How to improve your email deliverability

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A straightforward marketing hack to improve your overall marketing and email deliverability

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In this piece, we’ll focus on a straightforward marketing hack you can read in 3 minutes or less and take action straight away to improve your overall marketing and email deliverability. You are welcome. First up, let’s come back to a good old friend—email marketing. Whenever we write about social media, the crowd seems to cheer on the sidelines.

Email marketing? Not so much. Yet, it’s one of the essential tools in business when used wisely. This tip is for people who already have an email list and want to improve their deliverability.

Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to subscribers’ inboxes. It is what some marketers use to gauge the likelihood of their email campaigns reaching their subscribers’ inboxes related to actual delivery–like ISPs, throttling, bounces, spam issues, and bulking. (Campaign Monitor)

You can improve deliverability in various ways, one being having a healthy open rate – this is the percentage of subscribers opening your emails. Now, open rates are darn near impossible to calculate accurately.

Email providers (including ConvertKit) often have to use weird data to define what “opened” really means. Yet, platforms like ConvertKit will give you a good idea of where you are sitting. What seriously can affect your open rate are cold subscribers.

Platforms define cold subscribers as those who have been subscribers for at least 30 days but have not opened an email in 90 days.

Some subscribers will permanently lose interest over time, no matter how engaging your content is. It’s so important to have a plan of action for those people. In this example, I am using ConvertKit, our email provider for students communication and indeed the best tool out there.

How to filter and engage with cold subscribers

First, you want to make sure you have a segment or tag for cold subscribers. ConvertKit already filters these people, but for other providers, you may have to create a manual group of people who have not opened your emails in the last XX days.

Pro tip:as well as adding a segment, create a tag for cold subscribers, which you can then remove when people click on your breakup email.

You could delete all of these subscribers, but chances are there are people in here who are falsely tagged as cold. That’s because all email marketing providers determine opens based on whether or not a 1px transparent image was loaded in an email.

If someone has been reading all of your emails but has images disabled, they will show up as cold—even though they aren’t. This is why it’s essential to give them a chance to re-engage with you.

In ConvertKit, you have the chance to create rules and automations. In this case, you can create a rule that says that whoever clicks on a specific link will have the tag cold subscribers removed. This saves you from manually having to check who has opened or clicked on the specific breakup email we’re going to create.

Writing a breakup email

We also call this email the it’s not you, it’s me email. Next, you want to send an email to all of your cold subscribers to give them a final chance to stay on the list before you delete them. An example can be found below.

Hey XYZ,
it's me, XYZ. I want to make sure that I'm only sending emails to my readers who are getting a lot of value from them. So I'm removing everyone who isn't engaged from my list. My stats show that you fall into that category. Is that true? If that's true, no hard feelings. I get it. Inboxes are overflowing. 

If so, no action is required. You'll get removed sometime next week.
But if you're freaking out right now thinking, "Wait! I love your emails!" then just click the link below to stay on my list.

Link here

Plenty of people will click that link to say that they’re engaged! Now that you’ve set up an automation for this, they’ll automatically be removed from the Cold Subscribers tag. (Wait about a week to give people time to do this.)

Once you’ve waited, it’s time to rip the band-aid. You can bulk select all the Subscribers in your Cold Subscribers Tag and delete them all. Now your open rates will be higher, and your email list much healthier.

This is an advanced process, so if you don’t feel comfortable with the process, then don’t do it just yet.

When it comes to cleaning up our subscribers, we tend to send breakup emails every quarter to make sure we have our list under control and in a healthy shape. I cannot stress enough how powerful this has been an overall positive for the deliverability of our emails overall.

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