Topics: Email, Fundraising, Deliverability

Five Key Steps to Maximize Successful Email Delivery

It’s a worrying trend – one that should be top of mind for every organization that relies on email to share information, inspire action, or raise money.

Poor email marketing practices in recent years have led to a slow and steady industry-wide deterioration in email deliverability. That means more emails ending up in spam folders (or, worse yet, not being delivered at all), instead of landing successfully in subscribers’ inboxes.

According to one report, detailed in a recent article published by Campaigns & Elections, the problem has gotten so bad that roughly one-third of emails sent by campaigns and nonprofits are now going to spam.

This trend has clearly had a huge negative impact on the effectiveness and bottom-line results of many organizations’ email programs.

Taking proactive steps to maximize successful email delivery has never been more important.

There are countless components that go into how well emails get delivered, and the truth is no campaign, nonprofit or marketing agency has control over all of them. But it’s critical to focus on what CAN be done, by any organization that wants to make sure its list stays fresh and engaged and its emails aren’t triggering spam.

Here’s a “Top Five” list of best practices we’ve developed at The Prosper Group to avoid the dreaded spam folder and ensure email marketing success:

  1. Choose a sending domain, make sure that all your authentications are placed around that domain – and then ALWAYS send from that domain. No exceptions. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are not optional if you want your emails delivered.
  2. Make sure that all your contacts have been through a welcome series. It’s important to introduce yourself and make sure that the subscribers want to be on your list and hear what you have to say.
  3. Suppress anyone who hasn’t opened an email in the last 3-6 months, and run regular re-engagement campaigns to make sure subscribers would still like to receive emails from you. The more active and engaged your list is, the more likely it is that you’ll get delivered to the inbox every time you send.
  4. Send a variety of messages. While email is still one of the best ways to raise money online, make sure you’re also sending campaign updates, social media “follow” emails, invitations to events, and GOTV emails. Think of it this way: if you had a friend who only got in touch with you when they needed money, you would stop answering their phone calls. By extension, when people only get fundraising messages, they’re more likely to unsubscribe or hit the “spam” button, which is detrimental to list reputation and deliverability.
  5. My biggest piece of advice for political campaigns is this: Do Not Let Your List Go Dormant in The Off-Year. Even if you’re only sending emails 1-2 times a month, make sure you keep engaging with your subscribers – otherwise you run the risk of email addresses turning into spam traps, which will make it that much harder to gear up for the next campaign.

Have you experienced deliverability issues with your email program? Want to learn more about The Prosper Group’s approach to designing successful email marketing campaigns?

We’d love to talk. Contact us to see how we can work together, to enhance your program and help you achieve your goals.



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