Email Marketing Best Practices for High Deliverability and Low Bounce Rates
Email marketing is a powerful tool for organizations to reach their donors, members, clients, and community members. To ensure your emails are delivered successfully and minimize your bounce rates, it's essential to follow a few best practices. Here are our top recommendations to help you optimize your email marketing reach:
1. Build a Quality Email List:
- Obtain explicit permission: Ensure recipients have willingly and knowingly subscribed to your emails to avoid spam complaints.
- Regularly clean your list: Remove inactive or bouncing email addresses to maintain list hygiene.
2. Implement a Strong Sender Identity:
- Verify your domain with DonorView: If you aren’t sure whether or not you’ve done this or you need guidance on where to start, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ask constituents to white-list your email.
- They can do this by adding your sender email address to their contact list or address book or by replying to your email.
- Note: Organizations like banks, universities, utilities, and large corporations often employ firewalls that will not allow bulk mail into their servers. To get around this, your donor/member would have to make a special request to the IT department to add your IP address to their whitelist, which is often not feasible. Consider sending important emails to constituents’ personal email addresses instead.
- Be sure to use an email address with that domain as the “From Address” on email marketing campaigns, event and donation pages, etc.
- For example, if you have verified the xyznonprofit.org domain, you should only be sending emails through DonorView from addresses such as email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note: info@ email addresses are often marked as spam. We suggest using people’s names or a descriptive address such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org instead.
3. Craft Engaging and Relevant Content:
- Personalize your emails: Address subscribers by their name using mail merge fields.
- Segment your lists: Avoid sending all of your emails to every constituent. Create separate lists for potential donors, small donors, major donors, clients, people who utilize your services, etc. This will allow you to ensure that you’re sending each constituent only the emails that will be most relevant and interesting to them.
- Write compelling subject lines: Grab attention, be concise, and avoid misleading or spammy language.
- Limit the links you include: Too many links, whether text hyperlinks or buttons, can cause a message to be flagged as spam.
- Provide valuable content: Offer relevant information and useful resources to keep subscribers engaged. The higher your open rates, the more email providers will trust that your messages are not spam.
- Avoid spam “trigger words”: These include words like sale, discount, 100%, cash, free, money, prize, profit, satisfaction guaranteed, miracle, price, cure, deal, income, extra, giveaway, sweepstakes, bucks…
- Use images wisely: Keep image files smaller than 1 MB and include a good mix of text and images. If you have a lot of photos to share, consider directing constituents to a page on your website rather than including all the images in the email body.
4. Pay Attention to Email Deliverability Factors:
- Manage email frequency: Avoid sending too many emails in a short period as it may trigger spam filters or lead to high unsubscribe rates.
- Manage list size: Many email services such as Comcast, AT&T, Yahoo, and Hotmail, will throttle delivery if thousands of emails hit their servers from one sender at the same time. This will usually result in a soft bounce where they hold your email for up to 72 hours before delivery. However, they may not deliver it at all. If you have a very large list that does not have a routinely high open rate, try dividing your lists into smaller batches sent a few hours apart to see if that improves your deliverability.
- Keep the “unsubscribe” and “manage subscriptions” links: DonorView automatically includes these at the bottom of the page in email marketing templates. We recommend keeping those links because email providers’ spam filters test those links to ensure they are valid. Missing unsubscribe links or fake links may cause you to be flagged as a spammer.
- Include your mailing address: Spam filters also look for a live mailing address for the sender. This is automatically included at the bottom of DonorView’s email marketing templates, and it is auto-populated with the mailing information in your account settings.
- Respect unsubscribes: Do not add people who have unsubscribed back onto your email lists unless they have specifically reached out and asked you to.
5. Regularly Analyze and Improve:
- Track email metrics: Monitor open rates, click-through rates, monetization, and bounce rates to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaigns. You can see all of these statistics right in DonorView by going to Workspace > Email Marketing > Overview.
- A/B test elements: Experiment with different subject lines, content formats, and send times to optimize your campaigns. Use the Email Marketing Overview to compare the performance of campaign A vs. campaign B.
6. Consider an Email Verification Service:
- DonorView offers an Email Verification Service, which validates the accuracy of all the email addresses in your account, eliminating any emails that are invalid, inactive, or spam traps.
- Reach out to email@example.com for more information on this service. Pricing is based on the number of email addresses in your account and starts at $99 for 1,000 email addresses.
7. Consider a Private IP:
- In some cases, organizations with high email volumes or specific email deliverability needs may benefit from using a Private IP address. With a Private IP, you have sole control over your email-sending reputation.
- Shared IP addresses, which are used by DonorView and most other email marketing service providers, can be affected by the practices of other senders on the same IP. By using a Private IP, you minimize the risk of being impacted by the reputation of others and help maintain a clean sender reputation.
- Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on moving to a private IP address. Pricing begins at $15/month.
By following these best practices, you'll enhance the deliverability of your emails, minimize bounce rates, and increase the success of your email marketing campaigns. If you have any questions about DonorView’s email marketing features or related services, please contact email@example.com.