[infographic] Email Deliverability 101

It may be a bit long in the tooth by the standards of today’s fast-moving Web, but email keeps its relevancy due to the fact that it is not only pervasive (the more than 2.9 billion email accounts around the world offer three times the exposure of Facebook and Twitter accounts combined), but offers a chance for contact that is both personal and more time-intensive as compared to interactions via social media.

It’s not all wine and roses, however. The average open rate for email marketers in 2012 was just 19.7% (an increase of nearly three percent over 2010 numbers). That’s promising, but it still means that four out of every five recipients never even saw the message the marketer sent their way. Email may remain one of the best ways to reach and convert clients, but it’s only truly effective if the folks on your list open, and read, the message you send.

One of the most important things you can do to make sure your message is received is to use best practices for your mailing lists (including double opt-in confirmation for subscribers). Doing so ensures the people to whom you send your message are truly interested—and eager to receive it.

Another critical considerations are the subject line and body of your message. We’ve all received messages of dubious provenance promising offers too good to be true (or too disturbing to contemplate). Whatever your product, whatever the campaign, it’s important to avoid shooting yourself in the promotional foot by leading with a subject (and message) full of spammy trigger words. Every cliché or worn-out promotional promise adds another tick to the “spam score” of your message, and most popular anti-spam applications and filters are quick to move even moderately suspicious content to their black lists—meaning your hard work is routed to the spam folder (or blocked altogether) before anyone ever sees it.

In addition to a clean subject line and message body, you’ll also want to review your code to keep it tidy, and keep your images to a minimum (anti-spam filters can’t scan images, and tend to dismiss large images as attempts to sneak by).

Making the most of your email marketing efforts takes time and careful planning, but with the right tools, quality content, and a well-vetted list of recipients, you, too, can boost your email marketing response rate.