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11 Practical Ways to Improve your Email Deliverability

Last Updated, 2020-05-20 email-delivery

The problem with most of the marketers using bulk email is that most of the bulk senders don't give much of a thought to the deliverability.

The thought process of most bulk emailers goes like this, "If the emails are delivered they are inboxed, and probably will be opened in a while". They won't. There is a difference between an email being delivered and emails landing in the inbox of the user.

It is essential to know that email deliverability is different from the delivery rate. The delivery rate is the measure of emails landing in the mailbox, be it spam or inbox. The deliverability, on the other hand, means the number of emails landing in the inbox.

Most of the veterans of the email know these but might not know how to improve the email deliverability. This article covers some of the best practices you can follow for email deliverability improvement and some neat tips and tricks here and there to help you in doing so.

FAQ

What Is a Reasonable Email Delivery Rate

"Good" email delivery depends on many elements, such as email frequency, service provider, sender's domain, quality of email list, IP reputation, and overall sender's reputation profile.

So it varies between business to business. If you find your deliverability to be 80%, you would look at this and say well, this looks good, while this isn't. That means, while 80% of emails are landing in the inbox, 20% are not and might be landing in the spam.

You should target the deliverability rate to 95% and above.

Consistency with Email Volume and Frequency

Email Send Volume: Email volume mainly depends upon your domain from which you are sending an email. That is from the address of the sent emails. The amount of email volume you should send mainly depends on the average weekly or monthly emails you post daily.

If you are sending emails with a higher volume than you usually send than you are doing something wrong.

Email Frequency: Avoid sending out emails in random frequency, because this is what spammers most often do. Instead, add a threshold in your system to send emails in increasing intervals. If the system you are on doesn't allow that, you can use a tool to schedule the email volume frequency. 

You might be using an email platform to send bulk emails, and most of them do have an email threshold manager or a scheduler. Even if they don't have that feature, they would usually have an option to integrate a tool like a plugin or a snippet.

Email Schedule: A consistent schedule of email blast operations will separate you from the Spammers and will make your email activity known and well patterned. T is what Email services want from you and an identifiable and understandable pattern.

Bounce Rates

The bounce rates in your email exist mostly because of you sending emails to the email addresses that don't exist anymore. That would lead to a considerable drop your domain reputation (basically the reputation of your domain name from which you are sending email)

Significant bounce rates can even mean that you might be blacklisted into the site. That means that the hard bounces you have got might also be a spam trap. Of which, you will still be notified of the blacklisting services. So this won't become a big issue if you are careful and react immediately to it. 

Email List Cleanup

Delete everything that is not active or is not needed. It is an excellent practice to do for a frequency of 30 days. Although, if you have a good number of open rates, this frequency will become more and more lenient.

Most of the email senders are afraid of trimming down their existing email address list in fear of losing potential customers. This thought is flawed in so many ways and needs a 360-degree turn to increase your delivery rate. And in some cases, domain reputation is on the line too.

Also, a dead horse is better than a deadbeat horse. Same in the case of email lists, the email that is not actively opened or interacted, emails that are hard bounced can be two kinds of people.

  1. People who don't want your email get your emails. In that case, you will be added to the spam. 
  2. People who don't exist (Spam traps or expired domain) are bad signs for your email domain reputation and your delivery too. 

The worst part is when you get blacklisted, the problems will become more apparent and problematic.

To avoid that, cleaning up your email list consists of removing emails that are showing the following responses:

Hard bounces. Remove them although there are several reasons for your emails to get hard bounced. There are two bad cases that you should not be in, one domain doesn't exist, and second, you have been blacklisted. Either one of them is not suitable for a long term emailing.

Inactive emails. Emails that show no activity regarding email opens, and clicks. These emails can be of two types. People who don't want your emails in their inboxes, remove them, and do a favor for them and yourself. Because if you keep bugging them, they will eventually move you to spam and destroy your reputation. Another case is again spam traps, and you know that is not good.

Remove anyone who isn't active in your email activities, for instance, someone who doesn't open anything for a month or two. Doing this will improve deliverability.

Invalid or bogus emails. These consist of typos emails such as billey@gmaiil.com which is a typo email from start to end.

These also consist of emails that cannot be even considered email ids like this abomination zoomjlj@aajjsssdee.llss. Seriously? What is this? You got the point now right.

You can use email validator tools available on the internet to validate all of your email lists at a time.

If your email service does not provide you with the option to track your emails, you can use some external tracking services. Just make sure that you are using a trusted service.

Try to avoid free service if they are not trusted. The saying you get what you pay for sometimes can just get you.

Validate your Domain with SPF DKIM & DMARC

SPF: Sender Policy Framework is validation for emails to check the email source from your server's TXT record. That is done to prevent spoofing, which means avoiding someone sending emails pretending to you.

DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail is a method of email authentication by public-key encryption.

DMARC: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance is a verification method which uses SPF and DKIM to validate email source. DMARC also detects man in the middle attack in which your emails are intercepted and changed before sending it to the recipient server or any kind of tampering done to your emails and you can also receive a report regarding the action.

Want to Retain Users?

If you are too afraid to remove the inactive users from your email list and want to try to retain them, well you have first to segregate these users from the active users and based on that make two separate email lists.

Then you can keep emailing the active users with your existing setup. But, for the inactive user list, you should send emails with another domain name or subdomain name so that your current sending domain reputation won't get affected. 

One more thing you can try to do is try sending an email with different server IP if you have dedicated IP to be sure.

Send Emails to Inactive Recipients

Send them persuasive emails to reconsider your email offerings. These emails will consist of exclusive offers to turn around the tide with the inactive users. Doing this might work sometimes. 

Sometimes you can send them some lucrative exclusive offers that might get them interested.

Improve the Open Rate

Since you have created two segments, one for the interested users and another for users who are not opening the emails, you can give exclusive rewards to long-time users or coupons to keep them engaged. 

For the non-interested people, you can send them offers that are catered for them or some ludicrous amount of discount. Give them more value for a short time to make them open more of your emails.

If all of the strategies mentioned above fail, you have no choice but to remove the email address from the list.

Check and Remove your Site from Blacklists

Your deliverability will be affected immediately. It would be even worse if you are not keeping track of your bounce-back notification emails and reply emails you will be further prolonging your problem by being ignorant about that.

Regularly check Email blacklisting of your server IP address and sending domain name. If you found yourself blacklisted, take immediate action on that by fixing the issue with your email configuration and delisting your IP or domain immediately.

Select an Email Service with a Great Online Reputation

Some ESP suffers from poor email reputation, and this would affect your status too. Even after you have followed all of the email best practices to send emails if your ESP server IP is in the blacklist or they have a not so good reputation then you should expect some delivery issues due to this.

Either use Dedicated IPs to solve this or if it doesn't work, you can opt to change your ESP entirely to a reputed Mailing service.

Ask Your Subscribers to Whitelist You

You take some simple steps to ask your subscriber politely to whitelist you so that email messages would have no problems landing in their inbox.

Be careful though and don't be forceful about that. It should be a request message and should entirely depend upon the recipient to work.

Be Compliant with Spam Laws

Don't send email without opt-in or any confirmation from the recipient regarding agreeing to receive your emails.

Email Content

Also, avoid spam trigger words to avoid spam filters adding your emails to the spam list.

Here are some of the words for your reference you can see here such as:

You've Won

Order Now

Exclusive deal

You Have Been Selected

Act Now

Buy Now

And many more.

Check out email best practices to avoid being categorized as a spammer. Always make sure what you are sending to the customer is clearly stated in the email title, and it should match with the content of the email body.

Check out the Can-spam act and make sure all of the emails that you are sending are in accordance and complying fully with it.

Write original content for the email body, don't just copy it from other resources; this would get you in trouble.

Have a CTA(call to action in your emails), make everyone who opens your email click the link, and a button on the page helps with it.

Email Body Structure

Email body structure should be lightweight with less number of links and less number of CSS with images and inbound links.

Your email content matters more than you think. Maintaining a lightweight email body is the key to better delivery.

Sending Domain Address

You should use a professional-looking email address to send the email such as xyz@domain.com with your name or your business name in place of "xyz".

Also, try not to send the email with noreply@domain.com unless these are transactional emails.

Summary

  1. Write original content.
  2. Send your emails from a from-address without a "noreply" name.
  3. Clean and maintain your list for at least within two months while 30 days is a much better frequency.
  4. Create a simple HTML coded email rather than a massive convoluted mess.
  5. Avoid the words that trigger your emails to go to the spam folder.
  6. Avoid all caps and excessive punctuation in your subject lines.
  7. Send emails at around 8 am-9 am EST or 3 pm-4 pm EST for most opens.
  8. Have CTA's in all your emails
  9. Test your emails regularly.
  10. Ensure you are spam laws compliant
  11. Write lightweight email content

Conclusion

These were some of the easy ways you can improve your email deliverability. I hope you will kill it with your emails landing into inboxes and achieve your goals with the help of this tutorial.

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