The Ultimate Guide to Increase Your Email Deliverability
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Regardless of whether you work in sales or marketing, email deliverability has always been a critical performance concern. If your email doesn’t reach the inbox, it’s unlikely that your recipients will ever see it.
Fortunately, there are methods, tools, and hacks to improve your deliverability and ensure that your messages reach their destination!
In this post, we will explore what email deliverability is and how it can be valuable for your business. Then, we’ll give you free concrete tips & hacks to optimize your deliverability rate and increase your sales performance!
What is Email Deliverability?
Email deliverability is the ability for your email to get from your server to the recipient’s inbox. It’s an important metric for both sales and marketing teams, as it dictates whether or not your message will be seen by your leads.
What are the criteria for email deliverability?
When you send an email, the success of that email can be determined by several factors.
- The reputation of your sender domain (i.e., how much spam has been sent from it in the past)
- How often recipients interact with messages sent from that domain
- Whether recipients have marked emails from that domain as spam before
- Delivery settings set up by the recipient’s ISP or mail provider
- Whether the recipients’ inboxes are already full or not
- The image-to-text ratio
You should also notice that email servers will check if you’re domain respect some security certification:
- SPF: Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentification method that allows for the verification of a claim that a mail has come from a specific domain, during the process of mail delivery. This is done by checking if the IP address submitting the claimed mail is authorized by that domain’s administrators.
- DMARC: DMARC allows mail administrators to stop spoofing attacks, where hackers & other attackers falsify the “From” address on an email. This makes it seem like the message is coming from a different, usually more reputable source.
- DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) aids in the prevention of spoofing for any messages sent from your domain by attaching an encrypted signature to the header of all outgoing messages.
- MX Records: The Mail Exchanger Record (MX Recor) indicates which mail server is responsible for receiving email messages on behalf of a domain name.
If you’re using Gmail, you can set this up directly through Google Tool Box, as described below:
There are four ways to verify the authenticity of your email. The better you set up these elements, the more likely another server is to trust you, which in turn enhances your deliverability.
Why email deliverability has been created?
Historically, email deliverability has been created to protect users from spam, because. As such, there are algorithms in place that analyze each message you send to make sure it is not classified as spam.
Depending on the factors above, your emails may be blocked by the recipient’s server or sent directly to their inbox.
Nowadays, companies are sending much more marketing and sales emails than they used to. This means that the amount of messages sent from a given domain has increased, and so have the rules to get a green signal from your recipient mail server!
Regarding this, email deliverability is much more important than ever, as it can make or break your business’ success, and that’s what we’re going to talk about in the next part of this post.
If you’re using LaGrowthMachine, you’ll know exactly how many emails you sent, how many got opened, and how many got replied to in real time.
It’s a great way to automate your sales emails to a large audience while keeping an eye on deliverability.
How Can Email Deliverability Benefit Your Business?
To fully understand the concept behind this, here’s a reminder of how things go when sending an email:
1. You compose your email and hit the “send” button;
2. Your message is sent to an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server, which transfers it to the recipient’s mail server;
3. The recipient’s mail server receives the message, then checks it against various criteria (we’re going to focus on this part later in this post);
4. Finally, either the message is delivered to their inbox or sent to their spam folder. In this last case, we call them soft or hard bounces.
The success rate of this process is determined by your email deliverability rate:
- If all goes well, your emails will reach their destination and be opened by recipients.
- On the other hand, if something goes wrong along the way, you can expect lower delivery rates and fewer conversions.
If you’re working in sales or marketing, you should already be aware of all the benefits of an optimized email deliverability rate. But let’s illustrate with 2 examples:
- You’re working as a growth marketer and you want to send a coupon to 1280 leads that left your website while in the middle of a stage in your conversion funnel. Let’s say you add a hefty and unbalanced image-to-text ratio, then your deliverability rate is only at 52% and you’ll miss 48% of them.
- You’re working as a sales manager and you want to send B2B cold emails to hundreds of leads. Your image-to-text ratio is good, but you didn’t check your B2B email leads database and there are plenty of catch-all emails that decrease your deliverability rates to 72%. You’ll miss 28% of them… unless you think multichannel!
To make sure you get all the benefits of deliverability, a good rate allows you to:
- Reach more leads when sending prospecting emails;
- Get more conversions;
- Increase your ROI by reducing the number of emails you have to send;
- Save time and money on email marketing campaigns.
Getting a clean domain reputation to optimize your email deliverability can takes a bit of time. At LaGrowthMachine, we’ve made a lot of effort to build a neat solution that allows you to maximize your deliverability.
LaGrowthMachine will send emails on your behalf via your Gsuite/Gmail account. But if some technical parameters are not set up correctly, most of your emails will end up in spam.
If you’re having any doubts about this, you can ask for a technical set review from our support team!
Otherwise, we’re going to give you several tips to ensure you’re deliverability rate remains high and stable.
How to check on your email deliverability?
For all the reasons we explained just above, measuring and monitoring your deliverability should be one of your main areas of concern.
To understand how your emails are performing, there are three different methods you can use:
- Manual reporting: Manual reporting is the most straightforward method, and consists in monitoring email open rates, click-throughs, or other statistics to determine email performance. A long and not-so-accurate way to do it, though.
- Deliverability features of your favorite campaign tool: If your using a marketing or sales solution, some of them include live reporting features and display data such as email open rates and/or email deliverability. If you’re using LaGrowthMachine, you’ll get all of this information in a very detailed manner.
- Email deliverability tracking tools: This last solution allows you to monitor pretty easily your deliverability rate over time. You can plug these tools into your sales or marketing software to track the performance of your campaigns and analyze the data, recognizing potential issues, and improving your score.
We don’t recommend that you track your email deliverability manually as it’s very long and very time-consuming.
The second or third solutions are good ones, though, with their own pros and cons. To choose between them, you’ll need to consider the cost of each tool, compare the features that they provide, and decide which one better fits your needs.
What is a good email deliverability rate?
That’s the million-dollar question.
Currently, marketing studies are giving us an average deliverability rate of about 80%, in all industries combined.
80% is not a good deliverability rate, though.
This means that out of 1000 emails sent, 950 should hit the inboxes while 50 will end up in spam folders, or will never reach their destination at all.
One of the main goals for any marketer is to have their emails delivered to 100% of subscribers. However, this is a difficult goal to achieve. A more reasonable goal would be to achieve:
- A 2 – 3% maximum bounce rate – which has a huge impact on your deliverability.
- A 93% or higher delivery rate is generally considered to be good on behalf of a mass email service provider.
- A 1% maximum spam rate.
Furthermore, the platform you use for email correspondence affects your emails’ deliverability. All providers have varied rates, but typically they range from 85 to 88%.
If you’re using LaGrowthMachine for your automated sales email sequences respecting our deliverability guidelines (regarding custom domain tracking, SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and MX Records), you should be able to deliver at least 95% of your emails.
How to improve your email deliverability?
At the beginning of this post, we provided some of the most crucial metrics that affect your email deliverability and thus, your overall performance when using emails to reach new prospects.
Now, we will go further into this topic.
To improve your email deliverability, here’s a list of the 10 best practices you should apply when sending massive emails campaigns:
- Allocate IP addresses correctly
- Include a preference center
- Clean up your email recipient database
- Careful with Spam Traps
- Properly warm up your email address
- Optimize your subject line
- Measure your Image / Text ratio
- Set up an Opt-in process
- Measure your sender reputation
- Stick to a consistent send schedule
We’re going to go further on each one of these methods, so you’ll know exactly what to do to improve your deliverability rate at the end of this post!
Method 1: Allocate IP addresses correctly
ISP (Internet Service Providers) are very protective over their customers and the emails they receive, keeping security as a priority! This goes through IP reputation.
Essentially, you have to make sure both the ISPs and your recipients are happy if you want to improve your email deliverability. However, making your recipient’s content will please the former as well.
This is because ISPs prioritize end-user satisfaction and so long as they’re getting positive feedback about emails they receive, then jurisdictions like these will keep placing said emails in the inbox instead of filtering them out.
How do you tell ISP filters that your IP is legitimate?
By starting any email campaign by sending small batches of emails to addresses of people you know are engaged, as these messages are received and opened, your IP will start to build trust with the ISP.
Then, slowly increase the number until you hit your maximum volume.
Method 2: Include a preference center
A preference center is usually placed at the bottom of your emails and allows recipients to control how often they get emails, what topics they are interested in, and how much information they provide.
Essentially, this will help your recipients better filter the emails they get from you and keep them engaged with what’s important.
By offering a preference center to your email recipients, they can regulate how often they hear from you.
Not only does this empower them, but it also stops them from unsubscribing because they’re unhappy with the frequency. A happy subscriber is an engaged one – and ISPs take notice of that!
Method 3: Clean up your email recipient database
This is maybe the most important deliverability factor of this list.
Providing a clear and easy way for users to unsubscribe from your emails helps automate the process, but it’s also important to regularly scrub your list so that it only includes people who engage with your emails.
If you’re using LaGrowthMachine, you can set this up pretty quickly:
The longer you keep people on your email list who are inactive and unengaged, the more you risk damaging your reputation and deliverability rates.
To do so, you need to regularly look up your bounce emails, spam emails, and emails that never get opened, and clean up your base.
Method 4: Careful with Spam Traps
Spam traps are email addresses implemented by ISPs and organizations to catch spammers who send unsolicited emails. If a sender sends an email to a spam trap, they’re immediately put on a deny list.
It’s very difficult to get off a deny list, so it’s best not to end up one in the first place.
Sales and marketers can avoid spam traps by keeping their lists of engaged users clean and never purchasing an email list under any circumstances, as they’re often containing crappy emails…
Method 5: Optimize your subject line
Not only for deliverability, but you should also take care of it for your email click & open rates.
The subject lines of your emails are one of the most important things to get right. You want to make sure that users will open your emails, and although spam filters have gotten better, it’s still wise to avoid using common spam phrases.
The length of your subject line is also important.
Here’s the data we’re observing at LaGrowthMachine:
Having an optimized subject line for length, clarity, and accuracy will result in more people opening your emails.
Here are some free examples for you to use:
- Example 1: “Get 10% off your next purchase!”
- Example 2: “Partnership LaGrowthMachine <> Client”
- Example 3: “Eric x Sandra: link building opportunity”
Method 6: Measure your Image / Text ratio
Another key factor for deliverability is the images you use in your emails.
This won’t matter if you’re sending B2B sales email, using LaGrowthMachine for example, as it is written text 99% of the time:
Having too many images can be an indication of a spam message, so it’s important to keep your image-to-text ratio as low as possible. Aim for around 70/30 – no more than 30% of your email should be made up of images and HTML.
By taking this element into account, you’re making sure that ISPs have less reason to flag your emails as spam.
Method 7: Set up a double opt-in process
Single opt-in, where the user merely has to check a box or leave a pre-checked box alone to start receiving emails, is commonly used since it’s easy and foolproof. However, this can lead to an influx of spam complaints.
Too many spam complaints can ruin your good standing with ISPs and cause them to block your sending servers.
Double opt-in is the most reliable defense against spam complaints. To do this, send a confirmation email to new subscribers asking them to validate their address and give their consent. (Keep in mind that double opt-in is now required in some European countries with GDPR!).
Method 8: Stick to a consistent send schedule
This one is a bit less important, but if you want to optimize your deliverability 100%, you should try to stick to it as well.
If you want to maintain a high sender score and avoid IP rejection, stay on a consistent email-sending schedule.
Randomly spacing out your emails causes broadcasting spikes that can be harmful to your sender reputation.
This is also important to maintain a good open rate and engagement rate. The more consistent your email sending is, the more regular you’ll become in your readers’ inboxes.
Method 9: Measure your sender reputation
One of the main reasons why your emails are not being delivered is due to a low sender score.
Sender Score is produced by Return Path and takes into account various email metrics such as unsubscribes and spam reports when assigning a numerical value to every outgoing mail server.
In order to reduce the number of undelivered messages, ISPs automatically reject any emails that have a score below a certain threshold.
If you want to check on your sender score, you can visit this website: https://senderscore.org/get-your-score/
Method 10: Use an automation tool!
Sales or Marketing automation tools provide you with very accurate features when it comes to deliverability.
If you want to make sure that every single email sent out is well-delivered, then an automation tool like LaGrowthMachine can help you do just that!
LaGrowthMachine includes a variety of features and guidelines that will help maintain and improve your sender reputation, such as setting up SPF and DMARC, customize your email domain, etc…
This way, we’re able to achieve very high deliverability rates, as you can see in the screen capture below:
And if you’re feeling a bit drained about it, you can always ask for advice or a campaign review from our support team.