Everything you should know about email deliverability

By Hiren Patel

As we approach the end of the 1st quarter of 2019, it’s important to review our business promotional strategies. On one hand, it’s critical that we use the right social media marketing strategies for 2019.  On the other, it’s equally important that we improve our existing promotional strategies by gaining deeper insights.

Email marketing is powerful, but marketers need to take care of all the finer points. For instance, you must know how to reduce unsubscribe rates. Unless you focus on the small things, your dream of achieving bigger targets won’t materialize.

While email marketing is becoming increasingly popular, there are still some areas that many marketers aren’t fully aware of. Email deliverability is one of them.

What is email deliverability

As most of you know, Email Service Providers (ESPs) are those who provide the back-end infrastructure for you to send, receive, draft, save and forward emails. Examples of ESPs include Gmail, Yahoo mail, AOL, and so on.

When an incoming email reaches your ESP, they must decide how to treat the incoming email: accept it or reject it.

If your ESP decides to accept it, the next decision will be where to place the email. For instance, Gmail places all the accepted emails into one of the four folders: Inbox, Social, Promotional, and Spam.

Email deliverability is the ability to make sure your emails reach the Inbox and not anywhere else. So when a marketer says they are having email deliverability problems, you must understand that a significant number of emails they are sending out are being either rejected or are being placed in folders other than the Inbox.

Why email deliverability matters

You all know we only read emails that are in the Inbox. It’s rare for anyone to check emails in other folders like Social or Promotional. As a result, any marketing email that lands in the inbox have infinitely more chances of conversion than if it lands in, say, the Spam folder.

Hence, email deliverability is one of the most important objectives of marketers. Without satisfactory email deliverability, there can’t be any email marketing success.

If the recipient opens a marketing email and clicks through one of the links inside the email, the ESP assumes the email was relevant to the recipient. When a similar email reaches the ESP in the future, they again place it in the inbox. As a result, email deliverability helps future email deliverability.

Emails that reach the Inbox have a much better chance of being read, forwarded, or being acted upon. All this improves the ROI of the email marketing campaign.

However, several factors may cause an email not to reach the recipient Inbox. That includes your domain being blacklisted, email being flagged as spam, and sending the email to invalid recipients among others. To avoid these issues, it is important to follow email marketing best practices

So how can you, as a marketer, actually improve your email deliverability? Here are the top 4 email deliverability best practices

How to improve email deliverability

1. Improve your list acquisition methods

You need the email addresses of your target audience to send them your marketing content. The best way to acquire email addresses is through opt-in subscriptions.

There are many ways to increase your mailing list. You can use Twitter, Facebook groups or leverage professional networks like LinkedIn to attract more subscribers. Promise subscribers good content in return of consent to email them and always honor your promise.

When you email to people who’ve chosen to hear from you, you face very few deliverability problems.

Using purchased email lists is extremely unreliable and illegal in many countries. So it’s best not to use purchased lists.

2. Find and fix blacklisting issues, if any

If your emails generate lots of complaints from your recipients, your email address is likely to be put on a blacklist. If you are blacklisted, you’ll have huge problems delivering even acceptable emails to your recipients.

You can tell if you have been blacklisted by checking your IP / domain at popular blacklists like Barracuda Reputation Block list, SURBL, SpamCop and Spamhaus.

Look at the cause of being blacklisted and resolve the problem before making a delisting request. After fixing the cause of the blacklist, follow the laid down procedures of delisting your email address.

Also, remove recipients from the email lists as soon as they unsubscribe from your list.

3. Get SPF, DKIM authentications

In the recent past, most companies have started adopting authentication technologies that include SPF and DKIM to cut down on spamming and bounce rates.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a form of DNS text entry that gives a list of servers that are allowed to send emails to a particular domain. SPF provides more control to domain owners on which servers to add or remove.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a technology that verifies that the content of the email sent is trustworthy. This means that the content of the email was not changed after the message left the server. Here’s one of the places you can check your email authentication.

The technology adds a trust layer by implementing a private or public key signing process. Getting your emails authenticated helps recipient email systems trust your emails.

4. Clean your email lists

HubSpot reports that an estimated 22.5% of email addresses die and turn undeliverable. So if you’re using an email list that’s a year old, this is what could happen: out of every 100 emails you send out, 22 will bounce back undelivered because the recipient address is no longer correct.

To avoid email bounce, it’s best to utilize the services of a good email checker service.

An email checker service, also known as an email verification service, is an online tool that will run your mailing lists through advanced software and separate valid emails from invalid ones. It’s important to note that all this is done without actually sending any emails. Most of the leading email verification tools are secure, competitively priced and swift.

There is no need for sending emails that do not reach the intended recipient. Take steps to ensure that you are sending emails to people who want to read the emails and that there are no issues that are preventing the emails from reaching their inboxes. These email deliverability best practices increase your email deliverability by ensuring that your emails conform to acceptable standards and lower the chances that either the ISP or the recipient will flag your email.

Of course, these aren’t the only things that will help you improve deliverability; there’s a lot more. But these are some of the most important ones, and they will likely give you the maximum results. So start right away, and let us know how they worked!

About the Author
Hiren Patel is a Freelance Copywriter offering insights on how to win pitches and build great brands.



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