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Email Deliverability Best Practices: Sure Shot Ways for Getting your Emails Land Straight in the Inbox

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Email marketers across the world track metrics such as open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribe rate regularly to see if their efforts are paying off. But they often miss out on one of the most important metrics- the email deliverability rate, which determines whether their emails actually reach the inbox. 

Before you work around to improve the engagement and conversion rates, your emails must first find their way to the subscribers’ inbox. According to a reputed email marketing agency, one in five emails never makes it into the inbox. It is therefore important to track the email deliverability rate and take appropriate measures to improve it. 

Let us understand in detail, what email deliverability is and the best practices to achieve higher email deliverability rates.

What is email deliverability?

Once you hit the send button, your email has to go through a process before reaching the subscriber. It has to face several filters set by their ESP such as spam filter, content and metadata filter, etc. Your email needs to clear through all these filters to successfully land in the subscribers’ inbox. 

Email deliverability is the ability to deliver the email correctly to the inbox after going through the entire email delivery process. Emails that get caught by the filters may go missing, bounce back, or land in the spam or junk folder, thereby lowering the deliverability rate.

What leads to email deliverability issues?

  • High bounce rates due to invalid email addresses
  • Increase in the number of complaints and spam rates
  • Low user engagement
  • Sending too many emails 
  • Frequently switching between different ESPs
  • Poor domain and IP reputation

Things to be taken care of to improve deliverability

  • Focus on improving your sender reputation 

The above-mentioned issues hamper the sender reputation. A good reputation means your servers consider your emails as legitimate. And, a bad sender reputation writes off your emails as irrelevant and spam. Email servers measure the sender reputation by tracking the IP reputation and domain reputation. 

IP reputation: Your ESPs and ISPs have a sending limit and your IP reputation depends on the number of emails you send from a single IP address. When there are too many emails sent quickly, the chances of your IP getting blacklisted or flagged as spam is more, which hampers your IP reputation. If you change the IP address, your IP reputation also changes, and you need to build your credibility from scratch.

Domain reputation: Unlike IP reputation, your domain reputation isn’t lost when you change the IP address. It is therefore important to send your important emails (order updates, shipping details, etc.) and marketing emails (newsletters, promotional emails, etc.) from different domains and IP addresses. This is to ensure that the important emails reach the inbox even if your marketing emails have a bad reputation.

To improve your sender reputation, refrain from using multiple IP addresses and sending unsolicited emails. 

  • Authenticate your emails

Email authentication protects your brand from malicious activities and ensures your email reaches the inbox in its original form. It proves that the email was truly sent by you and not altered by anyone during the delivery. Email authentication includes the following protocols important for email deliverability.

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF): It fights spoofing by detecting whether the email is coming from a real IP address and domain. 
  • Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM): This proves the authenticity of the email by allowing the email sender to link their domain with their emails. DKIM works like a digital signature for emails.
  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC): This helps the email sender in saving their domain from phishing scams and email spoofing. 

If you need help with email authentication, our expert Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultants can help you get started.

  • Clean your email list

To ensure your emails conquer spam traps, you need to have a clean email list. Validate the emails in your list and remove inactive and fake email addresses. Refrain from buying lists and include only the subscribers who have opted-in to your list.

  • Segment email lists

Segmenting your email lists based on various parameters such as demographics, behavior, preferences, etc. will help you send highly targeted emails. When you send relevant emails that are valuable and wanted by the subscribers, the engagement improves. 

  • Avoid using spam words

Words such as Free, 100%, Buy Now, Offer Expires, Urgent, etc. are spam trigger words that appear as manipulative and too pushy and lead your emails to the recipient’s spam or junk folder. It is therefore important to be mindful of the words you use in your subject line and content.

  • Set a consistent sending frequency 

Having a consistent email sending frequency and timing will save your emails from being flagged by the ESPs and ISPs. Segment your subscribers by their level of engagement and identify your email goals to adjust your email cadence. Salesforce Marketing Cloud email specialists can assist you in setting the right frequency for your email campaign.

  • Let them unsubscribe

If your subscribers are not interested in your emails, it is a good practice to make it easy for them to opt-out. Make the unsubscribe link prominent and remove the unsubscribers from your email list.

Wrap Up

According to a recent study, the average deliverability across all major service providers in March 2021 was 88.9%. Want to make sure your emails get delivered right? Hire a Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultant to set the right strategy for you.
Author: Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.