You’ve put a lot of work into writing your survey questions, choosing your Target Audience and getting your survey ready for distribution. After you hit the send button, all your respondents need to do is open the email and take your survey – that is, if you don’t get screened out by an email filter. Qualtrics works hard to be sure that your surveys get into your respondent’s inboxes, but there are a few things that you can do to be sure your survey doesn’t end up in the spam folder. To help you ensure that your surveys make it to your respondents, we chatted with Eric Fox, head of the distribution engineering team at Qualtrics, about how you can improve your email deliverability and message health score.

 

Message Health Scores

 

A message health score is a score from 0–100 that tells you the likelihood of your email being delivered to the spam folder or to your recipient’s inbox. Many online tools are available to help you check your message health score. We use SpamAssassin, which runs analysis testing on email headers and body text to check for spam.

 

Aside from common sense email faux pas, including misspelled words, excessive use of Caps Lock, and promises of “free money,” several things will negatively affect your message health score, including:

 

  • High image-to-text ratio in the body of your message.
  • Keywords or phrases that spammers often use, including “free,” “discount,” “opportunity,” “incredible,” “offer,” or anything that could be construed as pornographic.
  • Not having an opt-out or unsubscribe link. Long term, this could result in your domain being blacklisted.
  • Sending a large blast of emails all at once.
  • Sending emails to respondents who have already opted out. This looks bad for you, and it looks bad for Qualtrics. 
  • Sending messages to emails that consistently bounce. If your distribution list is low-quality, email servers may flag your emails as spam. To avoid this, target your emails to the right people so you avoid a high bounce rate.

 

Now that we’ve told you what not to do, there are also several ways you can improve your message health score and increase the chances of your email making it to your respondent:

 

  • Set up SPF or host your own SMTP server to help improve deliverability.
  • Be proactive about managing your distribution list.
  • Provide an opt-out link on each of your emails.
  • When a respondent opts out, discontinue sending them emails. Qualtrics Target Audience can help you target your emails so you don’t harass people after they’ve opted out.
  • Use a TLS – SSL encryption for sending your messages. Don’t worry—Qualtrics automatically encrypts email messages for you, which makes your messages secure and reduces the chance of your email being marked as spam.

 

Email Deliverability

 

Sending too many emails at once can result in your email being sent straight to spam. To avoid this, Qualtrics automatically sends only a certain number of emails at a time so you never have to worry about sending too many. In addition to this, we also take several other steps to help your email reach its destination:
 

  1. Emails are sent out in batches to avoid being tagged as spam.
  2. Several servers are used for distributions, so one bad sender doesn’t hinder the whole email group.
  3. Our engineers continually monitor the sender scores and distribution success of those servers.
  4. Qualtrics maintains a blacklist of bad emails, so if an email doesn’t exist, we block it so others can’t send surveys to the bad email.

 

Looking for a better way to manage opt-outs and increase your message health score? Check out how Qualtrics Target Audience makes it easy.