If you send bulk emails, it’s crucial to stay updated on deliverability best practices that will keep your emails out of spam folders and ensure your IP address maintains a good reputation.
Last year, we covered what happens if you use Outlook for bulk email campaigns. The bottom line? You could get your IP address blacklisted. If that happens, any emails sent from your IP address could be blocked across the board – because the internet now thinks you’re a spammer.
It’s relatively easy to avoid this pitfall by using a respected email marketing platform, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, to send your bulk emails. However, you could also land in hot water if too many of your emails get reported as spam or filtered into spam folders automatically – and it’s becoming more common for email platforms to flag accounts that don’t follow the rules.
Here are a few tips to keep your emails out of spam folders (and keep the reputation of your IP address pristine) in 2024.
Only send to people who have opted in.
Every contact on your email list should be someone who actively opted in to receive your emails. This is time-honored advice that applied long before 2024 – but this year, it’s a good idea to strengthen your opt-in options.
Adding checkboxes to let people choose what topics and publications to subscribe to allows you to segment your subscribers, and you can also add a mandatory checkbox that won’t allow the sign-up to occur if the subscriber doesn’t check it. Checkboxes are already widely used in areas where GDPR laws are in effect.
Opt-ins are essential for keeping your list compliant with CAN-SPAM regulations. And even better, it means that all your recipients have demonstrated an interest in receiving your content! When your email arrives in their inbox, it won’t be a surprise; they’ll be more likely to open the message and click on the links, and less likely to report it as spam. And just to make sure, provide a visible way to unsubscribe in every email.
Scrub your email list.
Once you’ve narrowed down your subscription list, check your emails to make sure they’re all still active and valid. This is essential in keeping your bounce rate down! Bounce rates matter – if your rate is too high (over 5%) this can also get you blacklisted.
There are two types of bounces – soft and hard. Hard bounces can occur because of permanent errors with the email address as well as email security filters that are very strict. A soft bounce occurs because of a temporary technical problem, possibly with the recipient’s server. Blacklists are generally more forgiving of soft than hard bounces.
To keep your bounce rate low, scrub your list of email addresses that are invalid, inactive, or spam traps – email addresses that exist specifically to catch spammers. This will help keep you off blacklists and ensure your emails are going to high-potential prospects who will interact with them.
You can do this automatically using various tools, such as EmailListVerify or MailerCheck.com. A professional email marketing specialist will weed out inactive and invalid addresses if your emails bounce as well.
Warm up your IP address.
If you are gearing up to send bulk emails from an IP address for the first time, or if you haven’t sent any emails from it in more than 30 days, you can’t just go from zero to thousands. You have to warm up your IP!
Warming up your IP involves sending a gradually increasing number of emails, based on a pre-set schedule. If you do this, you can organically ensure you maintain a good reputation with ISPs as a legitimate email marketer. It’s necessary to do this, because if you go from sending zero emails to thousands, the ISPs will start paying particular attention to your IP traffic. ISPs evaluate whether an IP address is a spammer based on the volume of emails it sends, among other things.
Legitimate email marketers will naturally send more emails as their business grows, so warming up your IP address mimics this process.
Keep your messages relevant and personalized.
Finally, it’s essential to craft emails that are relevant to specific customers you’re targeting. This involves segmenting your list based on customer demographics, writing subject lines that speak to each demographic, and making sure your message is targeted.
The more relevant your emails are to each segment of your list, the less likely recipients will filter them into spam folders. It’s also important to stay aware of words that can get your emails automatically filtered into spam folders, and edit your emails accordingly.
In 2024, email marketing is still an important way to keep in touch with your subscribers. However, the trend in the US is heading toward increased privacy laws and safeguards, similar to Europe’s GDPR. We predict it’s only a matter of time before our laws are just as strict – so you’ll be ahead of the curve if you strengthen your best practices now!
Interested in setting up a professional email marketing campaign for your business? We can help! Email Kristen Nevins at email@example.com or call 707-410-7254.
Kristen Nevins, CDMP, has over a decade of experience in marketing and communications. She joined Direct Connection in early 2018 and leads the team with her extensive digital marketing expertise. You can follow Kristen on LinkedIn for more.