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How to improve email deliverability (9 Tips that Work)

Kas Andz

November 30, 2021

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In making a success of their brand, eCommerce retailers should know that email marketing is a crucial element for remaining top-of-mind with their customers.

The reason is simple: Email marketing makes money.

In fact, campaigns that utilize email marketing strategies guarantee an average of $36 ROI for every $1 spent!

Maybe you’ve seen the success of this yourself.

But did you know this is a figure many online retailers don’t see? This is because they often overlook the essential importance of email deliverability.

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Image Credit: Business2Community

Email deliverability is determined by your ability to have emails reach the inbox of your customers. 

Ideally, emails should reach their destination without being flagged as spam or junk items.

On average, your email deliverability rate should be around 95%, with a bounce rate of no higher than 3%.

Not seeing these figures?

Luckily, our KAMG experts have a few actionable tips on how to improve email deliverability. 

Interested to learn more? Read on.

Why is Email Deliverability Important?

With its consistent return on investment, email marketing is a non-negotiable business strategy. 

Therefore, you need to ensure emails actually show up in front of your customers. 

But there are a couple more reasons why to have high email deliverability rates. 

It Means You Are Engaging Your Audience

Email marketing offers you a glimpse from the perspective of your customers, and this is not something to be taken lightly.

From this, you should learn that your audience won’t engage with content that they don’t find meaningful. 

From their point of view, if your emails don’t reflect relevance, then you are violating the permission they feel they have given you in communicating with them. 

You’ve Accepted the Challenge to Stand Out

Did you know: roughly over 3 million emails are sent every second?

Your customer inbox is an intersection of all kinds of business, customer-facing, and personalized emails. Not to mention, spam.

With that in mind, you need to earn your place to land in their inbox—which is another reason relevancy is crucial.

Consider troubleshooting deliverability issues: 

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Martech Zone

9 Tips on How to Improve Email Deliverability

When people think about email deliverability, it is synonymous in their minds to a business’s sender reputation.

All internet service providers (ISP’s) tend to rely on an invisible algorithm, or scoring system, which helps them determine whether an email is being sent from a reputable source. 

The likelihood of your emails ending up in either the inbox, promotions tab, or an unfavorable space like the spam folder, depends on your sender/domain reputation based on this assigned score.

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Snov.io

Naturally, to improve email deliverability, you want to improve your email reputation.

Here are 9 actionable ways in which you can achieve that.

Double Opt-In vs Single Opt-In

To stay in good repute with your customers, you want to be sure your strategy reflects an understanding of permission-based marketing.

For this reason, you want to include a double-opt in feature for your subscribers to ascertain whether they genuinely want to receive communications from you. 

What is the difference between double opt-in and single opt-in subscription? 

With a double opt-in feature, your customer gets an email to confirm their subscription and thus be converted to an email recipient in your list. 

Basically, this stops spammers signing up to your email list when you simply have a subscribe button. 

This is important, since sending emails to spam recipients will make it bounce back and lower your deliverability.

Check the following email that allows Chipotle clients to confirm their subscription.

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Really Good Emails

What makes their verification email so effective is that they include:

  1. links to their menu, 
  2. a store locator, and 
  3. an option to order.

In so doing, they give their potential customers an opportunity to test their service and therefore validate their subscription.

Clean Your Mailing List

This is one of your email deliverability best practices.

It involves targeting people who’ve fallen to the wayside and haven’t purchased from you within a certain period of time.

Of course, this depends on what the sales cycle of your business looks like. 

There’s a way of automating this with Klaviyo, where you will be given a feature to suppress segments in your mailing list

This is one of your powerful email deliverability tools.

You can lose these segments, without losing the email addresses. The only way of getting rid of these profiles is to delete them—which is good when they are inactive.

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Klaviyo

Suppressing segments is also important to not increase the  Klaviyo subscription fee based on how many email contacts you have. 

However, you will still have these contacts available should you wish to revisit them for Facebook ads and retargeting. 

Send to Engaged Segments

Even though you have a mailing list, you may not be sending emails to a really engaged part of that list.

Engaged segments are people who’ve opened, clicked, or made a purchase from you within the last 30 to 90 days.

When you first start, you want to send emails to people who’ve been engaged for 30 days.

After this, you can widen your net. But your open rates will decrease. 

If this occurs to a point where your open rates are under 15 percent, you might want to decrease  sending more emails to your previous engaged segment category.

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Klaviyo

However, you need to understand the importance of keeping open rates unaffected.

When it comes to email marketing, lowered open rates will affect all the other automations you have set up, like abandoned cart emails, welcome flow email, etc.

Thus, when you’re doing campaigns, you should always target the engaged segments and look at your open rates.

NOTE: With the latest iOS 15 update, open rates may not be the best thing to track nowadays. 

However, you can rely on your click-through-rates

Thus, if you see you have a lower CTR, you may want to determine how you boost the numbers again.

Check Your Email Content

When looking at email deliverability best practices, content quality cannot be overlooked.

Consider the following example, highlighting elements that will make an ISP flag this email as spam.

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Yesware

It all comes down to not including “spammy” text in your email.

Did you know there are specific types of content that trigger the spam filter? 

When writing email copy, try to avoid the following:

  • Writing in all caps
  • Using too much punctuation (i.e. overuse of exclamation points)
  • Using red font
  • Overuse of spam words (free, cheap, bargain, $$$, bonus, urgent, don’t wait! and the like.)
  • HTML errors (broken links or pages)
  • Too many images

Above all, you should be taking special care of your subject lines. Would you trust opening any of the following?

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work

Image Credit: Rare Logic

Email subject lines should be one of your first considerations with regards to email deliverability best practices.

When the email service provider receives an email, it checks the subject line and email content for spam-like copy. 

And as mentioned, this could affect your email reputation.

Aside from avoiding the pitfalls mentioned above, do the following when crafting your subject lines: 

  1. Avoid click-bait and false promises. Sure, it might get someone to open the email, but it’ll also lead to frustration and loss of trust. 

This drives people to unsubscribe from your mailing list and report you as spam—a terrific way to kill your sender reputation.

  1. Make the subject line interesting, intriguing, and relevant. As mentioned above, you shouldn’t oversell your content. 

But, you should still make your subject line enticing. 

  1. Keep the sender name. This adds to the reputability of the source the email is sent from.

Check out this video on how to curate email subject lines that could increase open rates.

Email Subject Lines That Work

Check Blacklists

Blacklisting is a stricter block used by ISPs to disable IP addresses from sending emails to them.

If you land on a blacklist, you may want to focus all of your attention on getting off of it. 

You would need to appeal to a blacklisting organization to be removed, and demonstrate better email sending habits afterwards.

Send Consistently

Even though you don’t want to overwhelm your mail recipients with messages, you still want to be front of mind. 

Scheduled mailing will help create expectations with your customers, while random or irregular emails (like exclusively during holidays or anniversaries) will make them question your legitimacy.

Normally, eCommerce stores can think about sending about as many as 3 emails a day.

Newsletters are a good method of staying in touch, as approached by Spotify Design.

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Really Good Emails

Dedicated vs Shared IP

Sending emails on a shared IP address is how many email providers like Klaviyo and ActiveCampaign work. 

The problem with this approach is that you’re sharing your IP address with multiple other businesses and relying on their open rates to be good. 

Obviously, you’d rather want to keep it very tight knit. 

With a dedicated IP address, you are in control, and you can theoretically increase your open rates by another 3 percent!

Klaviyo has a guide on shared vs dedicated domains that might guide you in the decision.

Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

How To Improve Email Deliverability 9 Tips That Work
Image Credit: Really Good Emails

The above example takes it one step further, giving the client the option to stay in touch. 

This feature is a no-brainer, but people want the option to opt out easily

If they don’t, they may feel trapped and be motivated to flag your emails as spam where they at least won’t have to see it. 

Send Good Content

It’s simple: if you have all the bells and whistles to attract someone’s attention, then you better show them something that makes it worth their while.

If you feel your content is one of the things you need to address to improve email deliverability, then our experts at KAMG can help you curate quality content.

We Can Help You Deliver

Want to build a better email reputation through email deliverability best practices?

At KAMG, our email marketing experts will help you to send great content consistently, and make sure your campaigns land with your engaged customers.

Get in touch, and we’ll show you how to improve email deliverability today!

Kas Andz is a multi-award-winning marketing leader, and the founder of KAMG. He is one of the top digital marketing experts in the UK and has helped companies and brands across Europe, North America and Asia to achieve greater revenue and expand sustainably. He also tries to play football when he can but doesn’t succeed as well as he would like.

FAQs

What is the difference between hard bounce and soft bounce in email deliverability?

When your emails experience a hard bounce, it is likely you’ve sent it to an invalid/non-existent email address—giving you hints as to your mailing list hygiene.

With a soft bounce, the reasons may vary. However, it typically occurs if ISPs detect an unexpected increase in your sending volume.

How can I do an email deliverability check?

Look into email marketing tools like GlockApps. They allow you to run inbox tests for your email campaign. 

Other than that, they offer full reports and tips for email deliverability, blacklist monitors, and even offer template editors to cut out risky content.

How can I improve the CTR of my emails?

It’s all about the quality of your copy! 

There are tons of tips on how to guarantee a better click-through rate, but it comes down to writing targeted, personalized, and engaged content with persuasive CTA’s.

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