Best Practices to Improve Email Deliverability

The number of emails sent on a daily basis continues to rise at an astounding rate. Statistics provided by the Radicati Group indicate that consumers and businesses sent over 293 billion emails per day in 2019. This number is projected to increase to 347 billion in 2023.

In spite of these impressive statistics, the percentage of emails that are successfully delivered to recipients is actually decreasing year by year.

Research shows that over 20% of emails never reach an inbox, prompting a growing number of business owners to take measures to make sure that their emails do not land in a recipient's spam or junk folders.

Below is a look at the top challenges faced by email campaign managers and seven steps you can take to improve email deliverability.

Why is the Percentage of Deliverable Emails Declining?

"I rave about email marketing all the time. But I need to shoot straight with you about email marketing...Your emails are useless unless they actually make it to the user's inbox. Let me state that another way so you don't miss it. If your emails aren't getting delivered, then email marketing is a massive waste of time and money." - Neil Patel, Co-founder of Neil Patel Digital

Before diving into the steps you can take to improve email deliverability, it is helpful to explore some of the key factors that may prevent emails from being received.

Below are some of the top reasons why the percentage of delivered emails is declining.

1) Spam Filters are More Robust Than Ever

Spam warnings

Today's spam filters are more aggressive than ever. They are designed to weed out hackers, deceptive advertisers, bad links, and people with unauthenticated sender IDs.

Some are so robust that they end up filtering emails from legitimate senders whose messages contain one or more words that trigger a filter.

2) You Did Not Obtain Express Permission to Send Emails

You should never send unsolicited emails to people. This includes individuals whose contact details may appear on "purchased" email lists.

Sending emails to individuals who are not existing customers or who have not provided express permission to receive emails is unethical and may end up damaging your company's reputation.

3) Intended Recipients Do Not Recognise Who is Sending an Email

Sending emails that do not contain a business name, physical address, or company logo is a common phishing tactic used by cybercriminals.

Today's spam filters actively target hackers who fail to provide recognisable company details or contact information.

4) Your Choice of Words Sends Spam Filters Into Overdrive

Phishing emails

There are some keywords and phrases that are especially likely to trigger spam filters. Here are just a few of the most common words and phrases that prevent emails from ever reaching intended recipients.

  • Fast Cash
  • Free Offer
  • Dear Friend
  • Free Leads
  • Buy Email
  • Act Now! Don't Hesitate!
  • Be Your Own Boss

5) You Give Recipients No Easy Way to Unsubscribe

Example of unsubscribe questions

Few things are more frustrating to consumers than having no means of stopping unwanted emails.

It should be just as easy for consumers to unsubscribe from an email list as it was to subscribe to the list in the first place. Failure to provide recipients with a way to unsubscribe to your messages can result in penalties, fines, and a damaged reputation for your business.

How Does Email Engagement Affect Deliverability

Email service providers take a look at email recipient's activity when they decide whether an email sender is legit or just a scammer.

The interaction of your subscribers with your email content greatly influences the deliverability of your emails.

To ensure that you don’t start getting marked as spam, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a good domain reputation?
  • Are you using a good quality email list (and not an email list that was bought)?
  • Are you sending quality content in your emails to your subscribers?
  • Are you crafting good subject lines and personalising your emails?
  • Are you using a good email service provider?

Here are some email engagement metrics that will help improve your email deliverability:

1.Open Rate:
Your email open rate is basically the percentage of emails that are being opened and read. The higher your open rate, the more it shows that your emails have valuable content that your subscribers want to read.

The more replies you receive from your subscribers, the more it shows that your readers are actually interacting with your email content. This will improve you deliverability.

However, make sure that your unsubscribe link is clearly visible. We say this because if your subscribers start sending you emails to unsubscribe them from your list, you will lose credibility.

3.Mark as Important:
If your subscribers mark some of your emails as important, it shows their email providers that your emails are valuable to them.

Always share valuable content with your subscribers.

4.Mark as ‘Not Spam’:
Remind your recipients to mark your emails as ’Not Spam’ so that your emails don’t get sent to their spam box.

When they do this action, it shows their email service providers that they want to continue receiving your emails.

5.Forwarding Your Emails:
When subscribers forward your email to a friend, it shows that your content is helpful and useful.

How Can You Address These Barriers to Email Deliverability?

While the challenges above may seem intimidating, the good news is that there are some simple measures you can take to prevent them from hindering your next email campaign.

By following the seven steps below, you can increase your rate of delivered emails.

1) Obtain Permission to Send Emails to Recipients

There are two general types of permission in the email landscape: implied permission and express permission.

If you already have a relationship with a customer, a prospect, or a donor, then you have implied permission to send them emails. Express permission, on the other hand, is provided when someone provides you with their email address or proactively subscribes to your newsletter.

By obtaining permission to send emails to recipients, you will reduce spam labeling, improve your delivery rate, and lower the number of complaints you receive.

Make sure your email sign up forms feature clear language and always clearly document the recipient's consent to receive your emails.

2) Personalise Your Emails

"Personalising email subject lines can increase open rates by 50% and lead to 58% higher click-to-open rates, according to data by Yes Lifecycle Marketing...Even though personalised subject lines dramatically improve KPIs, 97.7% of emails sent in Q2 didn't use personalisation in the subject lines, the firm found in its analysis over 7 billion emails." - David Kirkpatrick, Marketing Dive

One of the most effective ways to ensure that your emails are successfully delivered is to personalise the subject line of your emails.

Here are a few tips to help you tailor your email messages to your recipients to help avoid triggering spam filters:

  • Include the recipients' name: Reference the recipient's first name in the email subject line, making sure to use the proper spelling.
  • Consider your recipients' location: Make sure you do not send an email referencing hurricane protection tips to customers in Nevada.
  • Reference recipients' interests: Emails with subject lines about holiday toy sales should be sent only to recipients with children.

3) Include Key Contact Details and Identifiers

It should be easy for recipients to recognise that the emails you are sending are coming from your organisation. Failure to make your emails recognisable can cause your emails to be reported as spam.

Fortunately, you can avoid this pitfall by following these simple tips related to your contact details:

  • Always list your organization's physical address and link to your website.
  • Include your organization's logo and theme colours to help recipients recognise your brand.
  • Refrain from using "no reply" email addresses or those with random numbers and letters in them.

4) Use a Headline Analyser to Craft a Great Email Subject Line

"Designing your headline is a combination of art and science. Art, because your headline should be poetic. You can use poetic devices, such as alliteration and assonance and assonance, for example, to lull readers into taking action...Science, because you should focus on the strength and frequency of your keywords, the length of your title, and other factors relating to the composition of the title." - Medium Blog Hands

Email subject lines are powerful. With 69% of email recipients categorising emails as spam based purely on the subject line, the words you choose for your subject line can determine whether your email will land in recipients' inbox or spam folder.

A well-crafted subject line can also increase your open rate once email messages are received.

One of the most cost-effective ways to create an effective subject line is to use an email subject line grader to assess the impact and appropriateness of your selection.

5) Avoid Attaching Large Files

Attaching a large file to your email campaigns is a surefire way to trigger spam filters. If you wish to direct recipients to a particular page or file, then include a download link to make it easy for readers to access the information.

This strategy also enables you to later track which recipients downloaded the file, which may increase your conversions.

6) Test Your Emails Before Launching an Email Campaign

"Even if your email looks fine, it could still get caught in a spam filter. It is a good idea to test every email before you send it. If it doesn't get delivered, you need to figure out what caused it to get flagged as spam." - Chris Pentago, Business 2 Community.

There is no substitute for sending a few test emails prior to diving into your next email marketing campaign.

Previewing and testing your emails can capture the following errors that may prevent your emails from being delivered or read:

  • Misspelt words and typos that may cause your message to look more like a phishing email
  • Broken links that may trigger a spam filter
  • Images that do not load properly or do not display as intended

7) Provide Recipients with an Unsubscribe Link

In order to avoid triggering spam filters, the link you provide should be clearly visible to the reader. Also, the link should be active for 30-60 days after the date that you send your message.

In addition to bolstering deliverability, including an unsubscribe link can prevent frustration among customers and may end up providing you with valuable information about why some recipients decided to stop receiving your campaigns.

8) Remove Inactive Or Unengaged Users From Your List

An inactive or unengaged email list will definitely affect your email deliverability rates and your credibility.

If your subscribers lose interest in the topics you talk about, they may stop reading your emails, and this drop in open rate will tell email providers that your emails are failing to engage people.

You can easily prevent this from happening. As we spoke about earlier, it is important to provide your email list with an easy way to unsubscribe from your list. However, you could go one step ahead and regularly clean up your list so that only the people who read and engage with your emails stay on your list.

What is the Single Best Way to Improve Your Email Deliverability?

As outlined above, there are many measures you can take to ensure that your emails are received. However, the single best way to improve your email deliverability is to seek the expertise of an expert in the email marketing industry.

As a leading provider of email delivery services, Enginemailer has the tools and expertise to help prevent your emails from going directly into the black hole of emails.

We invite you to contact us to learn how we can help your organisation overcome email delivery challenges.

We look forward to helping you make sure that your next email campaign is a winning one!