Email deliverability can be a significant hurdle for creators using platforms like Substack to reach their audience. When emails end up in the spam folder, not only is a subscriber’s engagement lost, but a creator’s content and time investment are undervalued. Understanding the common causes behind these deliverability issues is the first step towards ensuring that newsletters reach the intended inboxes.
Spam filters can be overly aggressive, trapping legitimate emails based on content and sender reputation. Some services explain how content analysis and sender reputation can cause couriers to mistake a friendly newsletter for unwanted spam. To combat this, creators should adopt best practices that align with how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) differentiate between spam and valuable content.
It’s quite common for subscribers to miss out on newsletters they’ve signed up for, leaving both them and the sender baffled. Fortunately, steps can be taken to rectify this, from checking spam folders to adjusting email settings. The process involves clear communication with subscribers and sometimes a bit of detective work to identify and resolve underlying issues causing deliverability problems.
Understanding Email Deliverability
To effectively reach an audience through Substack, one must grasp the intricacies of email deliverability. It ensures that the newsletters you send out land in subscribers’ inboxes.
The Importance of Email Deliverability in Substack
Email deliverability is essential for Substack newsletter creators as it directly impacts the success of their publications. High deliverability rates mean that content consistently reaches subscribers, which is crucial for maintaining and growing a reader base. It also affects the writer’s reputation with email service providers, influencing long-term deliverability.
Common Reasons for Email Deliverability Issues
Substack users may face several deliverability problems that prevent emails from reaching intended inboxes. These can range from content-related issues, such as using spam trigger words, to technical challenges like poor email list hygiene. Other concerns include lack of proper email authentication or being listed on an email blacklist. Adequate attention to these areas can significantly improve email deliverability on the Substack platform.
Setting Up for Success
When embarking on a journey to improve email deliverability in Substack, it’s crucial for creators to establish a robust foundation. This involves ensuring proper domain verification and setting up essential email authentication records to authenticate their outbound emails.
Verifying Your Domain
Domain verification is a fundamental step in establishing legitimacy and trustworthiness for an email sender. It demonstrates to email service providers that the sender has the authority to use the domain. For those using Substack, they can connect their custom domain to their newsletter, which not only enhances their brand presence but also contributes to higher email deliverability. The verification process usually involves adding a specific DNS record provided by Substack to the domain’s DNS settings.
Setting Up SPF and DKIM Records
For further establishing a sender’s authenticity, SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) records are pivotal. SPF allows email providers to verify that an email claiming to come from a specific domain was indeed sent by an authorized mail server. The inclusion of a TXT record in DNS settings is typically how one adds SPF to their domain. Meanwhile, DKIM adds a digital signature to outgoing emails, ensuring that the content has not been tampered with in transit. Setting up DKIM involves adding another type of DNS record. Ensuring these records are correctly configured helps to prevent emails from being flagged as spam or fraud, thus maintaining a good sender reputation.
Managing Your Email List
Effective email list management is crucial for ensuring high deliverability rates. By maintaining a healthy list, Substack creators can reduce the chances of their newsletters falling into spam folders and increase the likelihood of reaching their subscriber’s inboxes.
Pruning Inactive Subscribers
A common issue many newsletter creators face is that over time, their subscriber list can become filled with inactive users. These are subscribers who no longer open or engage with the emails. Regularly removing these inactive subscribers can improve email deliverability because high engagement rates are a positive signal to email service providers.
Segmenting Your Audience
Substack authors should consider segmenting their audience to tailor their content to different groups within their subscriber base. This allows for more targeted communication, which can lead to increased engagement and better open rates. Segmentation can be based on subscribers’ interests, interaction levels, or how they joined the list.
Encouraging subscribers to engage with the content by replying to emails or clicking through to linked content can help maintain a list’s health and deliverability. Personalization, compelling subject lines, and curated content that resonates with readers are strategies that promote engagement. A responsive audience is less likely to flag emails as spam, sustaining the creator’s email reputation.
Crafting the Content
Crafting compelling content is crucial for improving email deliverability on Substack. This section details essential strategies that writers should employ, including how to catch the reader’s eye with powerful subject lines, steer clear of spam filters, and ensure the email body is engaging and informative.
Writing Engaging Subject Lines
Subject lines act as the first impression for an email campaign. They should be attention-grabbing and promise value to encourage subscribers to open the email. To learn the process of creating a Substack newsletter that stands out, understanding the importance of concise and intriguing subject lines is key. Personalization can increase open rates, but one must avoid making them too salesy or misleading.
Avoiding Spam Triggers
To ensure emails reach the inbox rather than the spam folder, it’s critical to avoid phrases commonly flagged by spam filters. Phrases such as “free,” “discount,” or “limited time offer” are red flags for spam filters. One should focus on clean language that conveys the email’s value without triggering these filters. Moreover, maintaining a professional tone and avoiding excessive punctuation and capitalization can aid in avoiding the dreaded spam bin.
Optimizing Email Body Content
The email body should deliver on the promises made in the subject line, providing valuable and relevant content. It is important to keep the content clear, engaging, and to the point. Incorporating well-spaced paragraphs, bullet points, and bold headings can improve readability. Additionally, optimizing the email for mobile devices by testing different layouts ensures that content is accessible for all subscribers, enhancing the overall user experience.
Monitoring and Improving
To ensure that your newsletters reach your audience’s inbox, regular monitoring and improving of email deliverability is crucial. Leveraging analytics and testing strategies can foster better engagement and help identify issues hindering performance.
Analyzing Email Campaign Metrics
One should begin with a thorough examination of their email campaign metrics. This involves tracking open rates, click rates, and bounce rates. Monitoring these metrics provides insight into how recipients interact with emails and helps pinpoint where improvements can be made. For deeper insights into a Substack newsletter’s performance, examining Substack’s analytics can inform strategies for growth and improvement.
A/B Testing for Better Performance
A/B testing is a method to boost email campaign effectiveness. It requires creating two versions of an email, varying a single element like the subject line or call-to-action. Sending these versions to a small segment of the audience can determine which variation yields the best results, thus informing decision-making for future campaigns. A/B testing is integral for adapting strategies to subscriber preferences and improving overall email deliverability.
Leveraging Substack Features
Substack offers a variety of tools and features that can enhance the deliverability of your emails. These functions can help ensure your content reaches your audience’s inbox effectively.
Utilizing Substack’s Email Tools
One critical step in improving email deliverability is to ensure that the subscription experience is seamless for potential readers. Embedding a Substack signup form on external websites can widen your subscriber base and reduce the chances of emails being marked as spam due to unfamiliarity with your content. Testing for compatibility across devices also ensures that emails appear as intended, regardless of how subscribers are accessing them. It’s vital to consider the technical aspects, such as making your content less prone to trigger spam filters by optimizing email format and content.
Staying Updated with Substack Changes
Changes in policies and functionalities can periodically affect how Substack manages your emails. Keeping abreast of these Substack SEO practices and updates can guide you in tweaking your content so it not only reaches inboxes but also gains visibility. Adapting to changes promptly ensures that your newsletters remain in line with the best practices for deliverability and reach, leveraging Substack’s constant improvements in its system for your benefit.
Navigating Legal Compliance
When managing Substack email lists, publishers must carefully comply with anti-spam laws and data protection regulations. Failure to do so can not only affect deliverability but also result in legal penalties.
Adhering to Anti-Spam Laws
Anti-spam laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, set requirements for commercial email, establish penalties for spammers, and lay out the rules for email service providers. To adhere to these laws, Substack users should ensure that their emails have honest subject lines, a valid physical postal address, and an easy way for subscribers to opt out of future messages. More details on the steps Substack takes to improve deliverability can be found here.
Understanding Data Protection Regulations
Data protection regulations, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, protect subscribers’ personal information. They require that publishers obtain explicit consent from subscribers before sending emails and manage data according to strict guidelines. Substack provides mechanisms and advises on how to import email lists in compliance with these laws, ensuring that both the platform and its users uphold the highest standards for data privacy and security.
Seeking Professional Assistance
When Substack publishers face consistent email deliverability issues that evade simple fixes, it may be time to consider professional help. A consultant specialized in email deliverability can provide personalized solutions and in-depth expertise.
When to Hire an Email Deliverability Consultant
The decision to hire an email deliverability consultant should come after a publisher has tried basic troubleshooting methods without success. If emails are still landing in spam or aren’t reaching readers at all, despite efforts to address common issues, professional assistance could be the next step. They bring a deep understanding of email systems and can often identify the root cause that’s not immediately obvious to the sender.