Email marketing is still one of the best forms of engagement with potential customers - but only if you do it right.
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When you’ve spent ages putting together an email marketing campaign, there are few things more frustrating than a high email bounce rate and bearing in mind the industry standard is 2%, there is not a lot of room for error.
Not only does this mean that your message isn’t getting through to potential customers, but there’s also an increased chance of your IP address or even your domain being blacklisted.
With most ISPs taking multiple bounced emails as a sign of fishing or spamming, having an accurate subscriber list is essential to the long-term viability of your business.
But how can you stop emails from bouncing? It’s easy enough for anyone to make a typo, and email addresses quickly become redundant as people change jobs and ISPs. It can seem like an impossible task, but there are things you can do to take control and beat the bounce.
7 ways to stop email bounce back
Use a double opt-in.
A double opt-in is basically asking your subscribers to verify that they want to receive emails from you twice; first they are asked for permission on your website and secondly via an email confirmation.
This helps to eliminate user typing errors from your database in real time, ensures that people really do want to hear from you – which also helps to remove the threat of future spam reporting – and shows that it’s actually a real person signing up, rather than a spam-bot.
2. Never buy lists.
When you’re just starting out you really want two things: to see progress and have some serious figures to show your backers. Buying mailing lists looks like a simple solution to both these things. It’s not. It’s really, really not. For starters, you will hammer your reputation.
The number of people who respond positively to unsolicited email is negligible. The number of people who get angry is considerably higher, which means the likelihood of your company being reported as spam and blacklisted increases exponentially. Then there’s the issue of ISPs spotting a surge in your mailing list and anticipating that you’ve purchased the addresses and automatically blacklisting you anyway. And that’s before you’ve even got to the bounce backs.
People sell email lists to make money, which means that they don’t usually care about quality – it’s not as if you’re going to be a repeat customer. Consequently, you can happily assume that a decent percentage of the addresses you’re paying for are either fake or obsolete, which means that you’ll get nothing for your investment other than bounce backs.
3. Monitor engagement.
ISPs look for user engagement when monitoring the validity of a significant ‘mailer. If your emails are going unopened, it will flag up on ISP’s analytics and will seem as if your messages are unsolicited, which can in turn flag you for blacklisting. An unengaged recipient may also become a bounce back generator, if the email address is no longer used or the mailbox has reached its storage limit. If your emails are not being opened, then it’s a good precaution to remove that address from your system.
4. Use an email validation programme.
I created EmailVerifier after experiencing endless problems with the email marketing campaigns created for my own companies. Receiving bounced emails is frustrating. Being blacklisted is a nightmare. One of the easiest ways to prevent either thing from happening is to take control of your email lists.
Our software verifies your subscriber email list and with a powerful algorithm perform syntax checks, check if the domain has an email server, do an SMTP check to confirm the email account exists and many more proprietary checks in real time. This will dramatically decrease redundant and invalid/undeliverable email addresses.
It can also work as an added validation layer on user’s apps and websites on the sign-up page, helping to stop bounced emails before they’ve started.
5. Add a captcha to your subscriber form.
From the user’s point of view, captcha is a bit of an eye-rolling pain, but it’s a first-rate way to fight the spam bots - a significant portion of bounced emails are the product of those irritating tech beasts.
6. Ask your customers what they want and provide an obvious opt-out.
We’ve all done it; subscribed to a mailing list out of a one-off spark of interest, then later wished we hadn’t. We patiently open the emails for a while, then become irritated when we can’t find an opt-out. That’s when spam-reporting starts to look tempting.
By asking your customers what they want every so often, and providing them with an easy means to change their mailing preferences, you can avoid more painful headaches later on. You are also making sure you comply with different Spam legislation like the CAN-SPAM act, which mean you are obliged to provide - and importantly, honour - a request to opt-out.
7. Make sure your email doesn’t look like spam.
I know it’s an obvious one, but if you’re using a template emailing system, then the chances are that the spam filters will get you in their sights. So, keep your mailers up to date and check for any potentially dodgy characteristics. If in doubt, use a ‘mail tester tool, it will help you identify any potential problems.
Keep all that in mind and you shouldn’t have any problems beating the bounce.
Marios Italos is the founder of EmailVerifier.com a product of Intergo Interactive Ltd, a Cyprus-based creator of award-winning SaaS technology products.