Increase Your Email Delivery

Email marketing success includes ensuring your email messages are delivered and have a shot at being opened. We'll take a look at some steps you can take to increase the chances your email will make it to an inbox and get opened.

Delivery issues include messages the recipient confuses with spam, simply misses, or doesn't recognize, along with filtering, blocking, and bulk-folder challenges.

Here are five methods that increase the probability your recipients will get and consider opening your email messages:

* Make sure there is a visible "update your preferences" link. It's estimated about one-third of the addresses in an average email list changes each year. By making the link available and visible you will be able to keep more of the people who want to receive you mailings. Also consider putting a link those services on your Web site.

* Use a recognized, expected and consistent sender name. When scanning overloaded inboxes, recipients may look at the sender line, subject line, or both. Stick with, a sender name that's simple, easily recognized, trusted, and expected by subscribers.

* Whenever possible use a recognized, expected and consistent subject line. Subscribers may receive hundreds of email messages each day. As they scan their inboxes, they're assessing if messages are spam or opt-in email they trust and want. You want your message to be easily, immediately categorized as "recognized and wanted."

* Test mail your message. Always send test messages to yourself and coworkers, preferably with different email clients. Testing helps uncover typos, missed changes, bad links, incorrect image paths, and potential formatting problems between email programs.

* Personalization and segmentation. The more relevant and personalized a message, the better the chance it will be recognized by a subscriber. Start small and simple. Use click-through activity to segment subscribers based on their history of which links they clicked on in the past. Then send those people messages with subject lines targeted to each interest segment.

Having your legitimate email make it past the throngs of spam in most subscribers box in an ever-increasing challenge. Consistency, relevance and giving subscribers a way of making you aware of address changes are some of the best techniques to employ in an effort to get you emails opened. We will continue to look at ways of increasing deliverability in future issues.

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