What is Deliverability in Email Marketing

Deliverability in the context of email marketing refers to the ability of an email to successfully reach the intended recipient’s inbox. It’s a measure of how effectively an email campaign can bypass spam filters, ISP regulations, and other barriers to ensure that emails are delivered to the target audience’s primary inbox folder rather than being blocked or diverted to spam or junk folders.

Deliverability is influenced by various factors including the sender’s reputation, email content, engagement rates, and adherence to email best practices. Improving deliverability is crucial for the success of email marketing campaigns as it directly impacts the visibility and engagement rates of the emails sent.

Key factors influencing email deliverability

  1. Sender reputation: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email services evaluate the reputation of the sender based on their domain and IP address history. A history of sending unwanted emails can harm your reputation.

  2. Email content: Emails with certain keywords, excessive use of caps, too many links, or poor HTML coding can trigger spam filters.

  3. Recipient engagement: If recipients frequently open, reply to, or mark your emails as not spam, it can positively affect deliverability. Conversely, if many recipients ignore, delete, or mark your emails as spam, it can hurt future deliverability.

  4. Authentication protocols: Using authentication standards like SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) helps verify your identity as a sender and can improve deliverability.

  5. List quality: High bounce rates from sending to invalid or inactive email addresses can negatively impact your sender reputation. Regularly cleaning your email list to remove these addresses is important.

  6. Volume consistency: Sudden spikes in email volume can trigger spam filters. It’s better to send consistent volumes of email over time.

Email deliverability can vary within the same email campaign or newsletter

Even if some of your emails successfully reach the inbox, it’s not a guarantee that all of them will. Email deliverability can vary widely even within the same email campaign due to several reasons:

  1. Individual recipient settings and actions: How recipients have interacted with your previous emails can influence whether new emails land in the inbox or spam folder. For example, if a recipient frequently marks your emails as important or moves them from the spam to the inbox, future emails from you are more likely to be delivered to their inbox. Conversely, if another recipient ignores your emails or marks them as spam, your emails are more likely to be filtered out of their inbox.

  2. Differences in email service providers (ESPs): Each ESP has its own set of rules and algorithms for spam filtering and inbox placement. An email that passes through the filters of one provider might not fare as well with another. This means that while your emails may be delivered to the inboxes of users on one service, they could be marked as spam by another service.

  3. Variability in content and sending patterns: Even slight changes in your email’s content, structure, or sending patterns (such as frequency and volume) can impact deliverability. For instance, an email with a subject line or content that triggers spam filters for some recipients might not affect others.

  4. IP and domain reputation fluctuations: The reputation of your sending IP and domain is not static and can change over time based on your sending practices and how recipients interact with your emails. Even within a single batch of emails, the impact of a changing reputation can vary.

  5. List segmentation: If you segment your email list (e.g., by engagement level, demographics, or past behavior), different segments might experience different deliverability outcomes based on how tailored the content is to their interests and how they’ve interacted with your emails in the past.

How to improve Email Marketing deliverability rate

Improving your email deliverability rate involves focusing on several critical factors that influence how email service providers (ESPs) handle your emails. Here are the most important factors to consider:

  1. Reputation management:
    1. IP reputation: Use a dedicated IP address if you’re sending large volumes of email and ensure it’s not used for spam.
    2. Domain reputation: Send from a domain that hasn’t been used for spamming. Setting up and maintaining proper authentication records (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) helps verify your domain and improves trustworthiness.
  2. List hygiene and management:
    1. Consent and opt-In: Always use opt-in methods for acquiring email addresses, and consider double opt-in for added confirmation.
    2. Regular list cleaning: Remove inactive subscribers and invalid email addresses regularly to maintain a high-quality list.
  3. Engagement Improvement:
    1. Relevant Content: Ensure your emails provide value to your recipients, keeping them engaged and less likely to mark your emails as spam.
    2. Segmentation and personalization: Tailor your emails to different segments of your list based on their interests and behaviors to improve engagement.
  4. Email content and design:
    1. Avoid Spam Triggers: Steer clear of words and phrases commonly associated with spam. Maintain a good text-to-image ratio and ensure your HTML is clean.
    2. Clear Unsubscribe Option: Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe from your emails if they choose to, which can actually help maintain a healthier list and reduce spam complaints.
  5. Authentication protocols:
    1. Implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for your domain to authenticate your emails and protect against spoofing and phishing. This not only improves your reputation but also increases the chances of your emails being delivered to the inbox.
  6. Monitoring and testing:
    1. Feedback loops: Sign up for feedback loops with major ISPs so you can be notified when recipients mark your emails as spam, allowing you to take corrective action.
    2. Deliverability testing: Use tools and services that simulate email sends to various ESPs to see how your email performs in terms of deliverability before sending it to your entire list.
  7. Sending behavior:
    1. Consistent volume: Avoid sudden spikes in email volume, which can signal spammy behavior to ISPs.
    2. Optimal sending times: Test and identify when your audience is most likely to engage with your emails, as higher engagement can improve your sender reputation

Focusing on these factors can significantly enhance your email deliverability rate, ensuring that your messages reach your audience’s inbox more consistently.

Deliverability is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, testing, and adjustments based on performance data and changing email landscape dynamics.