Blue Utopia Blog

Email Deliverability 101

Mon, Sep 12, 2016 - 10:11 AM

Did you know that well over 50% of all email is spam?  And that number has been reported as high as 90% in years past.  The reason you don’t see the vast majority of spam email is because ISP’s do a very good job of filtering that out for you.  But the systems are not perfect and one consequence of that is that about 22% of legitimate email never makes it to the inbox. 

Create great content that people want.   ISP’s use all kinds of metrics when processing your email. Many of the individual things they look at roll up to what is referred to as your sending reputation.  The performance of your emails does lot to determine your sending reputation.  For instance, a high percent of opt-outs or consistently low open rates can hurt your sending reputation and hence, your ability to deliver future emails.  Solve that by creating content that your readers look forward to, read, and engage with.     

Keep your database clean.  When you send out a broadcast email, if you’re sending to a high number of bad email addresses, or if you’re sending to an address that has bounced in the past or a spam-trap – these hurt your reputation and can have an impact not just on your future email sends but can put even your current email at risk.    

Have a clear unsubscribe.  A clear and easy way for a recipient to stop receiving your emails is critical.  First, many ISPs will not even deliver if they can’t programmatically identify an opt-out mechanism.  Additionally, you risk recipients flagging you as spam.  Why?  Because people frequently take the easy route.  If someone doesn’t want your email and there’s an easy to use method for flagging your message as spam and a not-so-easy way to unsubscribe, then they’ll choose the easy way.  Spam reports are a killer for your ability to deliver your email.

Pick a reputable broadcast email vendor.  You simply cannot deliver a bulk list of emails from a personal email account.  Personal email systems are not set up for queuing and metering your send requests.  A personal email system also won't likely have many of the required authentication systems in place such as; SPF records, DNS (A) records, an IP address with a stable reputation, and many more.         

Avoid ‘unlimited’ email plans.  Just sending thousands of emails is not complex.  But doing all the things that are required to help you deliver emails to your supporters’ inbox is not simple at all.  Choosing an email vendor that offers a great-sounding unlimited emails is usually the surest way to deliver a bunch of emails to the bulk/junk folder.           

This post was designed for political campaigns and, as such, is designed as a quick start to the subject matter.  For more info on our approach to blog content, check out our Welcome Message: Scope and Intent.  If you want to know more about deliverability, there are some great resources.  One we recommend is Return Path's Deliverability Guide.

  • Share It!