Email marketing is a critical piece of your overall e-commerce growth strategy and lets you reach out to your customers and prospects directly, promote your products and services, and drive sales. While many marketers will focus on open and click rates of emails, the success of your email marketing campaigns depends largely on the ability to ensure that your emails make it to your subscribers’ inboxes. Poor email deliverability can hurt your sender reputation, decrease your open rates and ultimate lead to lost sales.
So, let’s talk about some actionable tips to improve your email deliverability and avoid common mistakes that can harm your sender reputation and hinder your business success. By implementing the best practices we’ll share, you can maximize the impact of your email campaigns and drive revenue growth for your e-commerce business.
Understanding Email Deliverability
Email deliverability is the ability of your emails to reach your customers’ inboxes instead of being blocked or sent to spam. It is influenced by various factors, including sender reputation, authentication, and content quality. Understanding these key components is essential to improving email deliverability for your e-commerce business.
Sender reputation is the perception that internet service providers (ISPs) and email service providers (ESPs) have of your sending practices. It is based on your email sending history, including the volume and frequency of emails sent, the number of complaints received, and the level of engagement from your recipients. Maintaining a good sender reputation is critical to ensuring your emails are delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes.
Authentication involves verifying the identity of the sender and ensuring that the email has not been tampered with during transmission. It includes implementing DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) protocols. These authentication protocols help to establish trust with ISPs and mailbox providers and improve email deliverability.
The content of your email also plays a crucial role in email deliverability. ISPs and mailbox providers use spam filters to identify emails that are likely to be spam or malicious.
To avoid being flagged as spam, ensure that your emails are well-designed, include a clear call-to-action, and are relevant and valuable to your subscribers. Avoid using spam trigger words or phrases such as using ALL caps, or lots of symbols.
Review your image-to-text ratio within your emails — an over-reliance on images may trigger flags and send your email to spam. We see this happen with many e-commerce businesses and then they are puzzled as to why only 40% of their audience actually engages with their email. When you do use an image, add alt text to help pass through filters.
Finally, make sure that every email has an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. It does not need to be prominent but it’s important to give customers an option to unsubscribe to be compliant.
Common Reasons for Emails Being Filtered or Blocked by ISPs
Emails can be filtered or blocked by ISPs for various reasons, including:
- Poor sender reputation
- Lack of authentication
- High complaint rates
- High bounce rates
- Spam trigger words or phrases
- Inappropriate content or subject lines
To improve email deliverability, monitor your sender reputation regularly, authenticate your emails, and follow best practices for email content and design. By doing so, you might increase the chances of your emails reaching your subscribers’ inboxes and drive engagement and sales for your e-commerce business.
Best Practices for Improving Email Deliverability
Email deliverability is critical to the success of your e-commerce business. To ensure your emails make it into your subscribers’ inboxes, here are some best practices to follow:
- Building a quality email list through permission-based marketing
- Properly segmenting and targeting email campaigns to relevant audiences
- Ensuring consistent sender identity and authentication through DKIM, SPF, and DMARC
- Sending emails from different domains so yours doesn’t get flagged
- Optimizing email content for engagement and avoiding spam triggers
- Monitoring and managing sender reputation and email performance metrics
- Using an email warming service
Let’s talk about each of these best practices a little more in-depth.
1. Building a quality email list through permission-based marketing
A quality email list is the foundation of successful email marketing. Building an email list through permission-based marketing means obtaining consent from your subscribers to receive your emails. This ensures that your subscribers are interested in your content, which can lead to higher engagement and fewer complaints.
2. Properly segmenting and targeting email campaigns to relevant audiences
Segmenting your email list and targeting your campaigns to specific audiences can significantly improve email deliverability. By sending relevant content to your subscribers, you can increase engagement and reduce the likelihood of them marking your emails as spam.
One of the best is to create a list of engaged email subscribers, like those who have opened and clicked on the last 10 emails they’ve received. For women’s fashion businesses, we’ve found that segmenting emails by category interest — through both their view and purchase history — helps us when we want to highlight new arrivals. We can alert those customers who are more likely to be interested and more likely to purchase.
3. Ensuring consistent sender identity and authentication through DKIM, SPF, and DMARC
Consistent sender identity and authentication are crucial for establishing trust with ISPs and mailbox providers. Implementing DKIM, SPF, and DMARC protocols helps ensure that your emails are real and not spoofed or tampered with during transmission.
4. Sending emails from different domains so your main domain doesn’t get flagged
Sending emails from different domains can be an effective way to avoid getting flagged by ISPs. It can also help improve deliverability by establishing a positive sender reputation for each domain. We recommend setting up and warming (see point 7 below) 2-3 different domain names that you can use for your emails. Some examples might include get(brand name).com, try(brand name).com, etc.
5. Optimizing email content for engagement and avoiding spam triggers
Creating engaging email content and avoiding spam triggers can help increase email deliverability. Using clear subject lines, personalization, and a clear call-to-action can encourage recipients to open and engage with your emails. Personalization isn’t just about using a first name. You can also include products that you think the customer may love by using dynamic product feeds.
6. Monitoring and managing sender reputation and email performance metrics
Monitoring your sender reputation and email performance metrics can help identify and address issues affecting email deliverability. Keep an eye on bounce rates, complaint rates, and engagement metrics to optimize your email campaigns.
7. Using an email warming service
Consider using an email warming service if you’re starting a new email program. These services gradually increase your email sending volume over time, helping to establish a positive sender reputation and improve email deliverability. We recommend using a MailReach as their service is easy to use and very affordable. You can check them out here.
Following these best practices can improve your email deliverability and drive engagement and sales for your e-commerce business.
Best Practices for Email Content
The content of your emails is a critical factor in determining the success of your email campaigns. There are a few best practices you need to follow in order to be successful. The first is to have as few Klaviyo sections as possible. When designing your email templates, keep your emails concise and easy to read, which can help increase engagement and reduce the likelihood of them being flagged as spam.
Next, you’ll want to include HTML text blocks wherever possible in your emails. Including HTML text blocks in your emails is essential for improving deliverability. Text blocks are more accessible to visually impaired subscribers who use screen readers and are more likely to be identified as legitimate content by mailbox providers.
You’ll also want to add alt-text to all your images. This helps improve accessibility and can also help improve email deliverability. Alt-text is used by mailbox providers to verify that the images in your email are relevant to the content and not spammy.
Next, avoid spam trigger words like “guarantee” or “money-back.” This is because using words or phrases that are known to trigger spam filters can hurt your email deliverability. Avoid using words like “guarantee” or “money-back” in your subject lines or email content to reduce the risk of your emails being flagged and thought of as spam. Also avoid excessive use of symbols (like !! or ******) and ALL CAPS!
You’ll want to compress your images before including them in your emails. This can help reduce email file size, which is crucial for avoiding delivery issues. Use an image compression tool to reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality. On average we recommend between 50 – 75kb per image.
Avoiding Common Email Deliverability Mistakes
When it comes to email deliverability, there are several common mistakes that e-commerce businesses should avoid. These things might seem like good ideas at the time, but they will hurt you in the long run. The first thing is purchasing or using third-party email lists. Using purchased or third-party email lists can lead to high bounce rates and damage your sender reputation. If you choose to obtain lists from events or other places to import them, run them through an email verification service to ensure that they are real emails that you are uploading and send them a first email to explain why they’re receiving emails from you and to receive permission from them.
You’ll also want to avoid sending emails to inactive or unengaged subscribers. This is because continuously sending emails to unengaged subscribers can cause ISPs to flag your emails as spam and hurt your deliverability rates. Regularly clean your list by sending automated emails to subscribers who don’t engage with your emails every 6 months.
The next thing to avoid is using misleading or spammy subject lines and content. Using click-bait subject lines or including spammy content can harm your sender reputation and decrease the likelihood of your emails reaching the inbox.
Another mistake that can be made by inexperienced email marketers is neglecting to comply with CAN-SPAM and GDPR regulations. Failing to comply with email regulations might not seem like a big deal, but it is! It can lead to hefty fines and harm your business reputation. So, don’t do it.
Ignoring feedback loops and bounce management is another issue. Feedback loops and bounce management are essential for maintaining your sender reputation and ensuring your emails are being delivered.
Last of all, not troubleshooting your email deliverability issues is a big problem. It’s important to monitor and troubleshoot any email deliverability issues promptly to prevent them from harming your sender reputation and negatively impacting your email campaigns. So, how exactly does troubleshooting email deliverability issues work? Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Troubleshooting Email Deliverability Issues
Even with the best practices in place, sometimes email deliverability issues can still arise. To diagnose and resolve these problems, it’s important to understand the common issues that can impact email deliverability.
The first thing to look at is low open rates. They may be due to unengaged subscribers or a lack of personalization in your emails. So, if this happens, consider segmenting your email list based on subscriber behavior and interests, and send targeted emails with personalized content.
If you start seeing high bounce rates, you might be dealing with invalid email addresses, suppressed profiles, or sending emails to unengaged subscribers. To resolve this, you’ll want to regularly clean your email list and remove inactive subscribers. It’s also important to monitor and manage your email bounces and handle them effectively. Email complaints and unsubscribes can damage your sender reputation and affect your email deliverability. Respond to these issues promptly and effectively to prevent further damage.
You’ll also want to utilize email deliverability tools and resources to diagnose and resolve problems, such as email blacklist monitoring, spam score testing, and email authentication checkers.
Advanced Strategies for Better Email Deliverability
Implementing email authentication techniques like DMARC and BIMI can improve your email deliverability and enhance your brand’s trustworthiness. Using dedicated IP addresses and email service providers (ESPs) can also improve your sender reputation and deliverability rates.
Email deliverability testing and monitoring tools can help you stay on top of email deliverability issues and ensure your emails reach the inbox. Building a strong sender reputation through engagement and positive user feedback is also important for long-term email success.
Keeping up-to-date with email industry trends and best practices can help you stay ahead of the curve and continuously optimize your email deliverability. We love using Klaviyo Academy and other resources to stay up-to-date and continue to learn.
Improving email deliverability is crucial for the success of your e-commerce business. By implementing best practices, troubleshooting issues, and utilizing advanced strategies, you can improve your email deliverability and drive more sales.
Remember to also consistently monitor and optimize your email campaigns to ensure the highest deliverability rates possible.