Did your email engagement metrics drop significantly?
Emails bounce or end up in the spam folder?
Every year, people send around 306.4 billion emails. Shockingly, half of these emails, as much as 50%, land in the spam folder of the person you sent them to.
Imagine, half the time your email doesn’t even reach where it’s supposed to go! For people in email marketing, making sure emails end up in the right place is crucial. If your emails make it to the inbox, that’s a win – it’s called high email deliverability. But, if they end up in spam, your email deliverability rate takes a hit, and that’s not good.
Using email to connect with your audience and boost conversions is super effective. Email gives you the best bang for your buck in marketing, giving you an average return of $42 for every dollar spent.
However, it doesn’t mean email marketing is a walk in the park. Marketers have various ways to check how well their email campaigns are doing. One crucial measure is email deliverability.
Email deliverability checks if your emails are landing in your subscribers‘ inboxes or just getting lost in their spam folders.
This article will break down what email deliverability is, why it matters, and how you can make it even better.
What is Email Deliverability?
Email deliverability is about making sure your promotional emails actually end up in the recipient’s inbox. This is a bit of a tricky thing to measure, and it basically tells you how good your email lists and campaigns are.
To check how well you’re doing, you can look at your inbox placement rate. This rate shows you the number of emails that make it to the inbox out of all the emails you send.
Now, it’s important to know that ’email deliverability’ and ’email delivery rate’ aren’t the same. Just because an email gets delivered doesn’t mean it’s in the clear; it might still end up in spam and get rejected. The inbox placement rate gives you a more accurate idea of what’s happening.
Less than 20% of marketers can say they get 90% or more of their emails into inboxes. Most fall in the 89-69% range. The standard for a low spam complaint rate is less than 0.1%, which means there’s around one complaint for every 1,000 emails sent.
Many marketers aren’t checking if emails will be delivered before hitting ‘send.’
The 3 Elements of Email Deliverability
Many things, both inside and outside, can impact how well your emails get delivered. It boils down to what you send, how you send it, and who gets it.
These are the three main parts of email deliverability:
- Relevant and Optimized Email Content: Big or misleading emails are less likely to reach the inbox and get read.
- Safety and Sender Reputation: Email services will mark or filter messages from unverified or hacked domains.
- Engaged Audience: Your recipients need to agree and want to get emails from you. Otherwise, they will ignore or report your messages.
Now, let’s take a closer look.
Why Should You Care About Email Deliverability?
It’s frustrating to spend a lot of time on an email campaign and then find out that your intended audience didn’t pay attention. But it’s not just about feeling disappointed. Better email deliverability can help your company in several ways.
#1. Strengthen Your Customer Relationships
Keep talking to your clients regularly to make them more interested and committed to your company.
Based on the survey, 37% of customers now have separate email inboxes for their personal and marketing emails. This shows that they have favorite brands for deals and content. Also, over half of buyers want smooth and personalized interactions with businesses.
When you blend these two things, you have a great chance of creating repeat customers and loyal brand followers who will like getting your email messages regularly.
#2. Beat Your Competitors
Almost all B2B marketers use email to share content. Around 72% of clients like using email as their main way to connect for business.
Businesses need to take email seriously. Improving how your emails get delivered prevents competitors from getting ahead of you.
Becoming great at email deliverability doesn’t require big investments or advanced tech skills; it’s more about being meticulous. This helps you succeed when others might struggle.
#3. Get Higher ROI
When your emails aren’t reaching as many people, it slowly turns your email marketing into a drain on your resources. You end up spending time and money on planning and executing campaigns, using email tools, and creating content, but you don’t see a return on your investment.
Boosting email deliverability means getting a better return on investment while also freeing up resources for growth. You get a clearer picture of how your main audience reacts to your emails and what you can do to make money from their interest.
What Is a Good Email Deliverability Rate?
Worldwide, around 85% of emails found their way into inboxes in 2022, implying that about one in every six messages didn’t quite make it.
As per the Mailmodo survey in the State of Email Report for 2023, the average inbox placement spans from 70 to 100% across different industries.
A good email deliverability rate differs based on industry and the type of email you’re sending. If it drops below 70%, it’s advisable to look into potential email deliverability problems.
When keeping an eye on how well your emails are being delivered, think about these important measures:
- Keeping a delivery rate of 95% or higher is considered excellent for a mass email service provider.
- The bounce rate, categorized as strong and mild bounces, shouldn’t go beyond 3%.
- Your spam rate is in good shape as long as it stays below 0.08%.
Marketing Emails Deliverability Rate
On average, not many people tend to open marketing emails – roughly 20-25% of them get a look.
But hey, here’s the silver lining: For most businesses, if your emails are getting opened more than 30% of the time, you’re doing pretty well.
Transactional Emails Deliverability Rate
Emails about transactions are unique because people expect to get them and think they are real emails beforehand.
Usually, about 80-85% of transaction emails are delivered and opened. But, even though they naturally have a higher rate, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t test them. Testing can always help you get better results.
How to Calculate an Email Delivery Rate
To find out how many emails actually reach their destination, just subtract the bounced emails from the total sent, and then divide this by the overall number of emails you sent. Keep in mind that not all sent emails get delivered, as some might bounce back when you send out your mailings.
Bounces are emails that can’t reach the people you’re trying to send them to.
Common Factors That Hurt Your Email Deliverability
Here’s a list of things that could harm how often your emails make it to someone’s inbox:
- Single Opt-ins: If people can easily join your email list without confirming, spammers and fake accounts might join, making your email list less reliable.
- No Dedicated Sending Domain: It’s not a good idea to send emails from a common domain everyone in your company uses. This lack of control can hurt how email providers see you.
- High Bounce Rates: If many emails are rejected or flagged, it tells email providers your list might not be good. This could mean it was bought or stolen.
- No Custom Authentication: Email users and service providers prefer working with senders who prioritize safety and are willing to take extra steps to confirm their identity.
- Unclear Unsubscribe Options: If you don’t let your subscribers choose to stop getting your emails with a simple click, they may end up marking your emails as spam.
- Image-Heavy Emails: Spam detectors steer clear of emails that are suspiciously heavy with images, as they are more likely to have harmful attachments.
- Spikes in Email Traffic Volume: A surprisingly high number of emails sent from a previously inactive domain raises a clear red flag; email services expect regular growth from commercial senders.
- Lack of Personalization: Customers don’t like generic marketing emails that don’t cater to their actual needs. This makes them stop opening or engaging with such emails.
- Repeat Complaints: Sending unwanted emails can lead to recipients marking them as spam. Email service providers then work to limit the reach of your campaigns.
- Poor Engagement: If your audience is ignoring your emails, it can harm the chances of your future emails getting delivered successfully.
- URL Shorteners: Scammers often use short, hard-to-read URLs. This may result in a genuine email being marked as spam.
- No-reply Email Address: When your customers find out they can’t reply to your emails, they might lose interest in only getting messages from your company.
Maybe you ticked a box or two. No need to stress; we’ll talk about these and other worries, plus how to make sure your emails get where they need to go.
How to Boost Your Email Deliverability
We’ve talked about 5 key areas that impact how well your emails get through:
- Sender Reputation: What email providers believe about your sending domain.
- Authentication: How you show that your emails are real and not fake.
- Content: What you put in your emails’ subject lines.
- Logistics: How you get your messages across.
- Audience: How the people you’re emailing react to your messages.
Just so you know, all these areas are connected, so improving your opt-in process, for instance, will positively affect how well your emails are received.
Let’s go through each of them and see how you can make them better, one step at a time.
#1. Sender Reputation
Making sure your emails land in the inbox depends on how good your email address reputation is, including the connected IP addresses. Email services evaluate them based on how many emails you send, if they’ve ever been flagged as spam, and more.
The impact is significant when it comes to high unsubscribe rates, spam reports, bounce rates, and engagement rates.
Here are some tips to improve your sender reputation:
- Use tools like SenderScore to regularly check your IP reputation.
- Keep your email list clean by regularly removing invalid addresses and subscribers who haven’t responded to your messages in months.
- Build a consistent email sending routine, gradually increasing your sending volume instead of an ‘all or nothing’ approach.
- Minimize spam complaints by sending only requested and personalized emails.
- To steer clear of spam traps, verify new email addresses before including them in your campaigns, especially if there’s a sudden surge in email subscriber conversions.
- Prevent blacklisting by ensuring everyone in your company strictly follows these guidelines.
Proving you’re a genuine sender with unaltered emails is what authentication is all about when dealing with email service providers and recipients.
There are three ways to do this.
Ensure your sending domain is verified through SPF (Sender Policy Framework). This system lets you confirm domains owned and handled by you or your company.
To do this, create an SPF record that includes a list of servers authorized to send emails from your domain, along with instructions on handling requests from your domain.
To find or make an SPF record, check the instructions from your email software provider. If you can’t locate them, reach out to their support. After that, insert the record into your domain’s TXT records. If you’re unsure about the location of your DNS records, get in touch with the person managing your website or email account for help.
By including an SPF record, you confirm the authenticity of your emails. It’s a way to let email services know who is approved to send messages on behalf of your company.
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) lets you digitally sign your emails, making it easy for your recipients, or more specifically, their email providers, to verify them.
DKIM has two parts: the DKIM record in your domain records and the DKIM header added to emails from that domain. As the sender, you get a private key to sign your outgoing messages, and your recipient gets a public key to check your signatures.
Think of this signature verification like a seal, ensuring that both parties can confirm your emails came from you or your company and weren’t altered during delivery.
Business emails might have private customer details like contact info, address, or order specifics. To keep this info safe, check that your email tool can encrypt emails.
Many email services, like Zoho Mail and Sendinblue, use TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption. This keeps your email safe during travel, but only if the other server also uses TLS.
If their server doesn’t support TLS, your email will go through the regular SMTP protocol.
When your email doesn’t quite match what your readers expect and want, it can affect how engaged they are, leading to fewer of your emails getting delivered.
Spam filters might also give you a hard time if they think your content is unwanted or questionable, even if you didn’t mean to spam.
Here are some potential cures:
- Create Personalized and Relevant Content: When using email marketing, segment your audience smartly and use engaging content to connect with your readers.
- Perfect Your Email Layout: Design a clear visual structure, break down your layout into easily scannable sections, and include a reasonable number of call to action.
- Prioritize Mobile-Friendly Design: Ensure that your emails are simple to read, even when someone is on a busy commute.
- Go Easy On Large File Attachments: Email service providers aim to keep their users’ inboxes from getting too full, so they might filter out excessively large emails.
- Keep a Reasonable Text-to-Image Ratio: Emails that rely heavily on images, even if they include some text, may be marked as spam. Aim for a ratio like 60% text to 40% images.
- Avoid Spammy Subject Lines and All Caps: Using a clickbait-style message immediately triggers caution from email filters.
- Run A/B Testing: Experiment with different images, layouts, and buttons to figure out the most effective combination for boosting your open rate.
How you convey your messages matters. To boost your email deliverability, follow these proven strategies.
Choose Dedicated Domains and IP Addresses When You Can
Opt for a dedicated domain over free or personal email addresses. A personalized domain not only gives off a professional vibe but also safeguards your organization’s reputation. If multiple messages come from the same domain, it could harm your standing.
By opting for a dedicated domain for marketing communications, your reputation is solely based on your sending habits. This also grants you better control over where your emails land in mailboxes. The same principle applies to IP addresses, though to a lesser degree.
Having your own special IP makes it simpler to put on the approved list. Plus, it means you’re the only one responsible for keeping track of DNS records. But if you run a small business, you don’t have to spend money on a special IP address—errors will be pricier, and there won’t be enough data flowing to make up for it.
Include a Plain Text Version
Make sure your email customers enjoy a friendly user experience with both HTML and plain text emails. This encourages them to regularly open your messages. Adding a plain text version can help your email steer clear of the spam folder, as spam messages often lack a plain text option.
Plain text is easier for screen readers to grasp. It feels more natural, almost like a handwritten note, making your email communications seem less like a sales pitch. Plus, this format ensures all your links and paragraphs display correctly, even if your recipient’s app doesn’t support the HTML version of your email.
Be Wary of URL Shorteners
Using shortened links can harm how your emails are delivered, and here’s the reason why. Scammers often use them to send people to fake websites and spread harmful software. Because all shortened links look the same, it’s harder for users to figure out where they go.
As a result, email users and providers tend to be cautious about shortened URLs. It’s generally a good practice to inform your readers about what they can expect when they click on your link. If you need to use a shortened link, think about providing some context or using your email marketing platform’s link shortening or tracking features.
Stay Away From No-reply Email Addresses
To begin with, your followers can easily tag emails that say “no-reply” as spam in their inbox. Just by doing this, you can greatly improve how well your emails get delivered. Moreover, emails from addresses that don’t allow replies are more likely to be caught by spam filters.
Moreover, a “no-reply” email address gives off a vibe that you’re not interested, and clients don’t like that. What if someone tries to respond to your email? Even if you try to talk with them, they’ll feel like your company is not easy to approach. It might just puzzle or annoy them.
Make sure to provide a real email address where your subscribers can send messages. This will prompt them to engage with your emails more meaningfully, leading to an improvement in your email deliverability rate.
Set Up an Email Feedback Loop
A feedback loop happens when your email service provider tells you whenever someone marks your email as spam. This method helps you keep your email list updated regularly while still keeping a good sending reputation.
While some email services give you detailed info about each spam complaint, others provide more general data that doesn’t reveal who made the complaints.
To make things easier, you can use an outside service to handle most of the tasks. It checks the recipient’s email address and makes sure it’s not on the suppression list. If it is, the system won’t send them emails.
This part is pretty simple. Be good to your subscribers, and you’ll notice a natural improvement in how your emails get delivered over time because they really like what you send.
Here are some details worth paying attention to:
- Add double opt-ins to bring in an interested audience and confirm their email addresses immediately. Growing your email list might take a bit more time, but it will lead to a better-quality audience.
- Organize your email marketing to prevent bombarding your readers with information they may not find useful.
- Ensure the unsubscribe link is easy to see. This allows your recipients to stop or cancel your campaigns without the need to block or report you.
- Periodically clean up your emails by removing inactive subscribers to avoid being marked as spam.
Making sure your emails get to the right people is super important when you’re sending out a bunch. Stuff like being real, having a good email system, and getting people to actually open your emails all play a part in how people see you and how many of your emails actually make it.
To keep things going smoothly, don’t buy email lists, make sure your emails look good on phones, and give people stuff they actually want to read. Plus, if you want more of your emails to make it, let people easily say they don’t want them anymore, get rid of folks who aren’t into it, and don’t send too many at once.