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According to Finances Online, as of January 2020, Gmail had over 1.8 billion active users. When you’ve got a mailbox provider so prevalent on your email list, keeping yourself on good terms with that provider is essential for the survival of your subscriber count. But how do you know if your reputation with Gmail has tanked? And what’s the best way to respond? While every mailbox provider cares about customers first, Gmail has its advantages for senders too. For example, Gmail allows you to track your domain and IP reputation. Gmail also sends helpful hints when your emails land in the spam folder, but it can be confusing.In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss how to determine where your sender reputation stands with Gmail, what to make of every possible inbox tip-off, how to respond when you realize your reputation has tanked, and reaching the root cause of your strained relationship with Gmail. Key Takeaways [03:28] - There are many clues and data points Gmail provides that can point senders in the right direction when it comes to fixing your reputation.  [06:37] - While Gmail is the mailbox provider, the actions of your subscribers determine where you land in the inbox. Remember that mailbox providers care about their customers (your subscribers) above all else.  [07:34] - Subscribers will sometimes tell you when your messages are landing in their spam folders. Keep in mind that the promotions tab is still the inbox. [11:24] - If you land in the spam folder and see a banner that reads, “Why is this message in spam?” — it usually means you’re not using a verified sending domain with an ESP. [13:16] - If you realize you have a bad reputation with Gmail, immediately stop sending to unengaged subscribers and figure out the root cause. [14:07] - Clean your list, check to see if you’ve been listbombed, and avoid sending to unengaged subscribers for two weeks. As you see your reputation start to improve, you can gradually begin re-engaging subscribers who haven’t been receiving your messages.  Quotes[06:59] - “Gmail’s number one priority is their customers, who are your subscribers. So you may have every good intention in the world of helping people, sending relevant content, but if those subscribers are not interacting in a positive way, then your reputation may be suffering.” ~ @mel_lambert_ [17:43] - “You have to give them time to build that trust back. And you want to make sure that in that process, when you’re building it back, you don’t do anything that would cause more negative signals to show up. Don’t try and re-engage your list too fast. You want to do all that really slowly and try to make sure that the most things they’re seeing when you send messages are those positive engagements like opens, and clicks, and replies.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[19:22] - “Even though reputation issues can be scary, at least at Gmail there are a decent amount of tools, signals that you can use to be able to work on certain aspects of your list and your sending habits, and they give you an opportunity to get better.” ~ @mel_lambert_ Links Subscribe to the monthly Deliverability Defined newsletter! Monthly deliverability reports Starbucks Slack Gmail Hotmail Yahoo Mail Finances Online report Google Postmaster Tools Deliverability Defined 0222: Ask Our Experts: Help, My Emails Are Landing in the Promotions Tab! LinkedIn Ask Alyssa & Melissa questions or suggest content for our next monthly newsletter! Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
How to Clean Your List

How to Clean Your List

2022-03-0125:33

From likes to follows to subscribers, when everything feels like a numbers game, the idea of actively deleting your subscribers can feel counterintuitive and downright terrifying. But there’s power in deleting people from your list who aren’t opening or engaging any longer. List cleaning saves you money and saves your reputation, a gift to yourself and the subscribers who matter. Well, at least the subscribers opening your emails. But how exactly do you clean your list? Is the best list cleaning strategy the same for everyone? What really defines an unengaged subscriber? Depending on your niche, your followers, and your current deliverability health, the steps may differ. Nevertheless, one thing will always remain the same – list cleaning is an essential step for every creator, regardless of your audience size and regardless of your email strategy. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss why list cleaning matters, tips for a top-notch re-engagement campaign, why less is more when it comes to opt-in confirmation emails, and knowing when to pull the plug and part ways with the people on your list. Key Takeaways [02:12] - List cleaning is so important because unengaged senders will damage your sender reputation by sending negative signals to inbox providers. That damaged deliverability can ultimately prevent engaged subscribers from seeing your emails.  [04:13] - A re-engagement series ending with an opt-in confirmation email is a great list cleaning strategy for a sender who isn’t struggling with deliverability issues.  [05:55] - If you are struggling with deliverability issues, sending a single opt-in confirmation email or simply deleting unengaged subscribers from your list are better options.  [09:31] - For the best results, send 1-3 re-engagement attempts and make sure those emails contain your best high-value content.  [12:27] - Strong opt-in confirmation emails are straight to the point with a clear action item. Fluff is unnecessary and distracting.  [18:14] - Senders should run re-engagement campaigns every 3-6 months. Avoid going more than 6 months without cleaning your list.  [20:24] - Unengaged subscribers are defined as subscribers who haven’t opened an email in 90 days or have been on your list for 30 days and haven't opened anything. You should always consider removing subscribers who haven’t engaged in six months.  Quotes[03:23] - “This is the reason why we have this episode, why it’s so important to regularly clean your list of unengaged subscribers because if you let them sit there on your list, they’re going to start damaging your reputation and causing your messages to land in the spam folder.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[07:43] - “A lot of senders don’t love to watch their numbers go down, especially when there’s a few thousand sometimes cold subscribers that need to be deleted, but you’re paying for those subscribers. And if there’s no interaction, if there’s no engagement, it’s probably not worth paying for those subscribers.” ~ @mel_lambert_ [08:13] - “You have to look at the big picture and recognize that, even though it’s hard to cut ties with people, they can always come back. Just because you delete them off your list because they’re not engaging, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the opportunity to come back some day if they really want to.” ~ @mel_lambert_ Links Facebook Gmail ConvertKit Creator Pro Sign up for our monthly newsletter!  Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
Many creators know the ins and outs of authentication, spam traps, BIMI, and listbombing. And if you’ve been creating for a while, you probably understand best practices for email strategy and creative tips for encouraging engagement. But what about the basics? Do you really understand what happens to your email after clicking “send”? Most creators don’t, and there’s a strong case for shifting that statistic. When a tool helps you earn a living, it’s important to have a general understanding of how that tool works from a technical standpoint. Email is no different. The inner workings of email are complex and understanding those complexities helps you improve your strategy, ask better deliverability questions, and stay calm when unexpected issues arise. So if you think technical know-how is irrelevant and only for the computer programmers of our world, think again. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss technical complexities behind clicking “send”, how inbox providers determine where your email lands, what ESPs like ConvertKit really can control, and why understanding email basics sets you up for deliverability success. Key Takeaways [03:22] - Knowledge is power, and when you’re a creator depending on email for your livelihood, having a technical understanding of email can only help you. [03:57] - There are many steps between when an email is “sent” and when the email reaches the inbox of your subscriber. This back-and-forth conversation between the sender and the recipient is complicated but only lasts several seconds. [06:34] - Once a message is sent, there are still things on the recipient’s end that can cause deliverability issues. Once sent, an email is either accepted (delivered) or rejected (bounced).  [10:32] - Once delivered, the mailbox provider has to consider several factors before determining where your email will land.  [18:48] - Once a message is delivered, you can track how subscribers react to that message through open tracking, although it’s important to look at open rate trends over time versus day-to-day open data.  [24:47] - Spam complaints are another great data point for senders searching for feedback.  Quotes[26:48] - “Being able to break down every step of email, in general, will help highlight how it all works together because it’s definitely not a to and from, easy send, one-sided piece of mail. Even with the post office, when you take a letter to the post office, it’s not just being magically delivered instantaneously to that person, it’s going through a lot of work to get there.” ~ @mel_lambert_ [27:34] - “I think one of the best outcomes from this episode is at least maybe you have a better understanding of how complex email is and whenever you do have a subscriber bounce or someone says their message went to the spam folder, it will feel a little more like, ‘Ok, I get that there’s a lot of moving pieces going in here, let’s take a look, let’s not panic.’” ~ @alyssa_dulin[28:13] - “Our whole goal at Convertkit is that you’re earning a living from your emails, from your products that you’re selling, things like that. So when something is the cornerstone to your business, you should have a general understanding of how it works.” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks HappyLight Gmail Microsoft Outlook Yahoo! DMARC Bitly Deliverability Defined 0310: Top 5 Email Myths Deliverability Defined 0207: How To Avoid Automatic Clicks and Opens From Skewing Your Metrics Why Are My Emails Being Automatically Opened or Clicked?  ConvertKit Creator Pro iCloud Microsoft Comcast Sign up for our monthly newsletter!  Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
Rejection is a terrible feeling. Especially when you’re pouring everything into a business and yearning for the approval of a new audience. But there are things to learn from every negative in life, and unsubscribes are no different.So if you’re feeling down about your unsubscribes, consider this: the unsubscribe button is an automated list-cleaner, allowing subscribers the option to opt-out themselves, saving you the hassle of removing them manually when your deliverability starts to wane. And by implementing tools like exit surveys, you’re turning that unsubscribe into an invaluable insight. Not to mention, unsubscribes are an unavoidable fact of email marketing. As our lives change, so do our email preferences. Plus, with a new feature from ConvertKit, you can send every unsubscriber a survey on their way out the door. While responses are never an exact science, there’s knowledge to be gained from every answer. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss why an unsubscribe option is a win-win, what you can learn from every exit survey, how not to position your unsubscribe option, and why trying your best to avoid them can turn a minor loss into an email catastrophe. Key Takeaways [04:47] - Legally, all bulk emails are required to have an unsubscribe button, and morally, including an unsubscribe option is respectful to everyone.  [08:47] - Don’t make the unsubscribe button difficult to find. If you make it extra complicated, subscribers may mark your emails as spam to speed up the process.  [11:48] - Subscribers removing themselves from your list is beneficial to you because unengaged subscribers will ultimately damage your deliverability. [12:11] - Surveys are a great way to learn from unsubscribers, and a new feature from ConvertKit sends your unsubscribers an exit survey.  [17:09] - If someone responds, “I no longer want to receive these emails”, most likely, they’ve simply outgrown your services.  [20:26] - A lot of “I never signed up to receive these emails” responses indicate that you’ve been a victim of listbombing.  [23:00] - Responses that your content is “inappropriate” may mean subscribers are surprised by the content they’re receiving. Be transparent with your subscribers about what they’ll be receiving from the get-go.  [26:51] - Multiple responses that your content is “spam” is also concerning. It may be an email frequency issue.  [28:46] - When someone marks “other”, there’s not much to be learned. It may be that you’re sending too much, the emails are no longer relevant, or maybe that subscriber just didn’t feel like explaining themselves.  Quotes[11:07] - “Deliverability is one of those things where you really do have to follow the rules or you’re going to end up putting yourself in a hole. There are not a lot of ways you can get around doing things you don’t want to do. You have to do the right thing or you’re not going to have success.” ~ @mel_lambert_[11:51] - “Unsubscribes are not personal, but they’re beneficial to both the subscriber and you. If someone doesn’t want to be on your email list, you don’t want them there. Having people on your list who don’t actually want to be there is guaranteed to damage your deliverability, ultimately hurting your ability to reach those people who do want to be on your list.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[22:26] - “We’re here to help you reach the inbox and emailing people who didn’t sign up for your list is not going to get you there. Make sure that any list you’ve imported comes from sources where each individual opted in to receive emails from you specifically.” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks Sign up for the Deliverability Defined newsletter! The Deliverability Defined podcast archives Monthly deliverability reports Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing
When change happens, many of us panic. The rules of yesterday no longer apply and our future feels uncertain. But not all changes are catastrophic. In fact, a few recent email updates may seem more dramatic than they actually are. Case and point: Apple’s new privacy changes. Earlier in 2021, Apple announced an update that sent many senders stressing. Within Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature, pixels load automatically and recipients are unable to determine who’s actually opening their emails. For years, open rates have been a hallmark metric in the world of deliverability, but now that technology has turned the tables, what’s next for measuring email success? In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa explain what the iOS 15 update really means for senders and subscribers, who’s impacted, where open rates are surprisingly still useful, and why Apple’s update is an email blessing in disguise. Key Takeaways [01:50] - Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection is a feature that automatically loads pixels in an email to prevent senders from collecting information about the receiver. As a result, it will always appear that subscribers are opening emails.  [05:56] - Who’s impacted? Any subscriber using an Apple device with iOS 15 installed who uses the Apple Mail app to manage their emails. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell which subscribers fall into this category.  [07:48] - Since Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection was released, ConvertKit has seen open rates increase from 30% to 37%.  [11:14] - Even before the release of iOS 15, open rates were becoming less and less reliable. With this update, open rates are officially an email metric of the past.  [14:48] - It’s time for creators to move away from relying on open rates to determine email success and start focusing on increasing engagement. Quotes[05:43] - “An interesting effect of the Mail Privacy Protection is that a lot of senders aren’t going to be able to clean their list and make sure people are receiving what they want to receive the way that they could with accurate open rate data.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[14:51] - “It takes the pressure off. You don’t have to make [open rates] such a large part of your goal. Because if your goal is to make a sale, then maybe we shouldn’t be focused on just the open rate, maybe we should be focusing on that actual purchase.” ~ @mel_lambert_[15:46] - “Having that pulse on your open rate can tell you how your deliverability is doing and that’s really what open rates are good for these days, just that basic, ‘ok, I’m getting through the front door.’ But when you’re really focusing on what metrics are going to tell you, ‘Are you being successful? Is this message resonating? Did people read it?’, there are other things you need to be focusing on, like clicks, conversions, and replies.” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks Sign up for the monthly newsletter! Deliverability Defined 0218: Apple’s New Privacy Changes  Gmail Microsoft Outlook Hey Email Mixpanel Deliverability Defined 0301: Creative Strategies to Increase Engagement  Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
Top 5 Email Myths

Top 5 Email Myths

2022-02-0124:11

Are there tips and tricks to avoiding the promotions tab? Can simple keywords send you straight to the spam folder? Is email on the way out? Misinformation about best practices can send your email strategy spiraling. While it sounds cliche, avoid trusting everything you read on the internet. Because despite living in the era of information, many email mythologies have survived. If you’re feeling lost and confused about what’s true, what’s old news, and what never served anyone in the first place, this episode is for you. From the value of open rates to email’s future as a medium for successful creators, Alyssa and Melissa tackle the ever-present underlying question: email fact or email fiction? Key Takeaways [02:19] - Specific words will automatically send your email to the spam folder. This is a myth! Sender reputation and list health determine your deliverability. [06:55] - When it comes to list collection, following legislation is enough. Don’t forget,  subscribers need to give explicit permission to receive your marketing emails.  [09:43] - Email is dead (or dying). Far from the case, with social algorithms changing daily, email is more powerful than ever before.  [13:06] - Tips and tricks will push your email out of the promotions tab and into the primary tab in Gmail. These tricks don’t exist and landing in the promotions tab is usually beneficial. [19:09] - Open rates should be the main metric you use to measure email success. Open rates are less reliable than ever. Focus on engagement instead.  Quotes[09:09] - “If you want to reach the inbox and you want to be a good responsible sender, you need to make sure that every single person on your list opted in for your messages and you are delivering what they were expecting to receive.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[10:14] - “Any of these social media platforms could go away tomorrow. We’ve seen it happen. And being able to communicate with people on your list in a more targeted way is really cool and I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon.” ~ @mel_lambert_[17:12] - “Trust the process, encourage engagement, but trying to trick an algorithm isn’t going to work for very long, even if you find a loophole. And it’s not going to make people more likely to purchase something from you.” ~ @mel_lambert_Links Gmail Microsoft Outlook Yahoo! Mail Substack  Deliverability Defined 0301: Creative Strategies to Increase Engagement  Deliverability Defined 0222: Ask Our Experts: Help, My Emails Are Landing in the Promotions Tab!  The Deliverability Defined Newsletter Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
The most common question deliverability experts hear is, “how do I get more subscribers?” As a brand new creator, finding followers is probably your top concern. And although there are many answers depending on who you ask, the best explanation may be something called the flywheel effect. In short, you have to put out content consistently and strategically, blending social media with email to reach the most subscribers possible.  While it’s hardly rocket science, sending out content when you’ve only got one or two subscribers to your email list or five followers on Instagram can be nerve-wracking. However, in order to set the flywheel in motion, consistently creating in public is the name of the game. Or at least part of the name of the game.In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa describe each step of the flywheel concept, explaining how to maximize your results and stay motivated along the way, even with just one follower to your name. It may be a slow process, but if done correctly, the flywheel concept guarantees growth and may be the simplest answer to that number one creator question.Key Takeaways [02:03] - The flywheel concept explains audience building as a process with a painfully slow start. Consistency speeds up the flywheel until the wheel spins faster and faster and audience-building becomes easier and easier.  [12:29] - The first step of the flywheel process is posting to social media and creating in public.  [14:57] - The second step is telling followers to sign up for your email list and telling them exactly what they’ll get out of it. In other words, incentivize subscribers to join your list.  [19:09] - The third step is to send an email and then send consistent, high-quality content to your list.  [22:23] - The final step is to tell social media about the email you’ve just sent. Let them know what they’re missing out on if they aren’t subscribed. Quotes[14:21] - “When we say high value, that kind of depends on what your subscribers or followers find value in. It doesn’t necessarily mean something that took you hours.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[19:23] - “The key here, and this is what we’ve talked about through all of our episodes, is to send consistently high-quality content to your list that meets the need that you just told them you were going to meet.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[19:35] - “People tend to lose interest in things that they forget about. And that is what I notice on social media and also related to email. People like consistency. Even if you have to repurpose your content in some way or ask questions for more content, it’s better to send something.” ~ @mel_lambert_Links Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins Instagram Deliverability Defined Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Nathan Barry on Twitter Olivia Rink Chris Loves Julia Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
Every once in a while, we stumble upon a promotional email from a brand we love or a service we recently subscribed to and think, “that’s a great email.” Today, Alyssa and Melissa break down some of their favorite examples.  Because when it comes to teachable moments, stellar examples of real-world emails are the best way to translate best practices and learn from the email experts all around us. And while we often spend time discussing the “don’ts” of email marketing, nothing lights a fire under our server like emails that make the grade. A newsletter that rocks? An opt-in confirmation email with a crystal clear CTA? An incredible newsletter from a creator who knows their audience and adds targeted value? In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa break down real-world email examples from their very own inboxes. No brand is off limits and no creator is safe from today’s celebratory review. Key Takeaways [03:42] - Ben Rector’s killer opt-in confirmation email.  [07:13] - The most comprehensive welcome email of all time.  [09:54] - A welcome email that adds value. [12:46] - A newsletter from an author who knows her audience. [16:07] - An email newsletter with gripping subject lines.  [21:22] - Why it’s important to clean your list.  [22:22] - This wedding venue guarantees a clean break-up with a sweet list-cleaning email.  [27:34] - When brands understand personalization.  [29:33] - Airbnb’s hyper-targeted email that helped out Alyssa. [32:17] - The email “don'ts” that made us cringe.  Quotes[15:28] - “Here are the three main things that are super important with a newsletter: being consistent all the time in your timing, the layout, and the quality.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[36:07] - “I think sometimes we have a mindset shift when we become the sender and sometimes we just want our needs to be met, and we’re like ‘we have to make this number of sales’ or ‘we have to get this open rate.’ So it’s helpful to change your mindset to the actual subscriber and think about what’s going to serve them. And then that’s going to actually end up serving you the most.” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks Ben Rector Empress of Dirt The Prenatal Nutrition Library Amy Hoppock Smaller & Deeper Newsletter Codie Sanchez Contrarian Thinking Deliverability Defined 0203: Growing Your List With a Referral Program CJ’s Off The Square  Athleta  Gap Banana Republic ADT Airbnb Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
The Future of Email

The Future of Email

2022-01-1131:04

If you could peek into a crystal ball and see the next 10 or 15 years of email evolution, what would it look like? Are the strategies you’re implementing ready for the future?Many say that in a world of ever-changing algorithms, email stays the same. While it’s never an exact science, the predictability and control senders have over their content certainly makes email an attractive outlet. However, nothing is ever stagnant, email included. For example, Apple’s recent privacy changes, the promotions tab controversy, and that infamous ‘unsend’ option rolled out by Gmail years ago.In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa make their email predictions for 2022 and the years ahead. From metrics to privacy to engagement and open rates, here’s everything the experts are betting on. While there’s no guarantee these changes will come to fruition, it’s always important to consider what’s next. Key Takeaways [03:27] - Over time, Alyssa predicts that metrics like open rates will become more and more unusable before eventually returning.  [04:47] - Further into the future, large mailbox providers will develop new tools to help senders understand their email performance while still protecting the privacy of subscribers.  [11:32] - Melissa predicts that emails will become more and more targeted and senders will continue finding creative ways to encourage engagement.  [17:25] - Alyssa believes that more and more creators will use email to connect with their audience rather than relying only on social media.  [22:26] - Melissa predicts that emails will become more interactive and senders will find new ways to encourage and track that engagement. Quotes[12:28] - “I think people have a lot of options and they’re becoming smarter with what they’re interested in, and I think senders and marketers will have to be even more specific about what they send subscribers, especially if they don’t  have that open rate data.” ~ @mel_lambert_ [17:55] - “ A lot of [people] still probably don’t use email, especially the ones getting started, because they just don’t understand the value of it. But I think as time goes on, that’s going to change, and as soon as you decide you want to be a creator or have some sort of platform or build an audience, email is going to be one of the first things you do.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[21:13] - “Figure out a way to beat [social media] and own your audience instead of trying to constantly worry about what people aren’t seeing. Because if they were on your email list and you had good engagement and also practiced good deliverability, they probably would see everything.” ~ @mel_lambert_Links How iOS15 Has Impacted Open Rates For Creators  Gmail Microsoft Outlook Apple Mail Deliverability Defined 0108: Hey.com: The New Mailbox Provider that Blocks “Spy Tracker” Pixels  Tempur-Pedic DSW Skechers Instagram Help Center Facebook Help Center AMP for Gmail Southwest Airlines Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
What happens when security and style combine? Enter BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification, a text record that lives in your DNS records and helps verify your email address against phishers with malicious intent. This verification can be found in the brand’s logo, conveniently embedded in a sender’s email.While this high-tech security option may be a tough bet for small creators working alone, if you’ve got a large following and an equally large team, BIMI is a great way to increase your security. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies are falling victim to hackers at an alarming rate, with COVID and remote work leaving us vulnerable to keyboard bandits and email spoofing more than ever before. Needless to say, security is important, and anything you can do to protect your own brand and the privacy of your subscribers saves you face and money. If you can add a personal branded touch, all the better. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss the importance of mixing style with security, the technicalities behind implementing BIMI, and why security is so important for big brands, small creators, and everyone in between. Key Takeaways [05:08] - The goal of BIMI is to provide another layer of trust to your emails. With the embedded logo, subscribers can verify that the email is coming from your brand.  [10:05] - While massive data breaches aren’t a top concern for the average creator, email spoofing can happen to anyone, and BIMI protects against spoofing.  [12:06] - To start using BIMI, you have to be using a strict DMARC record. BIMI is incentivizing senders to use DMARC.  [17:38] - Aside from setting up a strict DMARC record, if you’re a ConvertKit user, you have to set up a verified sending domain.  [19:51] - You must also have a proper TXT record in your DNS.  [21:55] - Keep in mind that not all mailbox providers support BIMI. Yahoo, AOL, Netscape, Gmail, G Suite, and Fastmail are mailbox providers that do. Quotes[11:45] - “We care a lot that email is a safer place and that people aren’t being spoofed. And then, on the other end, a lot of people who send mail probably aren’t as interested, don’t care as much about it. But [BIMI] gives them an incentive to start to really crack down on their security.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[18:17] - “I feel like people think that they have to have all these things. A lot of new senders think, ‘Oh I need to change things in my DNS settings and I need to add a DMARC record’, and you don’t have to do anything. It’s not like those things will make you land in the inbox more often.” ~ @mel_lambert_[19:03] - “At the end of the day, [BIMI] encourages people, or it should encourage people, to really work on their sender reputation if they want to have these things set up, which is a good thing.” ~ @mel_lambert_Links Deliverability Defined 0106: Authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) The 10 Biggest Ransomware Attacks of 2021 Using a Verified Domain for Email Sending Generate Your BIMI Record Yahoo AOL Netscape Gmail G Suite Fastmail  DMARC Outlook Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
As creators and email marketers, we’ve got a lot of important things keeping us up at night. From our marketing strategy, the hassle of freelance taxes, and, of course, those subscribers who don’t confirm their double opt-ins. But of all our worries, is an unconfirmed subscriber really something to stress over? After all, what’s “normal” subscriber behavior? It might be time to rethink how you expect subscribers to engage with your emails. Because subscribers don’t follow the same rules you do,  and what feels negative to you may feel normal to them. For example, according to a recent MailChimp study, 61% of subscribers never complete the double opt-in process. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa talk about why subscribers don’t confirm their opt-ins, when to know if it’s a real red flag, how to fix your double opt-in dilemma, and why you shouldn’t obsess over it. Because having unconfirmed subscribers doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong — sometimes, it’s just human behavior. Key Takeaways [03:38] - Subscribers may not confirm their opt-in if the confirmation email is confusing or unclear. Make your confirmation email simple and straightforward.  [07:47] - If subscribers don’t confirm the double opt-in, it’s also possible that they never signed up for your list. You may have been a victim of list-bombing.  [11:30] - While it sounds like a joke, it’s very possible that subscribers have not checked their inbox and that’s why they have yet to confirm.  [16:33] - It’s possible that your confirmation email bounced or went to spam.  [22:05] - If the number of unconfirmed subscribers is driving you crazy, it’s ok to remove the double opt-in, but make sure you’re securing your email list in some way. [28:58] - If you’re stressed about unconfirmed double opt-ins, remember, there are better metrics to focus on.  Quotes[11:06] - “I would rather see a bunch of unconfirmed subscribers on my list than see a bunch of confirmed ones who are never going to engage in my emails.” ~ @mel_lambert_[31:44] - “It’s way better to have this small, engaged list that’s protected than to have a huge list where you let in anyone who wants to be there, but then a big chunk of them are marking your messages as spam or not opening your messages and your deliverability is tanked and now everyone receives your email in the spam folder. That is a reality we’ve seen happen for people who don’t clean their list and don’t protect their list with double opt-in.” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks ClickZ MailChimp Deliverability Defined 004: Protecting Yourself from Listbombing reCAPTCHA Invisible reCAPTCHA Amazon Apple Pay I Am A Creator: How To Make Music You Love and Find The Right Audience with Drew Holcomb Deliverability Defined 0302: Growing Your List With a Referral Program Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
As creators, trust is everything. The trust between you and the subscribers who stay tuned is the foundation of your business and the source of your creative freedom. And while it can take months or years to build up hard-earned trust, it only takes one spammer to derail it. In the tech-driven twenty-first century, spamming is more prevalent than ever. Unfortunately, an email list and an ESP mean you’re a prime target for spammers seeking lists, data, and, above all else, subscribers who trust your domain. As such, it’s important to take steps toward staying secure and spam-proof, for your peace of mind and for the sake of your business. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss the top three steps for stopping spam, hacks, and phishing. From two-factor authentication to securing forms, double opt-ins, and the beauty of DMARC, here’s everything you need to know. Key Takeaways [03:55] - An email list backed by a trusted ESP is valuable email currency. This currency makes you especially vulnerable to spammers and phishers.  [06:48] - Using two-factor authentication at your ESP is essential.  [10:19] - The most common damage spammers do is buy loads of subscribers or followers and send them spam or phishing links.  [14:18] - Data breaches have long-lasting impacts. The two seconds it takes to double authenticate are worth it to avoid years of potential fallout.  [15:06] - Use double opt-in and reCAPTCHA to prevent list bombing.  [25:57] - Aside from spam prevention, double opt-ins ensure your list has the most engaged subscribers.  [27:38] - Implement DMARC to prevent spoofing.  Quotes[03:56] - “You might be thinking, ok, email spam is annoying, but how does this affect my email list? As someone with an email list and an account with an ESP, you have an asset that’s valuable to spammers.” ~ @mel_lambert_[14:38] - “You could have someone send spam from your account or phish, and then it could take you months to build that up again. But it would only take one send for them to ruin your whole reputation.” ~ @mel_lambert_[26:00] - “Double opt-in is so great to make sure the people in your list are the most high-quality. ” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks Contact Us! Have I Been Pwned? Canva MailChimp SendGrid Instagram Spotify Gmail Microsoft Yahoo reCAPTCHA Slack Leadpages Deliverability Defined 0106: Authentication (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) Dmarcian DMARC Record Checker Reply All Reply All #91: The Russian Passenger Statista Verizon Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
As we evolve as creators, it’s inevitable that our audiences evolve with us. If you find yourself serving multiple audiences, deciding which audience to speak to and when can feel like an impossible task that inevitably isolates one fan base or another. Unfortunately, with most mediums, creators must choose. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa answer the question, how do you create for multiple audiences? Because this is Deliverability Defined, email is always the answer. And while email has many superpowers, audience segmentation is possibly the most undervalued. Whether your audience is made up of both parents and teachers or dog owners and cat lovers, here’s how to embrace them all while keeping it personal. Key Takeaways [08:08] - Social media will inevitably be filled with clutter you don’t care about. Email allows us to subscribe to only the content we’re interested in. [13:33] - Before you segment subscribers, you have to learn about them. Start by asking questions through a welcome sequence.  [16:23] - Don’t feel weird asking people for information. We underestimate how much people enjoy talking about themselves.  [18:02] - Segmentation isn’t permanent. As you start sending content, you can combine your lists when content is relevant to multiple audiences.  [19:00] - Having multiple audiences via email can lead to multiple business opportunities. [19:35] - Gathering subscriber information at signup is more upfront work, but it makes your life much easier down the line. Build the system, don’t be the system.  Quotes[07:00] - “I think it’s easy to overlook that there are people in your audience who are different.” ~ @mel_lambert_[11:25] - “Email is so unique in the way that you can have all of your audience together in one place, but send them completely different emails.” ~ @alyssa_dulin[16:23) - “People underestimate how much people want to share about themselves. It’s definitely an art to learn to listen and ask people questions that get them excited about themselves, but once you do, people are willing to share a lot. And I don’t mean that in a weird way, it just creates that deeper connection with your audience.” ~ @mel_lambert_Links Contact Us! Slack Nathan Barry The Internet’s Unkillable App Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
Creators always ask, “how do I grow my audience?” While the answer is different for everyone, when you’re an emerging creator with a tight budget, referral programs are a great way to expand without burning revenue. And not only expand, but find subscribers more likely to engage.As we continue moving away from open rates as our main metric, referral programs are a great step toward increased engagement. Luckily, where there’s a will, there’s an app. Tools like SparkLoop smooth out the logistics and make tracking your referral progress fun and easy. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss the benefits of a referral program, the steps to referral success, and examples of creators who are doing it right. Key Takeaways [07:09] - Referral programs are a great way to grow your audience in a way that’s relatively “hands-off”. [08:39] - Tools like SparkLoop help you automate your referral program. Automation is especially useful if you’re a small creator. [14:24] - People trust referrals from friends more than anything else. A referred subscriber has built-in trust with you that otherwise, you would have to spend time, money, and energy to establish.  [16:11] - Referral programs reward subscriber engagement.  [16:47] - Using incentives not only drives traffic to your newsletter but also the content outside of your newsletter.  [19:22] - Referral programs lower the cost of subscriber acquisition and get people excited about your upcoming content.  [22:18] - Before launching a referral program, you need a newsletter with measurable subscriber value rather than a brand new newsletter with no built-in audience.  [24:08] - You also need a clear explanation of how your referral program works so it’s obvious to your subscribers what they have to do.  Quotes[12:12] - “Any other way to try and find people to join your list, like maybe doing paid ads, can only do so much to get the right person in front of that sign-up form. And it’s kind of more like casting a wide net and hoping to find the right people. But this is perfect. Your subscribers clearly are the perfect fit for your email list, they’re already there, they signed up for it, and they likely know other people who also would love your content.” ~ @alyssa_dulinLinks Contact Us! Morning Brew theSkimm SparkLoop ConvertKit Creator Pro account Manuel Frigerio Louis Nicholls Codie Sanchez Nathan Barry’s newsletter SparkLoop’s growth calculator SparkLoop rewards library James Clear The 3-2-1 Newsletter Great Talks Most People Have Never Heard Nathan Barry’s podcast Brennan Dunn Create & Sell Angel at ConvertKit Isa at ConvertKit  Connect with our hosts Alyssa Dulin Melissa Lambert Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. 
If we learned anything last season, it was that open rates are no longer the magic email metric. Changes to Apple’s privacy settings dethroned an already shaky measurement tool, albeit one many marketers loved to tout.While staying laser-focused on one metric is a surefire way to derail your email strategy (and fill your subscribers’ inboxes with spam-friendly subject lines), is there a new golden standard for senders? Now that open rates are a thing of the past, how can we shift our focus?  In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss the importance of focusing on subscribers and encouraging engagement, breaking down the benefits of subscriber engagement, and sharing some creative ways to encourage likes, shares, and replies. It’s time to stop viewing subscribers like spreadsheets and start building a real relationship with the people behind your metrics. (29:13) “In this day in age, we’re all so focused on clicks and likes and that’s what this whole podcast episode is about. But in order to get those things from your subscribers, you have to build a relationship with them.” ~ @mel_lambert_Key Takeaways [11:26] Add “reactions” to your email message. This is a great feature that not only encourages engagement but helps you as a sender understand how your subscribers are responding to your emails.  [14:50] Create a fun segment in your email newsletter that encourages responses. Polls and surveys are great for engagement and another way to solicit feedback.  [21:48] With tools like ReplyVid, you can even ask subscribers to reply to your email with a video message. It’s a fun relationship-building technique and a feature unique from any form of social media.  [24:18] Add something to your emails that subscribers can interact with – like a pet to “feed” or a flower to “water”.  Links Litmus Live Deliverability Defined 0218: Apple’s New Privacy Changes RP Daily newsletter  SparkLoop ReplyVid Empress of Dirt Chris Vasquez Send us your great email signup form!  Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website
With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s never too early to start planning. In fact, the longer you wait, the more likely you are to find yourself on the naughty list, aka, in the spam folder.When it comes to sales, deals, and purchasing potential, the holiday season is in a category of its own. Subscribers are slammed with more emails than ever, retailers slash prices, and inbox providers are extra sensitive to spam. One rookie mistake can derail your most profitable time of year.In this episode, Alyssa, Melissa, and Akos, a ConvertKit deliverability specialist, talk about how to stand out from the holiday crowd, prevent inbox fatigue,  and avoid the spam folder.“I highly recommend that senders just re-evaluate their content strategy, try to make it as valuable to the sender as possible. Even creators can get so much more creative with how they do this.” ~ @alyssa_dulinMain Takeaways [04:39] To have success during the holidays, don’t suddenly increase your volume or frequency. Ramp up to that volume or frequency starting now. If it’s a surprise come December, subscribers and inbox providers may send you straight to spam. [07:49] Don’t procrastinate your planning strategy. It’s never too early to start cleaning your list for the holiday season. [08:09] Remember consistency and engagement. Sending a consistent volume will train the inbox algorithm and sometimes, less is more. Over-sending can cause inbox fatigue. And as the holidays approach, slowly tweak your list to include only subscribers most likely to engage.  [16:57] Subscribers receive so many holiday promotional emails every season. It’s important to make your holiday emails stand out from the crowd. Get creative and add value for your audience. Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website
When it first landed in our inbox, many believed the promotions tab would ruin email marketing for good. Years after Gmail’s controversial update, it’s time to set the record straight for scared senders. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa break down their take on the promotions tab while unpacking insights from ConvertKit’s team of email pros. When it comes to deliverability, there are plenty of email mishaps to worry about. But is landing in the promotions tab one of them? While this secondary tab can feel like a spam folder for senders, here’s why Gmail may actually be doing you a favor.“Really, the goal isn’t to get out of the promotions tab, it’s just to do a better job within the promotions tab.” ~ @alyssa_dulinMain Takeaways [06:27] Opens in the promotions tab are much stronger signals than opens in the primary tab. Users are in a much better headspace to respond or purchase when they’re not responding to emails from their grandmother, boss, or dentist. [06:53] If you’re really hoping to avoid the promotions tab, you can ask subscribers to drag your email into the primary inbox, encourage subscribers to reply, and regularly clean your list of unengaged subscribers. [12:00] The promotions tab is still the inbox. If you’re landing in the promotions tab, find ways to make your interactions with your audience feel one-to-one.  [21:05] To create more valuable content, know your audience, segment your subscribers and send personalized messages, create captivating subject lines, avoid link shorteners, and balance images with text.  Links ConvertKit’s Deliverability 101 Guide Send us your episode ideas! Tags & Segments Turn off Gmail categories and tabs Bitly Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website
While Season 02 of Deliverability Defined has come to an end, email never stops! Before we kick off Season 03, we’re doing a series called Ask Our Experts, where we pose important deliverability questions to our amazing team at ConvertKit.Today’s question: Other than open rates, what metrics should senders focus on? With Apple’s new privacy laws furthering the fall of open rates, it’s time for senders to get creative and pivot to a measurement system that’s right for their business.In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss the math behind conversion rates, the power of healthy organization, and getting subscribers excited to hit ‘reply’ on your latest email.“I love what Akos had to say about setting your own benchmarks based on your numbers and your own goals. What do you need to reach in order to be profitable and how are you going to get there?” ~ @alyssa_dulinMain Takeaways [03:51] Determine the action you want from your senders and use that action to determine your measurement of success. For example, if you want subscribers to download a podcast, your target metric should be the number of podcasts downloaded from a link in your email. [07:21] Encourage clicks and replies. Ask your subscribers a question they would be excited to reply to. You can also learn a lot about your subscriber base from their replies.  [11:16] Pay attention to conversion rates. The formula for determining your conversion rate percentage is (# of conversions / delivered emails) x 100. [16:48] Don’t forget about your cold subscribers! Look for patterns among your cold subs to determine how to improve your email strategy and reduce unengaged recipients.  [22:042] Focus on your account organization. A lack of organization within your email deliverability system will lead to email mistakes.  Links Deliverability Defined on Instagram Nathan Barry Email Conversion Rate Blog Post Braze HBO Max Tweet Let us know your thoughts! Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website
Whether you’re a musician or an author, a blogger or an artist, email is the secret sauce to owning your audience and making a passion project your full-time hustle. While deliverability may sound like an algorithm with built-in metrics for success, there’s more than one way to reach the inbox and engage subscribers.Last season, we defined the ABCs of deliverability. In season 02, we went beyond the basics, looking at the complexities of email and (hopefully) proving that inbox success has more to do with the person receiving your emails than a robotic, spam-resistant recipe.Our top four takeaways from this season cover everything from marketing strategy to opt-in forms and what Apple’s privacy changes mean for measuring sender success.“The goal of deliverability is that people get what they want. Subscribers get what they want. So, if any sender runs into a deliverability issue, it’s essentially saying there’s a disconnect here. You might not know where it’s happening, but at some point down the line, people aren’t getting what they want.” ~ @alyssa_dulinMain Takeaways [04:00] Stop focusing so much on open rates and prioritize other metrics such as clicks and purchases. Open rates were never a perfect metric and with Apple’s new privacy changes, they’re even less meaningful. [08:44] Quality and consistency lead to email success. When you hit the sweet spot of high-quality content that’s also consistent, it’s hard not to be successful.  [16:03] Send relationship-building emails rather than purely promotional emails. Your subscribers determine your deliverability, so get to know them.  [27:49] Monetize your email list. Whether that’s through a paid newsletter, an email course, or an email series, figure out where it feels most natural to monetize.  Links Deliverability Defined on Instagram Deliverability Defined 218: Apple’s New Privacy Changes Deliverability Defined 219: How to Have the Perfect Signup Form Slack Nathan Barry Heather Mcmahan  Heather’s podcast Patreon Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website
As a new creator, you may feel like reaching as many eyeballs as possible is the most important end goal. Just remember, not all subscribers are created equal. Having an opt-in form helps weed out the unengaged and uninterested subscribers that aren’t worth paying for and can damage deliverability.However, like subscribers, not all opt-in forms are equally as effective. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa walk through their must-haves for top-performing signup pages while showcasing one creator with a stellar, deliverability-approved website. From clear messaging to single opt-in versus double, here’s everything to keep in mind when you’re building out a signup form. This page is likely the first step in your relationship with a new subscriber. Make a great impression and make it count.“How do I even get subscribers? Put out helpful content. Have a link to your sign-up form anywhere people can find you. And showing (right off the bat) the value they’re going to get so they are excited to be on that email list. That’s really the key.” ~ @alyssa_dulinMain Takeaways [03:45] Don’t use opt-in shortcuts! They are terrible for deliverability.  [05:20] It’s not just about being a good sender, it’s about the quality of the subscriber. Subscriber quality is the most important factor when you’re trying to convert those subscribers into sales.  [10:26] If you have a double opt-in form, don’t make it fancy or gimmicky. It should be easy for a potential subscriber to find it in their inbox.  [14:53] Just because you have a single opt-in doesn’t mean your subscribers will be more engaged. In fact, you’ll typically see the opposite.  [39:35] Create a platform where people clearly understand what your value is and what problem you can solve. This helps potential subscribers trust you with their email list and their screen time. [41:54] Consistency is key to succeeding as an online business.  Links reCAPTCHA  Deliverability Defined 104: Protecting Yourself From Listbombing Deliverability Defined 216: What Makes A Good Subscriber?  Deliverability Defined 218: Apple’s New Privacy Changes  Empress of Dirt Empress of Dirt on Instagram Two Minutes in the Garden Try ConvertKit's deliverability in actionIt's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing. Stay in touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Twitter Facebook Instagram Deliverability Defined Website
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