Ever enter a store where you ask the sales rep about a product and they don’t respond? Hopefully not! And if that has happened before, it probably didn’t make for a very memorable experience.

A good business is built on communication — a two-way exchange. The same goes for your email marketing strategy.

Customers who use your product are speaking to you through the way they engage with your product and they’ve signed up to receive emails because they want to hear from you. What’s the latest product update? How else can they enhance their experience?

Don’t leave your customers hanging by letting your emails land in the spam folder where they’ll collect (digital) dust. In turn, your customers will feel unheard and disconnected.

At Mailjet, we’re constantly answering questions about company problems with email deliverability. Here are a few reasons why customers might not be hearing from you and simple ways to guarantee they will.


Ask for permission

It might be strange to think of it this way, but you have to ask permission before engaging in a dialogue with your customers. This process is more formally called “opt-in”. While opt-in is not required by law in the U.S., it is required by law in many European countries and others internationally.

You can opt your customers in through one of two ways: by having them manually input their email address or check a box indicating they would like to receive emails. We recommend using a double opt-in process, which involves customers receiving a confirmation email after sign up. The subscriber has to click a link to complete the opt-in process. This ensures that they have provided a correct and active email address so future emails won’t bounce.

Remember, if you’d like to quickly and organically grow your list, you can start hosting this opt-in form on your homepage, blog, and even social media channels.


Like humans, computers like when you’re authentic

Spam continues to be an ongoing battle for ISPs (that’s email clients like Yahoo, Gmail, AOL). As a way to combat spammers, ISPs track your sender reputation through a few different factors, your domain name being one of them. To ensure your domain name remains in high regards with the ISPs, you’ll want to make sure you set up authentication records. We recommend using DKIM and SPF.

DKIM adds a unique signature in the header of your emails (kind of like a digital thumbprint) while SPF allows ISPs to check if your incoming message is sent from an authorized server. Customize your SPF record to add your email service provider as an authorized sender so ISPs can recognize that you’re the real deal.


Who are you again?

No matter how well-oiled your email marketing machine is, you’re bound to see a drop off of engagement from some customers overtime. When a customer stops engaging with your emails, it’s time to re-evaluate whether to message them any longer. A good benchmark would be to send a re-engagement email campaign to your customers every four to six months to say “Hey, We Missed You” and include a call-to-action like a discount to using your services again.

If customers still don’t respond, remove these contacts from your list. It might hurt to see a slight dip in your contact list numbers, but it’s quality over quantity that matters here. The greater number of inactive contacts you have, the more your reputation with ISPs will suffer.


Steer clear of these words

ISPs also keep a list of words that commonly suggest spam or phishing activity. Be sure to review your email campaigns to find synonyms for these words or eliminate them completely. You might have a pretty general idea of what words not to use – including little blue pills and a certain high end Swiss watch brand. Other words that might not come to mind as easily, but you should be careful of not overusing: “Free”, “Sale”, “Urgent”, and “Click here”.


Design for the third screen and beyond

Customers respond well to large, visually appealing images with crisp designs and bright coloring. But be sure to design with your mobile devices and tablets in mind as well. The text version of your emails remains crucial. If an email client cannot display your HTML design, it will default to the text version. And while the text is not as exciting as visuals, customers will at least still be able to grasp your overall message.

Hopefully you’re already employing some or all of these methods to keep up a consistent and engaging dialogue with your customers. If not, which one of these methods will you look into first?

This was first published in WeWork Magazine.