Email Deliverability Best Practices

      Email Deliverability Best Practices

        Article Summary


        SMS & Email
        Supported plans

        Free, Starter, Pro, Premium, Enterprise

        eCommerce Platform

        Shopify, Shopify Plus

        Maintaining a good sender reputation is essential for every merchant. This article will reveal some of the most common best practices to keep your deliverability healthy and your emails out of subscribers' spam boxes.

        Authenticate your domain

        Your domain is one of your greatest assets. To best leverage it, you should protect it by going through domain authentication. 

        What is domain authentication, and when is it necessary?

        Whether you have sent emails before or are brand new to email marketing, you must authenticate your domain with Yotpo so we can send emails on your behalf through the platform. Even if you are using another email tool in parallel with Yotpo, you must authenticate each email service provider so they have permission to send for you. 

        An authenticated sending domain shows email providers that Yotpo can send emails on your behalf. This positively impacts your reputation as a sender and your email deliverability.

        Email service providers distrust messages that haven't set up domain authentication as they cannot be sure they are coming from you. Confirming you are the source of the messages increases your reputation and makes it less likely that the provider will filter your email. This means there's more chance your emails will get into your recipient's inbox and less likely to be marked as spam.

        How do I authenticate my domain?

        Yotpo’s support articles will guide you throughout the domain authentication process. Check out this detailed article that walks you through the steps of how to authenticate your domain with Yotpo!

        Watch your frequency of engagement

        Not all subscribers were made equal. While some subscribers might like receiving a high frequency of emails from you, others will prefer far fewer. A great way to ensure you are not frustrating any subscribers and being marked as spam is to match your email frequency with your audience’s preference, using engagement levels as a guide. 

        For instance, send more frequent emails only to your most engaged subscribers, and tune the frequency down with less engaged subscribers. You can create segments based on engagement in our Lists & Segments page — plus we have a pre-built segment for your most engaged Email Subscribers!

        One more tip is to avoid a sudden increase in the number of emails sent. MBPs are always on the lookout for suspicious activity and will mark a sudden change as suspicious; if you want to scale to more emails, keep it gradual. 

        Last but not least, be careful when sending emails to unengaged contacts. They are less likely to open and click on your campaigns, which can harm your click-through and open rates. They are also more likely to unsubscribe or mark your email as spam which affects your sender reputation.

        Create great email content

        Email content is obviously a key ingredient in the success of your marketing program. The "dos" of email content are a compelling subject line, persuasive email content, and compelling Call-to-Actions (CTAs) — all of which are essential for high conversion rates. When planning content, it's important to reflect on what types of messages your subscribers typically engage with the most. It's important to A/B test emails to understand what resonates most with your subscribers. 

        While the Do’s are important, it’s even more important to watch out for the Don’ts of Email Content to protect your deliverability and sending reputation. 

        Some of the Don’ts include: using misleading subject lines, using spammy words and elements in your preview text, and poor email content formatting like using all caps or excessive punctuation (!!!!!! or ??????). These things might lead to a customer marking you as spam and impact your deliverability. 

        Here are just a few examples of spammy words to avoid: 

        • Salacious or inappropriate phrases  
        • Phrases that are manipulative or create pressure (action required, URGENT, don’t delete, hurry up, etc)
        • Far-fetched/too good to be true language (100% free, at no cost, be your own boss, big bucks, fast money, lose weight, while you sleep)
        • Ethically questionable or shady language (billing, cure, address, loan, miracle)
        • Anything that says it isn’t spam (this isn’t spam, this isn’t junk, we are legal)

        Subscriber list hygiene

        Your subscribers are your greatest asset, but they are also MBPs' greatest asset, too — meaning they will do everything they can to protect users from harmful emails. Because of this, take the utmost care of your subscriber list. 

        Top tips for subscriber list hygiene:

        • User consent is mandatory for high deliverability. Never buy a mailing list, as it will most likely lead to negative shopper engagement and adversely impact your sender reputation.
        • Consider asking your subscribers to add you to their address book, as MBPs view it as a very positive signal.
        • Once they have subscribed, continuously adjust the list and your mailing patterns as suggested above. 
        • Segment out your less engaged subscribers instead of sending them all the campaigns, and instead send them targeted win-back emails less frequently. Check out our Win-Back Flow to turn these emails on automatically for your store!
        • Don’t be afraid to remove some subscribers entirely from your lists. You can do so one by one from your subscribers' list, or you can contact support to delete a whole list. 

        If subscribers have been completely unengaged:

        You could try sending out a reconfirmation opt-in campaign to those subscribers. This means sending an email to them asking them if they’d still like to remain subscribed. Or, simply consider removing completely unengaged subscribers from your email list.

        Don’t forget that sending emails to inactive or invalid email addresses will increase your bounce rates which will harm your sender reputation.

        It is also important to always offer a clear and easy way to unsubscribe. Yotpo guarantees that every email you send contains a clear unsubscribe link, so as always, we’ve got you covered.

        Continuous monitoring and adjustment

        Your email deliverability is ever-evolving. You should always monitor your metrics using Yotpo’s rich analytics dashboards and adjust your behavior accordingly. If you see that your deliverability is changing, evaluate your behavior against this guide to see where you can improve, or reach out to our support team for guidance.

        BFCM guidelines

        At Yotpo, we're here to ensure you have the best possible deliverability for the biggest sales weekend of the year. Check out our guidelines below to optimize your deliverability- with recommendations for before, during, and after BFCM. 

        Before BFCM

        • Do you usually send to a smaller subset of your full list, but plan to reach the full list during BFCMGradually increase your email sending volume as you approach BFCM, rather than sending to your full list right away. The gradual shift will enable mailbox providers to get more familiar with your sending volume, whereas a sudden jump will trigger red flags and harm your reputation.
          Looking for ideas for how to gradually increase?
          We recommend using our Lists & Segments, and creating segments based on engagement. As you look to increase your list, relax your engagement strictness so the segment progressively includes all your subscribers.
        • If you're thinking about authenticating a domain, the lead-up to BFCM is not the right time. It takes time for you to warm up that list after authentication, and doing so this close to a high volume sending period means that you risk not being warm in time.
          Looking to authenticate your sending domain, but don’t know if you have enough time to warm up?
          Reach out to our support team for guidance.
        • Avoid importing new subscribers if possible. If you need to import new email lists, make sure they are free from invalid addresses or unsubscribers/non-subscribers.
        • Email validation is the practice of checking a list of emails for invalid/fake email addresses, or those likely to be bounced. Ahead of BFCM, consider running your email subscribers through an email validation provider to clean out any bad-quality emails. Looking for ideas? Check out G2’s best email verification softwareand other recommendation lists online.
          Need help exporting the list of subscribers for this?
           Reach out to our support team for help.

        During BFCM

        • Make your campaign email truly effective by focusing on the most relevant content and elements of personalization. Consider dynamic elements like the Loyalty block to personalize for every user based on their loyalty status and points available. 
        • Exclude soft bounces from every email campaign you send. We automatically exclude this segment (Soft Bounced in the last 7 days) when you draft a campaign, but make sure it’s selected. Don’t worry about hard bounces - we automatically suppress them. 
        • Keep an eye on the deliverability insights after your campaigns are complete. You can find this within Campaign Analytics. Ensure that each benchmark is within the yellow or green zone.
        • Leverage our “exclude unengaged subscribers” feature. With every campaign you send, we can automatically detect who is likely to not engage with your email, which can harm your deliverability. With a simple checkbox, you can exclude these subscribers from all your BFCM campaigns for better results. 
        • During Black Friday, it’s highly recommended to only use one email provider for all of your emails. Sending with two providers creates the risk of sending duplicate content that frustrates subscribers, or not syncing requests to unsubscribe/opt out of your emails, all of which can harm your deliverability.

        After BFCM

        • If you follow all of the best practices, your email list will likely contain a higher number of engaged recipients. To keep up this momentum, we recommend creating targeted and personalized email campaigns as you enter the holiday season.
        • Analyze your deliverability insights within Campaign Analytics to learn from your email strategy this year and optimize moving forward. Did certain emails have higher performance than others? What can we learn for next year, or even for the upcoming holidays? 
        • Avoid sending emails to your entire list too frequently. Most email providers actually recommend you send to your full list only once or twice a year, but we know that BFCM is a time when you do want to reach that full list. If your email strategy exceeds that number of full list sends, make sure to follow all other deliverability best practices.

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