7. Email Deliverability

What is email deliverability?

Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to subscribers’ inboxes. It basically is the likelihood of your campaign reaching people (existing or potential customers) through email marketing.

As the most used method to reach online users, with a huge ROI and conversion rate, email marketing offers a great potential for businesses. Due to its strong potential, email marketing started to become widely used method, which resulted in some misuses of the approach. To support this fact, we have the daily average number of emails, sent and received, reaching more than 200. Of course, not all of those are worth reading. Nor do we have the time to do so.

This is how email services started to develop sophisticated filters. The main purpose of these filters is to fight against those misuses, preventing emails that do not fulfill the requirements from reaching the recipients. For online users this means that they will be spared of emails they do not need nor do they deserve their attention.

On the other hand, for businesses this means that email deliverability has become another obstacle in reaching their goals of converting online users into customers. Although it is an obstacle, and as such, it is something online marketers need to dwell on in order to develop a strategy, there are ways to overcome this obstacle.

What is spam?

Spam or junk mail is a form of unsolicited mail. Most spam emails include commercial advertising. Sometimes, they are also used to spread computer viruses, that can even lead to the recipient losing the computer data. A spam email is unwanted by the recipient, and the recipient has not given the consent for his or her email to be used in such a way. Spammers usually obtain the email addresses from publicly accessible sources.

On average, 1.8 emails are reported as spam each second (Source). This is a huge percent of unwanted messages, so it is natural that email services are trying to fight them in order to improve user experience.

Occasionally, a message may be marked as spam, even if the recipient has given the consent. In fact, millions of emails that are not spam end up in the spam folder anyway each day. This happens because spam filters have become very strict and any suspicious action may lead to sending an email directly to the spam box instead to the inbox.

This has a negative influence on email deliverability, which is why you need to understand spam filters, as well as explore other things that affect email deliverability.

Spam filters

Spam filters are in essence tools developed by email service providers to sort between wanted and unwanted email messages. Since methods of deception used by spammers have grown over the years, including hijacking users’ email account, using various server names and domains, etc. the need to develop a more radical way to fight spam was imposed.

Spam filters are triggered by certain actions, as well as by specific words in the email. Learning more about spam triggers should help you avoid them, so here are the most common spam triggers:

  • Words in the subject line such as make money, get paid, free access, etc. may trigger spam filters by default
  • Subject line is all capitals
  • Email body with little or no content at all
  • High image to text ratio in the email body
  • HTML and text parts are different
  • Message only has text or HTML parts instead of both

Things to do to improve email deliverability

Since email deliverability is so important, and it truly can determine the success of your campaign, you need to explore different ways to improve email deliverability.

Follow best practices and guidelines

Guidelines for writing a better email, including personalization, localization, etc. will help you design high-performing emails, which will increase deliverability. You should also study elements of a good email from the previous chapter, as this all combined makes an email better, it increases the open rate and improves your reputation as a sender. This also has impact on deliverability of the future campaigns.

Have permission

Always make sure you have permission to send an email, as this way you increase the likelihood of getting your emails delivered and reduce the chance of being marked as spam.

Ask the recipients to add you to their address book

When the recipients add you to their address book, they confirm they want to receive the email from you, and any future emails are unlikely to end up in the spam box.

Send from your own domain

Sending from your own domain allows you to create a reputation of a trusted sender. Having a good reputation is extremely beneficial in terms of spam filters. The recipients will immediately recognize your domain in the sender field, which also increases the open rate.

Use A/B testing

This method helps you compare different email campaigns. The results could help you understand how changing different aspects of the campaign may affect spam filters.

Things to avoid if you want to get your email delivered

Some practices are generally known as being suspicious and increase likelihood of being marked as spam, which is why it is best to avoid them.

IP address issues

The reputation is one of the factors analyzed by email service providers, and it may affect email deliverability. An IP address gains reputation over time. It means that if the emails sent from a certain IP address frequently end up in the spam folder, the reputation of this address is low. If you are managing a large number of emails, perhaps it would be the time to consider getting your own IP address. However, doing this will not improve your deliverability rate instantly, because with a new IP address you are starting from scratch, which means you will have to work hard to gain good reputation.

Neglecting best practices

Best practices are there for the reason. They help you design better emails, and those are the emails that do get delivered. Therefore, make sure you explore significance of personalization, an effective subject line, building your own mailing list, etc. because all of this is a step that leads you to higher email deliverability rate. Neglecting those will only lead to low-performance campaign.

Avoid being marked as spam

It is very important to avoid being marked as spam in the first place, because this might lead to the spam box automatically next time. Understanding spam filters and guidelines for writing a better email will help you with this task.

Poor email design

Poor email design refers to the entire layout of the email, which can lack visual elements, it might have confusing formatting, or it might not be mobile-friendly. All of these aspects together will have negative effect on your email campaign, because the conversion rate will be very low. Additionally, this could also lead to a high unsubscribe rate or spam reports.

To sum up, email deliverability is an important part of email marketing in general. The number of delivered emails directly affects the performance of the campaign, which is why this should be one of the high priorities in the process of planning and running an email campaign. Make sure you follow these suggestions and avoid common traps, as this will be a good starting point in getting your email message delivered.