When it comes to deliverability, many marketers tend to simply focus on details such as optimizing their subject lines, personalizing content, and ensuring they have a streamlined design. These elements are extremely important for deliverability, but if you’re sending to inactive contacts, your genius subject line won’t matter (because it won’t get read).
Focusing on collecting good data and practicing proper email hygiene can help you build a good foundation for email marketing success. Sending to a list of contacts who want to receive your emails helps ensure your messages get delivered, opened, and read. Quality lists also keep your engagement rates high and spam complaints low — both of which are key factors in helping you secure inbox placement.
Thankfully, cleaning your lists and trimming them to include enthusiastic prospects and clients doesn’t have to be a full-time job. The following tips will put you on the right path toward collecting and using quality data and maintaining good email hygiene.
Require New Contacts to Opt-In
Employing best practices when collecting new contacts goes a long way toward improving deliverability. Requiring customers to opt-in to receive communication from you ensures they’re fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into, improving engagement and reducing the chances of them marking your emails as spam.
There are many ways for you to ask customers to opt-in when collecting their information. For customers signing up to receive communications online, requiring them to check a clear consent box to opt-in is absolutely essential. Implementing this feature into your forms and landing pages is simple with a marketing automation platform like Act-On.
For contact information obtained at tradeshows and events, we recommend following up with an opt-in email explaining who you are, when and where the prospect signed up for your email list, and what type of communication they can expect to receive from you. This ensures their email is active, reminds them who you are, and prepares them for future emails.
Avoid Bad Data at All Costs!
Third-party data is okay in certain circumstances, such as when your contacts are fully aware that the information provided will be forwarded to you. For instance, when an individual signs up to receive communications via Lendingtree.com, the contact is explicitly told that their information will be passed on and that they can expect to receive emails from third parties.
In most cases, however, acquiring third-party data can be extremely detrimental to your sender reputation and completely sabotage the efficacy of your email marketing efforts. Bad data is usually categorized as either:
- Scraped Data: In addition to being illegal in places such as Canada and the EU, scraping emails off the internet is a spammy practice that can (and will) eventually place you on a sender blacklist — decimating your reputation, which is extremely difficult to recover.
- Purchased Data: Purchasing lists has been popular for years, but it will lead to skyrocketing spam complaints. Although many third-party providers claim they’ve asked contacts to opt-in, they’re not always totally transparent, which mean recipients are often not aware of what they’re signing up for. Avoid purchasing lists to reduce spam complaints, hard bounces, and lack of engagement.
Check the Origins of Any Data You Inherit
Despite our best intentions, many of us inherit email lists containing bad email addresses. Sending just one email to a bad address can negatively impact your email deliverability and force us to redirect our efforts toward fixing our email reputation instead of where it matters most: engaging your audience. Determining the origins of the data you inherit before clicking “Send” on that first email can ensure you’re on the right path and prevent you from having to waste time fixing a damaged reputation in the future.
Check the Validity of Your Emails and Remove Unengaged Contacts from Your Lists
Practicing good email hygiene means routinely checking your lists to ensure they don’t contain spam traps and that the email addresses on your list remain active and valid. This may seem overwhelming without the proper tools, but hygiene vendors can speed up and simplify the process. Act-On integrates with Neverbounce, making it easy to review your lists and execute your email marketing strategy all in one place.
In addition to reviewing your lists to ensure valid email addresses, you also need to check for engagement (opens, clicks, conversions, etc.). Poor engagement will negatively impact deliverability and reduce your chances of landing in your recipients’ inboxes. To keep engagement rates high, you should “sunset” (remove) unengaged emails from your lists on a regular basis.
Good Deliverability Requires Consistency
In addition to empowering our existing customers with the tools and resources necessary to collect quality data and maintain clean email lists, Act-On also offers deliverability support to customers who require additional assistance.
Your organization must collect quality data and practice good email hygiene to maintain a healthy email reputation and improve deliverability. Thankfully Act-On’s powerful marketing automation platform makes it easy to establish good practices for data collection and list management across the board.