What Is Email Deliverability?
In a perfect world, the email you send to someone would land directly in their inbox. However, when you’re a company that sends a multitude of emails each day to its subscribers, it’s possible to hit some snags with deliverability.
Email deliverability is the measure of how often the messages you send make it to the recipient’s inbox. The rise of spam messages has made it increasingly difficult to get emails where you need them to go, and multiple factors influence the deliverability rate. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), throttling, spam reports, sender reputation, blocklists, bounce rate, cold inboxes or IPs, and more all contribute to email deliverability.
It’s also essential to recognize that deliverability doesn’t necessarily mean delivery to the recipient’s inbox. Many deliverability rates only calculate whether the email got to the recipient, whether it went into the Promotions, Spam, or Primary folder. Getting into the recipient’s primary inbox is the true goal of email deliverability, and that’s what we’ll focus on in this article.
For all intents and purposes, when we talk about deliverability rate, we’re talking about inbox placement.
Having a high deliverability rate is crucial because it ensures that the time you’re spending crafting email marketing campaigns doesn’t go to waste and has a high ROI. You could be connecting with a loyal customer or a new lead—the first step in any email marketing blast is to make sure the recipient sees your email.
How Does Email Deliverability Work?
Email deliverability begins when you build your mailing list. Determining your deliverability rate starts with the total number of people you want to reach, whether for a specific or broad campaign. It’s essential to update your mailing list frequently, so you’re only sending emails to active addresses.
The next step is sending the email. When you press the send button, most of the messages will make their way to the ISPs of their recipients. However, there are some that your server will not attempt to deliver to. These are known as skipped emails, and they’re typically addresses that are skipped over because the recipient unsubscribed to your content but haven’t been removed from your mailing list yet.
The emails that do make their way out of your server go to the recipient’s ISP. The ISP determines whether your message will be delivered or bounced. If an email is bounced, it’s either a hard or a soft bounce. A soft bounce occurs when the recipient has a full inbox, is suddenly getting too many messages at one time, or you’ve sent the recipient too many emails over a short period of time. A hard bounce is when the email address doesn’t exist or is invalid, and too many hard bounces indicate that your mailing list isn’t updated.
If the ISP chooses to deliver your message, it’ll then decide which folder to put it in: inbox, junk, blocked, or spam trap. Spam traps are catfish email addresses that ISPs use to identify spammers, and landing in spam traps frequently will severely damage your sender’s reputation.
As you know, with marketing, the email campaign doesn’t end as soon as the email is delivered. It’s also crucial to monitor the open rate and the click rate.
What Factors Contribute to Successful Email Deliverability?
- Recipients Adding You to Contacts – One of the best boosts for your sender score is having your subscribers add your email to their contacts list. This shows ISPs that you’re a trustworthy source of messages and that your recipients want to see your messages.
- Healthy Open Rate – The more people who open your messages, the more various ISPs will trust your email address.
- Forwards – When people share your email with other people, it shows ISPs that people think your content is interesting.
- Recipients Marking Your Emails as a Favorite – When a recipient marks one of your messages as a favorite so they can go back to it later, it shows ISPs that your content is valuable.
- Replies – Recipients actively engaging with you shows that there are people on both ends of the conversation. It gives ISPs more reason to trust your address.
- Quickly Removing Unsubscribers from Your Email List – as soon as someone requests to be taken off your mailing list, clear their information. If you continue to send them messages, you’ll end up in their spam folder or on a blocklist.
- Authentication – Setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication shows ISPs that you are a trusted sender.
- Positive Sender Reputation – The more you build a positive sender reputation, the higher your deliverability rate will be. The good news is that following the other practices for successful email deliverability will lead to a fantastic sender reputation.
What Factors Negatively Affect Email Deliverability?
- Hard and Soft Bounces – Both hard and soft bounces indicate to ISPs that you’re not a reliable sender. Hard bounces indicate that your mailing list isn’t clean, and soft bounces suggest an inconsistent sending volume.
- Spam Complaints – ISPs filter emails to keep as much spam out of recipients’ inboxes. So the more often your messages are marked as spam, the less likely it is that ISPs will let your messages through.
- Spam Trap Hits – Spam traps are set up to catch spammers and indicate a dirty email list. Falling into multiple spam traps makes ISPs think that you’re randomly sending emails to any address you can get your hands on and decreases your deliverability rate.
- Your Emails are Marked as Read or Deleted Without Being Opened – While this won’t affect your deliverability as much as other issues, it shows ISPs that people aren’t interested in reading your content.
- Stay Off Blocklists – Being put on a blocklist guarantees that your emails won’t be delivered. If you are on a blocklist, you must get off it as soon as possible so you can get your emails delivered to your customers.
- Update Your Email List – Only send emails to people who agree to receive emails for you and never buy email lists to improve your deliverability rate.
Why Is Email Deliverability Important?
Of course, good email deliverability is essential because more emails will end up in your recipients’ inboxes to be opened and read. Additionally, your new and existing customers will get updates on your latest products, upcoming promotions, and more. It’ll keep your customers updated on their purchase status and help you move people through the sales funnel.
A better email deliverability rate also increases your ROI on email campaigns and helps you convert leads and build brand loyalty. Staying visible in your customers’ inboxes gives you a leg up on your competitors and increases your engagement rate with your customers. A high deliverability rate also helps you analyze how effective your campaigns are and adjust future marketing efforts.
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