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Email Deliverability


Email deliverability is a term that refers to the ability of an email message to arrive in the recipient's email inbox. In addition to ability to deliver emails at all, deliverability is related to inbox placement – whether an email appears in the primary inbox, the promotional tab, another inbox, or the spam folder. Most often, email deliverability is a percentage of emails that were accepted by the ISP (e.g. 98% of emails were delivered, as opposed to bouncing).

Marketers use email deliverability to figure out whether or not their emails are reaching their customers. A failure to reach customers reduces the performance of a marketing email, which is one reason that email deliverability is extremely important to every business.

Why email deliverability matters

When you send out an email to your subscribers, you want them to open it and take action on it.

But what if they never get it in the first place?

Even if your email list has a 98% deliverability rate and you have 1,000 subscribers, 20 people are never seeing your email in the first place.

But if your email deliverability rate is 98%, why are only 30-40% of people opening your emails?

Where are those emails going? Spam folders. Promotions folders. Social folders. Some other folders Google made up to make email more confusing.

Who knows.

But here’s how you win: The ultimate goal of deliverability is making sure that every single person on your email list gets the chance to open your emails and that means landing directly in the inbox.

Here’s how to make that happen.

What affects deliverability?

Email deliverability is affected by a number of factors, including:

  • Sending to spam traps
  • Landing on email blacklists
  • Consistently low email open rates

Here are seven other things you should know that affect your email deliverability.

How email sender reputation impacts deliverability

In addition to spam traps and blacklists, sender reputation is also impacted by the volume of emails sent, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, and complaint rate.

Any combination of these things will cause a decrease in deliverability.

How authentication impacts deliverability

Email authentication allows ISPs to decide whether or not an email send is legitimate. If there is some kind of “masking” going on where the domain the email appears to be sent from is not the true sending domain, deliverability will decrease.

How infrastructure impacts deliverability

Despite being “in the cloud,” all email sends still rely on hardware and software to operate. This infrastructure impacts deliverability and can be complicated to set up on your own. This is why many (most) businesses rely on tools with an extremely robust infrastructure, such as ActiveCampaign.

How content impacts deliverability

Your email engagement metrics impact deliverability quite a bit as well. When a subscriber expects a certain kind of content from you, they’re more likely to open your emails. If your content changes (they were expecting transactional content only and you’ve started emailing them weekly blog posts), they are less likely to open or click your emails, negatively impacting deliverability.

How other factors impact deliverability

Several other factors impact deliverability, such as: * Email Volume — The volume (like drops or spikes) of email campaigns sent * Bounce rate — Bounces are emails that fail to reach the subscriber * Spam Complaint — Mailbox providers often block email senders with spam complaints

You should never purchase / rent email lists, or send emails other than what subscribers signed up for as this is extremely likely to negatively affect your deliverability.

How to fix and improve deliverability

There are many ways to fix (and even improve) your email deliverability. You can avoid email deliverability problems by regularly cleaning your email list, sending high quality emails, and implementing a double opt-in process (which will increase subscriber engagement and help avoid spam traps).

Here is a breakdown of six ways to improve your email deliverability:

  • Practice email list hygiene - Reviewing and removing inactive subscribers is critical to maintaining a good sender reputation. Some tools, like ActiveCampaign, can do this automatically.
  • Send engaging content - Confirm that the content you are sending is what subscribers opted in for. Then, consider improving subject lines and email content that makes your subscribers look forward to your next email. Building automations and re-engagement campaigns will keep your subscribers opening your emails.
  • Choose double-opt in - When you select “double opt-in” for your email list, subscribers not only have to input their email address, but confirm the subscription in their inbox. Your list will be protected by making sure only the most engaged subscribers sign up, protecting your engagement metrics and sender reputation.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe - Recently, it’s become increasingly popular to include an unsubscribe link at the top of each email send (especially for newsletters). At a minimum, make it easy by placing the unsubscribe link at the expected place near the end of your email.
  • Monitor your campaigns - Deliverability has a virtuous cycle where the more your subscribed engage with your emails, the better the inbox placement becomes. Choose an email marketing tool (like ActiveCampaign) that automatically monitors clicks, opens and bounces to improve deliverability.
  • Choose a reputable provider - Choosing an email service provider with strong infrastructure and an existing strong inbox reputation will improve deliverability.

What’s Next?

Experience better email deliverability yourself: Click here to learn more about deliverability with ActiveCampaign and try it for free. No credit card required. Instant setup.

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