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What is Email Deliverability? Best Tips & Practices in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital communication, email remains a cornerstone for personal and business interactions. However, the success of email campaigns relies heavily on a concept often overlooked by many – email deliverability. The email deliverability rate reflects how successfully your emails reach recipients’ inboxes, and it may decrease when emails bounce or are automatically directed to a spam folder. In 2024, inboxes remain full of messages, so understanding and implementing best practices for email deliverability is crucial for marketers, businesses, and individuals alike. 

Email Delivery vs. Email Deliverability

The term “email deliverability” is frequently misunderstood as ’email delivery.’ Although both terms pertain to the process of sending emails, a notable distinction exists between them.

Email delivery refers to the successful delivery of emails, irrespective of the destination folder, indicating whether the recipient’s mail server has accepted and delivered the email file. It calculates the percentage of sent emails that did not bounce. Then, what is email deliverability?

So, email deliverability focuses on the number of emails reaching the intended destination, commonly referred to as inbox placement. It specifically measures the percentage of emails successfully delivered to the priority inbox.

For example, if 200 emails were sent and 66 end up in the spam folder, the email deliverability rate would be 134%.

In summary:

  • Email delivery answers the question: How many emails were delivered?
  • Email deliverability addresses: How many emails were delivered to the recipient?

Issues with email delivery may stem from faulty email addresses, infrastructure problems, or excessive negative feedback on the email address. Deliverability issues, on the other hand, may result from outdated sending and permission practices, legal violations, or an abundance of spam labels received by the recipients.

Why Email Deliverability Matters?

Why Email Deliverability Matters

Email marketers rely on email deliverability to determine if their messages are successfully reaching their customers. The failure to reach customers significantly hampers the effectiveness of marketing emails, underscoring the crucial importance of deliverability for every business.

When you send an email to your subscribers, the goal is for them to open it and take action. However, if your message doesn’t even make it to their inbox, it not only disappoints your audience by not fulfilling your promise but also reflects poorly on your ISP or mail service.

Even with a seemingly high 98% delivery rate for your email list of 1,000 subscribers, it means that 20 people may never see your email. Furthermore, with an open rate of 20-40%, the whereabouts of those undelivered emails become a concern – possibly residing in the dreaded spam folder.

The metric that shows how many emails successfully reach the inbox is known as the deliverability rate. While it’s challenging to pinpoint why an email may not reach its destination and infer the deliverability rate accurately, there are proactive measures you can take. The key focus should always be on ensuring that every person on your email list has the opportunity to open your emails – aiming for direct placement in the inbox.

Whether you aim to maintain a high deliverability rate or have observed a decline in emails reaching your subscribers’ inboxes, the following steps can help you achieve that goal.

What is a Good Email Deliverability Rate?

Achieving 100% email deliverability is an ideal goal, but it’s seldom attainable in practice.

For mass email campaigns, a commendable delivery rate is in the range of 90-95%, especially for verified emails. This is particularly crucial in B2B sales and marketing, where a significant portion of emails is directed to potential prospects with whom you may not have had prior interactions.

It’s essential to maintain a bounce rate below 3%, categorized into both hard and soft bounces. Additionally, the spam rate should not surpass 0.08%.

It’s worth noting that what constitutes a “good” deliverability rate can vary depending on the type of campaign. For instance, a cold email campaign might experience lower deliverability compared to a campaign targeting current customers who willingly subscribed to your email newsletter.

When assessing your campaign’s performance, take into account these differences in deliverability expectations based on campaign types. This perspective will guide your decision-making process, whether to celebrate your success or concentrate on addressing any issues affecting email deliverability.

Learn: What is Cold Email Marketing & How to do it right?

What is an Email Bounce?

When an email fails to reach its designated recipient, be it in the inbox, a separate tab, or the spam folder, it is categorized as bounced, and the recipient remains unaware of its existence. Simply put, a bounced email is one that did not successfully reach the intended subscriber.

It’s crucial to understand that there are two distinct types of bounces: soft bounce and hard bounce.

What is a Soft Bounce?

A soft bounce refers to a temporary challenge in delivering your email, often stemming from issues that can be resolved, such as a full inbox. While soft bounces were more prevalent in the early days of email due to limitations on incoming emails, today they typically occur when there is a sudden surge in the volume of emails being sent.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mail servers actively monitor significant spikes in send volume, as this may suggest a compromised account or unauthorized use for spam messages. For instance, if you consistently sent one email per week to 1000 subscribers and suddenly increased the frequency to once a day, your send volume would spike by 7 times over a week, likely resulting in a higher bounce rate. Fortunately, there are strategies to navigate this challenge if you need to send a larger quantity of emails within a short timeframe.

What is a Hard Bounce?

A hard bounce signifies a permanent issue with the email address you’re attempting to contact, indicating that there’s a problem. Typically, this arises when the email address is no longer valid or functioning. While encountering an occasional hard bounce may not have a significant impact, repeated occurrences suggest a lack of proper list maintenance. Consistent hard bounces can harm your reputation with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and adversely affect your email deliverability. It is advisable to promptly remove email addresses that result in hard bounces to maintain a healthy email marketing reputation.

What Affects the Email Deliverability Rate?

What Affects the Email Deliverability Rate

Email deliverability rates are influenced by a combination of factors, and it’s not attributable to a single cause.

Various missteps or a singular error in your approach may lead to your emails being flagged as spam. The good news is that these influencing factors are within your control, and rectifying them involves learning from your mistakes.

  1. Sender Reputation: When an email is sent, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns a sender score based on the recipient’s interactions. This score ranges from 0 to 100, with a lower score indicating more recipients unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam. Among the factors affecting deliverability, the sender score holds significant importance.

  2. Email Content: The email subject and content play a crucial role in enhancing credibility and engagement. A captivating subject line and compelling content contribute to longer read times and higher open rates. Focusing on these aspects can prevent your emails from being flagged as suspicious or ending up in the spam folder.

  3. Email Authentication: Implementing email authentication protocols like SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) enhances the security and legitimacy of your emails. These protocols authenticate the sender’s identity and help prevent phishing and spoofing attacks.

  4. Email Infrastructure: Despite the prevalence of cloud-based systems, the efficiency of email deliverability relies heavily on both software and hardware structures. Comparable to a postal service system, the email system involves mail servers, agents, and IP addresses. A dedicated IP is essential for managing a high volume of emails, ensuring a robust and seamless email infrastructure.

  5. Spike in Email Volume: Inbox inundation from a single sender is generally unwelcome. Whether executing promotional campaigns, product launches, or important announcements, spacing out emails at regular intervals is key. Spam emails often exhibit erratic patterns with large volumes sent in short intervals. Consistent, timed email distribution signals to ISPs that your emails adhere to ethical and legitimate practices, positively influencing open rates.

By avoiding common pitfalls in email marketing and adopting proactive strategies, you can enhance the chances of your messages being successfully delivered.

Read more: Shopify Email Marketing – The Ultimate Guide 2024

Top 15 Tips to Improve Your Email Deliverability Rate

Tips to Improve Your Email Deliverability Rate

You can enhance your email marketing success by incorporating specialized email deliverability tools, ensuring improved deliverability rates and increased engagement with your target audience. However, follow the below tips designed to optimize your email campaigns, maximizing the reach and impact of your messages.

1) Avoid purchasing or renting email lists

While it may be legally possible to acquire lists of individuals who have consented to receive email communications, this practice is not advisable. It not only goes against the Terms of Service of your email service provider but also employs a questionable email marketing strategy. These individuals likely have no familiarity with you, and the probability of them marking your emails as spam is high. Additionally, genuine, high-quality email addresses are not available for sale.

2) Refrain from sending emails to recipients who have consistently bounced

Bounce rates play a crucial role in determining the reputation of an email sender according to internet service providers (ISPs). Experiencing too many hard bounces, resulting from non-existent email addresses, domains, or typos, can lead ISPs to restrict the delivery of your emails to recipients’ inboxes. Continued attempts to send emails to bounced addresses only worsen the bounce rates, raising red flags for ISPs.

3) Avoid using all capital letters in your email content or subject lines

The use of capitalization in email subject lines can decrease the response rate by 30%. It gives the impression of shouting at the audience, making the email less readable and less engaging. This approach is not only irritating but can also be perceived as spammy. Instead of resorting to disruptive tactics like all caps, consider personalizing your emails and incorporating engaging language for better results.

4) Limit the use of exclamation points

Excessive use of exclamation points can adversely impact the professionalism of your email. It may come across as unprofessional and overpowering. Given that a significant portion of email recipients mark emails as spam based on the subject line, it’s advisable to steer clear of such triggers. Rather than relying on punctuation, focus on delivering a clear and concise message without unnecessary embellishments.

5) Avoid incorporating video, Flash, or JavaScript directly within your emails

Most email clients do not support the viewing of rich media, such as Flash or embedded videos, by default. Additionally, even if a spam filter allows your email to pass through, many email clients restrict the functionality of JavaScripts. To work around this limitation, use an image of your video player linked to the media on a webpage. For better communication of your video content, consider using a GIF with a link and tracking the click-through rates. 

6) Avoid the use of spam-trigger words to increase the chances of your email bypassing spam filters.

To enhance deliverability, be cautious about the language employed in your email subject line. A helpful guideline is to steer clear of phrases that resemble those commonly associated with spam, such as “free,” “guarantee,” “no obligation,” and others. Refer to a list of common spam trigger words for additional guidance.

7) Always utilize spell check to prevent spelling and grammar errors. 

A study conducted by Grammarly revealed that approximately 93% of participants admitted to making typos and errors in their emails. Among these, 63% confessed to embarrassing typos, while 50% experienced misunderstandings with recipients.

Maintaining proper email etiquette requires vigilance against typos. It’s easy for minor spelling mistakes to go unnoticed, especially during self-editing.

8) Avoid excessive use of images or large-sized visuals.

Adding a single large image for your email or too many images may result in emails being flagged as spam. Many email recipients have spam filters that target emails with an abundance of heavy images.

Additionally, it’s essential to optimize your image file sizes to the smallest extent possible without compromising visual quality. This helps in preventing prolonged email loading times.

9) Craft concise emails to avoid triggering spam filters; excessive content can be flagged.

Craft concise emails

Additionally, people generally prefer brief emails. In a world where everyone is busy and inboxes are overflowing, it’s best to keep it short and sweet.

An effective strategy is to write in a conversational tone. It makes your email more approachable and relatable, just like a real-life conversation.

If you find yourself needing to write a longer email, break it into multiple paragraphs. Provide visual breaks and structure the email with a clear introduction, middle, and conclusion to enhance readability for your recipient.

10) Obtain third-party accreditation for your email sender.

Email sender accreditation involves a third-party validation process to verify senders and ensure compliance with specific usage guidelines. Legitimate emails are typically solicited or expected by the recipient and comply with established communication norms.

This accreditation serves as a trust badge. It adds your company email address to a reputable list that ISPs consult to permit certain emails to bypass filters.

11) Keep an eye on your sender’s IP address reputation.

The deliverability of your emails is heavily influenced by the reputation of your IP address. If you’re using an IP address with a poor reputation, the likelihood of your emails successfully reaching recipients’ inboxes diminishes.

Utilize to verify whether you are flagged as a blacklisted sender. This is a concern that many unaware email marketers may overlook.

12) Maintain Email List Hygiene.

Regularly clean and update your email list to remove inactive or invalid addresses. Implement double opt-ins to ensure that subscribers genuinely want to receive your emails. Prune your list of unengaged subscribers to maintain a healthy sender reputation.

13) Use Feedback Loops.

Take advantage of feedback loops provided by ISPs. These mechanisms allow you to receive notifications about subscribers who mark your emails as spam. Use this information to promptly remove complaining subscribers from your list and address any potential issues with your content or sending practices.

14) Go for Testing and Monitoring.

Regularly test different elements of your email campaigns, including subject lines, content, and sending times. Monitoring these tests helps you understand what resonates best with your audience and allows you to make data-driven decisions to improve deliverability.

15) Facilitate the Unsubscribe Process.

Facilitate the Unsubscribe Process

In the past, some unscrupulous businesses made it challenging for individuals to unsubscribe from their email lists. Fortunately, regulations now mandate that every email includes a straightforward unsubscribe option. While this may seem counterintuitive, it’s crucial because an unengaged subscriber who ignores or marks emails as spam can harm your sender’s reputation.

A growing trend is to place the unsubscribe link prominently at the top of each email, particularly in regular newsletters. However, as a basic practice, ensure simplicity by setting the unsubscribe link near the bottom of your email, alongside other company information.

Are You Ready to Boost Your Email Deliverability Rate?

Yes! Forge a stronger connection with your audience through impeccable email deliverability. Choose Forge Digital Marketing for a strategic approach that ensures your emails stand out in the crowded inbox. Discover our unparalleled expertise as the premier Naperville-based agency specializing in B2B and B2C email marketing services. Explore our pricing plans for comprehensive, full-service email marketing solutions.

Concluding the impact of email deliverability extends across various aspects. Increased engagement levels directly enhance the likelihood of your emails landing in the inbox successfully. Vigilant monitoring of email deliverability involves tracking metrics like bounce rates, open rates, and clicks.

By consistently implementing these recommended practices and utilizing a robust email marketing tool equipped with a reliable infrastructure and built-in deliverability features, you can expect your email marketing endeavors to yield positive outcomes. Prioritize engagement, relevance, and compliance to build a robust sender reputation and unlock the full potential of your email marketing efforts.