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Understanding Email Deliverability: A Detailed Guide


Email marketing aims to successfully deliver emails right to the primary inbox of the recipients, otherwise known as email deliverability. However, it isn’t just about writing emails, hitting “send,” and waiting for your emails to reach your subscribers. There are factors you need to consider if you want a high email deliverability rate. 

We have covered the basics of email deliverability in this article to help you get started with your email marketing campaigns. So, read away and take notes. 

Relevant email marketing statistics. Source: FinancesOnline

Key Takeaways

  • Email deliverability is crucial for the success of your email marketing efforts.
  • Email deliverability ensures your emails reach recipients’ inboxes instead of being flagged as spam or blocked.
  • Managing email deliverability results in higher open rates and engagement.

What is The Definition of Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability refers to the ability of your emails to successfully reach your recipients’ inboxes without being filtered out as spam or blocked by email servers. Several factors influence email deliverability, including the quality of your email list, the content and design of your emails, your sending practices, and the reputation of your email domain and IP address.

High deliverability means that many of your emails are reaching the inbox. In contrast, low deliverability indicates that many of your emails are being delivered to spam folders or not delivered at all. You need to consider multiple factors to improve your email deliverability and enhance the chances of your emails reaching your recipients’ inboxes and hitting your desired email marketing goals and objectives. 

Understanding what is email deliverability enables you to devise an effective email marketing campaign and strategy. 

Why is Email Deliverability Important?

The deliverability of your email is among the most crucial aspects of your email marketing campaign. as it directly impacts the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. When your emails have high deliverability rates, they are more likely to reach your intended audience, increasing the chances of engagement, conversions, and overall success of your campaigns

In addition, high deliverability helps maintain a positive sender reputation, which is essential for building trust with both your email service providers and recipients.

On the other hand, low deliverability can lead to your emails being marked as spam or not delivered at all, resulting in wasted resources, reduced engagement, and damage to your brand’s reputation. By prioritizing email deliverability and implementing best practices, such as using opt-in lists, creating relevant content, and adhering to email regulations, you can maximize the impact of your email marketing efforts and achieve better results.

How Do You Test Email Deliverability?

Learning how to check email deliverability is crucial to ensure that your emails reach your audience’s inboxes effectively. A great way to test email deliverability is through email deliverability testing tools and services. These tools simulate real-world email-sending scenarios and provide insights into how your emails are received by different email providers, whether or not the emails are marked as spam. It also provides insights on how they perform in terms of inbox placement.

Another method is to conduct manual email deliverability testing by sending test emails to various email accounts with different email providers and checking the delivery rates, spam folder placement, and overall appearance of your emails. Additionally, you can use email authentication protocols such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to verify your email domain’s legitimacy and improve deliverability.

Regularly monitoring your email deliverability metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and spam complaints, is also essential to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments to optimize your email campaigns for better deliverability. You can easily monitor your metrics using an email marketing tool. Read more about this kind of tool in our MailerLite review

How Do You Improve Email Deliverability?

Aside from testing your email deliverability, your email marketing campaigns and efforts can benefit much from improving your email deliverability rate. Improving your email deliverability involves several key strategies and best practices that you can implement to increase the chances of your emails reaching your audience’s inboxes and avoiding being marked as spam.

Here are some great ways on how to improve your email deliverability:

Maintain a Clean Email List

A clean email list ensures your emails are sent to the right recipients. You can regularly clean your email list by removing inactive or invalid email addresses and using double opt-in methods to ensure subscribers genuinely want to receive your emails.

Create Quality Content

Content is at the heart of every marketing strategy. Hence, craft engaging and relevant content that provides value to your subscribers so they will often open your emails, bringing you to the forefront. Furthermore, do away with “spammy” language, excessive punctuation, or misleading subject lines.

Authenticate Your Emails

Implement email authentication protocols such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to verify your domain’s legitimacy and protect against spoofing and phishing.

Use a Consistent Sending Schedule

weekly planner
Send emails on a consistent schedule to develop anticipation.

Sending mail on a consistent schedule establishes a positive sending reputation. This also allows your recipients to anticipate your emails at a certain period. It’s best to avoid sudden spikes or random sending patterns, as they can trigger spam filters.

Maintain a consistent schedule through an email marketing tool with a scheduler. Check out one of our favorite tools in our Ongage review

Optimize Email Design

Your recipients access their emails via different devices, although statistics show that most of them use their phones to check emails. Ensuring that your emails are mobile-responsive, visually appealing, and easy to read makes it more convenient for your recipients, increasing the possibility of them engaging with your emails.  

Manage Complaints and Stay Compliant with Regulations

The law forces you to provide your subscribers a way to stop receiving emails from you. So, familiarize yourself with and adhere to email marketing regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act or GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Then, provide clear unsubscribe options and honor unsubscribe requests promptly.

Additionally, managing customer complaints effectively can help your brand maintain a positive reputation.

What Affects Your Email Deliverability Rate?

Several factors can significantly affect your email deliverability rate, determining whether your emails successfully land in your audience’s inboxes or get flagged as spam or blocked by email servers. 

First and foremost, the quality of your email list plays a crucial role; having a clean, engaged list with valid and active email addresses increases the likelihood of higher deliverability rates. It’s important to avoid purchasing email lists or using outdated contacts, as these practices can negatively impact deliverability.

Another critical factor is your sender reputation, which is assessed based on various metrics like email engagement rates (opens, clicks, replies), spam complaint rates, bounce rates, and overall sending behavior. Maintaining a positive sender reputation is essential for improved deliverability. Moreover, emails with relevant, valuable, and engaging content are more likely to reach the inbox. In contrast, those with spammy language, misleading subject lines, or excessive promotional content may be filtered out.

Recipient engagement is also a key factor; low engagement rates, such as low open or click-through rates, can signal to email service providers that your emails may not be relevant or desired by recipients, potentially leading to lower deliverability over time. So, you must provide your recipients with quality content and respect them by maintaining a positive tone that enables you to boost your engagement rates. 

Regularly monitoring and optimizing your email campaigns based on the mentioned factors can help you achieve better email deliverability rates and maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

What Are Email Deliverability Test Tools?

Email deliverability test tools are software applications or online services designed to help email marketers assess and improve the likelihood of their emails reaching recipients’ inboxes rather than being filtered out as spam. These tools typically offer a range of features and functionalities to evaluate various aspects of email deliverability.

Some standard features found in email deliverability test tools include:

Inbox Placement Testing

These tools simulate the delivery of your emails to different email providers (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook) to determine whether they land in the inbox, spam, or junk folder or are blocked entirely. This testing provides insights into how your emails perform across various email platforms, helping you improve your strategies. 

Spam Filter Testing

hand holding a phone
Improve email deliverability to ditch spam.

Email deliverability test tools often analyze your email content and structure to identify potential triggers that could cause your emails to be flagged as spam. They provide feedback and recommendations on optimizing your content to reduce the likelihood of being marked as spam and delivering your emails to your recipient’s primary inbox.

Authentication Checks

These tools verify that your email authentication protocols, such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance), are set up and configured correctly. Ensuring proper authentication can improve deliverability and protect against spoofing and phishing attacks.

Blacklist Monitoring

Some email deliverability test tools monitor public and private email blacklists to check if your domain or IP address is listed. Being on a blacklist can significantly impact deliverability, so timely detection and resolution are crucial.

Delivery Speed Testing

These tools assess the speed at which your emails are delivered and flag any potential issues that affect delivery rates. They may also recommend optimizing delivery times based on recipient behavior and preferences.

Email Client Rendering

Several email deliverability tools offer email client rendering previews to show how your emails appear across different email clients, devices, and screen sizes. This helps ensure your emails are visually appealing and functional for all recipients.

Reporting and Analytics

influencer analytics
Will your influencer marketing efforts attain their goals without checking relevant analytics? Hardly so.

Many email deliverability test tools provide comprehensive reports and analytics, including metrics like delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and spam complaint rates. These insights help you track performance, identify areas for improvement, and measure the impact of optimizations over time.

FAQs on Email Deliverability

Aside from everything we have tackled above, the following are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning email deliverability:

How can I monitor my email deliverability?

You can monitor email deliverability by tracking key metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, spam complaint rates, and sender reputation. Use email analytics tools provided by email service providers or specialized deliverability monitoring services.

What should I do if my emails are marked as spam?

If your emails are frequently marked as spam, review your sending practices, content quality, authentication setup, and list hygiene. Make necessary optimizations, monitor engagement metrics, manage complaints effectively, and consider seeking assistance from email deliverability consultants if needed.

How do I handle bounces and unsubscribe requests?

You can handle bounces by regularly cleaning your email list, removing invalid addresses, and investigating the reasons for bounces. Honor unsubscribe requests promptly, provide clear opt-out options, and ensure compliance with unsubscribe regulations (e.g., CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR).

What should I do if I suspect my emails are being blocked or filtered?

If you suspect that your emails are being blocked or filtered, investigate the potential reasons, such as blacklisting, poor sender reputation, spam triggers in your content, or technical issues with email authentication. Take actions based on the identified issues and monitor the impact on deliverability.

What are some common mistakes that can impact email deliverability?

Mistakes are inevitable, but avoiding them can save you from many troubles.

Common mistakes to avoid that can impact email deliverability include purchasing email lists, sending unsolicited emails (spam), neglecting list hygiene and engagement metrics, using misleading subject lines or deceptive content, ignoring email authentication protocols, and not complying with email regulations.

How can I stay updated with changes in email deliverability best practices?

Stay updated with changes in email deliverability best practices by following industry blogs, newsletters, and forums related to email marketing and deliverability, attending webinars or conferences, networking with other email marketers, and regularly reviewing updates from email service providers and regulatory bodies.

Learn more about digital marketing in this “High Ticket Digital Marketing: 10 Strategies to Boost ROI and Convert Leads” article.

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