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How to make sure your marketing emails actually reach people’s inboxes

In February 2024, we saw Yahoo! and Google make significant changes to their email-sending requirements – their aim is to create a world where people only receive the emails they really want to receive, and so they are ‘encouraging’ businesses to sharpen up their email marketing practices. Beyond the specific requirements they’ve introduced, email deliverability issues (emails going into people’s spam folders) are something every business sending marketing emails should be concerned about in 2024.

Going forward, the likelihood of your marketing emails making it into people’s inboxes will be affected by your ‘sender reputation’, ie how your business is judged by the big email companies based on various metrics including average open rates, click rates, spam rates, unsubscribe options, and whether your email domain has been authenticated.

So, make sure that your email marketing strategy for 2024 includes the following best practice techniques, to help you to optimise your email campaigns for success and protect your domain from potentially being blacklisted.

1. Keep your average open rates high

The average open rate is calculated by taking the total number of email contacts you send to, and dividing it by the number of people who actually opened the email. The best way to increase your average open rate is to remove disinterested people from your mailing list, so that you are only emailing people who are actively interested in your brand. Try a ‘win-back’ campaign first to see if you can re-engage with the disinterested people.

Although it might seem counterintuitive to deliberately shrink your mailing list, you should see it as a case of quality not quantity. You may well be paying to send emails to people who have lost interest in your brand, so removing may save you money in the short term, and you can then put your efforts into building your list, for example by having an appealing, incentive-based sign up form on your website.

2. Keep your average click rates high

Personalisation is a big deal in email marketing these days, both in terms of addressing your contacts by name in your emails, and more specifically in terms of making the emails you send to them as relevant as possible. Segmentation is the best way to go about this, ie separating your email contacts into groups based on their demographics or buying habits, and then tailoring your emails to the different groups.

3. Keep your spam rate under 0.1%

Having a high spam rate negatively impacts your sender reputation. If your emails are being reported as spam, removing disengaged people from your mailing list should help, and you’ll also need to consider a few potential issues, including how often you send emails, and how easy it is for people to unsubscribe if they don’t want to hear from you any more.

4. Make unsubscribe options quick and easy

Anyone who sends out email marketing needs to ensure that it is easy for recipients to unsubscribe from mailing lists, and for the reasons mentioned above it’s in your best interest to make sure that people can do this. For both Google and Yahoo! a one-click unsubscribe option needs to be clearly visible in the email and should take no more than 2 days to be actioned.

5. Make sure your email domain is authenticated

Ask your IT/email provider if the email program you use is automatically authenticated using DKIM, SPF, and DMARC. This may sound like a foreign language, but they’ll know exactly what to do. If you’re unsure about it, we can guide you in the right direction.

What are the implications for B2B marketers?

Although the new email rules from Google and Yahoo! will initially impact B2C marketing, the wider recommendations for email marketing best practice mentioned above are just as relevant to B2B businesses. Now that the major email platforms are putting systems in place to clamp down on spam and unwanted emails, it makes sense to act fast and prevent any future issues.

At Holler we specialise in email marketing for businesses – if you need help with understanding or implementing any of the current email marketing best practices, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on 01964 542916 or by email to [email protected].