This is a guest post written by Rozina Hussain, a Product Manager at BriteVerify. BriteVerify provides real-time email verification solutions that improve email data quality, inbox deliverability and email marketing ROI.
What’s the secret to better email deliverability? Beyond any technical tips and tricks is a fundamental truth: People are more likely to see your email if you create emails that people actually want to see.
However, there are technical reasons behind this. “If Gmail’s algorithm thinks a marketing email won’t be engaging enough to a user,” says deliverability expert Chris Arrendale, “it won’t deliver that email to the user’s inbox tab.”
Gmail – and all email providers – have a strong incentive to give users a good experience. If you opened up your inbox and saw nothing but spam, you might switch to another service. Since it’s in Gmail’s best interest to deliver engaging emails to the inbox, it’s in marketers’ best interest to be engaging.
Gmail measures engagement based on a variety of factors. Positive factors include opens, clicks, and replies. Negatives include ignoring the email or reporting it as spam.
Even beyond deliverability, making your emails engaging is just a good idea. After all, it’s not enough to deliver a message into a user’s inbox. The final, crucial step is to engage your reader so they remember your message. In other words, the recipient ultimately needs to open and read it.
Sending too many unengaging emails may hasten the dreaded “email fatigue.” Which is when users ignore you or unsubscribe when they think you’re sending them too many emails.
The key point is that emails earn their place in a user’s inbox by being engaging. Marketers must re-earn that right with every email they send.
Here are five ways to help you do that.
1. Get snappier copy
You’d never send an email without checking the spelling and grammar. But did you know that software can help you check your writing style, too? Making your prose crisp and concise can help make your message more readable and more actionable.
To make your copy snappier, try Hemingway, which describes itself as “a spellchecker, but for style.” Copy your text onto the site, and Hemingway will encourage you to keep your sentences simple, your words short and your voice active. It will also give you a readability grade score. If your score is too high, you need to simplify your prose.
2. Hear your words from another perspective
Another way to improve your copy is to experience it from a different point of view. Taking a break between writing and editing can help. Or, having a coworker look it over can give you a new perspective.
There’s also a software solution: Put your text into a service like Text To Speech Reader and choose a distinct voice to read it aloud to you. You’ll get out of your own head, catching typos and stylistic issues you’ve become blind to because you’re so close to the piece.
3. Find amazing photographs
An AWeber experiment found that “most subscribers interact only with the HTML versions of emails” rather than plain-text versions. So feel free to include compelling images in your content. But you might want to leave out the cheesy stock photo of a guy in a business suit shouting into a megaphone; you can do better than that in 2017!
4. Sign up to your own email list – and your competitors’
Sometimes, being focused on composing an email makes it easy to overlook what it’s like to be on the receiving end. The email you spent four hours perfecting may end up buried among dozens of messages recipients are trying to go through in just a few minutes.
Signing up to your own email list and joining the lists of your competitors can give you a better sense of what your message looks like in the context of an inbox. Is your subject line more enticing than your competitors’? How does it compare to the many unrelated messages in your inbox? Would a recipient be excited to get your next email – or will they start ignoring them?
Seeing your emails in this broader context is a good reminder that you’re not only competing with marketers like you at companies like yours. In the battle for attention and engagement, you’re up against everything in the inbox.
5. Test your assumptions
A/B testing is a great way to tweak your message to be as engaging as possible. Split-testing subject lines can lead to higher open rates. But you can also A/B test the content itself to see what copy and/or images better engage your audience
Just make sure to keep some consistency as well. Expert Chris Arrendale says that having the same sender name and from domain in your emails is good for deliverability.
6. BONUS: Clean up your list
A user can’t engage with your email if you’re sending to an invalid address.
BriteVerify’s email verification technology helps you ensure you’re sending emails to addresses that actually exist. Not only will it help you scrub the addresses that would otherwise bounce, it will help you maintain your reputation as a sender. That way, you won’t have trouble reaching the addresses that legitimately want to hear from you.
Make the inbox a better place
Years ago, the process of checking email was a novelty. Today, checking email can often feel like a chore. The good news is that, as a marketer, you’re empowered to make the experience a little more engaging. And as a result, you’ll get better deliverability – and your readers will get a better inbox experience.