You may experience deliverability issues for several reasons. In this article we discuss some of these and offer our solutions and best practices. When applying these solutions, please bear in mind that the improvements will not be felt overnight and may take a significant amount of time before they produce satisfying results.
If you are looking for guidance in relation to warnings, look here: Warnings in email content.
As a quick reminder, here is the onboarding video about Deliverability with an introduction to solving some related issues:
Your emails are going to spam folders
Your emails can end up in spam folders, if you see the following cases:
- low open rates compared to the average open rate, or
- large deviations between ISPs for the same campaign, and
- high percentage for the inbox monitor Spam column.
To fix this, you need to re-build your reputation with the respective ISPs.
As a first step to prevent further problems, you need to exclude all contacts from the affected domains from your everyday marketing campaigns and set up a different approach only for those contacts. To understand why the ISP treats you as a spammer you can check the following:
- Are you sending high volumes to non-engaged contacts for that domain?
- Are you getting a high number of bounces from that domain?
- Do you have complaints coming from that domain?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, you can formulate a strategy to win back the trust of your contacts – and with this the trust of the ISP.
You have engagement issues
As a general rule of thumb, your reputation can be improved if you focus on your contacts who are already engaged. Create a segment that contains all contacts from a particular domain that have responded to any of your marketing emails in the past 90 days. Anyone else from the same domain should be excluded until you gain back your reputation. Once you see your open rates improving, you can increase the target segment. For example, you can modify the segment criteria to contain all contacts that have engaged with your emails in the last 180 days. Once your reputation is back to normal, you can start sending again without strict exclusions.
You are sending to spam traps
The other reason for being put into spam folders is if you send to spam traps. There are two types of spam traps:
- Recycled email addresses – Recycled spam traps are email addresses that once belonged to an actual person but have been abandoned for a while. ISPs turn these mailboxes into spam traps, which means that the mailbox still exists (so you will not see any bounces), but belong to the ISP rather than to a person. They are used to catch senders that do not use industry best practices such as keeping a healthy database by regularly removing bounced or non-engaged contacts.
- Artificial email addresses – ISPs and spam blocklist providers also create their own fake email accounts that have never belonged to any person (and have therefore never subscribed to any marketing mailing). These are meant to catch senders that buy address lists.
There are multiple reasons for hitting spam traps:
- Your data capture points are not carefully set up, for example you do not use double opt-in (DOI).
- You try to send to a contact base that is old or has not been verified in the last year.
- You do not clean up your database of bounces and inactive contacts frequently.
- You revalidate bounced email addresses every now and then without understanding the bounce reasons.
- You buy address lists.
Your contacts are complaining about unwanted emails
If you are constantly sending unwanted emails to your contacts, at some point they will be so frustrated that they will report you as a spammer. Once someone hits the Report as spam button there is no way of getting that contact back as the ISP will bounce the message before it reaches the inbox. A spam complaint rate above 0.2% is considered high.
Emarsys automatically excludes all contacts that have previously complained about any of your previous mailings, and offers the option to exclude those who have complained about other Emarsys customers (‘serial complainers’). However, you still need to monitor those numbers carefully.
For example, if you are repeatedly seeing high numbers on the Results Summary page for Contact has previously complained, it means that something is incorrectly set with your opt-in management. These contacts should be removed from your database immediately once the complaint is registered.
If you want to regain your good reputation, your first task is to have a clean overview on how you capture and manage contact data, especially from the opt-in and DOI perspective. Once these workflows are clear and regular checks are set up, you can move forward to improve your content.