Content: How much does it impact deliverability?

Deliverability Podcasts
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In episode 3 of the Deliverability Defined podcast, my co-host Melissa Lambert and I talk about how the content of your email does (and doesn’t) impact your deliverability.

Email content alone won't send emails to spam the way it used to

There was a time when having a specific word like “FREE” in your email might cause it to go straight to the spam folder, but filtering algorithms are much more advanced now. Does this mean using the word FREE in your emails is a good idea? Probably not. But not because it'll send the message straight to spam, but because it might make your email seem too promotional and less personal. Overly promotional content can lead to more negative engagement from subscribers, and less positive engagement.

Today, spam filtering happens through a combination of many data points, and especially your sender reputation. If your sender reputation isn't well established and your content seems spammy to filters, mailbox providers might send the message to spam. However, if you have a solid sender reputation and your content seems spammy, your message will likely go to the inbox.

Content impacts deliverability, but not in the way many people think it does

The content of your email will determine the way subscribers engage, or don't engage with your messages. In this way, content has a big impact on your reputation and deliverability. If your content is misleading, doesn't provide value, is irrelevant to subscribers, or is too promotional, it's likely that subscribers will mark the message as spam, unsubscribe, or just not open it. As we talked about in episode 2, these are negative signals that will hurt your sender reputation

On the other hand, if your content is relevant, engaging, personal, and provides value to subscribers, you'll likely receive a high amount of opens, clicks, and replies. These are positive signals that help your sender reputation.

Content guidelines that still matter

Text-to-Image Ratio

Be sure to include enough text so that, if images failed to load, your email would still make sense. This helps ensure you have enough text to accompany your images, and also provides a better experience for subscribers. Be sure to never send an image-only email.

Email size

Messages over 100KB are likely to be clipped. When messages are clipped, the open tracking pixel gets clipped as well, meaning your email will result in an incorrectly low open rate.

Formatting Links

When adding a link to your email, use descriptive text or a button instead of displaying the full URL. Displaying the full URL in your email can cause your links to be flagged as suspicious.


How to Display Links
Listen to Episode 3 Here

How Not to Display Links
Listen to Episode 3 Here:

Clear Call to Action

For better engagement and conversion rates, have a clear call to action in your emails. Be sure not to overwhelm your audience with multiple calls to action in one message.

Know your audience and know yourself

Be sure your content matches your brand and what your subscribers expect from you. For some senders, this means really aesthetically pleasing emails with several images. For others, this means simple, text-only emails that feel very personal.

Don't use misleading subject lines

Never try and trick subscribers into opening your emails by using misleading subject lines such as “Re: Your Order”. While you might get higher open rates initially, you’ll likely also get higher complaint rates and unsubscribe rates, as well as a loss of trust with your audience.

Be recognizable

Make sure your sender name and email address is easily recognizable and matches the brand that subscribers signed up to receive email from
Content definitely matters, just not in the way that many people think it does. You should worry less about using “spammy words”, and instead focus on sending engaging, relevant, and personal content that provides value to your subscribers.

Next week on Deliverability Defined

In episode 4 of the Deliverability Defined podcast, Melissa and I will be discussing how to protect yourself from listbombing. Listen in next week to ensure your sender reputation isn’t damaged by fake signups.

Click here to be notified when episode 4 is available

Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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