So I’m a member of the very excellent Agency Collective. We have a slack channel where UK agency owners wag chins and decide the fate of humanity, one marketing campaign at a time.
I was tagged yesterday in a question about whether Sopro includes DNS management as part of our prospecting campaign setup… tagged by a client I should say. It was a real eye opener, on one hand… in SoPro-land we know very well that no campaign would stand any reasonable prospect of success without the SPF, DKIM and DMARC settings being configured well before launch… on the other hand, here I was with an actual SoPro client genuinely wondering if we’ve read the 1st page of the email marketing handbook.
Now I’m not sure what percentage of our results are directly attributable to the ridiculously sophisticated technical approach applied in Sopro’s neon lit engine rooms… but it’s a big chunk… and while we’re often posting from our treasure trove of prospecting power stats, it turns out we very rarely mention the boring stuff… namely our technical setup.
I then spent at least an hour massively over-answering the question and posting into to slack, safe in the knowledge no living human would EVER read my response.
You dear reader, just stumbled across the best email prospecting tech setup advice you will ever read.
The answer to the question was indeed yes. Very little reaches the inbox without a proper technical setup and the SPF, DKIM and DMARC settings are step 1 of many. Here are some of the others:
(2) Blacklists and deliverability testing
Once the domain is registered and DNS configured as above, Sopro run a series of domain and IP blacklist testing to weed out the more common causes of low deliverability… then we fix or replace the blacklisted element. Usually by registering a new domain.
(3) HTML/Source construct
We test the email construct (I.e. does the HTML have the characteristics of a Hubspot marketing template or is it full of Microsoft Outlook styling code… etc?). The main point here is that the code-construct of the email needs to match the email construct of a 1-2-1 message. I’ll leave you to investigate what that looks like but you get the idea.
(4) Domain Warm up
SoPro would always advise running non-customer facing warm up activity into managed domain pools, ideally for a few weeks before launch, to ensure each domain is fully up to speed before use.
(5) Message Content
SoPro ops then check each message for the following common deliverability blunders:
Are your signature images or links triggering any spam-filters…?
Do the signature links route back to the primary domain (hint: they shouldn’t!)
Does the email contain any of the 400+ spam terms that need to be removed?
(6) Multi-profile/multi-domain setup at scale
Even if you are free of spam terms, all mainstream spam filters use learning algorithms these days and quickly rank prospecting emails as spam if you send any significant volume without knowing what you are doing. It doesn’t take Google long to recognise 300 of the same emails hitting its servers each week.
To stand a chance of consistent deliverability at scale you need to keep volumes low per email profile. For larger campaigns we configure multiple profiles across a pool of client approved active domains, our platform sequentially rotates the config used for each outbound email to effectively load-balance across domains/profiles in order to keep campaigns safely under radar… obviously with all responses routing back to primary. You’ll definitely need a platform to manage that sort of setup as you’ll need to dynamically adjust email signature text and links to reflect the specific email profile used on send. It took us years to crack that one.
Personalise your emails… we use 7-8 points of personalisation in every email. Merging in your customer data won’t cut it here, the killer point is you must informalise everything into a natural language format before weaving it in to your emails… each point of personalisation needs to read like you just typed it out on a train between meetings and hit send.
Doing this properly doesn’t just improve deliverability it will double your response rates.
SoPro then uses a spintax algo we developed to cycle through alternative paragraphs, alternative sentences and randomise the use of approved synonyms within the subject and body text of each email to ensure every message is 110% unique. This takes a bit of setup but it gives you the power to literally send a billion emails without risk of duplication, you can then operate a far more robust channel that isn’t going to drop out on you after 3 weeks.
(9) Use a free deliverability checker
Literally nobody is getting this right. To give you a sense of the scale of the problem… I’d confidently say more than 9/10 sales emails arrive in my spam, of those 10% hitting my inbox, a further 9/10 are packed full of issues impacting deliverability and/or effectiveness. It’s a great conversation starter, we’ve been using bad prospecting as a lead source for years now.