We have established the fact that despite how technology's changed the way conventional brick and mortar businesses work, email marketing remains to be a relevant part of just about any marketing campaign.
You could be a great copywriter full confidence that you can produce top quality articles that are absolutely convincing for your email newsletters. What more, you are so sure that with the emails, there is a 10% conversion rate waiting to happen!
You need to ensure that the emails can be delivered to potentially interested customers' inboxes. There isn't a point in coming up with the best newsletter based on your copywriting skills when no one is going to read them. There isn't anyone who is reading. There isn't anyone you can convert into a customer.
This is the topic that I am going to cover today – email deliverability.
Many years ago, email deliverability was never an issue. Everyone uses email services freely and without fear of being spammed. Email spamming has, unfortunately, affected how we use email. Unscrupulous business people have changed the way we communicate via one of the most amazingly effective marketing tools.
Business people should realize that they have to start consider implementing email authentication standards to ensure that customers and interested people will receive the emails that you send out.
There are instances whereby people have 10,000 email addresses in their email database and we are usually talking about a successful conversion rate of approximately 1%. What this means is that 99% of the email is not read or have been classified as SPAM!
Working on the above assumption, let's be positive and imagine that your conversion rate is double of that....2%. Out of the 100 people who DID receive the email, you are only going to be getting 2 customers who actually saw your email and buys your products.
And when you do a backward math, 2 out of 10,000 people (the number of contacts you have in your email database) equals 0.02% which is much lower than the market average. In fact, with THAT conversion rate, you may not be able to cover the cost of your email marketing campaign at all.
What is email authentication?
It now brings us all the way around to understanding what email authentication is. It is a type of software that authenticates the source of the email. It matches the computer that you are sending the email out from with the website's domain name. In the background, the email is verified, the sender (email marketer) and email recipients (recipients' ISP) is quickly being authenticated.
The purpose of email authentication is to prevent people from sending email scams or fake newsletters from the mail server, hence, reducing the amount of spam in recipients' inboxes.
There are three ways in which email authentication can be done - SPF Record, Reverse DNS and DomainKeys.
SPF is unique in a way because it will actually verify computers that are authorized to send emails out for each domain name. Computers other than the ones specified are not permitted to send emails out to the database of email addresses. The reason for this is because the majority of SPAM emails are sent via forged email addresses. When you use this email authentication method, you are telling telling the receiver that you are sending authentic emails from THIS computer and you are doing your level best to ensure that no one abuses the permission that they have given you to communicate with them. If unscrupulous people try to tap into your database and attempt to spam them, the receiver's email server recognizes that it is from a forged email address.
Implementing it is easy. All you need to do is to log into your web hosting company's cPanel and activate Email Authentication.
Reverse DNS means that the server determines the domain name and the host when email is received. They check it against the IP address to check for authenticity. By default, cPanel would have automatically installed the Reverse DNS service for you but it won't hurt to double check with the web hosting company that you are currently using.
In cPanel, DomainKeys is an email authentication system that checks incoming mails against the source to see if the emails were modified. Why? This helps ensure that the messages are coming in from the right source and it also allows for easier tracking of SPAM messages. DomainKeys authenticates if the email was REALLY sent from the domain that it claims to have been sent out from. By enabling DomainKeys under your cPanel, you help your web hosting server deliver the emails directly to the recipients' inboxes more effortlessly.
There are no two ways about this – you need to get permission from your customers or potential customers before sending them emails. You can do this with a technique we call the double opt-in or confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in procedure; with that in place, you are then permitted to send unique links to the interested subscribers so that they can verify that they are INDEED interested in subscribing to your newsletter. If they have gone through such trouble to sign up for your newsletter, you can be sure that they ARE interested in your products, services, brand or....your company.
2. Frequently Maintain Your List
Many people ignore bounced email messages because...what harm can it do? Well, let it be known that we should always try to remove undeliverable email addresses that bounces back 2 or 3 times every 30 days.
Why go through the trouble?
ISP's track the percentage of bounce back and will block them if you attempt to continually send email addresses to them.
1. Title of Your Emails
One sure-fire way to get into the wrong books of your subscribers is to put in a SPAM-related keyword. An example would be Viagra, advertisement and order now. You are only killing your own marketing campaign when these words are used.
2. Message Format
Believe it or not, spammers love to use HTML formats when sending out mass emails. According to a study done by Aweber, it was revealed that plain text messages fail to reach the recipients 1.15% of the time. HTML messages don't see the light of the day 2.3% of the time.
On top of them, HTML is bothersome because they take longer to load and takes up more disk space. So, having to choose between HTML and text messages, I believe a plain text one is much better.
I would like to reiterate and reinforce this – never use spam keywords in your email...be it title of email body. Popular spam keywords are 'medication', 'mortgages', 'making money', 'pornography'.
Some email marketers love to use images for their email marketing campaigns...for some, the images IS the email message! Some companies use a rate tracking technology to calculate the number of images that were opened up. You may choose to disable open rate tracking to prevent your email from being filtered out because it contained too many images within the content.
Unfortunately, as useful as email is, it has been a popular vehicle for email viruses too and they, most often, spread via attachments in emails. Some users who are not aware of this popular culture become victims while others who have been struck one time too many, are wary of downloading attachments or even accessing them at all.
It is always better to provide a link to a website URL to help alleviate their fears. It also reduces the size of the email message which means faster loading time.
4. Especially for Malaysians
Malaysians, before implementing their marketing campaign, should contact two very important parties. One, their web hosting company. Two, the Internet Service Provider. The reason is that both these parties do have a cap over the number of emails you can send out per hour.
For example, you may have 10,000 email addresses in your email database but your web hosting company may have capped it all off at 400 emails per hour. On top of that, your ISP could have set the limit to 10MB per hour. These are merely examples that I am using, every ISP and web hosting company have their own limits.
Anyway, we have to be cautious not to exceed those limits because the IP or website may be blocked...by BOTH your ISP and web hosting company.
For those who are using an email marketing software, set your limit. For example, the software should only be queuing up 399 emails for sending every hour (we are using the example of 400 per hour, as per example above) and it should automatically queue the others up for sending when the 399 emails have been sent.
Here, I would like to wish you all the best with your email marketing campaign. If you have any questions about how to implement your very own email marketing campaign, do feel free to contact me any time or you can use our contact form. Better yet, educate yourself about online marketing and find out more information by subscribing to our newsletter.