Writing 1-1 emails are pretty straightforward. However, in the case of marketing emails, you need to be extra careful about what you're sending and how you're sending it. This guide aims to give you a consolidated view of all the email marketing best practices shared by global email experts and service providers.
P.S. The content of this guide gets updated frequently. The last edit happened on 12 Jun 2021, at 02:26 (UTC).
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #1
You can also use an Email Tester to do a 360 content and link analysis too.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #2
Email authentication is today one of the most important and recommended email best practice. Be it Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook or any other leading mailbox provider- everyone encourages the use of standard email authentication frameworks like SPF, DKIM and DMARC to help prevent spoofing, phishing, and spam.
P.S. Authenticating your emails doesn't guarantee an inbox placement. However, it's a best practice that helps to build a sender reputation with the recipient mail server.
We highly recommend you setting up these email authentication frameworks for your sender domain.
What is this SPF? And, why not everyone is fully compliant?
In the above screenshot, you can see problems like multiple SPF entries and too many DNS lookups are the most common reasons which make SPF invalid for many brands. In the next section, you will learn a brief about SPF.
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication method that specifies the list of servers authorized to send emails using your organization's domain.
Refer to the SPF tutorial to know more about the right ways of implementing SPF.
Having SPF doesn't mean you are fully compliant. It should be error-free to PASS with mail providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and so on. You can use an SPF validator tool like GradeMyEmail to know potential problems with your SPF record. GradeMyEmail also keeps a real-time check on SPF and sends alerts if the record goes invalid.
Here is an example that demonstrates how a fully aligned email header should look. You can see all the records are getting passed, and the domains are also aligned.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #3
Emails from unknowns always remain on the suspicious radar. Sender Name, Sender Address, Subject line, and now the brand logo will play an important role in earning user trust to get more opens on your emails.
According to Marcel Becker, Director of Product Management at Verizon Media Group (Yahoo! Mail and AOL), showing a brand logo in a user's preview pane can lead to a 10% increase in open rate.
Till the last couple of year, email senders did not have a structured framework for showing their brand logo in the preview panes. However, with the launch of BIMI, this has become easier.
Get your domain ready for BIMI.
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is an email specification that gives brands the flexibility to decide which logo should appear alongside the sender name of their email messages in some mailbox user agents (MUA).
While BIMI is currently in closed beta with Google, but many others have already implemented this. Overall the adoption is very positive, and Google might soon come out of its beta to give this framework an official stamp.
Here you can see two examples; in the first, the Airbnb logo does not appear because it's not BIMI compliant, and the next PayPal logo appears as it's BIMI compliant.
You can check your GradeMyEmail BIMI audit report, which tells how prepare is your domain for BIMI.
BIMI requires DMARC at enforcement and a properly formatted SVG image under the 'tiny-ps' standard. Some domains may also need a VMC once they are available for purchase. Refer to the BIMI tutorial to know more about the right ways of implementing BIMI.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #4
In the below image, you can see what is tagging and how to measure each tag.
You can see not all your emails might be performing equally well. Low engaging emails can impact your overall sender reputation too.
So, the recommendation is to start tagging each of your emails based on their importance and the business use case.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #5
Use a different subdomain of the same primary domain for sending different types of emails.
Except for corporate 1-1 communications, avoid using the primary domain for sending emails.
Always use a subdomain of the same primary domain to send emails. Many of us start buying multiple domains to send different emails, which is not a good email practice. Using new domains impacts user trust and sometimes makes your emails look phishing too.
Here is a rule of thumb for choosing the sender domain:
Please note one thing here, that each domain carries its own reputation, but don't forget, there is a cascading effect too. Doing too much bad at a subdomain level can impact the overall primary domain reputation too.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #6
Avoid using "no-reply" email addresses. Instead, encourage people to reply because that is where the real engagement will happen with your brand.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #7
Once you're all set with the domain configurations, make sure your domains or the sub-domains are not on any blocklist.
There are over 100 global blocklists.
Out of which 30 are highly important, and the others act as an early warning system. So, while you should be concerned about 30, you should also keep track of others. If you're thinking, how to monitor so many blocklists and that too at regular interval? Then don't worry, there are tools to do that.
You can use GradeMyEmail - it's a free community tool wherein you can configure all your sending domains and subdomains to keep getting the real-time updates of any new listing.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #8
Below you can see a live example of an email from the Wall Street Journal, which uses different domains in the same email.
Ideally, the best practice recommends that you should make sure your "from", "return path", and the "link track" URLs align with the sender. Don't leave a doubt in the recipient's mind to categories your email as phishing or spoofed.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #9
It would be best if you redirect your subdomains to your main business website. Make sure there is no test or 404 pages on your subdomain.
Having a website gives more trust both to your recipients and to the recipient mail servers.
In the above screenshot, you can see the subdomain interactive.wsj.com is getting redirected to its primary domain, i.e. wsj.com.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #10
If you're using a dedicated email sending IP address with your vendor, please set the Reverse DNS, also called rDNS, pointing to your domain.
EMAIL MARKETING BEST PRACTICE #11
Register your organization domain and all subdomains on Google Postmaster. It's like a gold mine to help you improve your deliverability.
You can refer to the Email Content Best Practice Guide to learn more about what to write and what to avoid in emails.
Following email best practices helps in doubling the email deliverability and engagement rates. It is important to follow them religiously to start seeing results. You can also use email tools like GradeMyEmail to know potential problem and gaps in your email marketing strategies.