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Email Deliverability — A SalesHive Story

You’re charged with email deliverability and outreach for your company, the sole performer in a tightrope act of generating leads. It always goes well for you, until the day it doesn’t.

It’s still dark outside when your alarm goes off; 6:00 AM.

Your floundering hand somehow manages to shut off the blaring noise that seems specifically designed to raise your cortisol levels and aggressively rouse you from sleep.

Clothes. Coffee. Corporate.

Finally sitting in your ergonomic Herman Miller chair, which costs more than you’d like to think about, you're finally honed into your workflow.

Your workflow of Lead Generation.

You have one job. One task. Sending out marketing automation emails every day to as many email addresses and individuals as you can find.

Your cold emails are nothing but pure digital gold. You regularly have huge lists, with a healthy amount of varied prospects. The more the merrier. A good strategy you imagine.

After all, hitting up a high volume of potential clients quickly gives you the best chance of scoring leads. Right?

Just as you’re prepared to get up to retrieve a second tumbler of the all-life-giving drink you call coffee, you suddenly get a phone call.

The caller ID that pops up raises your cortisol levels higher than your morning alarm ever could.

On the other end of that line is your company’s CEO. He never calls you. Not unless there’s a problem.

“Yes sir?”

“Why have my emails been getting sent to spam? None of our board members have received any of my updates for 2 weeks. What’s going on with our domain? What did you do?”

And that's when you start to feel it. Sweat. Anxiety. All exasperated by too much caffeine. How could this happen? What's going on? 

You stumble upon it as your panicked neurons finally deliver the answer.

Your email deliverability, the entire company domain, has been compromised.

And all because of you.

Email Deliverability Reputation

We would hope that this story doesn’t come too close to home for most of you, but unfortunately, this happens quite frequently to companies and lead developers who don’t understand email deliverability.

Far too often, we here at SalesHive have seen email reputations collapse because companies aren’t paying attention to their email outreach.

Too often, inexperienced lead developers send their pitches to tons of dead-in-the-water emails and too many email addresses. Those emails aren’t getting opened, they’re getting trapped in spam filters.

That kills your deliverability.

This happens because, as email automation tools become a more central part of sales organizations, email servers are getting smarter and more active.

The simple fact is, email reputation is very easy to tank and very hard to build. Once you damage it, you can't call Google and say you're sorry. You're just out of luck.

When it’s all said and done, if you’ve made a mistake, your email reputation can be shredded to pieces, which is why your CEO’s notes are getting punted straight into board members' spam boxes.

Think it can't happen to you?

It can.

But the good news is, we at SalesHive want to help you navigate away from the typical pitfalls of email deliverability.

We know how to keep your reputation in good standing, and we’re here to help.

Email Deliverability 101

Deliverability is the overall measure of the success at which you get your campaign from your hands into your subscribers' inboxes.

Your deliverability rates will factor in everything that is involved in email traffic - from bounces and spam issues to internet service providers (ISPs) and email throttling.

You don’t have complete control over every facet of email traffic but bear in mind that your deliverability is still greatly affected by you, the sender, as much as these external factors.

Sender Score

An email sender score is like your credit score; a high-value metric by which you are harshly judged.

Your email activity is ranked by a number between 0 and 100, and that number is your sender reputation. It conveys how various mailbox providers view and trust your IP address.

I know you may not have thought that you’d need to worry about your grades after graduation, but don't take this lightly.

Your mailbox providers will factor in everything from spam complaints to you mailing invalid emails and industry blacklists.

The more you turn a blind eye to your validation and sender score, the worse off you're going to be.

Email Validation

Next up is email validation. But what exactly is email validation? 

Simply put, validating your email lists is checking each address, one by one, to ensure that a mail record exists for the domain and whether or not the email address can be routed.

Systems with artificial intelligence, multi-layer testing, and complex algorithms can identify troublesome email addresses.

Email providers use the collected data from these intricate systems to determine the chance that an email will return as a hard bounce.

If an email address is suspicious, it’s quarantined, and the system will approve or remove the bad email.

Reaching out and trying to contact bad email addresses registers as bot automation with these systems, not manual outreach.

If you don’t carefully manage who you’re sending emails to, your reputation will diminish, resulting in the chance of a damaged sender score.

Regularly cleaning lists and using email verifications limit the likelihood of bad addresses being contacted and harming you.

Spam Keywords

Many of your emails are going to spam because of a reason you might not imagine. Specific words in your copy.

In the Spring of 2018, Google made a massive adjustment to its spam filter algorithm, and it’s been haunting lead generators ever since.

Almost immediately sales teams across the country saw significant drops in their email open/reply rates.

If you take a look at your open rates and see your numbers are under 20%, then you’re definitely in spam. Even 20-35% open rates can indicate that your emails aren’t getting to all of your prospects.

Through extensive testing here at SalesHive, we’ve identified that having spam keywords in your copy is by far the biggest factor as to why emails are getting lower deliverability and open rates.

Emails containing words like “call” and “offer” can be enough to take a well thought out email and reduce the number of people who received it by half.

A fair question would be, “How do you identify what words are causing you to go to spam?”

Here’s how we determined it.

  1. We set up multiple email domains to use for email testing and then added at least one of them to every campaign we sent. If you choose to test this as well, these emails should absolutely never be on the same domain you are sending from. If you’re an SDR, have your manager purchase 2-3 random domains, similar to your company domain, that you can add to every campaign to see if your messages are coming through or landing directly in spam.
  1. We combed through lists of identified spam keywords and started to understand what words and phrases are getting picked up. We have compiled an extensive list of keywords that you can find by clicking the link here.
  1. Once we identified what words we shouldn’t be using, we scanned through our copy and started looking for synonyms to replace the words with. You likely have at least 2-3 of these spam keywords in your emails currently, but don’t despair. Replacing “offer” with words like “give” or “suggest” is an easy fix, or replacing “free” with “complementary” or “on the house.”
  1. Finally, and the most important part- TEST TEST TEST. We sent ourselves every email we sent out in a campaign and switched up which domain we used to make sure we weren’t relying on one domain.  If you do this and can identify which email is going to spam, you should be pausing your campaigns and running tests on new copy variants until you can identify it’s no longer going to spam.

This fix is not a rocket science concept, but making small tweaks to your copy can be the difference between 30 people reading your email and 100 people reading your email.

That pays dividends over a quarter or even an entire year.

Change Your Email Deliverability Story

Email deliverability is complicated, and even the best industry lead generators, like us here at SalesHive, must constantly fight and struggle through the changing systems to keep deliverability good.

SalesHive has observed the pain of email reputations collapsing when inexperienced lead developers don’t carefully monitor their outreach, and we know how to avoid it.

Like your CEO’s trust, your email reputation is very hard to earn and quite easy to lose. 

Monitor yourself and your outreach well, and you’ll never lose that trust.

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