Email Deliverability for Associations: Are Your Campaigns Ending Up in The Junk Folder?


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Are you an association struggling to gain more members? Your emails might be landing in recipients’ spam folders. Understanding email deliverability for associations may be able to help. 

What is Email Deliverability for Associations?

Email deliverability refers to your association’s ability to deliver emails to members’ or your target audience’s inboxes.

Several elements can hurt email deliverability, such as sending out emails without custom domain authentication, sending an email via a free domain, making it difficult for the recipients to unsubscribe, using shortened URLs, and a lack of engagement with your emails. 

What Triggers an Email to Go to Spam

Whenever your association sends an email campaign, the mailbox of the recipient runs initial vetting checks on each email. You can say this is the reputation scan to check the authenticity of the email. The vetting process includes checking the sender’s reputation, server and IP address’ reputation, and domain reputation, spam and bounce complaint rates of the server and domain your association uses. 

Having a bad reputation will trigger a preventive response by the recipient’s mailbox, and your email will land in a spam folder or bounce back. 

Hard Bounce vs. Soft Bounce

A hard bounce occurs when your association sends an email to an inbox that does not exist. For example, someone gave you a fake or misspelled email address when signing up for your subscription. 

Now, whenever you send an email, the hard bounce will send it back to you stating that the email address you used is invalid or does not exist. 

A soft bounce happens when your association tries to send an email to a mailbox that has reached maximum capacity, the server needs maintenance, the email is too large or it is blocked based on the content. A soft bounce is a temporary issue; however, you may want to look into why this is happening to your association if this continues to happen too often. 

How Associations Can Improve Email Deliverability

In order to ensure that your emails go into an inbox, here are some steps to help you get started. 

  • Try to distribute your email campaign consistently and evenly. Pick a regular schedule and don’t stray too far from it. This will prevent any significant spikes and drops in your email campaign. 
  • Keep your email list as clean as possible in order to avoid or reduce your bounce rate. The higher your bounce rate, the more it implies that you have a poor lead generation process. Use an email verifier in order to check each email address for validation. 
  • Avoid sending too many emails at once, recipients may complain and mark your email as spam. Excessive spam complaints may result in mailbox providers blocking your emails for all their subscribers. 
  • Avoid ending up on the blacklist – use authenticated domains, servers, and ISPs. 

Why Email Deliverability is Important for Associations

Ideally, there should be no complexities to get your association’s emails into members’ inboxes and motivate them to engage. However, email deliverability factors can create an unwanted hassle for many association marketers. 

One of these factors can be due to a low “sender score.” Your sender score tells the Internet Service Provider (ISP) if your email is safe for their users. You are ranked on the following factors:

  • Complaints reported against your association for sending spam emails.
  • The ratio of your association’s emails sent vs. the number of those emails marked as spam. 
  • The ratings and reputation of the server/IP are addressing you against others. If you are using a blacklisted server, you will end up blacklisted too. 
  • How frequently you attempt to send an email to addresses that do not exist.
  • How often your association’s messages get rejected by the spam filters and blacklisting tools.

Just like a low credit score may cause a lender to reject someone’s loan application, your association’s low sender score is the cause of ISPs blocking or rejecting your emails. If you want to know your sender score, check it here. 

It’s important to improve your sender score if it is low. If your emails cannot land smoothly in your members’ inboxes, how will you communicate with them? Take the time to improve your deliverability and watch your engagement rates soar.

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