4 Things That Hurt Your Email Deliverability (And How to Fix Them)
By Mohammed Ahmed November 18, 2015
For good email deliverability, you need to keep your list clean. And it all begins with regular email list hygiene.
Email deliverability should be a top priority for every email marketer (and here’s why). After all, you can’t be successful at email marketing unless your emails are reaching your subscribers’ inboxes.
The best way to improve and maintain your email deliverability is by keeping a clean and healthy email list. List hygiene (as we like to call it) needs to be a frequent and consistent habit for every email marketer.
To help you get started, here are four “problem areas” to watch out for, as well as actions you can take to keep your email list squeaky clean:
Problem Area #1: Typos in the Email Address
One of the most common reasons why emails bounce is because of typos in the email addresses. This happens when a subscriber misspells the email domain name (e.g., @hatmail.com vs @hotmail.com), duplicates the domain (e.g., @firstname.lastname@example.org vs @gmail.com), or makes a typo in their own name.
The easiest way to prevent email addresses with typos from showing up on your list is to use confirmed opt-in (aka double opt-in), which requires people to confirm their subscription before getting added to your list. If someone enters the wrong email address, there’s no way they’ll ever receive that confirmation email. This helps keep your list clean of undeliverable messages because no email addresses with typos will pass through to your list.
Let’s say you prefer not to use confirmed opt-in. Another option is to use an email validation service like BriteVerify, FreshAddress, DataValidation, QuickEmailVerification or Kickbox to verify which email addresses are legitimate and which ones aren’t. Simply import your email list, start the validation process, and remove the email addresses that aren’t valid.
You can also comb through the validation report to identify any misspelled email addresses, fix misspellings, and add correct email addresses to your list. To ensure that you’re 100 percent confident that your subscribers want to receive emails, you should use confirmed opt-in when importing those new email addresses.
Problem Area #2: Dead Email Domains
Another common reason for bounces? Dead email domains. Unless you use a reputable email marketing provider (like AWeber) that monitors dead and blocked domains and prevents them from being added to your list, you might have some in your subscriber list.
I probably sound like a broken record, but using confirmed opt-in will ensure that only valid email addresses are being added. If you’d prefer not to use confirmed opt-in, email validation services (such as the ones mentioned earlier) would be the next best thing to identify dead email domains. Once you find them, you can delete them from your list.
Problem Area #3: Email Address Changes
Did you know 30 percent of your subscribers will change their email address every year? That means nearly a third of your subscribers will “go cold” on you.
It’s pretty difficult to predict when someone is no longer using an email address. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening to your email list?
Your email analytics can be a good indicator of this. If you’re noticing that someone hasn’t opened your email is several months, it might mean they’ve changed email addresses. If that’s the case, you can either attempt to re-engage them or remove them from your list.
Some email validation services like FreshAddress are able to handle changes in email addresses. With a tool like FreshAddress, they’ll be able to identify bouncing and inactive email addresses and update them with active, engaged ones.
And of course, make sure you use confirmed opt-in when adding these new addresses to your list. You can’t assume they still want to receive your emails, so asking them to make sure will help them and you in the long run.
Problem Area #4: Transfers of Email Address Ownership
Have you ever moved into a new place and continued to receive mail for the old tenants? Well, that can happen with email addresses too.
Yahoo, for example, recycles old email addresses after 12 months of no activity, which means someone else can begin using that email address once that year is up. If you still have those email address on your list, the new owner will start receiving your emails, even though they never opted in to get your emails in the first place. When that happens, that person might flag your emails as spam, which can hurt your deliverability overall.
If someone hasn’t opened your emails within the last three to six months, there’s a good chance they’re either no longer interested in your emails or they’ve abandoned that email address. That means it’s a good time to a) send a re-engagement email or b) say goodbye.
Cleaning Up Your Email List
Regular list hygiene is essential to maintaining a healthy email list and good deliverability. As you ensure you’re emailing the right people and removing inactive or incorrect addresses, you can expect to see better results from your email marketing.
Want more help with your email deliverability? Download our free email deliverability guide.