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4 Steps To Improve Email Deliverability


Many marketers think improving email deliverability starts and ends with good content.


While good content is essential to growing your newsletter, it won’t matter how good the writing is if your subscribers never see it.


Deliverability is a real struggle among marketing teams. You can get so many things right when developing your marketing content yet still struggle to get it in front of your audience.

The good news is, unlike some channels that are constantly changing requirements, improving email deliverability comes down to a few consistent elements.


1. Protect your sender reputation

In the world of email, your reputation really does matter. Email inbox providers will automatically mark your email as spam if you don’t have a strong sender reputation. Protecting your sender reputation is fundamental to improving deliverability. How, exactly, do you do this?


Check the reputation of your IP address

Your IP address is a set of numbers that shows all emails that come from your domain. Email providers recognise “safe” and “unsafe” emails based on the context of your IP address and domain reputation. Why is this important?


If servers have previously shown bad mails come from your IP address, they may send it straight to spam or blacklist it. If they’ve seen only “good” mail come from your IP address, it most likely will arrive safely in the recipient’s inbox. If your IP address hasn’t been seen before, their default is likely to send it to spam.


To try and prevent your emails from ending up in the spam folder, firstly check if your domain or IP address is blacklisted.


If you have a new IP address with little to no sending reputation, warm it up by slowly increasing the number of emails sent from it. Start by sending emails to your most engaged subscribers who will drive up the open rate, showing the email provider it’s “good” mail. Sending a large number of emails like an entire email list from a “cold” IP address will likely get flagged as spam. It may get you blacklisted before you get started.


2. Maintain email list hygiene

It doesn’t matter how big your email list is if most of those emails are bouncing or not opened. When bounce rates increase and open rates go down, it signals you’re not actively maintaining your list or sending engaging content. Your emails will likely get sent to the spam folder when the server receives these signals. Maintaining an email list and promoting long-term growth requires proactively cleaning and managing your list.

Review your list for unsubscribers and out-of-date emails

If marketing emails go undelivered each month, it means your engagement rates are reducing due to emails that never even see the recipients.


No one wants to shorten their list down. However, by removing addresses that hard bounce and subscribers who are unengaged, you’ll increase your open rate and long-term email deliverability rate. If an email has a hard bounce or a subscriber doesn’t open emails for 12-18 months it’s time to remove them.


Not sure how to clean up your list? Check out our blog How clean is your B2B database?


Implement a double opt-in

A double opt-in is when a prospect is sent an email to confirm their subscription before being added to the email list. This will prevent hard bounces as the user has to verify their email. It also requires an extra step of commitment from the subscriber to confirm their email, so you’ll end up with fewer unengaged users.


Make it easy to unsubscribe

Making it easy to unsubscribe prevents people from getting sick of hearing from you.

You can make it easy to unsubscribe from your emails by including an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email.


When recipients move to unsubscribe, giving them the option to adjust preferences instead is a good way to retain them. Some users may not actually want to unsubscribe but just aren’t interested in the specific email campaign or don’t want emails as frequently.


3. Throttle your delivery

Many ESPs will have a daily rate limit (the number of emails you’re allowed to send in a day) to prevent spam from being sent from their platform. ESPs aren’t the only ones with a rate limit.


Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will also limit the number of emails they’ll accept from the same IP address within a certain timeframe to avoid spam.


When an email sender reaches their limit, the email will be temporarily undeliverable commonly known as a “soft bounce.” The server tends to resend a soft-bounced email within 72 hours.


Throttling is when you send emails in smaller batches over time to avoid hitting rate limits, getting soft bounces, or getting marked as spam. For large lists usually above 250 recipients, senders should segment their lists.


4. Deliver consistently

The key factor is trust, and when you start building a relationship with your subscribers, they begin to not only expect your emails, but they begin to trust your role in their life.


If you wait too long between sending emails, recipients may forget why they were interested in subscribing in the first place or who you are. When they forget why they subscribed, they are likely to either unsubscribe or delete your email without even opening it. On the other hand, if you send emails too frequently, they’re more likely to be marked as spam or just annoy your subscribers. Which could lead to an unsubscribe or they’ll delete the email without opening it.


So, what is the ideal situation? It varies by the audience and type of campaign but, research has found that every two weeks is the ideal frequency for most organisations. This frequency is based on open rates, click-through rate (CTR), and unsubscribe rates.

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