Having your emails end up in an Inbox vs a SPAM folder is no accident. Every email you or your team sends out affects your future deliverability.
Many things that can affect your email's deliverability. Once your email address is considered unreputable, it is possible to get back into email Filter Systems favor, but its not easy. This article is going to focus on is issues you can easily tackle as a real estate company or team that affect your email reputation, and how to avoid making some big mistakes that could hurt your email reputation and deliverability in the long term.
It’s important to understand what raises a flag and to know that these are just typical standards. Every email service provider has different standards, though we're focusing on the typical standards as of 2019.
*Any email user may enhance email settings to weigh a greater factor, or to Filter Systems at a lower total “score” above the email provider standards.
What affects your email reputation and credibility? Here's a few easy ones.
1. The user Experience. Every email server is its own business.
It can be easy for us to slide into taking our email service for granted and forget that they are running a business too. When considering emails that you send out, think of the "user" experience when receiving that email.
If you logged into your email everyday, and you had a ton of SPAM filling your Inbox and a just couple of real emails, would you stop using that email service?
Email service providers are working day-in and day-out to create a great user experience. This means they are all cracking down on EVERY email that looks like Spam.
2. Send emails from your domain not @gmail, @yahoo, or @aol.
You should never send bulk emails from a domain you don't own. Similarly, you should not send emails from a @gmail, @yahoo, @hotmail or other free service. All of those services- Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Ymail, and AOL (any free email service) will mark your email as SPAM if you send commercial or bulk email to those addresses. This is part of revised DMARC policies- find more info here.
Basically, there's not way to confirm one of those free email users is legit. When you tie your credit card to a custom url email server, then they can more easily confirm authenticity and that a real person is behind it somewhere. Any paid email service with your custom domain is fine.
We suggest getting your custom URL email at GSuite.com. Your whole company/team can have Google-based emails that use your company/team custom url!
3. Plain text emails have higher open rates than HTML emails.
In the early 2000's, sending HTML emails made you look more professional! These days, when consumers open an email to HTML, they think, "It's a marketing email. This wasn't really meant for me."
In a study performed by HubSpot, they saw decreased open rates by 30% when adding Gifs to emails. Another test of HTML emails vs Text emails showed a decrease of 25%, and when testing with higher graphic HTML, rates dropped another 23%.
Here's that study to take a closer look, but their overall advice was that it depends on your business. "For a B2B company, a plain text may make more sense. It’s being sent to an inbox in which the recipient expects 1-to-1 communication," and "in the case of an eCommerce company, an HTML email may make more sense."
Regardless, it's known that Plain Text have a higher deliverability rate, which may also contribute to why they received higher open rates on their text based emails.
4 & 5. Links can raise a flag
Links can be problematic in emails if not used correctly.
- Redirected links- Links that you set to forward to another url that is not the actual end-point url can be seen as deceptive. For example, you you have mytown.com redirected to hit your website at a different url, an email Filter Systems system may distrust your email. In the same way, a scammer might add a link to ebay.com for people to login, but it's really a scam site trying to get access to their Ebay account. Where are you actually sending this person? Only use direct links in emails.
- Tiny URLs or Shortening URLs Services- Have the exact same affect on a Filter Systems's distrust as a redirected link. They are literally redirect links made to send people to a link of your choice, but its not seen as that innocent. Filter Systemss won't follow your link to see if it's safe- they'll just put your email in the SPAM folder. Instead, consider embedding your direct link into the words of the emails. That's totally an acceptable alternative!
6. Too Many Links
Many real estate agents have great accomplishments and want to show them off in their email signature. If you have a lot to say, you may also want to include a lot of links in your email. Some agents even do both!
The problem is, with so many links in the email, the Filter Systems may wonder, "What's your point? Where are you actually trying to direct the email user?" Of course, they don't ask questions, they just send the email to the SPAM folder.
So how many should you send per email? This site suggests a max of 5 links in emails with 2 or 3 being best.
Government email providers are some of the most likely to dodge emails with too many links, and in that case they may not even get to a SPAM Folder - they'd go into a quarantine.
Attachments are a part of normal email sending between contacts that know each other, but they are not a part of general mass emailing or email marketing.
Consider an email I just received from a sender named Medicaid Plan, "Please find the attached Timely Access All Plan Letter." Did I open the email? Absolutely not! Also, my SPAM Filter Systems caught that email.
Attachments from unknown senders is a big no-no and will certainly be caught by SPAM Filter Systems. Mostly for the idea they represent a possible virus, and most people know in this day and age not to open them.
Only send relevant attachments to contacts who know you.
Best practice for images/attachments: keep each at 30k in size or less.
8. Text with images formatting
When preparing a layout, if you want to use images, aim to have a balanced ratio of text and images. It is recommended to test design, of course, but a best practice ratio is 70/30 text/image.
This gives the user an attractive layout and it gives the Filter Systems some assurance that this is a normal marketing email, not spam, because it isn’t trying to overwhelm the user with text and it isn’t putting the entire message into an image to try to dodge the keyword filter.
Best practice for images/attachments: keep each at 30k in size or less.
9. All the tracking rates affect your email reputation
- Unsubscribe Rates- Its required by federal law in the US and in Canada that people be able to unsubscribe from marketing emails. If your emails have a very high unsubscribe rate, it gets noticed by email Filter Systems systems very quickly. Increasing Unsubscribe rates or rates above the industry standard for marketing emails will bring your reputation score down.
- Marked as SPAM Rates- You knew people could unsubscribe, but did you realize they could report your email as SPAM? You probably didn't realize that you even do this in your email system. When an email is marked as SPAM, that carries a heavier weight than just unsubscribes. Email Filter Systems are tracking this rate. The rates at which your emails are marked as SPAM will bring your reputation score down.
- Open Rates- I know you get excited to see people opening your emails. It's a good thing! Consistent Open Rates marginally help your email score improve.
- Read Rates- Open rates only marginally help your email reputation score improve, but read rates help a lot! Yes, email systems can tell a difference in emails being opened, and when emails are read and scrolled to the bottom. Consistent or improving read rates will bring your reputation score up.
- Click Rates- Click rates are like read rates. It means someone read your email and liked/trusted it enough to click through to a link in that email! Click rates will bring your reputation score up.