Message Not Getting Through? How to Improve Email Deliverability

One out of every six emails will not reach the main inbox of their intended recipients. Instead, they end up in a spam folder, a digital trash bin, or some other designated space.

When an email does not end up in the recipient’s inbox, it not only wastes the time and effort you put into crafting the email, but it is also a lost opportunity.

Keep reading to learn how to improve email deliverability, increase recipient engagement, and decrease the number of unsubscribes you receive.

What Is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability, also known as inbox placement, is an indication of where an email ends up when it reaches a recipient. This is not the same as delivery rates, which inform senders if the email gets bounced back.

If you want to reap the full benefits of email and digital marketing, having good email deliverability is a must.

Email marketing may seem obsolete, but it has a large amount of potential. When done right, email campaigns can be effective, creative tools to reach out to current and potential customers.

However, it does not matter how good your email is if it never ends up in the customer’s inbox.

How to Improve Email Deliverability

Email deliverability rates are affected by how the sender is identified, the reputation of the sender, and the content of the email.

Internet service providers (ISPs) are in charge of identifying and authenticating the email’s sender, then sorting the email based on the sender’s reputation and the email’s content.

You may want to consider having a postmaster@ and abuse@ address to receive abuse complaints. This may be one of the best ways to improve email deliverability since it gives you a better opportunity to know and fix any issues with your emails.

Improving Sender Identification

To improve how your sender information is identified and authenticated, you will need to consider:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)

These protocols are fundamental to email identification and authentication.

SPF specifies which servers or IP addresses have permission to send emails from a domain. This helps ensure that it is actually you sending the email.

DKIM is an encryption method that validates a domain through cryptographic technology. It helps ensure that the sent message is the same as the received message.

DMARC protects domain users from spoofing by indicating that SPF and DKIM protocols are in place. This reduces how often harmful, fraudulent messages sneak into a recipient’s main inbox.

Improving Sender Reputation

Sender reputation gets calculated through examining certain metrics, like how many people unsubscribe, the number of spam reports a sender receives, and the click-through rate of an email.

Using these metrics, the ISP gives a sender a reputation score that ranges from 0-100. If you have a score that is 96 or over, the ISP is unlikely to flag your email. Your sender reputation will probably be high if you follow the general rules of behavior and have the proper infrastructure.

IP Reputation

A sender’s IP reputation is bound to the IP number of the device used to send the email.

IP numbers are either shared or dedicated. With shared IP addresses, your IP number is shared among multiple users which all have an influence on your IP reputation. With a dedicated IP address, you will be the only one influencing your IP reputation.

If you are experiencing issues with email deliverability, you may consider changing your IP address for a fresh start.

However, you should be cautious about doing this.

A new IP address may not actually start out with a good reputation. Switching IP numbers is a method that spammers often use, so new IPs are considered suspicious.

If you do decide to change your IP address, make sure to only send out a small number of emails at first. This will warm up your IP address and help establish a positive IP reputation.

Domain Reputation

Domain reputation is bound to a domain or brand. Because of this, even if you send an email from a different IP address, your sender reputation will be the same.

ISPs may block emails from domains that cannot receive emails back. To prevent this, make sure you have a valid MX record attached to your domain.

Email Content, Schedule, and Contact List

To decrease how often your emails get marked as spam, you will want to consider how you can make your content more interesting and relevant to recipients.

Sending out quality, relevant content on a consistent basis will draw in interest and reduce how often recipients unsubscribe or flag your email as spam.

However, if you have a lot of recipients who do not check the emails you send, it may be time to clean up your contact list. Regularly updating your lists will help ensure that your emails reach interested, engaged recipients and improve your email deliverability.

You can also segment your contact list and add a small amount of personalization to your emails in order to appeal to different types of recipients. This will help increase recipient engagement, and it will prevent you from hurting your email deliverability through large email blasts, which can alert ISPs.

How to Avoid Recipients Reporting Your Email as Spam

First, you will want to make sure your email does not look like spam. Some ways you can do this are to make sure your email:

  • Is free from spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Utilizes a plain-text and/or cleanly coded HTML format
  • Has a balanced image to text ratio
  • Includes working links to quality sites
  • Does not have a misleading subject line
  • Does not include a large number of risky words such as free, lowest price, and buy
  • Does not contain an overabundance of punctuation, especially dollar signs or exclamation points

You will also want to ensure that all recipients have given explicit consent to receive emails from you. This includes consent for what type of email you are sending them. If a recipient signed up to receive emails on sales and special deals, ask before sending a newsletter as well.

You should also use a double opt-in or confirmed opt-in to ensure you are actually sending emails to valid accounts of interested recipients.

That being said, avoid purchasing email lists.

Purchased email lists are likely to damage your sender reputation. Recipients are not going to be engaged or interested in the content of your email and are more likely to flag it as spam.

What to Do When Emails Are Reported as Spam

When a recipient does mark your email as spam or trash, your sender reputation may decrease if you send them another email. For this reason, it is better to provide a quick, easy method to unsubscribe from your emails.

Typically, each email should have an unsubscribe button at the bottom that leads to a confirmation button and an optional feedback form at most. Anything more than that may frustrate recipients and lead to them reporting your email as spam.

In case someone does flag your email as spam, you should use a feedback loop. Feedback loops inform senders if their email is marked as spam. Once this occurs, you should immediately remove the recipient from your contact list unless you use a service that does so automatically.

Being Blacklisted

If too many recipients mark your emails as spam, you may become blacklisted. When you are blacklisted, your emails are more likely to be automatically flagged as spam, decreasing your email deliverability.

There are a large number of blacklists that are available to the public. These blacklists gather the email addresses of those believed to be spammers through the use of spam complaints and spam traps.

While some blacklists will only ban a sender for a day or two, others may last longer.

You can check if your email address is on a blacklist through blacklist checker tools. If you find out you are on one, your best course of option is to figure out the cause of the blacklisting and fix it. Then you can request the owner of the blacklist to remove you from it.

Improve Email Deliverability Today

Having good email deliverability is essential to digital marketing.

Recipients will never see the email you put your time and effort into if it never makes it into their inbox. To get the best results possible, take the necessary steps to ensure your emails will not be automatically or manually marked as spam.

Contact us today if you want more information on how to improve email deliverability and a free consultation of your email marketing system.