Email marketing is often lauded as the “easy” way to build your startup. It is true, email marketing is an efficient an effective way to keep your customers informed, build your network, and drive growth.
But it is also not easy.
Good email marketing takes a strong strategy, creative content that provides value and a robust list of engaged customers and prospects.
In the last few years, commercial email has changed dramatically. Just like the other elements of your brand, email accounts now have a reputation. When that reputation goes down, you lose deliverability, your emails end up in spam folders, and you see less engagement on your calls to action.
In this article, we’ve provided an outline of the emerging best practices, and helpful tools and resources that will help you evaluate and repair your email reputation.
The old way to promote through email
Not so long ago, scraping or buying emails lists, cold emailing your prospects was standard practice. Since the introduction of Canada’s anti-spam laws, commonly knows as CASL, things have changed. Buying or scraping lists today could put your business in danger, result in fines, or potentially jail time.
There are best practices that you can no longer ignore or avoid.
What is the email “blacklist”
The email blacklist is a real-time roster of senders or domains that are known to unsolicited or spam emails. ISPs use these lists to keep spam out of their users’ inboxes and improve the customer experience.
ISPs consider send rates, replies, link clicks, recipient and other metrics when determining if emails are likely to be spam. Too many messages flagged as spam and you’re on the blacklist. Once your email is put on the “blacklist” it is very hard to get out.
Email rules you need to follow
Check your reputation.
Think of your email reputation as the e-commerce equivalent of your credit score. Keep your eye on it, and if it goes down, explore the and correct the cause. You can check your email reputation at emailrep.io/
Use good list hygiene.
A good place to start is to implement a core best practice—only add new leads to your email lists that you generate yourself.
Don't buy or scape lists from other sources and make sure your list are kept up to date. A high number of email bounces may get your flagged as spam. Cleaning and maintaining your list is vital. Frequently review your list, check for bounced emails, and update accordingly. Many email marketing platforms also allow you to skip sending to unengaged contacts and services like Sendgrid and zerobounce.net/.
Avoid stop words
The content in your email matters. Email providers flag certain words and phrases as likely to be spam. The riskiest place to put stop words is in your subject line. Carefully review your email to avoid stop words to prevent your email being flagged as spam.
HubSpot has created a very thorough list of stop words to avoid.
Check your MX validation
MX record validation checks whether your email address is connected to a valid domain and has email DNS settings configured. If you are using G suite for your business email, there is now an "MX validation" to ensure your messages are delivered. You can check your MX record at https://mxtoolbox.com/
Above all, provide value
The best way to protect your email reputation is to ensure your messages provide value to your customers and community. Focusing on being helpful rather than direct sales and promotion will help you keep your messages conversational and foster the two-way communication that is necessary to maintain your email reputation and build strong relationships that last.
By following these email best practices, you’ll be able to leverage email to build and grow your business while staying off the email blacklist.
Learn more in this free webinar recording with AC Lead Generation Mentor Rob Farnham.