Email Deliverability Explained: Why It Matters [+Best Practices]

August 20, 2021

    Wondering why none of your email marketing strategies are working for your business? Chances are that the problem is not the strategy - it lies in the email deliverability practices.

    email illustration
    Image From Pixabay by Muhammad RibKhan

    The success of your email marketing strategy heavily relies upon your email deliverability rate.

    Therefore, you need to know the ins and outs of email deliverability before crafting email campaigns. Don't worry. Our article explains the essential aspects of email deliverability, along with the answers to your questions related to it.

    Table of Contents

    The Difference Between Email Delivery and Email Deliverability

    A screenshot of a Gmail users inbox
    Image from Pixabay by Gabrielle CC

    A common mistake made by marketers is to get confused between email delivery rate and email deliverability. But these terms are not interchangeable.

    Let's start by demystifying these two concepts.

    Email Delivery

    Email delivery implies the number of emails landed in your subscribers' inbox. If the sent mails did not bounce, then they are counted as delivered.

    The delivery rate is measured by dividing the number of delivered emails by the number of sent emails.

    The receiving server's error message informs email service providers (ESPs) on why a message was refused (bounced). It lets you know the number of accepted and bounced emails.

    Email Deliverability

    Email deliverability is when an email successfully arrives in a subscriber's inbox. The ideal email deliverability rate is 95%.

    The deliverability of emails depends on your domain's configuration, reputation, and authentication. So the burden of a lower deliverability rate falls on your shoulders.

    Even if your email delivery rate looks healthy, it is still possible that your emails do not get into the recipient's inbox.

    Your emails may have reached mailbox providers, but they decide to place them in spam folders. This is why you might struggle with email deliverability even with a stellar delivery rate.

    Audience engagement impacts your reputation, which is a driving factor of email deliverability.

    The ideal way to get insight into your email marketing engagement is to monitor key metrics. This includes the number of bounced emails, email click-through rates, open email rates, and spam complaints.

    Why Email Deliverability Matters?

    Before diving deeper into email deliverability, every marketer must know the significance of email deliverability.

    The base of email marketing is email deliverability. Although marketers pay Email Service Providers or ESPs to send emails on their behalf, their email list and the campaigns will determine the deliverability of those emails.

    According to Constant Contact, you get $42 for spending $1 behind email marketing. Therefore, strategic implementation of emails can result in a paying-off marketing channel.

    Crafting a perfect email is not a cakewalk. It requires time and effort. Maintaining the ideal text-to-image ratio, personalizing contents, striking fonts, picking the perfect sending time and frequency can make the efforts worthwhile.

    However, low open and click-through rates will result in the fruitlessness of these efforts. The email campaigns should be managed in an optimized way of inbox placements and open rates.

    Marketers should make sure their emails reach the target audience. This will require stellar deliverability and an efficient subscriber list.

    The digital marketing world is highly competitive. Businesses are indulged in a competition of being accepted by Gmail and then want to hop onto the inbox.

    5 million paying businesses use Gmail according to Google’s own data. Monthly active users among them stand at 1.5 million. The machine-learning algorithm of Gmail blocks around 10 million spam emails each minute.

    gmail app icon on a phone
    Image from Pixabay by Magica

    With so many users and spam emails sent every day, it is crucial to protect the inbox.

    A marketer must earn their spot in the inbox as email traffic grows and inbox providers adopt more severe filtering systems to protect their users. The savvy marketer knows they must provide relevant and compelling content to a targeted audience and create deep ties with their subscribers to succeed.

    Email Deliverability Dos and Don'ts

    Here is a list of email deliverability do's and don't that you can check to see how to improve your email deliverability practices.

    Email Deliverability Do's

    • Subscribe to Google Postmaster, or Microsoft DNS, to gain insight into your reputation with the respective ISP.
    • Your subscribing process should be remarkable. Because if people remember subscribing to your email, it is less likely that they will mark you as spam.
    • In double opt-in sign-ups, a person has to click a link in their email to confirm a subscription. Therefore, consider using a double opt-in subscription. Using CAPTCHA on your subscription form reduces the chance of spam bots filling up your list.
    • Send most of the emails to your highest engaged audience. Segment your email list to identify the highest engaged audience.
    • Use spam checking tools to score your content. There are many free tools available online.
    • Limit your email size to 100 KB. Maintain the ideal ISP text-to-image ratio of 60:40.
    • Monitor your ISP bounce and complaint rates to determine if your emails are being bulked and sent to spam for particular ISPs. Furthermore, review the campaign reports at the ISP level.
    • Although it might sound counter-intuitive yet have an unsubscribe option. Otherwise, some audience will mark you as spam.
    • Personalized emails can drive engagement. This will result in a stellar sender reputation and an increase in sales. Cater to the needs of your audience by tailoring your emails. Do not just stick to the first names for customization. Go beyond that and insert appealing first lines and subject lines, user activity, preferences, and purchase data.

    Email Deliverability Don'ts

    • Do not buy, rent, or harvest your email addresses. Instead, focus on the quality of your mailing list. Buying bulk email addresses not only makes it harder to know what you get but also violates the GDPR guidelines.
    Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels
    • Do not send emails with spammy languages, i.e., using all capital letters, using many punctuations, or using spammy terminology. ISPs and the audience often mark these as spam emails.
    • Do not send emails without getting the consent of the recipients. Along with getting spam complaints, you will also violate the GDPR rules.
    • Do not send emails to group email addresses ([email protected], [email protected]). ISPs do not prefer such activities. Simultaneously, one of the recipients can mark you as spam.
    • Do not send your emails to inactive or outdated email IDs. Instead of driving your sales, they hurt your metrics. Cut off unengaged accounts.

    Are my Emails Landing in Spam?

    Unfortunately, some email platforms do not allow you to check if your emails are landing in a spam folder. However, a little bit of creativity and analysis can get you covered.

    If you are using an email marketing automation tool like OutReachBin, you can analyze your emails' open rates and click-through rates. From there, if you find a synchronized drop in those rates for a particular ISP, it implies that your emails are going to spam.

    Another way is to use a seed list. A seed list is a compilation of monitored emails. You can see how ISPs from a seed list are treating your emails. Consider incorporating seed lists into your email marketing campaign to monitor the inbox placement of your emails.

    However, never warm up an IP through a seed list. Because the accounts of seed lists do not portray any engagement, it can hurt a new IP's reputation. This in turn results in poor deliverability.

    What Affects Email Deliverability?

    Several things can affect the deliverability of your emails. Proper IP allocation, unsubscribe rate, IP reputation, spam complaints can get into email deliverability.

    The users of shared servers do not get a dedicated IP address. Moreover, if other people are misusing the server, it also affects your domain reputation.

    What Are Some Best Practices of Email Segmentation?

    When you categorize your mailing list based on behavioral data in different groups, they are called segments. It lets you cater to the interest of your recipients and send them relevant emails.

    Let's go through an efficient segmentation approach that can lead you to maximum deliverability and inbox placement.

    Segment #1: No Consent

    Email addresses of audiences who have not agreed to receive your emails should be placed here. Any entry of this segment should not receive any email irrespective of circumstances.

    Segment #2: New

    Email addresses that have been added within a month should be placed in this segment. You can send these recipients 1-3 emails per week. The entries of these segments are usually active.

    Segment #3: Passive

    Email addresses of your list who are 1 to 3 months old and have never shown any activity such as opened or clicked your emails should be placed here.

    As they are relatively new, you can still turn them into an engaging client base. However, more than one email per week will push them away.

    Segment #4: Engaging

    Accounts who are one month old and showed activity within 90 days should be placed here. They should receive the highest amount of emails. However, your highest should not be too much that might appear annoying to them.

    Your email list should have more than 40% active accounts.

    Segment #5: Slipping

    Email addresses that are one month old and have not interacted or showed any activity within the last three months but had previous activity should be placed here.

    Probably irrelevant emails are the reason why they are brushing you off. You should send these segments 1-2 emails per week. Consider sending personalized emails along with containing relevant and informative content.

    Segment #6: Slipped

    Accounts who have lost interest in your emails should be placed here. Moreover, these segments can contain spam trap emails as well.

    Sending them emails is not a good idea, since ISPs consider the recipient's engagement with your emails. Inactivity of six months will land your mails into the spam folder, which is not a good thing for your email deliverability.

    Hence, this segment should not receive any email. However, if you do not want to consider purging them from your list, you can arrange a win-back campaign to re-engage them.

    Segment #7: Inactive

    This includes the accounts that have been there for more than three months and never showed any activity. The entries of this segment should not receive any emails. Instead, purging them from your mailing list will boost your CTRs and open rates.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Hard Bounce?

    Your email gets a hard bounce when you try to send mail to an invalid or non-existing address. The more hard bounces you get, the more your ISP signals that your email list is not solid.

    What is Soft Bounce?

    A soft bounce usually occurs when you send emails to a person whose inbox is already filled. However, ESPs these days provide larger inbox capacities; hence, it is a rare case scenario.

    Another reason for a soft bounce to occur is a sudden increase in email volume. ISPs prefer consistency. Hence sudden change can result in soft bounces.

    What is a Spam Trap?

    Spam traps can be abandoned email addresses reclaimed by ISP or created solely as spam traps. In other words, they are unmanned email addresses that ISPs own. Spam traps affect sender reputation.

    What is IP Reputation?

    Emails are sent from computers or servers with unique addresses known as IP addresses. IP addresses allow ISPs to track the sender quickly.

    IP reputation depends on the IP address from which the email originated. It does not have anything to do with the brand. Mail senders often use a dedicated IP address or a shared IP pool.

    What is a Domain Reputation?

    Your emails land into your recipient's inbox via domain reputation. It is all about the brand that's sending the email.

    A change in your IP address or ESP will not affect your domain reputation. You can increase your domain reputation by segmenting your mailing list.

    How Will I Know if My Emails are being Opened?

    Automation software like OutReachBin allows you to know the open rates and click-through rates. Additionally, the software tracks your email flows, replies, follow-ups, and more. Schedule a demo with OutReachBin today!

    How Can I Improve my Email Deliverability?

    You can start by following healthy email marketing practices and maintaining an efficient email list. You also need to warm up your emails, adapt your email frequency policies, avoid spam traps to improve your email deliverability.

    If you’re looking for a reliable solution, you can optimize your email deliverability with InboxWarm by OutReachBin. InboxWarm helps you to increase your sender reputation and keeps your email deliverability high.

    Get started with OutReachBin today and optimize email deliverability in no time!

    Article written by Masrura Tahiat
    Send emails that land in your prospect's inbox and get replies. Automate your emails, convert more prospects and grow your business
    Copyright 2021.
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