Deliverability for Your Clients

Issue 13

In Issue 12, we explored the steps that MailChimp takes to ensure deliverability for our users. Today, we’ll discuss the things that you (and your clients) can do to make sure your emails reach subscriber’s inboxes.

In email marketing, permission is key. It’s an important element of our Terms of Use (and it’s the law), but it all ties back into deliverability. When you send to people who asked for your email, you get fewer spam complaints, higher engagement, and a better overall sending reputation. So, as you’re developing a list-building strategy for your clients, keep these things in mind:

  • Don’t use purchased, rented, or scraped lists. Some clients might be tempted to get a head start on their marketing efforts by buying or renting a list of email addresses from a third party. Not only are these types of list against our Terms of Use and notorious for providing bad addresses that lead to high bounce rates and blacklisting, they won’t actually help your clients grow their business. These lists can damage a client’s brand, an agency’s reputation, and even result in legal ramifications.
  • Don’t assume permission. Even if your client’s intended recipients are already customers or colleagues, you’ll still need to be sure that your client has permission before sending. If your client has lists to import into their MailChimp account, make sure that list is okay to use within MailChimp. If they don’t have a list just yet, encourage them to connect their store to MailChimp to automatically pull in customers or to add a signup form to their website so they can build a list organically.
  • Choose the right opt-in method. MailChimp defaults to (and recommends using) a double opt-in method for new signups, so you’ll have proof that each address on the list gave express permission to send them emails. There are, however, a number of valid sign up options that allow for a single opt-in — like integrations, the API, or even MailChimp Subscribe. Be sure to consider your client’s audience and any applicable legal requirements in the area before deciding which methods to use.
  • Set expectations. Subscribers should know what they’re getting when they sign up for a list. Clearly state the intent of your clients’ messaging and the frequency at which subscribers can expect to receive email. If someone thinks they’re signing up for a monthly newsletter and instead receive weekly promotions, they’re more likely to unsubscribe or mark the messages as spam. If your client would like to send different types of messaging, consider creating groups within the list so subscribers can choose which emails they’d like to receive.

Avoid spam filters

Building and maintaining a clean list is essential for any email marketer, but it’s only half the battle. You’ll also need to keep emails out of the spam folder. These tips can help:

  • Be mindful of content, code, and formatting. Some spam filters will flag emails based on content or images. There’s not an all-encompassing set of rules you’ll need to follow, but it’s important to keep your client’s campaigns clear and focused. Design (and personalize) emails to promote engagement. If you’re building custom templates for your clients, make sure they don’t contain extraneous code, extra tags, or code pulled in from Microsoft Word.
  • Stay on-brand. Work with clients to identify the aspects of their brand that resonate with their audience, and then develop an email marketing plan with that in mind. Stay consistent with the content, tone, and design that’s present across the client’s website and social channels — you’ll help create a cohesive brand identity for your clients and their audience. Subscribers will be more engaged, leading to a healthier list and improved deliverability.
  • Test, test, test. Subscriber engagement (and deliverability) can improve when your clients send their best email at the best time. A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing make it easy to try out different elements of an email, so you can quickly determine what leads to higher levels of engagement. Or, use delivery tools like Timewarp or Send Time Optimization to get the campaign to subscribers at just the right time. And you can always preview and send test versions of an email to make sure everything looks great before sending to subscribers.

We’ve covered a lot of ground this week, but if you’d like more information about any of the topics we discussed, visit our collection of guides or explore our Knowledge Base.


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This first appeared in MailChimp’s newsletter for agencies. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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