Tips to Increase Email Delivery and Open Rates

Ensuring email lands soundly in an inbox is a bit like playing chess - rules are constantly changing, but there are so many ways to ensure a solid baseline. Once you hit an inbox, the open, read and click rates are where the magic happens.

Email delivery best practices

The often ignored, but more important part of email marketing, is email delivery. Without focus on this, emails do not land in inboxes and therefore, even the most enticing and well thought out emails will never be seen.

As with the top paid email marketing platforms out here, Aidium automatically sets you up for success in the following ways, but at no additional cost:

  1. Sending though Aidium's own marketing email servers - These servers are specifically designed, tested and warmed-up for quickly sending with high delivery rates. They are ready for action on day 1!
  2. Opt-out link - All marketing emails automatically include an opt-out link. There is no need for marketing admins to remember to add it or extra headaches the compliance department. If it's a newsletter, nurture campaign or any bulk email - the opt-out link and language is automatically added in accordance with US and Canadian law.
  3. Sender name - Aidium automatically sends marketing emails using the User's name with their email address as the reply-to.  This is important for quality delivery, anti-spoofing rules and ensures easy identification by the email recipient.
  4. Automatic merging of the sending user's email signature - Any email that is started in Aidium will automatically display the merge field for the sending user's signature. User signatures are part of their User Profile (learn how to add one here).

How you and your marketing department can ensure the highest delivery:

  1. Text to Image Ratio - At least 50/50 but try for at least 60% text. Images can be compelling, but they can also obstruct delivery when they are the majority of an email. Try to avoid images taking up the majority of the physical space in an email.
  2. Secure URLs/links only! Always link to websites and images in securely. If the URL doesn't start with "https://" you shouldn't use it. The majority of websites are fully secured, but if a link used is not, it will hinder delivery.
    1. For website links, just open it in a browser - if it loads without error or warning, it will most likely be fully secure.
    2. For images, if you aren't sure, you can add an image using Aidium's servers - this is an easy way to ensure any images, or attachments are securely stored (learn more here).
  3. Compliant Email Signature - This is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure compliance. If you have a marketing department, they most likely are ready to help (to learn more, click here)
    1. Must haves in a signature: Full Name, NMLS (if licensed), Physical Address, Website URL, Fine Print (as provided from your company's compliance department.
    2. Should haves in a signature: Phone, Headshot, Logo (team and company), Social Media links
  4. Targeted Groups of Contacts - Do not "spray and pray' ever. Not only will this turn people off, but this practice will hurt your brand. Additionally, it will increase opt-outs, which can hurt future email discoverability for not only you, but your entire company.
  5. Avoid SPAM keywords - There are so many 'spammy' words that may or may not affect delivery, but in the finance industry, it can feel like a tightrope. Gmail may accept a message that a real estate agent's company may reject. The best method is multi-approach:
    1. Go to your favorite search engine to find updated lists of words and phrases to avoid in the finance industry. You might be surprised by how common words and phrases will send an email directly to spam/junk folders.
    2. Be ready to update emails based on feedback. Sometimes, you just don't know until after an email doesn't get delivered.
    3. Never promise anything or suggest with an abundance of confidence in an email. When you're selling a product, stating something as fact...had better be a fact.  Instead, use words like: 'can', 'may', 'evidence', 'hopeful(ly)'
  6. If you link out to a 3rd party website, as in, not in your or your company's control:
    1. Be sure they are reputable and not click-bait or information capturing - Don't give away your clients or leads!
    2. The information matches the messaging your attempting to get across
    3. The site is actually helpful to your audience and will provide value

How to get your emails opened and read

  1. Build trust and demonstrate your value proposition - Let's be blunt... if you can't manage this, nothing else matters.
  2. Be educational and back it up
    1. Leads - Let them know you're there to answer questions, help guide them short-term and long-term, explain the process to newbies, respect the knowledge and experience of current homeowners. Always have empathy.
    2. Previous Clients - Help them build value in their home, watch out for their best interests, be a trusted advisor and be available.
    3. Business and Real Estate Agent - Figure out how can you help them build their business and offer it. Selfless help, availability and resources will prove your value and help develop a referral relationship.
  3. Enticing/interesting subject line
    1. Simple, straightforward and not too long
    2. Don't be afraid to use a merge field for First Name - this will merge in the name of the contact assigned to an automation.
    3. Add an emoji at the beginning - while this is becoming commonplace, it will still help your email stand
    4. Sometimes a question is the right start
  4. HTML formatting - If you have a well prepared marketing department, it is best to work with them to plan, prepare and build informative and visually compelling emails in HTML
  5. If using HTML, add 'preview text' (aka, Preheader text) - this will allow for an email preview to show precisely the information you want the recipient to see before they open an email. Additionally, this will avoid previewing issues that occur when a header image is used before any text.
  6. Do NOT over email. Every contact segment is a different and the frequency of emails received, as well as the information contained within will be very important in determining the impact your emails make on the recipient.
    1. Never "spray-and-pray" - If a contact doesn't know who you are and you're suddenly emailing them, if you don't have permission, it's SPAM and illegal. If it's a purchased lead and you do have permission, you must build trust quickly.
    2. Be targeted with Newsletters - make them relevant to the audience.
    3. When building Nurture automations, space out email and SMS communications by a few days or more.
    4. Use extreme caution if assigning to more than one Nurture automation. The team that builds your Nurture automations should maintain a reference guide so you and your team can quickly reference email/SMS timings.
  7. Target your audience
    1. If you make great videos and they are relevant to the recipient, include a link out to the video (here's a quick article on including a BombBomb video preview)
    2. Assign Nurture automations that match the contact's current/future needs and relationship to you.
    3. Use Contact Tags to segment your audience(s) - this will help tremendously when building and assigning Newsletters or event invites.
  8. Test emails before sending - make sure the merge fields are as intended, images load properly, everything is spelled correctly and grammar is proper.
  9. Don't be afraid to ask for business. If you provide value and develop trust, asking for reciprocation with a referral or action from a lead, you might be surprised by the positive results.
  10. Application link and Scheduling link - Shows you're ready for new business and you're available to help.
  11. Don't add advanced coding designed for websites, like 'iframes' - these will be automatically stripped from emails and can cause emails to be rejected at suspect.

    Audience and Segmentation

    With a little planing and sticking your process will help you keep your contacts well organized and segmented. By using Contact Tags and Automations, you can ensure every contact is setup for short and long-term success.

    Segmenting with Tags - telling the contact's story

    1. Leads/Borrowers: Use Tags like, 'Refi Opportunity', 'FTHB', 'VA Eligible', 'Relocation', 'Investor', etc
    2. Business: User Tags like, 'Realtor', 'Financial Advisor', 'Referral Partner', Referral Prospect', 'Top 10', etc
    3. The rest - Add everyone you know to your database and Tag them: 'Friend', 'family', 'congregation', 'neighbor', 'BNI', etc - If they know you and like you, don't be afraid to communicate with them in a manner that meets their needs and provides them value.
    4. Use Tags to build automations that communicate respectfully with Newsletters and Event Invites.
    5. Treat your best Agents, Referral Partners and Trusted Advisors like family. A tight circle of smart, forward-thinking, respected and diverse folks will provide mutual value.

    👍  This concludes tips to increase email delivery and open rates