Email deliverability is a crucial element in every marketing strategy. You can put hours and hours into crafting the perfect email campaign, but if the email never arrives at its destination, then it’s all been in vain.
Did you know that 30% of marketers say that email deliverability is a primary challenge for them? That’s why email deliverability is such an important metric - you can do everything right content-wise and still not reach your intended audience.
But improving your email deliverability is something you can work on consistently. You can do this by implementing several different strategies which I will tell you more about in the next sections. But before I cross over to the best practices for email deliverability, let’s see what the term actually means.
Email deliverability is a metric that denotes the number of emails that successfully land in the inboxes of your subscribers.
Sometimes emails don’t get to their intended places and we refer to this as email deliverability failure. This usually happens because the email landed in the spam folder or because it was blocked by the internet provider (ISP).
And while you can significantly increase the deliverability of your emails, a 100% email deliverability rate is not a realistic expectation. A great email deliverability rate is considered to be 95% and above, although, the average deliverability rate for marketers is about 80%.
Now that you know what email deliverability means, let’s take a look at what you can do to maximize your email deliverability.
Let’s take a look at the best practices you can implement to enhance email deliverability.
Reputation is everything in the email marketing world. If your sender reputation isn’t solid, your address will likely get labeled as spam or even blacklisted by internet providers. So in order to improve email deliverability, you also need to protect and (if necessary) improve your sender reputation.
To do this, you have to make sure that your email domains aren’t compromised, which is why you should use authentication protocols. Authentication protocols, like DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance), SPF (Sender Policy Framework), and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), will prevent spammers or hackers from using your domain by showing the credentials of your domain to your email provider.
DMARC is a type of DNS protocol whose job is to protect your domain from email spoofing or phishing emails. DMAR does this by providing your email provider with specific instructions about who is allowed to use your sending domain.
DMARC aligns the use of SPF and DKIM authentication protocols, so when you send an email, the email provider will also check these two other protocols to verify you as the legitimate sender and to place your message in the inbox folder, but also sometimes in the spam or quarantine folder.
The SPF protocol is responsible for telling the email provider which hostname and which IP address is allowed to send emails from a specific domain.
The DKIM protocol is a type of encrypted digital signature that informs the inbox provider of the receiver about what an authentic email from a particular sender should be like and what kind of elements it should contain. For example, there is a [email protected] that the provider needs to recognize. DKIM tells it that it should include elements such as header, X number of paragraphs, and the logo of the firm. If the email being sent from this address doesn’t match these prescribed elements, there won’t be a match with the authentication key.
Every email address has an IP address. If you’ve been using a shared IP and your contact list and email marketing strategy have grown (a minimum of 100.000 emails sent per month), you should consider switching to a dedicated IP. A dedicated IP gives you the necessary power infrastructure as you scale your business, and it gives you more control of your email deliverability. So, instead of your IP reputation being determing by a pool of senders (like with a shared IP), you’ll have the upper hand in influencing how many of your emails get delivered, and you’ll also also be fully responsible when/if they don’t.
Have in mind that when you switch to a dedicated IP, you’ll first have to warm up the address which means you have to steadily increase the number of emails you send over a period of time. The purpose of this is to gain trust with the ISPs, which are usually pretty wary of new email addresses.
If you’re interested in reading more about shared and dedicated IP, check out The Benefits of Using a Dedicated IP for Email (vs. Shared IPs) that’s on our blog.
The way you collect email addresses in your contact list is an important factor in your deliverability rates, not to mention it’s a great way to prevent hard bounces.
The double opt-in allows you to know which customers really want your emails in your inbox, and which don’t. When you implement this option, your subscribers will have to confirm before being added to your email list.
If you keep sending emails to unengaged users or users who didn’t agree to receive messages from your address, it’s very likely that you’ll attract unwanted attention from the ISPs, and we all know that will not end well.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should regularly clean and update your email lists (every 3 or 6 months), as well as implement list segmentation for better control and organization.
And, of course, whatever you do, don’t buy email lists from the internet because, first of all, it’s unethical, and second of all, it’s full of spam traps and invalid, old, and abandoned addresses.
An email preference center is a page that allows your subscribers to choose how many emails they want to receive from you (content frequency), and also a page where they can choose to unsubscribe.
Email preference centers exist to keep subscribers happier and more engaged by giving them the option to choose which emails to receive and how frequently. If you give your customers the option to choose between email topics, you’ll also find it easier to make list segmentation and personalize the user experience from the other side. This results in higher engagement rates and fewer people unsubscribing, and the best thing is that this will be noticed by the ISPs and will be added to your sender reputation.
As you can see, email deliverability is something that can be improved relatively easily. Implement the authentication protocols, consider getting a dedicated IP if your list grows too big, use the opt-in verification process, and allow your users to choose what they want to see from you and how frequently by creating an email preference center. Of course, these four ways to improve your email deliverability aren’t the only ones you can try out, but they certainly are a great place to start!