Priya Kumari
Priya Kumari 9 August 2021

How to Improve Your Email Marketing Deliverability for Optimum Open Rates

Email marketing is an evergreen strategy for marketers and is amongst the most convenient ways of reaching out to new as well as existing customers. Email marketing campaigns have been a boon for companies and online marketers who want to either launch, promote, rebrand, or showcase the value proposition of their products or services.

According to a report by, nearly 4.03 billion people across the globe use email marketing, and the number is expected to grow to as high as 4.48 billion by 2024. No platform seems to be close to the reach of email marketing.

Email marketing is also an excellent technique to run your retargeting campaigns and to re-engage with your prospects who at one time expressed their interests in your products or services and later drifted away.

However, no world is a perfect world, and the same stands true for your email marketing campaigns. In spite of integration with modern Martech tools and several email automation software platforms, 20% of legitimate marketing emails don’t reach the recipients’ inbox, reports Glock Apps. Marketers need to take adequate steps to diagnose and solve the problems related to the email open issues.

There are several tools in the market that allow you to check and monitor your email spam scores. One such tool is an email spam checker that tests your reputation, spam score, and deliverability. These tools allow marketers to visualize how different mailbox providers treat your email and where they place it: in the Inbox or the spam folder.

Watch this on-demand webinar where you’ll get some expert guidance on actionable advice to ensure you escape the junk folder.

In this post, we try to address the problems of email marketers who are encountering email deliverability issues. Here are some of the tried and tested methods to optimize your email marketing campaigns:

1. Mind Your Sender Reputation

The deliverability of email marketing campaigns depends upon many factors and amongst them, the senders' reputation is an important one. A sender reputation is a score that is calculated based on your mailing habits and how the recipients interact with your emails.

With a poor sender reputation, marketers are minimizing their chances of reaching the senders' inboxes. With a good sender reputation, your sender increases your inbox placement potential and SenderBase can help you measure and monitor your sender reputation over time.

Developing a good sender reputation takes time, work, and constant optimization. All the problems need to be immediately pinpointed and fixed.

2. Monitoring the Complaints About Your Email

Did anyone complain about your email? Complaints can be very retrogressive for your reputation. They indicate that you've done something wrong and therefore the recipient decided to alert you about it.

Marketers who sign up for feedback loops receive the emails that were reported as spam to your email account. Once the provider sends email messages that were reported as spam to their email accounts, they set themselves up specifically for those email loops.

The information that the marketers receive is a copy of the message including the header and the body and the complaining subscriber list received. At least you should extract the email address of the recipient and add it to your suppression list. Sometimes mailbox providers remove the email address of the recipients and in such cases, marketers need to find another way to identify the recipient.

This happens through tracking links in the body of the email or by identifying the subscribers in the header if they are put in place.

Signing up for Microsoft's SNDS (Smart Network Data Services) informs marketers about the data originating from their IP addresses so that marketers can stay informed about the traffic originating from their IP addresses such as the volume of emails sent and the complaint rates. The log files of the inbound Hotmail and Microsoft for instance allow marketers to collect data about the volume of emails sent versus the complaints received.

Another great tool for monitoring complaints is Google postmaster. Thus, once the marketers have an idea of what type of content is getting reported, they can take appropriate action to fix their content marketing endeavors.

3. Ensure that Your Email is Relevant to the Recipient

The email being sent has to resonate with the pain points of the customers and must address the specific queries of the prospects. If you send too many emails or the email doesn't meet the customers' expectations, your email list will go cold and there will be a drastic drop in the total number of email subscribers.

Often researching your potential client's preferences or sending them a survey to understand their preferences is a good way for marketers to be more relevant to their recipients.

4. Ensure that Your IP isn’t Blacklisted

Marketers can run IP blacklist checks at platforms such as GlockApps and can test their IP address against dozens of blacklists and can be notified via email, Telegram, Slack, PagerDuty, or SMS.

If by any chance your IP has been blacklisted you need to find ways to resolve the root problem that caused you to be blacklisted and then submit a deleting request.

5. Focus on Building a High-Quality Email List

Marketers need to focus on ensuring the quality of their email lists, especially when they’re buying the email lists.

Ideally, it's advisable to grow your email lists organically. Include only the people who are genuinely interested in your email lists. Organic growth might be much slower than buying email lists but it is surely much more profitable and higher in quality.

6. Don’t Miss on Email Authentication

Email authentication allows the mailbox providers to confirm that the sender is the one who he claims to be and thus ensures that the sender's domain is safe from spoofing and phishing.

Authentication helps you build your domain reputation, reduces the chances of the emails being filtered or blocked by the mailbox providers, and optimizes the potential of the mailbox.

Email authentication involves three commonly used protocols viz. SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Today DMARC is considered to be the best email protection against malicious actors.

7. Focus on Warming up Your New Sending IP

The reputation of your sending IP is a part of your sender's reputation that we have talked about earlier. There is no sending history from your new IP address and when you start sending emails, the mailbox facilitates building the reputation of your new IP. This process in email marketing is called "warming up an IP" and involves gradually increasing the number of emails being sent over a while.

Once the positive reputation on your new IP address is built marketers should try to keep a consistent flow of emails over time because mailbox providers filter the email when sudden boosts in volume happen after inactive periods.

8. Tracing Reputable Email Providers

The reputation of your email service providers (ESP) matters. The reputation of an ESP is affected by that of other senders as well. So, when marketers are looking for an ESP they should ensure that they monitor the situation on their IPs and immediately get rid of the bad senders.

9. Employ Permission Marketing

Ask yourselves: do you have permission to email your prospects and clients? Emails must explicitly be sent only to people who want to receive them and shouldn’t be sent to people who don’t permit you to send them. Marketers should stop collecting email addresses from public sources and should allow visitors to subscribe to their email lists if they like your content.

10. Handling Bounce, Unsubscribe, and FBL Emails

ESP (Email service providers) provide bounce, unsubscribe, and FBL (complaints) emails as a feature to email service providers so that their users don't have to care about the process and it's done automatically.

Marketers who run in-house email systems and manage their own SMTP servers have to set up the process of handling bounced, unsubscribed, and FBL email messages for further suppression of these from their mailing list.

If you are one of such marketers you need to ensure that your email system processes such emails after each email campaign and excludes them from their mailing list.

11. Understand the Difference Between Email Delivery and Email Deliverability

Email delivery shows the number or rate of email messages that were sent but didn't bounce back. This includes emails delivered to the inbox, emails filtered out as spam, and emails that were blocked before reaching the senders' inboxes.

So, even if there are no bounces, it doesn't always mean that your subscribers received your email. The actual matrix to track is email deliverability. It is the number or rate of email messages that were delivered to the user's inbox.

12. Test Your Emails Before Sending

Marketers need to test their email deliverability to understand whether they get a low response rate because of a lot of emails that go to spam or get blocked, simply because the email is not engaging enough to be opened or read.

Email deliverability can fluctuate from campaign to campaign and hence it is important to monitor it over time. Testing and monitoring email deliverability will show you where your email is placed and how it passes through different spam filters and whether or not the sending IP is blacklisted.

In order to optimize their inbox placement rates, marketers must enlist the action steps that allow them to follow the correct deliverability issues and optimize their inbox placement rates (ISPs) in the process.

Wrap Up

In order to improve their email deliverability rates, marketers need to focus on certain points. They have to have a good sender reputation or email or domain reputation and good IP address reputation.

Marketers must effectively handle the bounced, unsubscribed, and FBL emails that protect them from blacklisting issues. Marketers need to effectively convey important messages through their email marketing campaigns and must enable the IP blacklist checks to ensure that they're not on any of the blacklists.

The next steps include careful monitoring of whether the email authentication protocols have been successfully implemented viz. SPF, DKIM, rDNS and DMARC. A confirmed opt-in process ensures that your list is valid and engaged. Furthermore, the marketers can also test the effectiveness of their email lists before sending the emails.

We hope implementing the above strategies will help your organization to optimize your email marketing deliverability.

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