Email Delivery Hints

Your emails do not reach your subscribers for three leading reasons. Either the email is blocked by the subscriber’s ISP (in this case it never gets delivered), the email is blocked by the subscriber’s spam filter (in this case it gets delivered but is never seen) or the email is deleted by a nervous subscriber who does not recognize your “From:” address or mistakes your email subject line for something unwelcome.

    * Use opt-in form instructions. Present clear, step-by-step directions that show how subscribers can guarantee delivery of your emails. After they complete an opt-in form on your website and click “submit”, direct them to a page which suggests they add your email address to their address books. Then you can provide specific instructions for each of the major ISPs (AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc.)
    * Let subscribers update their details. If the subscribers switch jobs or change their e-mail address, they should be able to come to your web site and change their newsletter subscription using a simple “modify details” form. Doing this, you reduce the number of bounced emails and keep your subscribers active much longer.
    * Use a filter. Run your email through a spam filter before you begin your campaign. Replace words get caught in the filter with alternatives that will pass the test before proceeding with your mailing. They search for “free”, “buy now” and other words that trigger spam filters. This easy-to-perform test may visibly reduce the risk of spam blockage.
    * Keep your lists as clean as possible. Respect all unsubscribes requests and process bounced emails frequently. Sending repeatedly e-mails to addresses that have bounced your IP address can be listed in blacklists.
    * Make sure your ISP is not on a blacklist. Spammers may have abused the servers of the autoresponder or list server service that you use. As a result, the major ISPs may have blacklisted or blocked emails from these servers. To discover if you are blacklisted, find the IP address of the email server and do a spam database lookup at
    * Don’t send bulk emails using the BCC field. a lot of people using different email clients tend to send mass emails using the BCC field. That’s okay if you’re sending something to your friends or co-workers, but it’s not recommended to do this when sending your newsletters. Using a BCC field is another trap of the spam filters.
    * Use a plain text e-mail and minimize images. An e-mail that’s all or mostly images will likely get flagged as spam. The years of experience has shown that text e-mails perform better, as far as deliverability.
    * Watch your attachments. A lot of people don’t know that the attachment you send with your email can be blocked by different spam filters. You should elude using script or any type of attachment besides PDF. Many corporate mailboxes as well as virus filters block attachments that end in .exe, .avi, .swf, .zip, etc.
    * Send your email on the best time. Do not send your message on a Friday afternoon, chances are that your recipients won’t check their email until Monday morning. The most recent messages will get the attention, and your message will likely get overlooked or deleted in the rush to start work. The open rate for email is strongest within the first two days of delivery. Then it drops off a cliff. Online marketers have discovered that emails are read most often when they arrive on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, around noon. Mondays are too busy.
    * Use a distinctive subject line. Include a phrase in every subject line that shows who you are and what your message is about. Subscribers get used to recognizing each message from you.
    * Use the same From: address. Keep your From: address constant. This helps subscribers who have added your email address to their whitelist or “allowed senders” list to recognize you.