Email marketing campaigns are a popular sales and marketing tool for many reasons, most notably its relatively low cost and high impact. Yet, organizations and businesses are missing out on these benefits with a simple issue: emails that don’t end up in inboxes. This is a common concern among marketers who see hard and soft email bounces limiting their campaign’s efficacy.
Email platforms have become more sophisticated about their junk and spam email filtering in the past few years. Recent stats show that as many as 53% of emails end up in the recipient’s spam folder, guaranteeing these messages will never be read.
With average bounce rates between 2% and 5%, your organization needs to pay attention and take action if you’re seeing anything above a 5% non-delivery. Once you hit that threshold, you’re in danger of going even higher. High undelivered rates are red flags to email platforms, which start labeling your messages as junk. You need a strategy to avoid this downturn.
1. Keep your contact lists updated
Bad email addresses are the top cause of undelivered emails. It could be that someone entered their email incorrectly, changed jobs, or doesn’t use that email address anymore. Either way, you need to stay on top of the contact information in your email lists. Data decays at about 30% each year, so you need to make regular check-ins to ensure messages are getting through to all your contacts.
2. Delete undelivered emails from your mailing list
Do not stop, do not pass go – delete those undelivered emails from your mailing list! The more you send to a bad email address, the more bounces you’ll get. As you get more bounced emails, your reputation with email platforms degrades. Remove those bounced emails from your outreach lists, but keep them in your database. Ideally, you want to replace those bad addresses with working emails. Have a system to reach out to these individuals via text, social media, or another method to get the correct contact information in your system.
3. De-spam your email messages
If you see hard or soft bounce rates to legitimate email addresses, you need to look at your messaging. Your emails are likely being flagged as spam due to their content. Common issues include broken images, formatting issues, impersonal greetings (i.e., “Dear Values Customer”), or “spammy” phrasing like “BUY NOW!” or “$$FREE$$ Samples!”.
Messaging sent with automated email systems can be especially troublesome as they don’t catch these issues and end up stuck in send as soft bounces. With a system like marketing automation, you can access integrations that flag these “spam traps.” Small changes like personalizing subject lines and checking messages on different devices can make a big difference.
4. Double confirm emails
One of the best ways to ensure you get contact information right the first time is to send an email confirmation. If your contact receives the link, they have a working address. This also helps weed out bots and enables you to stay off a recipient’s blocked list. Adding a captcha form at sign-up can help, too, as it filters out bots that may sign up en masse for email lists.
5. Focus your messaging
The more you segment and personalize your messaging, the better. Use marketing automation and your CRM to create defined outreach segments based on areas such as location, interests, and lead warmth. The more you can target your messaging, the more likely it will get opened and engaged with. Email providers use your open and engagement rates to determine if your messages are legitimate so that extra interaction has great value.
6. Rest your non-open audience
Like undelivered emails, you want to avoid sending messages to individuals who aren’t opening your emails. Though they are receiving your messages, they send them right to the trash. Those non-opens affect your open rate with a given email domain, and, just like hard and soft bounces, low open rates signal to those domains that your messages are low-quality.
Pull those “non-openers” and give them a break from your messages to correct this issue. After a few weeks, you can send a message targeted explicitly at re-engaging these individuals. Perhaps it’s offering a special discount to an upcoming event or using a subject line like “Do You Want to Hear from Us Less?” with a way to update their contact preferences to receive only certain types of emails (i.e., promotional or event-based). The goal is to get them to open your emails again on their terms.
7. Use a dedicated marketing domain
While getting a “free” email address from providers like Gmail and Yahoo can be tempting, your messages are much more likely to be received if you use a dedicated marketing email address with your own company or organization. Those using email automation platforms fall into this trap when messages are sent from the platform’s domain address rather than their own, causing them to end up in junk mail more often.
8. Test your messaging
Testing your messaging with A/B versions is critical in weeding out issues. When used with marketing automation, you can quickly identify potentially “spammy” elements of your outreach and track messaging performance on different versions of the same email.
9. Be consistent
Small businesses and non-profit organizations especially struggle with consistent outreach. Yet, organizations with a regular email cadence are more likely to end up in inboxes than those who are sporadic in their sending. Marketing automation is an excellent tool to help you keep up with consistent, relevant messaging triggered by elements like holidays, birthdays, last date of engagement, and other relevant prompts.
Regular messaging also gives recipients more opportunities to opt out if they no longer want to receive your messages. While you hate to lose a contact, it’s better to have fewer, more engaged contacts than a large number of unengaged recipients. Marketing automation is again helpful here as it can give you stats on what messages increase engagement and send targeted campaigns to those whose engagement is decreasing.
Let Us Help You Improve Your Deliverability and Boost Your KPIs
At NuGrowth, we have the tools and expertise our clients need to improve all elements of their email marketing campaigns. We work with businesses and organizations to clean up contact lists, create targeted list segments, and establish results-driven outreach journeys proven to increase engagement with best-in-the-business marketing automation tools.