in a higher number of complaints, which leads to a bad domain reputation over time.
- List hygiene: Not addressing cleaning and removing non-targeted people from your email list. Spend time removing non-relevant people e.g. if you’re targeting CEOs, then remove people who do not fall into that category, to ensure your spam rate is low. There is no excuse for repeatedly hitting dead or dormant accounts. An email list hygiene service like AlfredKnows will help remove the duds.
- Too frequent communications: if someone has signed up for multiple campaigns, chances are they will get emails from each of those campaigns in a short amount of time. A sophisticated autoresponder platform will take care of people receiving too many emails in the same 24- hour period.
- Sending emails erratically: A targeted, well structured approach to email sending will avoid this.
Pillars for email deliverability
The two main pillars for email deliverability are technical infrastructure and engagement. Good email technical setup ensures the domain and IP authentication align. Not being properly authenticated will harm your deliverability out of the gate and trip up your scaling. Following best practices here will yield results from the outset. Good deliverability leads to good scalability in most cases.
Managing engagement is the second ongoing best practice for email marketing. Within this, accurate targeting is the main objective to keep the domain reputation in good standing.
In terms of further detail, we need to pay attention to:
- Open rate vs. Open reach. Open rate is about how many subscribers open emails however open reach is about how many unique subscribers there are over a given period of time – so open reach is the best metric for measuring engagement.
- Tracking subscriber rates in detail. How did people sign up to the list? Was it through free trials, lead magnets, influencer campaigns? To find out how people signed up can improve the subscriber quality – which is simply doing more of what’s working well.
- List size vs subscriber engagement – this is an analysis of quality vs quantity. A 30% open rate on a list of 8,000 subscribers vs a 10% open rate on 20,000 subscribers will have more impact on your campaign.
Best Practices to Follow in 2023:
- Use a professional email service: Using a professional email service like SendPad can increase your email deliverability and help protect your sender reputation. These services offer robust email delivery and anti-spam tools, as well as detailed analytics and reporting.
- Build your email list organically: Building your email list organically, through sign-ups on your website or through events and promotions, is a much more effective and sustainable way to grow your email list.
- Personalize your emails: Personalizing your emails with the recipient’s name and other relevant information can increase the likelihood that they will open and engage with your email. Personalization can also help build a relationship with your recipient and improve your sender reputation.
- Test your emails: Test, test, and test again! Testing your emails before you send them can help ensure that they are properly formatted and free of mistakes. It can also help you identify any issues that might harm your sender reputation and email deliverability, such as a large attachment or a generic sender name. For example, if you find that your emails are getting marked as spam, you can make changes to the content or layout to improve the chances of them being delivered to the inbox.
- Segment your email list: Segmenting your email list into smaller, targeted groups can increase the relevance and effectiveness of your emails. It can also help you avoid sending too many emails at once and reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.If you’re concerned about additional work, start with the easier welcome emails, basic follow-up sequences and emails regarding cart abandonment.
- Monitor your sender reputation: Monitoring your sender reputation can help you identify and address any issues that might harm your email deliverability. There are many tools available that can help you monitor your sender reputation, including Sender. Keeping a close eye on your email metrics and sender reputation is important to ensure that your emails are reaching the inbox and engaging with your subscribers.
- Avoid sending image-only emails: While images can be an effective way to communicate, relying solely on images to convey your message is not recommended. Spam filters are often set to block image-only emails as they can easily be used to conceal spam-like content.
- Follow Content Best Practices: The content of your email is just as important for providers as it is for the recipients. Inbox providers and spam filters are able to detect if your email content has spam-like qualities, such as attachments, subject lines in CAPS, links pointing to unsecure websites, or grammatical errors. To ensure that your email delivery is not impacted, make sure that your content is well-crafted, error-free and adheres to best practices.
- Make sure you are sending to people who have specifically signed up for your emails: Purchasing email lists or sending to recipients who have not explicitly opted in to receive your emails is a surefire way to harm your sender reputation. Inbox service providers and spam filters are able to detect such practices and penalize you accordingly.
- Use a simple subscription process: The process of subscribing to your email list should be straightforward and easy to understand. Be clear with how subscribers’ email addresses will be used, and consider using a double opt-in process or captcha to further validate the authenticity of subscribers.
- How many and how often. Establishing a cadence – finding the right frequency for sending emails is important – if you send too many emails, your subscribers may start to feel bombarded, but if you send too few, you may miss opportunities to engage with them. The key is to test different cadences to see what works best for your audience and adjust accordingly.
- Follow email marketing best practices: There are many best practices for email marketing that can help you improve your email deliverability, such as using a clear and concise subject line, keeping your emails short and to the point, and avoiding the use of all caps, excessive exclamation marks, and spam trigger words. By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your emails are delivered to the inbox and that they are well-received by your recipients.
- Building strong practices around consent, engagement, and user satisfaction has been a path to deliverability success for several years. Layering on new technologies around authentication, interaction, and branding will bring your email program a new more engaging experience to your subscribers.
- Creating engaging, relevant, and valuable content that drives engagement and encourages people to look forward to your emails.
When it comes to email deliverability, a lot of factors come into play. To ensure that your emails are being received by your intended recipients, it’s important to understand how data collection, authentication, engagement, technical configuration, and consumer feedback all play a role.
First and foremost, it’s important to take a closer look at your data collection practices. Make sure that you’re collecting data in a responsible and ethical manner and that you’re fully compliant with privacy laws. This will help build trust with your subscribers and prevent your messages from being marked as spam.
Authentication is also critical when it comes to email deliverability. Implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC with fully aligned domains will help increase confidence that messages are actually delivered from your domain. These solutions work together to prevent brand spoofing and phishing, which can have a positive impact on email delivery speeds and increase consumer trust in your brand. In 2023, you will increasingly hear that DKIM alignment is now a minimum prerequisite for reliable delivery.
Engagement is also a key factor that affects email deliverability. Mailbox providers use engagement metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and spam complaint rates, to determine if your messages are worth delivering to the inbox.
Finally, technical configuration and consumer feedback are important factors that can affect email deliverability. Make sure that your technical infrastructure is set up properly, and monitor your reputation metrics to ensure that you’re providing a positive email experience for your subscribers. Additionally, be open to feedback from your subscribers and make changes to your email campaigns as needed.
Deliverability is more than just reaching the inbox of your recipients; it’s about your email message being received and seen when and how you expected it to be. This means that you need to focus on sending email that your users are expecting and/or will be grateful to receive. If you’re sending irrelevant or unwanted emails, your users are much more likely to mark your messages as spam or unsubscribe, which can negatively impact your email deliverability.
In addition to sending relevant and valuable content, it’s also important to authenticate your email and monitor your mail flows.
Another factor to consider is accessibility. Email is increasingly being opened and viewed on all manner of devices and ways, so it’s important to ensure that your email messages are optimized for all types of devices. This includes using responsive design, ensuring your email is easily readable on both desktop and mobile devices, and using a readable font size and color.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your email messages are delivered to your recipients’ inboxes and are seen and interacted with in the way that you intended. This will help you build a positive sender reputation and increase your chances of high deliverability for your email campaigns in 2023.
Easy Mistakes to Make
In the fast-paced world of email marketing, it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re under pressure or when you’re under-resourced. Whether you’re dealing with tight deadlines, limited resources, or both, it’s important to understand how these challenges can impact your email marketing efforts and how you can avoid making costly mistakes.
Here are some common scenarios that email marketers find themselves in and how they can avoid making mistakes that can harm their email deliverability and bottom line. We’ll also discuss why it’s important to reveal these mistakes, even if it’s not in the best interests of the author, for the good of email deliverability.
Typical Scenarios that Email Marketers Find Themselves In:
- Tight Deadlines: When you’re dealing with tight deadlines, it’s easy to overlook important details that can impact your email deliverability. For example, you might rush through the email creation process and forget to personalize your emails or include a clear call-to-action.
- Limited Resources: When you’re working with limited resources, it’s easy to compromise on quality in order to meet your goals. For example, you might use a generic sender name or purchase email lists to save time and effort.
- Both: When you’re dealing with both tight deadlines and limited resources, it can be especially challenging to maintain high standards for your email marketing efforts. For example, you might be forced to send out a large number of emails in a short amount of time, which can overwhelm your recipients and lead to lower open and click-through rates.
- Not sending the right message to the right user at the right time.
- Not sending enough emails.
- Not using active seeds: If you send B2B emails, it’s extremely beneficial to use active seeds. An active seed is an email address that is used to test the deliverability of your emails. By using active seeds, you can monitor your deliverability rates, identify any issues, and make adjustments as needed. A good seed system is InboxAlly, for example.
How to Avoid Mistakes
- Plan ahead: When you’re working with tight deadlines, it’s important to plan ahead and allocate your resources effectively. This includes taking the time to create a high-quality email that is personalized, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
- Use a professional email service: When you’re working with limited resources, it’s important to invest in a professional email service that can help you maintain high standards for your email marketing efforts. For example, you might use a service like Mailchimp or AWeber, which offer robust email delivery and anti-spam tools, as well as detailed analytics and reporting.
- Test your emails: Before you send out your emails, it’s important to test them thoroughly to ensure that they are properly formatted and free of mistakes. This includes checking for proper personalization, a clear call-to-action, and a subject line that is engaging and relevant to your target audience.
- Segment your email list: Segmenting your email list into smaller, targeted groups can increase the relevance and effectiveness of your emails. It can also help you avoid sending too many emails at once and reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.
- Monitor your sender reputation: Monitoring your sender reputation can help you identify and address any issues that might harm your email deliverability. There are many tools available that can help you monitor your sender reputation, including Sender Score, which measures your reputation based on the quality of your email content, list management practices, and sender behavior.
- React quickly when you see user engagement dip.
- Send at least one email a week to keep email sending regular and your email campaign viewers engaged in your information.
- Transactional vs. marketing emails: Be mindful of the type of emails you send. Marketing emails should be sent from a dedicated marketing email service, while transactional emails should be sent from your transactional email service.
- Relevance: Ensure that you are sending relevant and valuable messages to your subscribers. Sending irrelevant or unwanted emails can lead to low engagement and increase the risk of your emails being marked as spam.
- Send your emails like clockwork. Ideally, on the same days and at the same times. This supports your inbox placement in several ways. First, sending emails regularly keeps your IP warm. Also, you build familiarity with your list. People will become accustomed to seeing you in their inboxes, so they’ll be more likely to engage. Familiarity boosts your brand awareness, too. So, while you’re helping your click rate, showing up consistently keeps your business top of mind.
Creating and sending engaging, impactful, and relevant content is crucial for email deliverability and high engagement. By sending content that your recipients want and expect, you are affirming their interest in your brand and increasing the likelihood that they will interact with your emails.
To create high-quality content, focus on delivering value to your audience, using visuals, and including personalization. When you create content that your contacts are excited to receive, they will be more likely to open and interact with it, which sends positive signals to mailbox providers that your content is valuable and deserves to be delivered to the inbox.
Managing the lifecycle of your email contacts is another important factor in email deliverability. Over time, some of your contacts may disengage or stop using their email addresses, and it’s important to remove them from your mailing list so that you’re not sending emails to inactive recipients. This can have a negative impact on your sender reputation, and mailbox providers are likely to flag your emails as spam.
In conclusion, email deliverability and cold outreach are critical components of any successful email marketing campaign. By avoiding the common mistakes that can harm your sender reputation and email deliverability, and by following the best practices outlined.
Remember, when it comes to email deliverability, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity, to personalize your emails, and to monitor your sender reputation on an ongoing basis. By doing so, you’ll be able to send targeted, relevant emails that are well-received by your recipients and that deliver the results you’re looking for.