Email is one of the most important methods of marketing and customer communication in business today. If nobody reads your emails, then there’s zero chance of them creating the conversions they’re designed for, and any ROI is off the table.

Building beautiful emails

Your marketers, designers and content creators will delve deep into the look, feel, and voice of your messages. They’ll optimize every call to action, using data from previous campaigns to make sure you give your businesses the strongest chances of hitting your target. And then there’s knowing when are the best times in your calendar to present offers, promotions, and your different products to get the best reactions.

But what use is any of that if your emails don’t even reach your customers’ inboxes?

An email that doesn’t get read can’t do its job. And one that doesn’t get delivered, well, you can see where we’re going with this. You’re just wasting your time, effort, and money. We’re going to look at how to guarantee email delivery or get as near to that as you possibly can.

Spammers to blame

Stricter email filters are making delivery harder for genuine senders. Do you know who’s to blame for all of this? Spammers. That’s right.

There are all sorts of statistics flying around depicting how much spam gets sent compared to legitimate email messages—and they all paint the same picture.

Spam email creates the bulk of emails sent every day. The number of spam emails sent is continually growing. Surveys rate the volume of spam at well over half to as many as 85% of all emails sent.

How does email delivery work?

ESPs are trying to protect you from receiving mail you don’t want, but that has resulted in over 20% of all emails sent never making it to the recipient’s mail server.

That’s not the number of emails ending up in the spam or junk folders, nor emails that aren’t opened or read—it’s emails that don’t even make it through the servers’ filters.

And that’s all down to email deliverability.

What is email deliverability?

Email deliverability is how we quantify the chance of your email landing in your recipients’ inboxes. It’s the main reason why emails fail delivery.

To keep spam to a minimum and to protect their customers, Internet and email service providers instigate measures, filters, and tools to recognize the emails that are the most likely offenders and block them.

As the ISP and ESPs get stricter, the spammers become wiser. Sadly, for the genuine email marketer, they’re getting caught up in the battle and are finding more of their messages failing to get through than ever.

Your email deliverability dictates your score on that scale; the higher the number—the better your chances of success.

Why do emails fail to deliver?

There are many reasons your email might fail to arrive at its destination. We’re going to look at a pretty extensive list so you can create a best-practice system to give yourself the best chances possible.

Typically, though, there are few basics areas to take care of before you dive into the more complicated script and server issues.

  • Low email sender score
  • Poor quality email lists
  • Insufficient email management
  • Substandard content

We’re going to take a close look at which strategy will improve email delivery in a minute, but one area, very close to our hearts, is email verification.

The importance of email verification for email deliverability

One of the biggest problems with email deliverability comes from poor quality email addresses and badly managed lists. There are plenty of the major email delivery services that pre-test your lists, and if they don’t score well, they won’t send them.

If you’re managing your own campaigns, a poor quality list is one of the fastest ways to lower your address and domain score, or even blocked.

Bouncer makes sure that doesn’t happen to you. With our software, you’ll be guaranteed a far cleaner email list with none of the addresses that are harmful to your sender score and deliverability.

Ensure email delivery with Bouncer

How to troubleshoot email delivery failures?

Many senders won’t know that their messages aren’t arriving at their intended destinations. That’s why implementing the right tools for the job is so important.

You won’t automatically receive notification of messages that are getting blocked unless you’re running the type of software that provides those metrics.

List verification tools

As we said, checking your email lists for valid and prime addresses is a must. It’s one of the easiest ways to raise and maintain your deliverability score.

Email test tools

As far as the content goes, there are plenty of email checkers online for your campaign messages. They’ll check your email for:

  • Inclusion on spam blacklists
  • Email authentication
  • Content errors and quality
  • Broken links
  • Deliverability to the major providers

The beauty of using email-testing tools is that you can rectify problems before you deliver your campaign. The more issues you resolve, the more emails are going to end up exactly where you need them.

How to ensure email delivery?

Okay, so here we go. Which strategy will improve email deliverability and provide you with the best results?

Purge, clean, or scrub your email lists

Tracking your email lists and keeping them clean is vital—whatever name you use for it. This is a chance to remove inactive addresses and unengaged recipients.

Low open and click rates affect your sender score, so remove inactive addresses or give them an opportunity to re-engage with a ‘renew your preferences’ email.

Lower your bounce rate

High bounce rates damage your sender score. A reliable email checker will let you know exactly which addresses need to go. Users change their email addresses all the time, for all sorts of reasons; expired addresses are one of the biggest causes of bounced emails.

Allow your recipients to clean your list too

It’s no use having an enormous database if it’s not doing its job. You might be proud of having amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, but if only a small percentage of them are engaging with your emails, you’re wasting resources.

Give your recipients an option to remove their address if they’re no longer interested, or to change the frequency of your messages if they haven’t the time to read them all. Give them their best chance to stay interested.

That way, they’ll keep engaging and adding to your positive metrics instead of the negatives.

Check the spam blacklists

Some email tests will let you know which blacklists you feature on (if any). They’ll automatically scan those in their tests for your address.
Even if you’re not a spammer, you can still end up on a blacklist if you don’t manage your campaigns properly.

Removing yourself from a blacklist before sending any more emails is vital, otherwise, you’ll do even more damage to your scores and deliverability.

Use double opt-ins for higher quality lists

Make sure your email addresses are valid before you send to them, and that your subscribers are genuine. Utilize a double opt-in facility to weed out any addresses that aren’t.

Remove complaint emails and check feedback loops

Some services and ESP/ISPs will provide a complaint feedback loop where you can see which email addresses have complained about your messages. A complaint sounds harsh, but it’s simply where your email was marked as spam or junk.

Never buy an email list

Whenever you buy an email list, it’s a huge gamble if the addresses are going to be valid and even more of a risk that they’ll be interested in what you have to say. Building an engaged subscriber list through valid methods is the only way to grow a premium email list.

Authenticate your emails and implement a sender policy framework

The sender policy framework is a technique used to prevent spammers from sending emails using your email address. It’s a big topic, but basically, SPF uses a specific DNS record to ensure which IP addresses are authorized to send your emails.

Segment your emails for delivery

If your lists are growing, then segmenting them into less suspect delivery numbers is a sensible option.

Also, by choosing which emails are relevant to your customers, you can boost your ROI by marketing to already engaged audiences, instead of blanket covering your entire list.

Build and maintain your sender reputation

Find out—using the many online tools available—just what your sender reputation looks like. If it’s weak, find out why.

On the technical side, methods to boost your reputation include authenticating your emails using Sender Policy Framework, DomainKeys Identified Mail, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance.

Fix low-scoring content

  • Lose the spammy subject lines
  • Check for broken links
  • Make sure you have a healthy image to text ratio
  • Engage your audience with valid personalization
  • Avoid attachments – ESPs will think they’re malware
  • Check for spam triggers – including all the typical phrases
  • Use clean HTML code optimized for email delivery
  • Spell and grammar check your content
  • Send using a trustworthy and branded sender name

Build your mass email lists slowly

Suddenly sending huge email campaigns will look suspect to ESP and ISPs. It’s what the spammers do, and it raises alarm with the spam-bots.

If your subscriber list is snowballing, keep a check that your delivery numbers don’t grow at a rate that triggers a problem.
The same goes for a new email address.

Build your list number slowly, so you don’t crash your deliverability score before you even get off the ground.

Find your optimum schedule and delivery frequency

An erratic delivery schedule can lower a sender score, so avoid IP rejection with a steady and regular schedule.

You should examine your delivery frequency too, as you don’t want to burn out your subscribers by sending too many messages too often or lose their interest by not sending regularly enough.

Finding the perfect balance is down to your message content and your customers’ interest.

Ensure email delivery, verify your email list!