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Written by: host
1/31/2012 2:59 PM  RssIcon

Guidelines to Improving Email Deliverability

Designing an email can take a lot of time and effort so it is important that you take steps in the design to ensure recipients are receiving and reading your emails. Many different factors in the design and content of your email can influence the deliverability rate. Email web Services, such as Gmail, Hotmail, Xtra and Yahoo will also filter emails suspected of being spam. Therefore learning how spam filters think can decrease the chance of your email being mistakenly caught by the filters. This month’s blog will show you a few tips for increasing your deliverability rate.
Note: You do not need to get paranoid about following these tips exactly. Not following any of these guidelines does not mean your email will be marked as spam. Most spam filters will work like a points system, where the more points you get the higher the chance you will be caught out. These are just guidelines you should keep in the back of your mind during the design process.

Email web services are able to record how many of your emails are being blacklisted or sent to the junk folder by recipients. Therefore you need to take steps to ensure your emails are being read on going into the recipient’s inbox.

Test in Multiple Email Clients
Every email client interprets code differently. Therefore you should always test your email to see what it looks like in Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail etc…. A messy email that is unreadable just encourages the email not to be read and marked as junk. Check out the Campaign Monitor website to see what the most popular email clients are.

Image Content
Do not show any important information or add hyperlinks to an image. Many email applications can disable image viewing to just show the text. If you have important information or a hyperlink attached to an image it will be missed. On important images you can use descriptive ALT tags that show when the image is disabled. In HairlinkSQL you can add an ALT tag by single left clicking on the image | Clicking the IMG menu at the bottom of the editor and choosing Properties | write your text in the ALT Text field. On the P2P HTML Module you can right click on the image and choose Image Properties.
Image Size
If your image is hosted on a server the size of your image in kilobytes can influence how long your email takes to open. If it takes too long the recipient will just close it and move onto the next. Most image and photo editors now will have options to compress your images for use in emails. The best type of images to use are *.jpg, *.png and *.gif.

View in Web Browser
Although not absolutely necessary it is thoughtful to provide a link to view the email in a web browser where recipients may have trouble viewing it in their email application. The HTML Email module on the P2P website can automatically copy the email to a page on your website. As well as being thoughtful for the recipient it also creates hits on your website and updates it to increase your position in Google searches.

Email Legitimacy
Adding your Street address, phone number and other contact information as well as a reminder how the subscribers got on your list adds legitimacy to your email.

Add to Contacts Message
A message on the email reminding recipients to add your email address to their contacts list will also ensure it’s delivered to the inbox and not marked as junk which decreases your reputation. Spam filters use the concept of never take candy from stranger. Also remember not to change the address once recipients have whitelisted it.

If recipients aren’t interested in your email don’t continue to email them so they eventually mark it as junk.  Your unsubscribe message should be easily visible and accessible so clients can unsubscribe if they wish. This will keep your messages out of the junk folder and enhance your reputation

Design for the Preview Pane
Email applications will usually have a preview pane to view emails in the inbox.  Most recipients will just scan and read emails using the preview pane without opening the email up. Therefore you probably have about 500 to 600 pixels maximum to fit your email into so recipients can read it. Some preview panes will be even smaller so it may pay to show your logo / company details in the top right hand corner to be safe.


Email Frequency
Check how often your clients expect to receive emails. If you are sending emails too frequently you may be encouraging your recipients to mark your email as junk, decreasing your reputation. Ensuring the email is relevant to the recipient is also good tool to reduce frequency as well.

Email Relevancy
Send emails to clients only where the content is relevant. If they are not interested they will just mark it as junk, decreasing your reputation. Your next email may be something they would read but it will now be filed in the junk folder. In HairlinkSQL you can set up mailing lists and assign clients to them. You can then send emails to a mailing list knowing the content is relevant to them.

Subject Line
The subject line is what your recipients will use to judge whether or not to open your email. It needs to be relevant and clear who sent the message and what it is about. Try not to use any spammy words or phrases as well.

Spammy Word and Phrases
Avoid spammy words and phrases like FREE, act now, limited time, coupons, click now, open immediately, huge sale, etc. Also things like lots of exclamation marks!!!!!, bold red text, all CAPITALS and expletives are treated as suspicious as well.

Your Email Address
Make sure your email address is not something anonymous, like a free email account, eg. Would you trust a company that can’t afford a $40 domain name? In HairlinkSQL you set up your email address from Options | Setup | Misc | Internet | Reply To/From. If you wish to set up your own domain name / email address, please contact the CFL Hardware helpdesk for assistance and speak to Goran.

Good Image/Text Balance
Don’t just send an email with one gigantic image, that’s what spammers do. If an image for an invitation or voucher is all you need make sure you have text like company details or unsubscribe links to pad it out.

Sloppy Code
Make sure there are no broken images, links or tags in your email. Copying from Microsoft word also creates code that many spam filters treat as suspicious. It also uses coding that is not supported many email applications and editors.

Plain Text Email
Some spam filters don't like it when you send HTML only. They want to see HTML along with a plain-text alternative in the same email, because only a "lazy spammer" would skip the plain-text step. Also, the plain-text email should be roughly the same content as the HTML email (not just a vehicle for "visit this URL to see our HTML email in your browser!"). Also some people prefer plain text emails, especially if they are viewing emails on an iPhone or Android. The HairlinkSQL email editor does not support plain text emails, however the P2P HTML Email Module does. 

ISP Email Limits
Some ISP's mark emails as spam if too many are sent at a time. HairlinkSQL sends up to 10 emails for a maximum of 1 minute each time the background processes. Some ISP's have other limits such as 1000 emails per day. You can contact your ISP to find out what the limit is for your account and if needed request them to increase the limits. As an alternative solution to this problem emails sent using the P2P HTML Email module are not bound to a daily limit.

NZ and Australia Anti-Spam Laws
The New Zealand and Australian governments have both adopted Anti-Spam Legislation concerning the sending of unsolicited emails. It is important to take note that the company or person authorizing the sending of “spam” knows that they now have a legal obligation to comply with this legislation. It is possible that legal action may result in awards up to $200,000 for individuals and up to $500,000 for a company if major and repeated breach is proven. Read the article on the P2P website for more information on New Zealand's Anti-Spam Laws and how it could effect you.

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