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How to Improve Email Deliverability: Proven Strategies to Ensure Your Messages Land Every Time

If your emails aren’t reaching the inbox, your message is lost, and so is the potential for conversions. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of email deliverability, exploring the factors that influence it, the role of Email Service Providers, and practical strategies to fix common issues. 

These insights and actionable steps will help you navigate the email landscape, improve your deliverability, and ensure your message lands in the right inbox every time. Let’s get started on your journey to improved email deliverability.

Note: Want the best email deliverability? Email test with MailGenius. Discover the power of actionable feedback and make impactful changes from our detailed reports. Try MailGenius now and elevate your email game!

What Affects Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is a critical factor in the success of your email marketing campaigns. It determines whether your emails reach the inbox of your recipients or end up in the spam folder. Here are some key factors that affect email deliverability:

  • Email Content: The content of your email, including the subject line, body text, images, and links, can impact deliverability. Spam filters scrutinize the content for spam triggering phrases or excessive use of links or images. It’s crucial to maintain a balance in the text-to-link and image-to-text ratios to avoid being flagged as spam.

  • Sender Reputation: Your sender reputation is determined by your sending behavior. Factors such as the number of emails sent, bounce rates, spam complaints, and engagement rates contribute to your reputation. A poor sender reputation can lead to your emails being blocked by Gmail and other ESPs.

  • List Quality: The quality of your email list is vital. Lists with a lot of inactive or non-existent email addresses can harm your sender reputation. Regularly cleaning your list and implementing double opt-in can help maintain list quality.

  • Email Authentication: Email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC verify the sender’s identity and protect against email spoofing.

  • IP Address Reputation: The reputation of your IP address can affect deliverability. If you’re sending from the same IP address that’s been used for spam, your emails may be blocked.

  • Email Frequency: Sending too many emails can lead to recipient fatigue and increased complaints of spam, while sending too few can lead to decreased engagement. Finding the right sending frequency is key to maintaining good deliverability.

The Role Of Email Service Providers

Email Service Providers (ESPs) play a significant role in each of these factors. ESPs provide the infrastructure for sending emails, and their reputation can directly impact your deliverability. They offer tools for managing your email list, crafting email content, and analyzing your campaigns.

ESPs also help with email authentication, providing easy ways to set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. They can provide dedicated IP addresses and guide you on best practices for maintaining a good IP reputation.

ESPs can guide you on the optimal email sending frequency based on their vast experience with different industries and audiences. By partnering with a reliable ESP, you can significantly improve your email deliverability and the success of your email marketing campaigns.

How Do You Fix Deliverability Issues?

Fixing email deliverability issues requires a strategic approach that addresses the various factors impacting your email’s journey to the recipient’s inbox. Here’s how you can tackle these issues:

Evaluate Your Situation

We always recommend begin a deliverability audit of where you currently stand. Start by looking at your email deliverability rates. This is the percentage of emails that successfully reach your recipients’ inboxes without being marked as spam or bouncing back. A low deliverability rate could indicate issues with your email practices that need to be addressed. A good deliverability rate of 95% is what we strive for.

Then look at your list quality, and the results of your recent campaigns. The quality of your email list plays a significant role in your deliverability. Examine your list for inactive or non-existent email addresses, which can lead to high bounce rates and damage your sender reputation. Tools like Google Postmaster and Microsoft SNDS can provide insights into your email performance and help identify any issues.

Test Your Emails With MailGenius

Testing your emails with MailGenius is a proactive step towards improving your email deliverability. MailGenius is a free tool that allows you to check your emails for potential issues that could lead to them being marked as spam. Here’s how you can use MailGenius to test your emails:

  • Send a Test Email: MailGenius provides you with a unique email address to send your email to for testing. Simply compose your email as you normally would and send it to the provided address.

  • Analyze Your Email: Once you’ve sent your email, click on ‘See Your Score’ on the MailGenius website. MailGenius will analyze your email and provide you with a detailed report of any issues that could affect your deliverability.

  • Understand Your Score: Your MailGenius score is a measure of your email’s deliverability. The higher your score, the more likely your email is to reach the inbox. The report will highlight any issues that could lower your score, such as problems with your email content, authentication issues, or blacklisting.

  • Review the Detailed Report: The report provided by MailGenius is comprehensive and covers various aspects of your email. This includes your sender score, SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and BIMI records, content analysis, HTML best practices check, and more. Each section of the report provides actionable insights to help you improve your email deliverability.

  • Implement the Recommendations: Based on the report, make the necessary changes to your email practices. This could involve adjusting your email content, implementing email authentication protocols, or improving your list hygiene.

  • Regularly Test Your Emails: For best results, use MailGenius to test your emails regularly. This can help you catch any potential issues before they affect your deliverability and keep your email practices up to date with the latest best practices.

By using MailGenius, you can proactively address any issues that could affect your email deliverability, ensuring your emails reach your recipients’ inboxes. Remember, improving email deliverability is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and adjustments based on your performance and changes in email regulations and best practices.

Check for Blacklisting

Checking for blacklisting is a crucial step in improving your email deliverability. If your emails are consistently landing in the spam folder, it’s possible that your IP address or domain has been blacklisted.

Blacklisting occurs when your IP address or domain is added to a list of known sources of spam. Major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email services use these lists to filter out unwanted emails. If you’re on a blacklist, your emails may not reach your recipients’ inboxes.

Here’s how you can address this issue:

Check Your IP and Domain

Use tools like MxToolbox, Sender Score, or Talos Intelligence to check if your IP address or domain is on any blacklists. These tools can provide a comprehensive view of your status across multiple blacklists.

Identify the Blacklist

If you find that you’re on a blacklist, identify which one it is. Different blacklists have different criteria for listing and delisting, so it’s important to know where your issue lies.

Understand Why You Were Blacklisted

Try to understand why you were blacklisted. Common reasons include sending to too many invalid email addresses, high complaint rates, sudden spikes in email volume, and email content that appears spammy.

Request Removal

If you’re on a blacklist, you’ll need to request removal. This usually involves going to the blacklist’s website and following their specific delisting process. Be prepared to provide information about your email practices and what you’ve done to address the issues that led to your listing.

Prevent Future Blacklisting

After you’ve been delisted, take steps to prevent future blacklisting. This includes maintaining a clean email list, sending to engaged subscribers, warming up new IP addresses, and regularly monitoring your email engagement metrics.

Remember, being on a blacklist can significantly impact your email deliverability. Regularly checking your status and taking immediate action if you’re blacklisted can help ensure your emails reach your recipients’ inboxes.

Authenticate Your Emails

Email authentication is a critical aspect of ensuring your emails reach the recipient’s inbox. It verifies your identity as a sender and protects against email spoofing, a common tactic used in phishing and spam campaigns.

Email authentication protocols provide a way for ISPs to verify that an email claiming to come from a specific domain was authorized by the owner of that domain. Without proper authentication, your emails may be flagged as spam or not delivered at all.

Here’s how you can authenticate your emails:

Implement SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

SPF is an email authentication method that detects and blocks email spoofing. It allows the domain owners to define which mail servers are authorized to send email on behalf of their domain. Implementing SPF involves adding a specific SPF record to your domain’s DNS settings.

Use DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)

DKIM adds a digital signature to the headers of your email. This signature is linked to your domain and can be verified by the recipient’s mail server. This helps to prove that the email hasn’t been tampered with during transit and that it indeed comes from your domain.

Set Up DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)

DMARC builds on SPF and DKIM. It allows you to specify what should happen if an email fails SPF or DKIM checks, reducing the chance of your emails being marked as spam. It also provides reports on who is sending email on your behalf, which can help identify unauthorized activity.

Consider BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification)

BIMI is a newer standard that allows you to display your brand’s logo in the recipient’s inbox, adding an extra layer of trust and recognition. To implement BIMI, you need to have SPF, DKIM, and DMARC already set up, and then add a BIMI record to your DNS settings.

Work with Your Email Service Provider (ESP)

Your ESP can provide guidance and support in setting up these authentication protocols. They may also offer tools to make the process easier.

By properly authenticating your emails, you can improve your deliverability, protect your brand from fraud, and build trust with your recipients. Remember, email authentication is a technical process that involves changes to your domain’s DNS settings, so it’s important to involve your IT team or work closely with your ESP.

Proper IP Allocation

Maintaining proper IP allocation is a crucial aspect of managing your email deliverability as your email program grows. As you scale and start sending larger volumes of emails, you’ll need to consider moving to a dedicated IP address and properly warming it up. Here’s how you can manage this process effectively:

  • Understand the Need for a Dedicated IP: Once you’re sending around 25,000 emails per day, it’s generally recommended to move to a dedicated IP address. This means that the reputation of the IP address is entirely based on your own email sending practices, giving you more control over your deliverability.

  • Warm Up Your IP Address: When you first start sending from a new IP address, you’ll need to gradually increase your email volume over time. This process, known as IP warming, helps to establish a positive sending reputation with ISPs. Start by sending to your most engaged subscribers first, as they’re more likely to open and interact with your emails, signaling to ISPs that your emails are wanted.

By maintaining proper IP allocation and following these best practices, you can ensure that your email infrastructure scales effectively with your email program, helping to maintain good deliverability as your email volume increases.

Improve Your Content

Improving your email content is a key strategy for enhancing email deliverability. The content you send out should be interesting, engaging, and provide value to your subscribers. Here’s how you can improve your email content:

Create Engaging Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first thing your recipients see. Make it compelling and relevant to encourage them to open your email. Avoid using spammy subject lines, all caps, excessive punctuation, or spammy phrases that could trigger spam filters. 

Provide Value in Your Emails

Your emails should provide value to your subscribers. This could be in the form of useful information, exclusive offers, or engaging stories. Emails that provide value are more likely to be opened, read, and clicked on.

Maintain a Balance Between Text and Links

Too many links in your email can make it look like spam to email filters. Maintain a healthy text-to-link ratio by ensuring your emails contain sufficient text content alongside any links.

Balance Text and Images

While images can make your emails more engaging, too many images with little text can trigger spam filters. Aim for a good balance between text and images in your emails.

Personalize Your Emails

Personalized emails tend to have higher engagement rates. Use your subscriber data to personalize your email content, such as by including the recipient’s name or recommending products based on their past purchases.

Avoid Spammy Content

Certain words and phrases can trigger spam filters. Avoid using these in your emails. Also, ensure your emails are not misleading in any way, as this can lead to users marking your marketing emails as spam.

Regularly A/B Test Your Emails

A/B testing involves sending two slightly different versions of an email to see which performs better. You can A/B test various elements of your email, such as the subject line, email design, content, call to action, and send time. Regular A/B testing can provide valuable insights into what works best for your audience.

By improving your email content, you can not only enhance your email deliverability but also increase your email engagement rates, leading to more successful email marketing campaigns. Remember, what works best can vary depending on your audience and industry, so it’s important to continually test and optimize your email content.

Maintain List Hygiene

Maintaining list hygiene for your emails is an essential practice for improving your deliverability. A clean, engaged email list can help email marketers lead to higher open rates, avoid spam traps, lower complaints, and better overall deliverability. Here’s how you can maintain your list hygiene:

Remove Inactive Email Addresses

If a subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked on your emails in a long time, they may be disengaged. Consider running an email re-engagement campaign to try to win them back. If they still don’t engage, it may be best to remove them from your list.

Clean Up Bounced Emails

Emails can bounce for a variety of reasons. “Hard” bounces are permanent email delivery failures, such as when an email address no longer exists. “Soft” bounces are temporary delivery failures, such as when a recipient’s mailbox is full. Regularly remove hard bounces from your list and monitor soft bounces to see if they become hard bounces.

Implement a Double Opt-In Process

Implementing a double opt-in process requires subscribers to confirm their subscription after signing up. This ensures that your subscribers genuinely want to receive your emails and can help reduce spam complaints and improve engagement.

Regularly Check Your List for Errors

Regularly check your list for obvious errors, such as misspelled domains in email addresses (e.g., “gnail.com” instead of “gmail.com”). Correcting these errors can reduce your bounce rate.

Segment Your List

Segmenting your list allows you to send more targeted and relevant emails, which can lead to higher engagement. You can segment your list based on various factors, such as purchase history, location, or engagement level.

By maintaining good list hygiene, you can improve your email deliverability and the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Remember, it’s not just about the size of your list, but the quality of your subscribers.

Make Unsubscribing Easy

Making the process of unsubscribing from your emails easy and straightforward is a crucial aspect of maintaining good email deliverability. A clear and accessible unsubscribe process can reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam and can enhance your reputation as a sender. Here’s how you can make unsubscribing easy:

  • Provide a Clear Unsubscribe Link: Every email you send should include a clear and visible unsubscribe link header. This is not only a best practice but also a requirement under laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States and the GDPR in the European Union.

  • Make the Unsubscribe Process Simple: The process to unsubscribe should be straightforward and require minimal effort. Avoid making your subscribers jump through hoops to unsubscribe, such as requiring them to log in or navigate through multiple pages.

Time To Boost Deliverability!

By implementing these strategies, you can improve your email deliverability and ensure your messages reach your audience’s inbox. Remember, improving email deliverability is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and adjustments based on your performance and changes in email regulations and best practices.