Affiliate Marketing: Introduction to Email Deliverability: 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Emails Lands in their Inbox
Click prices keep going up across the board, and I don’t see that trend stopping anytime soon.
You need to figure out how you can make more money in your campaigns, and a “pay bump” can only get you so far.
One way that affiliates are starting to adapt is by adding in email funnels into their campaign. By capturing the email, this allows you to market to the person over and over and over again. Instead of promoting just a single affiliate offer, you can promote multiple ones.
If you’re new to email marketing, you’re going to have some challenges.
You’re going to have to deal with Email Deliverability.
Email deliverability is the ability to get your emails into the INBOX of the recipients, without having them flagged as spam, bounce, get marked as “offers” by Gmail, etc. In other words, deliverability is all about making sure people see the emails you send.
Here’s another way to think about it.
Let’s say you have an email list of 1,000 people. It doesn’t mean every time you send out an email, all 1000 people are going to receive it in the inbox.
What’s going on here?
The people you’re sending it to are using different email clients like Gmail. Each email client has a “shield” or a “barrier” that protects their user.
They want to protect their user because if they get too many viagra and spammy offers, then the user might switch to a different email service.
They look at different metrics to see if your email’s legit or not.
It’s in your best interest to figure out how to become more “trustworthy’ in the eyes of these email providers. More inboxes = more money.
So how do you improve deliverability? How do you get the maximum number of people to see your emails?
Here are 10 methods for making sure your emails are delivered.
10 Methods To Improve Email Deliverability
#1 – Have a Solid Indoctrination Series
The indoctrination series is the first series of emails that someone gets. As soon as someone signs up for the email, you want to send them a Welcome email that gives them excited for your future emails.
Some things you can include:
- Thank them for signing up and welcome them to your community
- Share a quick snippet about the brand or your story
- Let them know what they can expect. “You’re going to get a valuable email one a day for the next week”
- You can ask them or give instructions on how to whitelist your email address
#2 – Get them to Respond to Your Email
How does an ISP know that you’re trustworthy? One way is if they actually reply back to your email.
In many ESP’s, when someone replies, you’re automatically “whitelisted.”
You can write a call to action in your email, or add it to the p.s.
“What’s your biggest challenge right now with x? Reply back and let me know”
Warning: Depending on the size of your email list, you could end up with hundreds of replies. Make sure you reply back or you risk damaging the relationship.
#3 – Send Consistently
If you only send large email blasts occasionally, ISPs may think that you’re a spammer. Sending “spikes” are a signal to ISPs that something unusual is going on, and they may flag your emails as a precaution.
It’s much better to send emails on a consistent schedule.
It’s kind of like training a dog. If you only train your dog once every four weeks, you’ll never make progress. You need to be consistent. In a similar way, you need to “train” ISPs to recognize your email address and not flag you as spam.
#4 – Use A Confirmed Opt-In
This is also called a “Double Opt-In.” It works like this. When someone signs up for your email list, an email is sent to the address they used. They must click a link to confirm that it’s really their address.
This ensures that people use real email addresses that aren’t old or outdated. Obviously, you don’t want to be sending emails to fake addresses (they’ll bounce) or to ones that are never checked (the emails won’t get opened).
With the new GDPR regulations, using a double opt-in is especially important. In some European countries, it’s actually mandatory.
#5 – Do a “List Hygiene”
There are always going to be some people on your list who don’t open your emails and don’t click on any of the links you include.
Now, you might think that it’s better to just keep these people on your list and hope that someday they open one of your emails.
See, ISPs pay attention to how often a person opens and clicks on emails from a certain address. If a large number of people don’t open your emails, they may start to get automatically marked as spam.
Every few months, you should go through your email list and remove the people who haven’t opened or clicked on an email for a month. This will ensure that only the most active and engaged people are on your email list.
You can segment this group of people and put them in a “re-engagement” sequence. This is where you acknowledge that they haven’t engaged, and you encourage them to open emails again. Here’s an example form teespring.
Depending on your email service provider, this whole process can easily be automated.
#6 – Use “From” In Your Name To Remind People Who You Are
There’s a pretty good chance that people will forget that they signed up for your email list. When they see your name on an email, they’ll be like, “Who the *$#@ is this guy?” Then they’ll either delete the email or mark it as spam.
A simple way to prevent this from happening is to include “From” in your sender name. For example, “Charles from CharlesNgo.com” It’s a simple reminder of who you are and how they got on your email list in the first place.
#7 – Make Sure You’re Not On A Blacklist
A variety of companies create and maintain blacklists of email addresses and domain names that have received a high number of spam complaints. If you’re having problems with deliverability, there’s a good chance you’re on one of these blacklists.
And even if you’re not experiencing problems, it’s good to check these lists every once in a while to be sure you’re on them.
This post by Sendgrid lists a number of blacklists you can check.
Each of the lists has a series of steps you can follow to get yourself removed from the blacklist.
#8 – Don’t Hide The Unsubscribe Option
You might think you’re being tricky by hiding the unsubscribe option or making it so small that people can’t see it. But you’re actually just hurting yourself.
Because what are people going to do if they can’t unsubscribe from your email list? They’re going to smash that spam button and you’re going to end up on a blacklist. When that happens, your email deliverability will tank.
Plus, it’s not like they’re going to convert on any of your offers if they don’t want your emails in the first place.
If someone doesn’t want to be on your email list, don’t make it hard for them to unsubscribe.
#9 – Segment Your List By Offer
Not everyone on your list is going to be interested in every offer you send out. If you send out every offer to your entire list, you’re going to have a lot of people unsubscribing, not opening the emails, or marking them as spam. All three hurt your deliverability.
Whenever possible, segment your list by different offers. For example, if you have one offer for car insurance and another for cruises, segment your list so that you’re only sending the offers to those who are actually interested in them. Don’t randomly blast both offers out to your entire list.
One thing I’ve done for my blog is Segment people as soon as they sign up.
Someone that has never launched a campaign before is going to have different needs compared to someone that’s already a full time affiliate marketer.
Depending on the experience level, there’s a separate welcome series. And it also affects the emails that I broadcast. If I write an article that’s super newbie, I can just send it to people ONLY categorizing themselves as newbies.
#10 – Be Careful of Using Spam Words
There are certain words that ISPs automatically associate with spam. Some of these are pretty obvious, like “Cash bonus” and “Double your income.” If you include these in your subject line or email body, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will be marked as spam.
Others, though, aren’t so obvious. Words like “Great” and “Friend” and “Removal” can also be considered spam words.
If you want a big list of words that are considered spam, check out this post.
My best advice is to find alternatives words or phrases to use.
For example, let’s say I’m sending you an email with a tip to make more money. “Money” and “earnings” are spam trigger words.
Instead, I might use the phrase “improve your conversions.”
Play It Clean
Honestly, the best advice when it comes to email deliverability is to play things as clean as possible. Don’t be spammy. Don’t try to trick ISPs. Don’t try to hide your unsubscribe button.
The more “whitehat” you do things, the higher your email deliverability rate will be.
And the higher your deliverability rate, the more money you make.
So play it clean. That’s how you’ll ultimately win in the game of email marketing.