How Good is the Deliverability I’m Getting From My Email Provider?

Nov 08, 2019

Article ImageOf the more than 450 billion emails sent out every day, over 85% are considered spam. Furthermore, one in four emails sent by brands never make it to their intended destination-the recipient’s inbox. These facts can leave email marketers feeling hopeless.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your emails have a better chance of reaching your subscribers-in fact, there’s an entire arm of email marketing dedicated to doing just that, known as deliverability.

Put simply, deliverability is how successfully your marketing emails reach subscribers’ inboxes. Sounds easy enough, but in fact there are many contributing factors that impact deliverability such as list quality, subscriber engagement, a subscriber’s spam filters, and the content within the email. Optimal deliverability rates are 98% or higher; unfortunately, many marketers are seeing far lower numbers                                                                                       

So, why does this matter? Think about it: a smaller number of delivered emails means lower open and click-through rates, and low engagement has negative effects on acquisition, retention, and overall revenue and success for your business.                                             

Key factors that can impact your deliverability rate include:

  • Email subscribers
  • Email copy and design
  • Email opens
  • Email clicks
  • Spam complaints
  • Unsubscribes

Don’t be alarmed or discouraged-there are proactive measures you can take to boost your deliverability.

Handle Double Opt-ins

Having as long an email list as possible used to be the objective, but current times require a focus on quality over quantity. You want to make sure your subscribers will open and engage with the content you’re sending. Double opt-ins are the best way to confirm your subscribers explicitly accept emails from you, meaning a site visitor must subscribe twice: first by filling out your signup form; then by verifying their subscription in a confirmation email. Leveraging this process reduces spam complaints and maintains your sender reputation.

Clean Up the Clutter

As mentioned, you want your list to only contain active, engaged customers. For this reason, you must regularly comb and cleanse it to weed out fake, duplicate, or outdated contact information. Look out for: 

  • Incorrectly-formatted email addresses (e.g., “”)
  • Duplicate email addresses
  • Misspelled email addresses (e.g., “john.smith@mail.con”)
  • Email addresses that are clearly fake (e.g., “”)

Treat Unsubscribes as Opportunities

No matter how clean and accurate your list is, unsubscribes will occur. You’ll be tempted to hide the unsubscribe link in your emails to reduce the chance for opt-outs, but recipients who remove themselves from your list are doing you a favor. Take this as an opportunity and offer a survey to learn why people lose interest. You can then use those insights to improve email marketing for the rest of your subscriber base.

Finally, present alternatives to unsubscribing that might better appeal to your audience. Give subscribers the chance to change their preferences for the frequency and types of messages they want to receive.

Bounce Back from Bounce Backs

There are two types of email bounces: soft bounces occur due to a full inbox or server issue on the part of the recipient; hard bounces generally happen because the email address is invalid or the domain doesn’t exist. All in all, a bounce here and there is no cause for alarm. But keep an eye out if they continue to happen in large quantities, as it could impact your sender reputation.

Set a Consistent Pace for Campaigns

You will want to experiment with certain elements of your email marketing, but send size and email frequency should be consistent. Making a sudden change in cadence will raise a flag for blacklists and other monitoring systems. Develop a constant and predictable email schedule to help set subscriber expectations, and save the creativity for the design and imagery of your emails.

Create Better Email Templates

Content is king when it comes to email campaigns. If you aren’t providing compelling content that brings value to your audience, they may start to unsubscribe or mark you as “spam,” and your sender reputation will take a hit. Focus on these three elements:

  • Language: Copy can be fun but professional.
  • Grammar: Poor spelling or grammar is a surefire way to leave recipients with a negative impression of your brand.
  • Clean HTML: Spammers are known for hiding malicious code, so messy HTML looks suspicious to monitors and could land you in the spam folder.

The most important email components are a “from” name and email address, an irresistible subject line, a call to action that plays into your campaign goals and a clearly displayed unsubscribe button.

Select Tools that Bolster Your Efforts

All of the steps above can be made far easier with an email service provider (ESP) that includes deliverability capabilities and support. Certain tools are built for automating processes and streamlining campaign setup, and will help you target the right people with the right messages.

In all of your efforts, don’t lose sight of the heart of your campaigns: your subscribers and customers. They are the ones seeing your emails, engaging with them, and ultimately determining your sender reputation and deliverability. Every email and campaign should be crafted with their needs and interests in mind.

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