10 Steps To Improve Email Deliverability

Have you ever crafted a killer email, hit send, and then… crickets?

In 2021, the average inbox placement was only 85%. This means 1 in 6 emails don’t make it into subscribers’ inboxes. Instead, they go to the Gmail promotions folder, or worse, marked as SPAM.

Many email marketers focus on metrics like open rates and clicks. Unfortunately, these numbers are only useful IF you’re getting your emails into inboxes.

Plus, following Apple’s MPP (mail protection privacy) open rates in particular are less valuable.

To really understand your email performance, you need to know your deliverability (not to be confused with delivery), or the ability to reach the inbox. Read on for how to improve email deliverability.

What is email deliverability?

Deliverability is the sender’s ability to reach the inbox by maintaining a positive sender reputation.

No matter how good your offer or how juicy your subject line is, if your emails don’t make it into the inbox, your subscribers won’t ever have the opportunity to engage with it.

Now, that feels a little like flushing revenue straight down the toilet!

Since open rates and clicks are no longer as valuable of metrics, what is an email marketer to do?

To get the most accurate view of your deliverability, senders should monitor inbox placement rate. Inbox placement rate is the percentage of email delivered to the inbox, versus emails sent to spam, rejected or blocked altogether.

Delivery is not Deliverability

Delivery is not the same as deliverability. Senders often rely on the delivered rate provided by their email service provider (ESP) to measure deliverability. But the term “delivered” can be misleading. Delivered rate only measures the percentage of email that was accepted or rejected by a mailbox provider (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook). Delivered rate doesn’t tell you whether messages land in the inbox, the spam folder, or simply go missing.

Not cool, right?

Senders can enjoy a high delivery rate and still have their emails regularly sent to the spam folder. On the surface everything looks great. But underneath, your sender reputation and deliverability are slowly declining.

What Determines Email Deliverability?

Deliverability is a big deal. If you feel like your emails are not hitting inboxes regularly, investigate these common issues…

  1. Poor Sender Reputation – Whether your email gets the inbox thumbs up, or sent straight to SPAM, largely depends on your sender reputation. Sender reputation includes things like send volume, bounce rates, complaints and spam trap hits. You can check your sender score at senderscore.org.
  2. Poor IP or Domain Reputation – Every device connected to the Internet has a unique set of numbers assigned to it called an ip address. This includes your email send servers. The ip address can be dedicated or shared. Email marketing companies primarily use shared ip addresses, and the reputation of other senders on the same ip address can affect your deliverability. Domain reputation is specific to the sender (i.e. @myexampledomain.com). Greater emphasis is put on domain reputation as spammers will frequently change ip addresses to avoid detection.
  3. Blocklists – Also known as Blacklists, are lists of known spammers or senders who engage in spammer-like sending behavior. Consult a Blocklist Lookup Service to verify you are not blacklisted.
  4. List Hygiene – MBPs like clean sender lists, so regular housekeeping is essential. You can do this by removing unsubscribes, unknown users, hard bounces, recycled spam traps, and pristine spam traps.

Email Content

Sending emails that are not valuable or of interest to subscribers will result in subscribers unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam more often. This sends a negative signal to the MBP, which in turn can decrease your inbox placement.

To keep email engagement high, you should personalize emails, use list segmentation, avoid blast emails, and don’t use link shorteners, spammy language or excessive capitalization.

10 Steps To Improve Email Deliverability

Follow these 10 steps to proactively address email deliverability.

  1. Audit – Audit your current email program by creating an email inventory, including how often and to which segments.
  2. Measure – Inbox placement rate is the best metric, but unsubscribes, shares, ROI, and list growth rate are good indicators of future problems.
  3. Monitor – Protect your sender, IP, and domain reputations by consistently monitoring and correcting issues pertaining to spam, bounce rate, and blocklists.
  4. Collaborate – Make it your mission to educate all stakeholders about the importance of deliverability and how they can help.
  5. Clean – Create a regular schedule by which you’ll purge unresponsive, fake, and duplicate addresses from your database. Many senders should be more aggressive here.
  6. Segment – You should commit time to becoming an expert on who your recipients are, what they want, and which segments are delivering strong returns. Segment your lists using these insights.
  7. Authentication – Email authentication is one of the primary building blocks of good deliverability. All senders should have SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in place to prove their legitimacy.
  8. List Unsubscribe – All emails should contain a list unsubscribe record in email headers. Unsubscribing should always be visible and easy, or subscribers will take the simple route and mark emails as spam, which damages your sender reputation.
  9. Double Opt-In – A double opt-in model verifies that your subscribers want to hear from you. Senders using a confirmed opt-in model generate higher levels of subscriber engagement and major MBPs view programs with this infrastructure favorably
  10. Recover – When subscribers mark emails sent to the spam folder as “Not Spam,” this sends a positive signal to MBPs and tells them they’ve made a mistake. To boost the chances of your emails being recovered, messages should be personalized and clearly branded. Senders should also implement BIMI, which allows brands to display their logos in subscriber inboxes for increased recognition and engagement.

Kick Your Email Deliverability Problems To The Curb.

From 2019 to 2021, global email volume rose by 82%. Thanks Covid! Signs indicate the increased volume and increased privacy practices are here to stay. In this day and age, it’s to your benefit to have an email marketing manager that is skilled in the art of getting your emails into inboxes.

To learn more about the email marketing services that Funnelbug offers, click HERE.

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