One of the toughest challenges for most marketers is getting emails delivered to the recipient's inbox. After all the time and effort that goes into creating a campaign, it's disheartening when your emails end up in a spam folder and hours of crafting the perfect message go to waste.
For your work to pay off, your emails have to land in the right part of the inbox. In other words, you have to maintain and improve email deliverability.
Although deliverability entails much more than tracking how many emails reached your audience, it doesn't have to be tough. In this email deliverability guide, you'll learn everything you need to know to improve email deliverability so your emails start reaching the right people and getting results.
What is email deliverability?
Email deliverability, also called inbox placement, refers to an email message's ability to arrive in the recipient's main email inbox. It's crucial to take note of the word "main" in this sentence since it clarifies the distinction between the terms email delivery and email deliverability.
Delivery refers to whether or not your email arrived in the recipient's inbox, which may have been in their main inbox or spam folder. Email deliverability, on the other hand, describes where the message ends once it is delivered: in the primary inbox, spam, or another category.
Let's put it this way. Think about a house - entering it (recipient's inbox) is Delivery, but entering a specific room (inbox category) is Deliverability.
Keep in mind that spam emails are still deemed delivered, so don't let high delivery rates mislead you. Focus on actions that help you improve email deliverability.
Why is email deliverability important?
Email deliverability is crucial for a variety of reasons. Firstly, no matter how perfectly you plan your campaign, you will only see results if the email gets to the inbox.
Email deliverability tracks how often your emails get in the main inbox categories rather than being marked as spam, allowing you to fine-tune your strategy and reach target audiences.
Inbox placement is essential for more than just making sure your messages are read. Low rates can significantly negatively impact your business's engagement levels, ROI, and overall results. Therefore, investing in ensuring you improve email deliverability and maintain it is worthwhile.
What factors affect email deliverability?
Emails pass through several checkpoints before they reach inboxes. Here are the factors that impact where your messages land:
Identification outlines the protocols, such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). When you send campaigns, these protocols execute a "background check" to confirm your authentication.
Reputation is mainly determined by your audience's engagement with your emails. It also takes into account the authenticity, open rates, and consistency of your messaging. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), like Outlook or Gmail, will automatically reject emails or send them to the spam folder if the sender has a bad sender reputation.
The manner in which you communicate with your audience has a significant impact on your email deliverability. Irrelevant copy with poor formatting or bad subject lines can easily trigger spam filters, which use powerful algorithms to detect spammy content. Aside from that, if people report or delete your emails without opening them, weak email content might also harm your sender reputation.
What is a good email deliverability rate?
Every marketer aims to have an email delivered to 100% of their subscribers. Unfortunately, marketers rarely reach such a high rate, and anything higher than 80% is a good score.
But it's important to remember that each company has different characteristics, thus, the number may vary. Research your industry to learn how competitors perform and assess your email deliverability rate to determine what you can do for better outcomes.
How to test email deliverability?
Before launching any of your email campaigns, you should evaluate email deliverability. Also, you can test it even while a campaign is running if you have reasons to believe that your email deliverability may need to be higher.
The following tools let you discover the cause of your email deliverability issues. They also help you examine various inbox placement factors and evaluate the effectiveness of your messages.
- Mail-Tester allows you to determine whether your email may appear spammy to email servers, causing your email deliverability to decline. You can check your messages for free up to three times each day.
- SendForensics is a sophisticated tool that thoroughly evaluates your email deliverability. Additionally, it provides message content analyses highlighting the particular words and phrases in your copy that can trigger anti-spam filters and reduce deliverability rates.
- Unspam generates a detailed analysis of your email deliverability after analyzing numerous vital parameters. It helps you develop effective campaigns with its eye-tracking prediction heat map, which shows you the most and least engaging areas of your designs.
- Sender Score rates your emails on a scale of 0 to 100 and assigns a "Sender Score" to the IP address from which you send emails. You may also use it to look up the reputation of your IP address. It's a free tool that's great for simple but powerful analysis.
- GlockApps simulates email sending and then estimates where your email will land. It can indicate whether your email is going to deliver correctly, go into spam, or don't show in the subscriber's mailbox at all.
How to track email deliverability?
After testing your campaigns and getting positive results, you'll undoubtedly want to know if the emails were delivered. Fortunately, there have been robust email deliverability monitoring systems in recent years.
Sending platforms typically attach a tiny tracking pixel to emails, allowing you to gain information about campaign email deliverability. This file is invisible to users, doesn't affect deliverability, and can immediately notify the platform when the recipient opens an email.
Additionally, it helps you better understand the users by revealing their preferred email-opening device, operating system, and app. Tracking pixels aren't currently subject to any restrictions, so you can use them in all your campaigns without getting users' permission.
How to improve email deliverability?
Now that you know what inbox placement is and how to test it, let's look at email deliverability best practices to ensure your messages reach subscribers.
Maintain a clean email list
If you're having deliverability issues, your list may contain spam traps, which appear like legitimate email addresses but are meant to identify spammers. Sending to one can be an indication of poor list maintenance or spammy acquisition techniques. Therefore, avoid purchasing contact lists since these are likely to include spam trap addresses. Also, ensure to keep your contact lists up to date.
It's critical to prevent your ego from impeding your email deliverability. The longer you keep inactive people on your email list, the greater the risk to your deliverability rates. Consider a reconfirmation campaign, deleting unengaged recipients after a specific period, or both.
Use a double opt-in confirmation
How you acquire email addresses has a significant impact on your deliverability rates. If you send emails to people who were unaware or did not consent to receive messages from you, they will mark your emails as spam, and ISPs will believe you are spamming everyone on your list (including those who want to read your email!).
Using a double opt-in is the best approach to combat spam complaints. All you have to do is ask the new subscribers in a confirmation email to verify their email addresses and permit you. Users then click the link and confirm that they want to join your mailing list. There is little effort required from users and a lot of benefits for you.
Enable easy unsubscribe options
Making it simple for unengaged recipients to unsubscribe keeps them from becoming bored with your brand and clicking the dreaded "report as spam" button. This enables you to connect with others who are truly interested in receiving your emails. It also helps you get higher open rates, boost engagement and, of course, improve email deliverability.
By having a visible unsubscribe link and a 1-click unsubscribe process, you can make it easy for recipients to stop getting your emails. You may also provide feedback options and create simple ways to alter preferences, such as checkboxes.
Monitor Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of addresses unable to receive your emails. There are two types: "hard bounce" and "soft bounce". A hard bounce occurs when an email can't reach a subscriber because of a permanent problem, such as an incorrect email address, and the server won't attempt delivery again. A soft bounce happens when an email fails to deliver due to temporary difficulties (for example, a full mailbox), and the server will make additional tries to complete delivery.
Remember that even a few soft or hard bounces might cost you a significant portion of your hard-earned reputation. So, ensure to remove such accounts from your mailing list. Luckily, practically every mass email platform allows you to monitor bounce rate statistics and make appropriate adjustments.
Track Spam Placement Rate
The spam placement rate is the percentage of your emails that were automatically (by ISPs) or manually (by humans) redirected to the spam folder. As for the reasons, numerous factors can cause your emails to be marked as spam.
Some of these include improper DKIM or SPF configuration. Additionally, check to see if you aren't customizing your messages or if you have used spam-triggering phrases in the email copy. Many of the above-mentioned testing tools can help you check these factors and improve email deliverability in the process.
Send engaging content
Unwanted or irrelevant content has a high chance of being reported as spam, lowering your sender reputation. To avoid this, send high-quality, relevant content that won't look "spammy." Furthermore, by giving valuable information to your audience, you keep them on your list, maintaining a low unsubscribe rate.
Before clicking "send," the most crucial thing to consider is whether or not you are sending content relevant to your audience. Email personalization is one of the best ways to ensure the answer is yes. Sending emails that resonate with your audience will improve your email deliverability, engagement, and relationship with your audience.
Authenticate your domain
Authenticating your sender domain is critical to establishing the proper email infrastructure. Email authentication informs your recipient's server that the email is from a verified and authentic domain, not a scammer. It ensures that your email doesn't end up in spam and reaches your subscribers' inboxes.
There are several methods you can use to authenticate your email. The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) checks to see if the incoming email comes from a legitimate sender. DomainKeys Identified Mails (DKIM) ensures that the message isn't changed during transmission. The Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) protocol verifies that the email is not a spam or phishing attack.
Segment the list
Engaging your followers with compelling and helpful content will undoubtedly increase deliverability. Nobody wants to read a generic email that appears impersonal and useless. This is why you should categorize your subscribers depending on several parameters. Separate contacts by age, occupation, location, stage in the buyer's journey, engagement level, and other relevant factors.
A segmented email is more personalized and appealing to the recipient. When you make an extra effort, it shows in the performance of your email. Segmentation works perfectly with personalization, allowing you to experience a significant rise in email engagement and, ultimately, improve email deliverability.
Stick to the proper sending schedule
Random and unpredictable sending activity may be one factor contributing to poor email deliverability. If you don't send emails on a regular basis, you will experience sending spikes. So, it would be best if you tried to stick to a consistent email sending schedule. But it's also essential to send emails at just the right frequency.
One email every week is a good standard. As long as you have excellent content, consider scaling up to twice weekly. You can even reduce your frequency to once a month without losing touch with your audience. However, straying over those two lines puts you on dangerous ground. Of course, every business is different, so other sending schedules might also work out for you.
Offer emails in both HTML and plain text
Plain text emails have no formatting, whereas HTML (HyperText Markup Language) emails have a design that lets you create more visually appealing emails. By providing a plain text and HTML version of a single email, you demonstrate your validity to ISPs and make your emails more reader-friendly.
Of course, you do not have to do everything on your own. Wired Messenger's email deliverability expert may create a unique HTML template, allowing your email to have a distinct style that reflects your business and appeals to your customers. Learn more about our professional email design services.
Reengage inactive subscribers
Sending emails to recipients who don't open or respond to them can reduce your email deliverability. Keep track of inactive subscribers, and create re-engagement campaigns. For example, you may specify parameters such as the time since their last form submission or email click and automate triggered campaigns to engage them with your emails again.
Consider sending them a special coupon or offer to rekindle subscribers' interest in your business. You could also send them a brief survey to get their feedback on what they would like to see in your messages.
Send short and sweet emails
Too much copy is a major red flag for spam filters. People also favour emails that are concise and "on-point." These days, everyone's inbox is already full, so delivering brief and intriguing messages increases your chances of getting recipients' attention. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to write like a human.
Compose your email as if you were speaking to the subscriber in person - it will feel much more personal and relevant. If you must use a longer email format, divide it into paragraphs. To make it simpler for recipients to access the critical information, provide visual breaks and write the email with a distinct opening, middle section, and conclusion.
Always stay up-to-date
Email marketing is continuously evolving, and staying up to date ensures that you follow email deliverability best practices. For the best outcomes, ensure your efforts are in sync with the latest developments in email-sending regulations, ISP behaviour, and spam filter software.
Get in touch with Wired Messenger's experts today to learn more about current email deliverability trends and ensure you stay within the law's boundaries. With over 20 years of experience, we have been on top of the industry for a long time and are more than ready to provide you with email deliverability best practices.
Don't buy email lists
Although it is legal, it's never a good idea to buy lists of contacts who haven't agreed to receive emails from you. Not only is this a lousy email marketing strategy, but these people don't know you and are unlikely to want your emails. As a result, there's a significant chance they'll mark you as spam. So, if you want to improve email deliverability, build your email list from scratch.
Scraping websites for email addresses may seem like another fast way to build a contact list, but it isn't good for your business. Similar to buying email lists, you could end up with subscribers who aren't willing to receive your messages. Most importantly, scraping websites is illegal in many countries, and staying away from this practice is in your best interest.
Use a familiar sender name
Since people are overwhelmed with spam, they scroll through emails, wondering, "Which ones are genuine?". By incorporating your brand name, you may ensure that recipients recognize you as the sender. If possible, send the email from an actual person. Recipients are more likely to open and interact with emails from personalized addresses.
Whether it's the organization's name or a specific employee, make sure your sender name has precise details unique to your company. This increases the likelihood that your emails will be opened rather than flagged as spam, helping you improve email deliverability. Bear in mind that your contacts expect to see a person's or company's name, not a generic, impersonal phrase like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improve email deliverability with the right support
With the tips from this email deliverability guide, you can now focus on creating campaigns your subscribers will love.
However, we know that this is easier said than done. These are fantastic strategies to improve email deliverability but they need commitment and time. It would be beneficial to have a team of email deliverability experts by your side.
For experienced and devoted professionals, feel free to reach out to the Wired Messenger team. We ensure our clients have the best deliverability rates and send high-quality, converting emails. With our expert approach and unwavering dedication, you can rest assured that your campaigns are in good hands, achieving outstanding results.