A Guide to Email Marketing Deliverability

December 30, 2022

What is it, and why does it matter?

When it comes to email marketing, the importance of email deliverability should never be overlooked. Email deliverability has a significant impact on the way that subscribers interact with your content and can have a large impact on your profitability in the long run. 

Email deliverability is when the email sent makes it to the recipient’s inbox. If an email is blocked from a domain such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail, or it is placed into the spam folder by these providers, it can negatively impact your deliverability.

There are a number of factors that influence email deliverability that need to be considered when sending emails. In this article, you'll learn about the the key factors that influence your email deliverability.

These include:

  1. Email Service Provider
  2. Warming the Account
  3. Sending Habits & Email Recipients 
  4. Email Content 
  5. Email Deliverability Metrics

Email Service Provider 

The ESP (Email Service Provider) from which your company sends emails is critical to the success of your email deliverability. You can send emails from various ESPs, but the main thing to consider when selecting an ESP is whether you need a shared IP address or a dedicated IP address. If you share an IP address, the ESP will be responsible for implementing practices to help you maintain a strong sending reputation and monitoring other accounts that share an IP address with you to ensure they do not negatively impact your brand's deliverability. If your business has a large email list (100,000+ subscribers), it may make sense to have a dedicated IP address. 

On shared IP addresses, multiple senders impact the reputation score and can positively or negatively impact your email deliverability as well. With a dedicated IP address, you are the only one responsible for its reputation. If your IP’s reputation starts to decline, you can improve performance by implementing healthy sending habits and increasing the reputation of your IP address.

Warming Your Account

It is critical to warm up your account when sending from a new Email Service Provider to maintain a strong sender reputation. To achieve the best results, begin by sending a low volume of emails and gradually increase your sending volume. Each inbox provider uses a different algorithm to determine whether or not an email should be marked as spam. If you start sending too frequently while list warming, you may harm your sending reputation.

When warming your email list, consistently check your engagement metrics to make sure that your customers are interacting with your content. Always make sure to segment your lists and send to the most engaged customers first. High open and click rates are positive signals for domains, and let them know that your customers are interested in receiving emails from you. Low engagement can be a negative signal to domains that your emails aren’t relevant to your subscribers and can send domains the wrong signal. 

Sending Habits & Email Recipients 

The sending habits and email recipients of an account can also impact email deliverability. It is critical to ensure that all email recipients have given consent to receive email marketing content from you before sending to your email list. Never add customers to your list if they have not expressed an interest in receiving emails from you, and never buy email subscriber lists. Adding customers who are not interested in hearing from your brand to your email list will only increase your unsubscribe rates and negatively impact your deliverability. Send only to customers who have subscribed to your email lists, and when possible, segment customers based on interests or preferences so that they receive valuable content from your brand.

To avoid ending up in the spam folder, keep track of how many emails you send each week and ensure you send them regularly. Inbox providers are constantly looking for spam emails, so when an email account begins sending a large volume of emails, the account's deliverability may suffer.

Email Content 

For the best deliverability results, avoid using all caps or spam trigger words in your subject lines and preview text. Image-heavy emails tend to trigger spam filters, so use a combination of images and text throughout your email template.

Email Deliverability Metrics

Here are the key metrics to monitor when reviewing your accounts deliverability performance: 

Open Rate

An open rate is the number of email recipients who opened an email (30% or higher is an ideal performance). Keep in mind ESPs have seen inflated open rates since Apple’s IOS 15 privacy updates. If your account is seeing poor open rate performance, it may indicate that you aren’t using engaging subject lines, your emails are ending up in the spam folder, or your emails are bouncing. 

Click Rate

A click rate is the number of people who click your email divided by the number of people who receive your email. You can calculate the click-through rate by dividing the number of people who clicked your email by the number of people who opened your email. 

Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is a percentage of emails that were not delivered to a customer because the server returned them (Less than 1.5% is ideal). Bounces are typically categorized into two categories consisting of soft and hard bounces. A soft bounce occurs when there is a temporary reason for the email not being delivered (For example, a full inbox). A hard bounce occurs when there is a permanent reason keeping the email from being delivered (For example, a misspelled email address). If your account is seeing high bounce rates, try to clean your lists, remove invalid email addresses, and enable a double opt-in. 

Unsubscribe Rate

An unsubscribe rate is the percentage of email recipients who have unsubscribed from the email (Less than 0.7% is ideal). This is an important metric to monitor since high unsubscribe rates are usually a sign that your audience is not engaging with the content you are sending or did not ask to receive communication from you. If you are sending too frequently and not segmenting your audiences, customers could experience email fatigue and decide to stop receiving communication from you. 

Spam Complaint Rate

A spam complaint rate is the percentage of customers who have marked your email as spam (Less than 0.15% is ideal). This is an important metric to monitor since it has a crucial impact on your brand’s deliverability and reputation. If you see that your spam rate is rising, take action immediately to lower it.

Save this email deliverability metrics cheat sheet

Final Thoughts

Email deliverability is a crucial aspect of any email marketing campaign. By following best practices, you can maintain a positive reputation and keep customers interacting with your content for the years to come. Additionally, staying up-to-date on the latest trends and changes in email deliverability will help ensure the ongoing success of your email marketing efforts.

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