Using all available features in the Lofty platform will ultimately result in you sending out large amounts of emails to your lead database. These emails might include property alerts, market reports, Welcome Emails, Smart Plan emails, etc. This article addresses some of the most common issues that are seen regarding deliverability of these emails.
Avoid Emails Being Marked as Spam
Although Lofty has a reputation for not being marked as spam by the majority of recipients, each email service is different and there are some important things to keep in mind that you can help control.
First of all, it is important to note that having emails marked as spam is very common in email marketing. Many email service providers have different filtering criteria to eventually consider emails as spam. Although the set criteria is reasonable, there will always be flaws in which emails are flagged as spam incorrectly. We’ve all been there. . . waiting on that important email only to discover it in the spam folder days later!
The general reasons for emails to be marked as spam are listed below:
- A certain amount of recipients mark your emails as spam
- Your emails have a low open rate
- You used spam trigger words in the email subject or body (such as "amazing," "free," "promise you," etc.)
- Too many responses to the sending email address have bounced
- There is no physical address in your email body
- HTML emails do not follow many email marketing best practices. They might include some branding elements that make the emails more likely to be marked as spam.
(1) Have leads add you as a contact to ensure your emails go through to their inbox
(2) Have leads check their Spam folder and if they see your email encourage them to "Report not spam." This will help email providers recognize the sending email address as one not associated with spam.
(3) Have leads add your sending email address as a contact. This will also improve the overall deliverability of your emails to your leads and will largely prevent your emails from going to their spam folders. If done when your account is brand new with Lofty, this will drastically improve your reputation. As an example, this is how it is done in Gmail settings when accessing from a specific email:
(4) If your leads are using Gmail, have them create a filter to never send your emails to spam with the steps below:
(5) Regularly "prune" and remove email addresses from your database that do not respond to you or are fake email addresses. They may not be responding because they have marked your emails as spam which triggers the spam filters with certain email providers. Keep in mind that many email providers (like Gmail) look at unopened rates. So, if you keep sending emails to leads that do not have any interest or do not open your emails, then the email provider will automatically begin to classify your emails as spam.
(6) Minimize the number of emails you send at one time. If you can break up bulk emails into several rounds this may allow more emails to go through. We recommend only sending 1-3 automated emails per week to a lead (this includes property alerts, snapshots, and market reports).
(7) If you are sending too many blast emails out and are not getting engagement with those emails, it can also cause your email address to be marked as spam.
(8) Make sure your emails are not considered "spammy." There are free tools online that you can use to check whether or not your emails contain common "spam words."
(9) Within your emails, add as few images as possible. Though not a perfect rule, plain text will typically result in better deliverability.
In general, if leads seldom open or reply to your emails or they report them as spam, your email reputation will decline. If your email reputation declines enough, your email address can be marked as spam. You will want to make sure you are (a) sending good quality/engaging emails, (b) at the recommended frequency (see above), and (c) making sure to remove people from your distribution list who are not opening your emails.
Content Best Practices
Based on our experience, email content plays a very important role in delivering your emails to a lead's inbox. Below are some email content suggestions that can be followed to improve email deliverability:
(1) Avoid using spam trigger words. Email service providers will use spam filters before delivering your email to a recipient's inbox. Most spam filters will scan your email content to find "suspicious words" such as "100%," "free," "earn money," "guaranteed," "promotion," etc. If these kinds of words reach a certain level, your emails will be marked as spam and will not be sent to the lead's inbox. So, an in-depth review of all email content especially the email subject is very important.
Consider using the following resources:
(2) Avoid sending emails that only contain images. When you set up your email templates, make sure that your content has a good balance between text and images. For most spam filters, if the Text-to-HTML is too low, email providers will mark your emails as spam. So, if you want to insert a lot of images into the body of your email, make sure to add enough text to have a good balance. Also, be aware that many email recipients will block all of the images in the email body by default. See this resource for more information.
MailChimp published an insightful blog post and recommended following an 80:20 text-to-image ratio in emails, i.e., 80% text and 20% images. This is probably a good balance to target.
(3) Send valuable content. At the core of any successful email program is a commitment to sending valuable and interesting content to your recipients. Every time you send an email that does not resonate with the person receiving it, the likelihood that your recipient will open or click your next email decreases. This, in turn, leads to a higher likelihood of having emails land in spam. So, it is important to treat your email campaigns as an extension of your brand to always work on delivering useful content to those who receive your emails.
It is important to note that if you are a new Lofty user, you will have a new sending email address created for you. Having a brand new email address send massive amounts of emails very soon after creation is an easy way to greatly decrease your email reputation as your email address will have no history/reputation to justify the "acceptable" sending of so many emails. The following would be the recommendations to follow when using Lofty to maintain the best email reputation for your account.
- Welcome Emails. Always send Welcome Emails first prior to sending other marketing emails. Keep in mind, however, that sending too many Welcome Emails at once could also have a negative effect on your email reputation. We would recommend focusing on a select group of leads that are actually engaging with you (hot leads) that need to be transitioned smoothly and have the welcome email sent to them right away. Otherwise, you can manually send one-by-one at a later point (see Set Up the Welcome Email).
- Property Alerts: Set to weekly for the first 1-2 months and then you can adjust to be 2-3 times a week on a case-by-case basis as you interact with your clients. These do have to be managed individually for each lead.
- Market Snapshots: Set to weekly for the first 1-2 months and then you can adjust to 2-3 times a week on a case-by-case basis as you interact with your clients. These do have to be managed individually for each lead.
- Mass Email: Do not send too many mass emails in one day. Lofty will limit the number that can be sent at once to 200 emails, but you will want to avoid sending 200 mass emails multiple times in one day.
- Smart Plan Emails: Do not auto-apply too many Smart Plans during the first 1-2 months. Consider only manually assigning Smart Plans to leads that you know for a fact need specific content at that time.
- Lead Import. When importing leads via CSV, Lofty recommends that you do not import too many leads (less than 5,000) AND do not auto-trigger emails to these leads within the first 1-2 months of account creation while your email reputation has yet to be established. If there is a large number of leads that need to be imported, consider spreading this out to be done every few days instead. If you do want to import the leads after all, perhaps avoid sending a Welcome Email to all of them and only do so for those that you are actively engaging with.
- Whitelist / Safe Sender / Not Junk or Spam. Send emails to trusted clients/leads that you communicate with on a regular basis and have them add your sending email address to their whitelist/contacts in their email application. When done as a new Lofty user (and therefore a new sending email address) within the first 1-2 months, your email reputation will improve drastically. If the email goes to Spam (which can happen when an email is sent from a newly-created email address), work with these same leads to find those emails and mark them as safe/not spam.
Our commitment at Lofty
- We monitor our domain and IP reputation every single day and our performance is guaranteed by Amazon. Our reputation is listed as good by Amazon so our IP is not blacklisted.
- We send millions of emails for our customers every day and plan to continue to do so as effectively as possible.
- We have a solid reputation associated with our service and will seek to maintain and always improve this reputation
- We will continue to run our service in compliance with ESPs and will be sure to follow their suggestions of separating IPs, sending frequency, etc.
- What is a bounced email?
- Why do emails bounce?
- What happens in Lofty when emails bounce?
- If I know that an email bounced because of a temporary issue, can I mark it as a valid email address?
- Can I filter my leads to find which addresses have bounced?
- I have never sent an email to a specific lead, so why is their email address marked as "bounced"?
- If a lead has opened my emails at some point in time, why is their email address still marked as "bounced"?
- What systems does Lofty have in place to prevent high amounts of bounced emails?
What is a bounced email?
This refers to an email that is returned to the sender because it cannot be delivered for some reason. For example, some leads may enter fake email addresses when they register on your website or other platforms, which means these emails probably do not exist at all. So, when you try to send an email to them, our email provider will notify us that the email you sent has been returned due to being undeliverable.
Why do emails bounce?
Here are the general reasons why emails bounce:
(1) A non-existent email address. In the example mentioned previously, a fake or non-existent email address will result in your message getting bounced back to you. Though some leads may use a fake email address due to privacy concerns, it is also possible that the email address may have been misspelled. In either case, the end result is a bounced email.
(2) Undeliverable email. This could mean that the receiving email server was temporarily unavailable, overloaded, or could not be found.
(3) The mailbox is full. If the recipient's email inbox has reached its full capacity for emails, they will not be able to receive any new messages. Your emails will bounce back until some emails are erased and the inbox has enough space to receive new emails.
(4) The message is too large. The recipient's email provider sent a bounce message because the message sent was too large. You may be able to send a message to the same recipient if you reduce the size of the message.
(5) Content Rejected. The recipient's email provider sent a bounce message because the message you sent contains content that the provider does not allow. You might be able to send a message to the same recipient if you change the content of the message.
(6) Other (Undetermined). The recipient's email provider sent a bounce message. The bounce message did not contain enough information for our email provider to determine the reason for having bounced.
What happens in Lofty when emails bounce?
A bounced timeline entry will be generated showing the corresponding bounced email:
The email status for the address that the email was sent to will be marked as "bounced":
If I know that an email bounced because of a temporary issue, can I mark it as a valid email address?
Yes. If you know the email is valid, you can manually change the status of that address on a lead profile by selecting the "email" icon to the left of the address and selecting "Valid Email."
Can I filter my leads to find which addresses have bounced?
I have never sent an email to a specific lead, so why is their email address marked as "bounced"?
This is likely due to one of the two reasons outlined here:
- If the lead was imported in a CSV file (see Lead Import), the Lofty system will call a third-party API to determine the validity of the lead's email address. The Lofty CRM will mark the lead's email status as "Bounced" if the results provided by the third party indicate that it is an "invalid email." The accuracy level of this third-party API is typically between 90% - 97%.
- If other agents have sent emails to this lead before and their emails were bounced multiple times, then Lofty will mark this email address as "Bounced" for all leads using this email address.
If a lead has opened my emails at some point in time, why is their email address still marked as "bounced"?
This could be related to one of the following:
- Sometimes, the email servers used by leads are not stable when receiving emails meaning that on occasion emails sent to their server will be bounced. To avoid this, reach out to the lead and have them add your sending email address to their email server whitelist or add it to their contact list.
- Some email accounts are not used for a long time and the email provider will oftentimes disable email accounts due to inactivity.
What systems does Lofty have in place to prevent high amounts of bounced emails?
Bounced emails are not good for your email list. It also has a negative impact on Lofty's email delivery reputation which needs to be maintained for the benefit of all users. We suggest you remove the address from your list once you have been notified of a bounced email. Lofty's email provider has strict requirements regarding email bounce rates. Certain mechanisms have been put in place that will trigger when a specific threshold has been reached for bounced emails. These are outlined below. Please note that the cycle described below can repeat whenever the triggering criteria occur.
The bounce rate on your Lofty team as a whole is more than 10% within a 15-minute time period and you are sending more than 500 emails. . .
(1) your team's email service will be suspended for two hours (outlined in detail below).
(2) an "opt-in probationary period" (outlined in detail below) will be enabled temporarily during the Lead Import process.
(1) Email Suspension Period
This suspension period lasts for two hours and consists of the following:
(a) No manual emails can be sent.
When sending a manual email (single or mass), a warning will appear when you attempt to send an email:
(b) Smart Plan emails will be paused until the following day at 9:00 a.m.
If a Smart Plan email was scheduled to be sent during this email suspension period, it will not be sent until 9:00 a.m. the following day.
(c) Property alert emails will be paused temporarily.
Any property alert emails that were previously scheduled to be sent will be paused temporarily. This means that if a property alert was scheduled to be sent during the suspension period, it will not be sent. Once the two-hour suspension has ended property alerts can resume but it will not send out missed alerts that were not sent during the suspension period.
(2) Opt-In Probationary Period
This opt-in period lasts for 14 days and requires new lead imports to have an opt-in email sent to leads. See Email Opt-In Status > Opting-In Leads > Send Opt-In Email > During Lead Import.
If, after 14 days of monitoring, the bounce rate is less than 5%, the opt-in probationary period will end. If the bounce rate is above 5%, the system will re-check daily until 14 days with a bounce rate of less than 5% has been reached. When a low bounce rate has been obtained, the following will be true:
- The opt-in option will no longer be required during the lead import process
- For leads who were imported but did not choose to opt-in during the opt-in probationary period, they will still be considered as not having provided their permission to send them emails. You can manually opt-in a lead by following the steps outlined in Email Opt-In Status > Opting-In Leads > Opt-In Manually.
For more information regarding Opt-In Status, please see Email Opt-In Status.
Phishing, and Unsafe Emails
There have been some Lofty users who have noticed phishing email warnings when receiving one of their own emails (as if they were a lead) sent from their own email address to their G-Suite account. In other words, they sent test property alerts, etc. to themselves and received a phishing warning that looks like the following:
This particular warning should only be populated in Gmail due to the fact that the sending email address is similar to the same domain that is receiving the email. If you review the article Email Sending Address > (2b) A New Domain Similar to your Personal Domain you will notice that the similar domain is done intentionally. This warning should only appear if you are receiving your own emails.
Be sure that you or anyone in your organization clicks on the Looks Safe hyperlink so that this does not affect your email reputation.
If you have any questions regarding this topic or any others, please reach out to our Support Team via email at <email@example.com>, by phone at 1 (855) 981-7557, or by chat with us through your Lofty CRM.