Design emails for deliverability

Learn how to apply deliverability best practices to your Campaign.

Welcome to Adobe Campaign. In this module, we will be looking at Designing Emails for Deliverability. By the end of the module, you will learn how to apply deliverability best practices. Email Deliverability refers to a set of characteristics that determine a messages ability to reach its destination without bouncing or being marked as spam, arriving within a short time, and with the expected quality in terms of content and format. Deliverability problems are generally linked to measures of protection against spam implemented by internet service providers and mail server administrators. To optimize the Deliverability of your Adobe Campaign emails, we recommend following these characteristics of good Deliverability.
These characteristics fall into four main categories. Content quality, this is how you as a marketer ensures that the content you create is able to be delivered successfully to your recipients. Data quality, this refers to the origin of your recipient list and care you take to curate it. Infrastructure, refers to the setup and tools used to manage deliverability, and reputation. This is something more nuanced that you can do yourself and ties in with the first three characteristics. Meaning if you are successful in the first three, your reputation will be a success as well. Once you have a grasp of these characteristics, you’ll be able to form the foundation of a successful email deliverability program. I will take you through the steps to ensure great deliverability. Firstly, let’s look at infrastructure. When beginning to send emails on a new platform, because you have no history of use, you have no reputation. ISPs will begin getting suspicious of you sending large volumes of emails.
You need to have a strong team that manages the ramp up of email deliveries as to not hinder the platform from becoming an untrustworthy entity. This is known as IP warming, and can be done by progressively increasing the volume sent over time to avoid being marked as spam. Sending regularly, to a certain extent, it is better to send small batches regularly than large Campaigns sporadically. Certain ISPs check the validity of a sender’s address before accepting messages. A badly from the address may result in it being rejected by the receiving server.
You can also fall back on third party tools such as Spam Assassin. Spam Assassin is a spam checking tool that can perform analysis to determine the risk of our mail being marked as spam.
We’ll cover this more shortly.
Content quality is the next approach for good deliverability. In the email delivery editor, it is important to constantly preview your content to catch any issues before they become too large. Whilst creating the content, you can use the Preview tab in the delivery editor. You can change the text personalization to view how certain recipients will see this content. Once you are happy with that, you could start sending proofs to preview how the email looks in a recipient’s inbox on multiple email clients before committing to a full Delivery. This is good to validate how an email looks in a user’s inbox, and hopefully it does not appear in a spam folder. We cover proofs in a different video.
We do not want our emails to look like spam. So while you’re in the Preview tab, we could see our anti-spam checker, provided Spam Assassin has been configured. The spam checker will highlight if there are any risks in your email and flag them to you. Poorly designed emails are likely to be marked as spam on our user email clients. If you select the more link, it will provide you with a window with details of the analysis.
The spam checker window provides a score. If the score is larger than the maximum authorized score, then it is more likely your email will be marked as spam. You can follow the analysis tips to make any changes to reduce this score. From this example, we can see that we have a 2.2 points alone for only having HTML content. All of these changes will tie into the next steps you can take to improve content quality.
To solve the most of our anti-spam analysis, it’s best to provide multiple formats for your email. Adobe Campaign does not generate a text version by default. If you crop HTML, you have to provide the text version as well, as some email clients only support text. So it’s best you craft both versions when creating your content. Another option to take is to use the HTML to text button in the header menu in the image on the right. This will convert your HTML content to text. It may not translate perfectly, so you may have to alter a few things if necessary. This is a great way to lower your spam score as most spammers do not provide a text version. Minor HTML errors can be perceived as spam in some instances. You can run the HTML diagnostics which provides some warnings and error messages providing useful tips on the formatting of your HTML. There is also the option to auto correct the HTML issues. Take care of using the auto-correct option as once it’s completed, you cannot undo it.
You can also use opt-out links and forms. When the message is analyzed, a typology rule checks whether an uptight link has been included and generics are warning if it is missing. You want to always include these types of links as you should provide the option if recipients are not interested in your content. You should also not get in the way of recipients who want to opt-out by requiring them to fill out fields such as their email addresses. The form should have one validation button only. The implementation of opt-out link can be simplified with the use of personalization blocks containing the link in all emails. Personalization is covered in another video.
Another way to improve deliverability is to do Quality control on the data you have on your recipients. Your initial marketing list of recipients will come from multiple sources such as promotional material that requires a user signup or Facebook ads. You could even purchase a list from third parties. It is important to know who is on these lists and in your best interest, you only acquire quality lists. However, further action is still required to ensure better quality of these lists, as some of these recipients may be invalid and not desirable to target. You want to employ best practice for quarantining recipients, thus reducing your error rates and speeding up deliveries. A high rate of embedded addresses is also interpreted as a sign of spam. You want to avoid being on any denial lists by internet service providers. You want to be targeting active members, keeping them involved will build your reputation as they will be more welcoming of your content.
To cleanse the data, you want to remove profiles that have missing or incomplete data such as email address or contact number. There should always be a mandatory minimum of how much data is required for a profile to be deemed eligible for contact. You want to remove duplicate email addresses. Besides the benefit of not bugging down recipients with lots of duplicate marketing emails, this can also cause a problem with unsubscription requests not being honored. If a recipient unsubscribes after receiving a message, the duplicate profile will still be eligible for future messages. You also want to remove malformed email addresses. This will help reduce unnecessary email bounce errors.
Adobe Campaign manages a list of quarantined addresses. These addresses are excluded during delivery analysis and are not targeted. There are a few ways addresses can end up in quarantine. Either the address gets sent automatically when a delivery is made, and experience a hard or soft error, we cover error types in another video. Addresses will be quarantined when a customer ops out of emails. Manual adding of known bad addresses can be done. You can find a mass list online, addresses you should be avoided. For example, honeypot addresses. These addresses must be seriously quarantined as they are created deliberately to catch spammers. And if you send an email to these addresses, you’ll be marked as a spammer. This will diminish the reputation of your platform. It is most likely you will have very little control on the data available to you. So what you can do is control how to interact with the recipients you have and then show that you are utilizing the most active users you can.
You can target recipients who open your emails and click links. You can target current subscribers or anyone who has made a recent purchase. You want to maintain your list of active members. You want to avoid improper communication and make sure the recipients subscribed intentionally. You can achieve this by implementing a double opt-in mechanism for post subscription confirmation. This helps ensure that our recipients subscribed intentionally.
This way you have confirmation of an active member.
And also find out more about potential imbedded addresses who do not complete. You should now be able to apply Deliverability best practices in your Email Deliveries. Thank you, and I’ll see you next time. -

Additional resources

Deliverability best practice guide