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10 Successful Ways to Improve Email Deliverability

Published on July 18, 2019
Marketing | Email Marketing |

Spending days producing email campaigns, designing eye-catching visuals and creating content worthy of a booker prize means nothing if your emails don’t reach the audience’s inboxes – and that’s where email deliverability is crucial.

But what is ‘email deliverability’?

That’s exactly what you’re going to find out below, along with 10 successful ways to improve your email deliverability rates.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

It’s important to start by stating the difference between ‘Email Deliverability’ and ‘Email Delivery’.

Delivery is a successful send to a receiving mail server and Deliverability being a successful send to a contact’s inbox. It’s possible to receive good delivery but poor deliverability because the email landed in a person’s spam folder rather than the inbox.

Many factors can influence the rate of email deliverability. These include list health, sender scores, frequency and consistency of sends and much more.

Now is the time for you to discover the successful ways to improve your email deliverability!

How To Increase Email Deliverability Rates

1. Clear, consistent and correct content.

One of the main steps for success in deliverability is your content.

Spam filters are always on the lookout for common keywords, phrases and even subject lines that are used in typical spam mailing campaigns.

Cross-referencing your content, including the subject lines and preheader text, is it original enough to identify as your brands message?

Consider avoiding the following to ensure you aren’t caught out:

  • Poor spelling and use of punctuation
  • Variations in fonts, colour, sizes and weights.
  • Excessive use of capitalisation
  • Too many ‘sales’ keywords and terms.
  • Broken HTML coding.
  • Unsupported code languages and classes.

If your content is original and you ensure you pay close attention during its creation, spam filters will become a thing of the past with email deliverability certain to see a steady increase.

2. Constantly monitor your list health.

Your contacts are the main ingredient in your 5-star email marketing campaign, so making sure they stay in the best health is paramount to a high deliverability rate.

Contact engagement is the biggest tell for how healthy your list is.

Over time lists can become ‘dirty data’, full of hard bounces, inactive addresses and unengaged email addresses, damaging to your sender score, so ensuring a ‘cleanse’ takes place regularly should include some of the following processes:

  • Removing hard bounced contacts.
  • Analyse soft bounced contacts for re-targeting or removal.
  • Run a ‘re-engagement’ campaign to target poor performers.
  • Send regular ‘win back’ or ‘reconfirmation’ emails to keep contacts engaged.
  • Categorise contacts more efficiently to personalise sends to improve send metrics.

Having a healthy database can dramatically influence your email deliverability rate as a direct result of sender score and reputation improvement, so making sure contacts are regularly nurtured can mean potential big gains for your business.

3. Monitor your Sender Score, regularly.

This point focuses on ‘monitoring’ more so than putting action in place, using a free online tool called Sender Score. With your IP address or Domain Lookup to hand, this tool offers a myriad of metrics and measurements for an in depth review of your sends and how this is affecting your deliverability rates.

A Sender Score can range from anywhere between 0 and 100 and identifies a businesses reputation as a sender whilst sharing how mailboxes view the IP address when hit.

A lot of metrics are taken into consideration to determine this score, including:

  • Amount of blacklists.
  • Mailing to Unknown Users.
  • Subscriber Engagement level.
  • Spam Complaints.
  • Whitelists.
  • Mailings sent to Spam Traps.

Using the breakdown of scores, less than 70, more than 70 or more than 80, the tool allows users to then take action if required, using a whole host of whitepapers, tools, programmes and more to ensure their Sender Score is optimised to drive higher email deliverability levels.

4. Make it personal.

When you receive an email, the first thing you do is note who the sender is. Make it too generic and you lose interest, but take a personal approach and include company names or even personal and you offer a friendly approach to your customer base.

Proven to help reduce spam complaints AND improve open rates, this method of improving email deliverability is very simple to incorporate, but can have highly positive influence. The key here is to ensure consistency, using the same structure and convention across the board.

If your company name is already present, why not add in a notable figure from a certain department or person of interest, for example, Joe Bloggs @ Business Weekly.

Reduce spam complaints, increase open rates and smash email deliverability rates with little effort by just taking that personal touch.

5. IP Credibility is key.

Assessment of IP addresses is a key part of how ISP filters work to ensure spam mailing is kept at bay. So ensuring your IP address is polished and trustworthy enough to pass these filters is paramount to see email deliverability rates rise.

Building reputation for your IP can be very simple, free and low effort.

Simply start by targeting the small, targeting those you are confident are engaging and ready your content, then scale up. 

By starting small and strategically scaling up marketing output, the IP address will gain trust in the fact that customers are happy to receive content from you, opening, clicking and liking it. But ensure you scale up slowly, more emails means more room for poor metrics, so give time in between scales to even this out.

Once your IP address has built trust in your marketing efforts, ISP filters will be more open to pass through your content to your customers, reducing the amount of spam complaints and traps and ensuring your deliverability rates only ever see increases.

6. Feedback is key.

How do you prevent something happening, before it happens? You take a look at past events to determine patterns and build on these to find resolutions.

Feedback. Feedback is key in email marketing to help prevent further poor performance.

Listening to your customers feedback surrounding content, soft and hard bounce reasoning, click data and more can be powerful if analysed. Record on a consistent basis all of this data and cross compare with other emails data to start creating patterns of possible spam-causing elements.

Once you’ve analysed and retained patterns in your sending, it’s simple to start putting actions in place to ensure a reduction of these recurring. Examples may follow changes in sender details, length of content, frequency of email sends and more.

Email deliverability rates will rarely have to suffer if feedback monitoring and action planning is executed.

It’s free to do, many CRM systems offer detailed reporting to support this and is something that can also be used for testing new features with customers, but remember, consistency is key.

7. Consider using a dedicated IP address.

This method is especially important if you are an organisation sending large volumes of mail on a frequent basis. Put simply, if you don’t have a dedicated IP address for your sends deliverability can be affected by others practises and reputations.

By dedicating your IP you have full control over your reputation.

What you send out through a single stream will be the only thing impacting any deliverability metrics.

Forget internal mail, shared CRM systems and tests influencing such figures.

Dedicating an IP address becomes even more important in regards to obtaining an SSL certificate for securing your site. Most hosts will either not allow or charge an extra fee to ensure you are on a sole, dedicated address before you can secure your site.

While creating a dedicated IP address may be slightly costly and time consuming, it is definitely worth the investment if your site or organisation has a higher mailing rate, you need to improve your email deliverability rate or are simply in the process of obtaining an SSL certificate.

8. Validate and verify your sends.

Any Bob, John or Tom can claim to be someone they aren’t online these days, and this is unfortunately the same when it comes to email senders. Chop and change a few characters around in the ‘To’ field of an email and you can claim to be the actual sender.

Validating and verifying yourself as a sender is imperative to ensure scam artists don’t try and scam your customers and negatively affect your deliverability rate. Using the likes of SPF or DKIM tools can ensure this security for your site.

SPF is an email validation system that verifies sender’s IP addresses.

Simply, SPF allows you to state yourself as the owner of a domain, verifying your ability to send using this name.

DKIM is similar in the fact that is indicated ownership, but this time by organisation. A ‘signature’ is added to the emails outgoing, which is verified before entering users inboxes. This verification allows only your company to send using your domain.

Both tools allow for extra security alongside positive increases in your email deliverability rates, so further research into these would be of great importance, especially if your organisation is growing.

9. Make it mobile.

Did you know that over 50% of email opens occur on mobile devices?

This is why it is more important than ever to ensure fluid designs for both desktop and mobile versions to enable all contacts to experience your content in full.

But how does this affect your email deliverability rates?

Simply put, the less mobile friendly your content is the lower the user engagement will be, driving email campaign metrics down and causing problems for spam traps, blacklists and feedback loops.

Many email builders and systems will enable responsive design, with some even using a switch to produce a responsiveness prior to sending. It’s always worth testing your content however, device and operating system wide. The better the content works across multiple systems, the larger the chance for customer engagement to increase.

There is a correlation between complaint (spam) rates and absence of mobile responsiveness within email designs, so ensure you take the time to optimise for the best reach and increase those email deliverability chances.

10. Take it back to plain text.

Gone are the days of plain text versions of emails being the main form received by email platforms.

Nowadays complex structures, designs and graphics are an expectation to ensure grabbing users attention. But never underestimate the power of plain text.

Plain text is a fail safe for most email platforms, display the message in its clearest form in the case of issues loading or rendering content. Without plain text, no message is received and no actions can be taken from the user.

Ask yourself, would rather receive a text-only email over a blank one?

Hopefully, the answer should be ALWAYS.

Plain text builds these days are easy for most platforms to generate and only require a run-through check. Free to do as well, it should be easy to include generating this version alongside your magical designs on a frequent basis.

By going plain text you are giving yourself the best possible chance of reaching your customers, regardless of their systems.

This in turn will ensure deliverability is increased and the chance of the rates increasing, looking even more positive.

Whether you are starting off at sending out your email campaign content and want to ensure a clean slate stays clean, or your stats are looking a struggle, adopting even a couple of the above steps for successful email deliverability rate improvement will allow you to regain control over your sends.

Many successful paths for positive email deliverability rate are free, easy and time effective for any team to implement. They are guaranteed to ensure rates see a rise not just for the present but continuing through the growth of mailing campaigns too.

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