What Is Email Deliverability?
When you’re a company that sends numerous emails every day to customers, it’s possible to hit some bumps on the road to the inbox. Ideally, all the messages you send will get where you need them to go, but unfortunately, the rise of spam messages has made it increasingly challenging to get marketing emails past ISPs.
Email deliverability measures how often the messages you send make it to the recipient’s inbox. Multiple factors influence the deliverability rate, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs), throttling, spam reports, sender reputation, blocklists, bounce rate, cold inboxes or IPs, and more.
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.
In this article, when we talk about deliverability rate, we’re talking about inbox placement.
Scammers and spammers are making it increasingly difficult to do your job, and we get how frustrating it can be to try to connect with customers through a spam filter. But ISPs and spam filters are just trying to protect their clients from getting taken advantage of or overwhelmed by the volume of messages flooding their inboxes.
Why Is Email Deliverability Important?
Having a high deliverability rate is essential because email marketing is a fantastic way to engage customers and lead them through your sales funnel. However, you can’t connect with a loyal customer or a new lead unless your message reaches their inbox.
Increasing your ROI on email campaigns, converting leads, and building brand loyalty are all benefits of high email deliverability. As an added bonus, if you’re getting into your customers’ inboxes while your competitors are consistently landing in your shared audience’s spam folders, then you’ll be able to win over more customers.
Good email deliverability is vital because more emails will be opened and read by your target audience. The more emails delivered give your marketing strategists a greater pool to analyze how effective campaigns are and make adjustments for future campaigns. The higher your delivery rates, the more people you’ll be able to move through your sales funnel.
Email deliverability also affects the customers. If someone makes a purchase but can’t find the tracking information later because it accidentally went to their spam folder, you’ll have to fix the situation with a frustrated customer.
How Can I Maintain a Good Reputation?
Maintaining a good sender reputation is relatively easy to do as long as you practice ethical email etiquette. Ways to keep your reputation in good standing include:
- Warming up your inbox before sending a large volume of emails, so ISPs have the chance to recognize you as a trustworthy sender
- Sending a lower quantity of higher quality content, so your recipients don’t get sick of seeing emails from you
- Crafting subject lines that make your customers want to open the message and engaging content that makes them want to click a link to see more
- Offering an unsubscribe link to give people the opportunity to remove their names from your list (rather than just reporting you as spam)
- Using a double opt-in measure to let customers confirm that they want to receive content from you and verify that their email is correct
- Encouraging recipients to add you to their contact list or safelist
- Using a clean email list and updating it frequently, so you don’t fall into spam traps, avoid hard bounces, or send messages to inactive emails
- Responding to any incoming messages quickly
- Formatting your email to be mobile-friendly
- Avoiding spammy language and typos that will trigger spam filters
- Authenticating your email through SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
What Happens When You Send an Email?
We’ve all sent an email before, but many people don’t understand how a message gets from the sender to the recipient. As the sender, you have a unique email address with your local address (the portion that comes before the @ symbol) and your domain (the part that comes after the @ symbol). Every email you send is listed under a specific IP address, and both your inbox and IP address will have a reputation.
You decide to send an email, and let’s say you send it to five people. When you press the send button, four of the messages will make their way to the ISPs of the recipients through a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).However, there’s one message that your server doesn’t attempt to deliver. This email is a skipped email, and emails are generally skipped because the recipient has unsubscribed to your content but hasn’t been removed from your mailing list yet.
The four emails that do make their way out of your server use a Domain Name Server (DNS) to find the recipient’s ISP. The ISP determines whether your message will be delivered or bounced. Two of these emails get through, and the other two are bounced. One email was a soft bounce because the recipient had a full inbox, suddenly got too many messages at once, or you sent the recipient too many emails over a short period of time. The other bounced message was a hard bounce because the email address doesn’t exist or is invalid, likely because you accidentally typed it in wrong. Too many hard bounces indicate that you haven’t updated your mailing list in a while, so it’s good to stay on top of your subscription list.
The two emails that make it through to the recipients’ ISPs are then sorted into a folder: 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. Since you’ve only sent this message to five people, we’ll assume that you didn’t fall into a spam trap. But out of the two messages that made it this far, one ISP sorts it into spam, and the other ISP puts it in the inbox.
Technically, two out of five were delivered to the recipient, giving you a 40% delivery rate. But since one of those two delivered emails went to a spam folder, your recipient will likely not see the message. In this case, your inbox placement was one out of five or 20%.
What Is a Good Email Deliverability Rate?
As much as we want our deliverability rate to hit 100%, it’s very rare to achieve a perfect percentage. A delivery rate of 95% or more is generally accepted as a good deliverability rate, and if you fluctuate between 88-99%, there’s no reason to worry. Your bounce rate should stay below 3%, and you want to keep your spam rate as low as possible.
What Are Some Best Practices to Improve Email Deliverability?
Thankfully, the best things you can do to improve your email deliverability rate are the same things you can do to improve your sender reputation, so it doesn’t need to feel like you have to reinvent the wheel.
In addition to the steps we listed above, you can help your emails land in people’s inboxes by:
- Quickly removing people from your mailing list when they choose to unsubscribe
- Giving people the option to share the information with their friends or on social media
- Limiting your spam complaints by managing how often you send emails (once a week is an excellent place to start)
- Staying off of blocklists that prevent your email from being delivered at all
- Keeping your inbox warm instead of letting it get cold between campaigns
Experience Warmup Inbox for free to see how easily you can improve your deliverability rate.
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