Best ways to achieve an excellent email deliverability

When we compose an email for our personal use, there are several things that might go wrong. And just imagine the consequences when you are sending a business email to a client or a customer. In the case of email marketing, these mistakes can spoil the whole email marketing campaign. To avoid these mistakes, there are few best practices that you can follow.

In this guide, we will try to explain the top 30 best practices for improving email deliverability and ways to reach the inbox.

Table of contents:

  • Summary
  • Infrastructure
  • Sending Behaviour
  • Content
  • PDF Checklist

Summary:

What do you mean by Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is actually the chances of your email getting into the recipients inbox. There are several factors that might influence this rate. If your email is not properly structured then the chances of your email getting rejected by the recipient’s IP is more and in such cases your Email Deliverability rate decreases.

Email Deliverability is related to sender’s reputation. When your emails are getting delivered regularly with our any obstructions then your sender’s reputation will go high and which, in turn, will increase the email deliverability rate.

Note: Email Delivery and Email Deliverability are two different things.

  • Email Delivery – It is the number of emails received by the gateway servers.
  • Email Deliverability – It is the number of emails that get into the inbox.

Why is email deliverability vital?

We all know the success of a business that uses email marketing campaigns. Email marketing has been a huge platform and for a long time now, organizations and businesses are using email marketing to attract potential customers and to build a loyal customer base.

To achieve that (attract potential customers and to build a loyal customer base you need a successful email marketing campaign and that means your emails must land into the inboxes of those potential customers.

According to a recent survey by Global Inbox Placement, almost 5% of the emails that are sending in the email marketing campaigns actually never reach the inboxes.

Now, the sales team of any organization spends a lot of energy and invest a lot of money in these email marketing campaigns and in such cases 15% emails not getting into the inboxes is a huge loss failure and waste of time and money.

This happens when you are not familiar with the best practices for sending emails and when your email hygiene is poor.

Sender’s reputation is very much important.

In the case of email deliverability sender’s reputation is a very important factor. In this content we will try to find out how it influences your email deliverability are and what are the things that you can do to make sure that your sender’s reputation score is well maintained.

Internet Service Providers (ISP) – The Internet Service Providers are those providers such as yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail checks out the behaviour of your email sending process and provide a score on the basis of the result which is known as the sender score. This is also known as sender reputation.

Sender reputation is of two types

  • IP reputation – Depends on the IP address of the sender.
  • Domain Reputation – Depends on the sender’s Domain.

IP reputation – The device that receives your email will identify you based on your IP address which is a string of numbers. This string of numbers is used a unique identifier. The internet service providers supply this unique identifier to every device.

IP addresses are of two types.

  • Shared IP address
  • Dedicated IP address

 Domain Reputation 

In the current age, domain reputation is considered a lot in providing sender score. It also depends on domain along with the IP address.

This makes your brand entirely responsible for the sender score. Even if you change your IP address, the sender reputation will remain the same. This is a perfect way where you do not have to rebuild your sender reputation form the scratch.

There are several factors that the ISP uses to calculate your sender reputation score. If you are an email marketer, it is very vital that you know the factors that are used by the ISP to calculate your sender reputation score so that you can maintain a high sender reputation score among your email deliverability rate higher and your email marketing campaign a success.

Infrastructure

For a successful email marketing campaign, it is very important that you have a proper infrastructure. Even if you have a very good plan prepared for your email marketing campaign, without the proper setting, it is bound to fail. There are certain best practices that you need to check out to make sure you get the best results.

These settings are technical, but you need to do it once. Some of the given practices might have already been used by your email deliverability service provider.

1. A dedicated IP address

A dedicated IP address is not shared with any other client like the shared IP address. When you have a shared IP, then the behaviour of the other senders might influence in your deliverability.

If you are sending more than a thousand emails monthly, then it is important that you get a dedicated IP address. In case of lower email list, a shared IP address is fine. A dedicated IP address is a good idea as only you will; be responsible for your email deliverability rate.

2. Using different IP address for different email types 

There are several types of emails that a company uses. These types include email marketing emails, transaction emails, purchase related emails and pass word recovery emails, etc. This is vital because, using the same IP address for different types of emails is not a good idea. One email type might influence the other email type.

3. Never Change your IP address 

Most of the organizations and marketers feel that changing an IP address when their sender reputation is low can resolve the issues. This is not a good idea. Most of the spammers use this technique. They change the IP address. The new IP address is always treated with carefulness.

4. Warming UP your IP address 

In case you have a new IP address or you have already changed your IP address and taken a new one then start warming up at first. Don’t just send bulk of emails in the first go. Take your time. Increase the volume gradually.

5. Transport Layer Security 

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a process of encryption where it is applied to the emails so that the emails are not read by the unwanted parties while sending it to the proper location. There are many servers that prefer TLS protected mails and that is why it is a good idea to have TLS encryption while sending emails.

6. Authenticating your email 

Authentication if the emails are basically the process to improve your delivery and credibility. There are certain protocols that need to be implemented to improve your credibility. You are identified by using three domains such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC. These are like security guards who screen the ones entering,

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) – This is a DNS record that actually identifies the OP addresses and informs the provider about the legitimate IP.

Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM) – The Domain Key Identified Mail ensures that the sent and the receive mail are the same. This prevents identity theft.

Domain Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) – DMARC prevents exposure to harmful messages. When both the above fail, this one comes to act.

7. Feed Back Loop

When someone marks you as spam, then you are not supposed to send those person emails. This is what is ensued by feedback loop. If you keep on sending emails to that person then it might hamper your sender reputation score. In most of the cases of ISPs, they have feedback loop implemented that shows weather your email is marked spam or not. When FBL informs you or alert you that you are being marked as spam then in such cases you need to remove that email ID from your contact list. There are several mailing services that do it automatically such as Send Grid, MailChimp or Zoho.

8. Setting up [email protected] and abuse [email protected]

According to some internet service providers, these two are important requirements. They receive abuse complaints and that is why it is important that you check it regularly and solve the issues as soon as possible.

9. Using domain that is credible enough to receive email 

If your domain is unable to receive email then automatically you will be ignored by ISP and block you. For that you need to have a valid MX record that is associated with the domain. When you send an email then make sure that the receiver can send you email.

Sending Behaviour

10. Never Purchase emails 

In most of the cases in the email marketing campaigns, the email lists are purchased. But in those purchased email lit almost 30% of the emails are inactive or invalid. There are several factors that makes an email ID invalid or Inactive. These lists also contain spam traps. That is the reason why it is a bad idea to purchase emails. When your engagement level is poor, then people are rarely interested in your products.

11. Having Consent 

If anyone gives you an email ID that does not mean that he or she is really interested in receiving your newsletters.  This is the same in the case of giveaways and leads magnets. The contact list that you possess should have given you the permission for sending, emails and that is when you can go forward.

The best thing is to have a handful of contacts that are interested in your emails rather than having thousands of people who are not interested.

12. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 

In the year 2018, the European Union came up with a new law which is General Data Protection Regulation. This is applicable to all the businesses in the EU. It explains how personal data should be handled.

In the case of email marketing, one of the factors that are important based on the GDPR is to have consent from the contacts that you are suing to send emails.

13. Don’t panic because of Unsubscribes

In the case of email marketing, it is always the quality that matters than the quantity. If someone is not interested with your products and services then that person might unsubscribe you and in such cases do not panic.

Here the best practice to make sure that all your emails have an Unsubscribe button. If they are not interested, they can unsubscribe it. And at the same time, it is important to do it directly instead of asking the people to explain why they do not want your product or services by filling up length forms.

If you are sure that someone is really not interested in your product that it is better for both that person and you to Unsubscribe.

14. Using Double Opt in 

This is an important practice to make sure that you are sending the emails to the right person who is actually interested in your products and services. This is a second confirmation in the process. After this process is done, the contact will be added top your list.

15. Consistency 

Consistency is very vital in email marketing campaigns. If you are sending 1 email every week then stick to it. Even use the same time that you are using. Keep it consistent. If you stay inactive for a month and then start sending 2-3 emails the next week, this is a bad plan. This is when the ISP might score your less.

16. Beware of Spam Complaints 

One of the best practices is to make sure that you keep your spam complaint statistic low. When your emails get into spam again and again, the ISP will definitely rate your sender reputation low. For that you need to make sure that you are not sending emails to wrong contacts. It is important to maintain your spam complaint statistic to 1%.

17. Avoid being blacklisted 

There are several blacklists that are available for the public where you can see the emails that are blacklisted. Most of the cases, these emails are blacklisted because of spam traps and spam complaints. The duration of the blacklists depends from one list to another. Some of these are for 2-3 days while others are for a longer time period. There are several black list checker tools that you can use. The best option is to prevent your email from getting blacklisted. But if you somehow get blacklisted then you can check out the causes that made you blacklisted and contact the owner and request.

18. Spam Traps should be avoided in any cost 

The internet Service Providers (ISP) owns spam traps to make sure they catch those illegal emails and those emails that are obtained illegally. Spam traps are generally inactive emails. When an email is send to these spam traps then that email will end up being blacklisted.

Keeping the bounce rate low 

When an email address cannot receive any email then that is known as email bounce. Further, when that email address is not receiving any kind of emails than this indicates that the email might not be used further and is known as hard bounce email. In such cases you need to remove the email from your contact list.

There are also some soft bounce emails that can be resolved by making few changes. These soft bounce emails can be re added to your contact list. But there are few things that you need to follow while using soft bounce emails. You should never send them emails immediately after adding into your contact list. Try to send email after a while and send emails gradually.

When a soft bounce email keeps on bouncing then you need to treat it as a hard bounce email. That is when you need to delete that email ID from your list.

Here are some of the points to differentiate hard bounce emails and soft bounce emails –

  • Hard Bounce – In the case of hard bounce emails, the email address does not exist. Even the domain is not available. The mail server will stop accepting mail.
  • Soft Bounce – The inbox is full. The server that it is using is down. The message can be too large.

19. Check your engagements 

The ISP actually looks beyond then you expect. Your engagement level is very important for ISP. They check how well your receivers are enjoying your emails and based on that too they rate your sender reputation.

The best way to know it is to make sure you have enough understanding about your contact list. What are those specific things that your list looks for in your emails? The best is to go for personalized emails for each of your subscribers. It is very much important to analyse your email data.

20. Remove inactive subscribers 

You need to check out for those emails that are not reading your emails for 7 months or more than that. In such cases you can be sure that they are not at all interested in your emails and your products. In such cases you need to remove that email Id form the list. It might also be possible that the email Id might be inactive. You need to set a reasonable time period for that. When this exceeds your time limit, it’s time to remove that email Id form your list.

21. Verifying your list

Why is verification important in any email marketing campaign? This question is very important for every email marketer. A survey conducted recently has shown that almost 30% of the emails that are there in the email list used for email, marketing campaigns are invalid or inactive. There are several factors that make these email Ids invalid and inactive.

When you are constantly sending emails to such inactive or invalid email Ids then your email deliverability rate will reduce and there is a chance that you might get black listed. Also, there is no point in wasting so much time and money in invalid email ids.

For verifying your email list, there are several tools that can help you check your list.

22. Be careful in re engagement campaigns 

Generally a re-engagement campaign is that campaign where you target those inactive users that have not been that interested for your emails. In such cases, it is also very risky because that list also contains much spam. The best way is to use a separate IP address for such campaigns.

Content

Any email loses its credibility when it is not formatted well. That is why it is very much important that you format your emails perfectly before sending it. The content should be well written and be free of mistakes. The contents should also be attractive. You can use many graphics and images for that. Here are some tips for formatting the best emails.

23. Formatting your emails perfectly 

We all are aware of the debate between plain text emails or HTML. Which one is the better one? It is quite tough to guess and it depends on person to person. In some cases, people actually prefer emails with HTML but you should make sure that the codes are not broken. The ISP easily detects broken HTML.

24. Balancing the image and the text ratio

In some emails the HTML cannot be read. In such cases putting so many images is not a good idea. You should put both text and emails evenly so that it looks good and can easily be read.

25. Segmentation 

As we said earlier, it is a great idea to segment your email IDs based on email types such as marketing, transaction, and password recovery emails etc. Actually you can go further with segmentation. You can separate emails on the basis of gender and age too. This allows you to go for perfect personalization for your emails.

26. Try to avoid risky words 

In email marketing there are several words that are termed as risky. Try not to use these words. Some of these words as follows –

  • Free
  • Lowest Price
  • Order
  • Buy
  • Lead Generation
  • Urgent
  • Hurry etc.

27. Check out for quality sites linking 

When you link up with quality site then you reduce being blacklisted by the ISP. Because when you link up with shady sites, then there are chances that you actually end up getting into spam.

Also make sure that you avoid putting too many links to your mails. Too many links can be dangerous as it looks suspicious.

28. Avoid using shortners 

For sites like twitters shortners are great but in the case of emails it is not a good idea. In many cases, spammers try to hide links using shortners.

29. Never use deceptive lines 

When you use opening lines as “100% free” make sure you mean it. When you use such techniques with the hidden agenda you might end up in the spam folder.

30. Try not to use excessive punctuations 

Do not over use caps and punctuations. Too much using of CAPS is like you are shouting in your sales presentation. Similarly, it is also a bad idea to use too much of punctuation marks such as exclamation mark. Using too much of punctuation is also bad for the format of the emails.

Conclusion

These are the 30 best practices that you can follow to make sure your email deliverability rate is good. In some of the cases, the service providers will provide you with the above best practices. But it is very much important that you practice them. Investing a lot of time and money in email marketing campaigns is a waste when you do not follow these best practices.

Your email list should be strong and at the same time you should be loyal and trustworthy with your customers. The best way to provide the best products and to provide the best products you need to provide the best emails to your customers. This is only possible when you know what you are sending to your customers.

There are many customers who might not like the emails that you are sending but they might be interested in your products. In such cases you need to work hard and make sure you go to an extend where you are personalizing specific emails to your specific customers. That is when your customers will get connected to your products and services and finally you will be able to build a loyal customer base.