Email deliverability is a pain in the ass. We used to worry about the content of a mass email and avoid spam words like free or ALL CAPS. But with the shift in recent years toward reputation-based spam filtering, email delivery tactics have changed dramatically. Now, rather than a single email getting stuck in the bulk folder, you risk damaging your sender reputation in the long run if you don’t use best practices. Below I’ve put together a few tips to ensure your email arrives in your inbox correctly.

Join the feedback loops: Comment loops let you see who’s marking your email as spam (so you can delete it). Some ISPs, like AOL, provide an easy way to join the feedback loop. For other ISPs, you may need to contact your email service provider to see if they can provide you with this information.

Delete inactive subscribers: Inactive subscribers are more likely to mark your email as spam. Sure, no one wants to deliberately reduce the size of their subscription list, but you have to think long term.

It consists of time: ISPs love it when you constantly send emails on the same day at almost the same time. Since spammers don’t care, consistency is the mark of a responsible email marketer.

Use consistent information from: Be sure to always use the same name and address. Changing the source email will require your subscribers to add each address to their address book to ensure deliverability. Also, a consistent name helps readers recognize your brand.

Use the double subscription: Double opt-in is a recommended practice required by many ISPs to be considered for
White list. Also, it protects your database from lost email addresses.

Unsubscribe link at the top: Why at the top? Because if dissatisfied subscribers can’t find you in a few seconds, they may hit the spam button, which hurts your rep. It is better to lose a subscriber than to receive a spam complaint.

Static IP address: If you send marketing emails from your own server, always send from the same IP address. If you use an email service provider, find out if they offer a dedicated IP for an additional fee. If they do, it’s worth it. Like shared web servers, many ESPs bundle many clients under one IP address. In other words, what another company does with your email marketing can affect your deliverability. It is much easier to manage the reputation of one IP address than many.

Reverse DNS: Many ISPs do a reverse DNS lookup, which checks to make sure the IP you’re sending from is authorized to send from your domain.

Whitelist reminder: Encourage subscribers to add your email address to their address book or
White list. Some ISPs view the number of times an address book is added as a sign of trust.

Get authenticated: Email authentication is confusing as hell. There are some standards out there that aren’t necessarily competitive. Sender ID Framework uses a simple SPF record with its DNS zone. Microsoft has a handy Sender ID wizard to help you create this text record for your DNS. In addition to the sender ID,
DomainKeys is another popular authentication method. Both methods help ensure deliverability and prevent spammers from spoofing your domain.

Don’t worry about SPAM words: Don’t stress about using the word “free” or
occasionally putting all caps in the subject line. I consider these tactics to be successful and do not affect delivery.

Delete bounces: Be sure to remove all hard bounces that come back as undeliverable. Repeated sending to an invalid email will send red flags with most Internet Service Providers.

Respond to the challenge answers: Occasionally, SPAM filtering software will send a response to your email asking you to confirm that you are a real person. Spend the 30 seconds it takes to do this for each challenge response you receive. It will not only ensure that this particular
the recipient gets your message, but you can also improve your reputation as a sender.

Be relevant: Nothing encourages spam complaints more than sending people things they didn’t sign up for. If they signed up for an ezine and you send them nothing more than sales pitches, you’re likely to get complaints.

Send in jets: Some ISPs have limits on the number of emails you can send in a given period of time. If you’re having trouble sending email to a particular ISP, such as Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail, see if your email service provider provides the ability to host email for a longer period of time.

Get out of blacklists: MxToolBox offers a great tool to check if your email server is blacklisted. If so, start the process of contacting each of the blacklisted services and find out the process to remove your IP.

Get whitelisted:
Achieving whitelist status with major ISPs is no small feat. if you are not
Up for the challenge, consider using an email deliverability consulting firm that specializes in this area.

For more
marketing tips and tactics, visit Palmer’s Web Marketing Blog.