Guide to Email Deliverability | Springwood
Email marketing
Email Deliverability

Mastering Email Deliverability: Your Complete Guide

Here’s the checklist for email deliverability in the priority order - domain reputation, infrastructure, and content. The following article covers details about email deliverability and how to improve it.

Mastering Email Deliverability: Your Complete Guide

As more people are moving towards using emails as a communication tool for their marketing and promotional communication, more spam and unwanted emails are being delivered to our inboxes.

Our inbox would have been filled with these spam emails if not for the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) putting more restrictions on direct access for user’s mailboxes.

This article covers the fundamentals of email deliverability, how to improve your email deliverability, and best practices for email marketing.

Email deliverability: What is it?

Inbox deliverability, also known as email deliverability, is a measure of how well your marketing emails are performing in terms of getting delivered to a recipient's inbox.

Email delivery vs email deliverability: Which one to target?

Email delivery and email deliverability are sometimes interchangeably used in the marketing industry. But these two terms are technically very different.

The term email delivery is used when the recipient's mail server acknowledges the email file and sends it, regardless of the folder (social, span, updates, etc.).

Whereas email deliverability is used when the server accepts the file and sends it to the inbox. In other words, email deliverability refers to the ability to successfully deliver emails to recipients' inboxes.

Email marketings

Why is email deliverability important?

As per a recent study from Influencer Marketing Hub shows that just 79.6% of genuine emails make it to their target recipient. This means that out of 20 users, 3 users will not receive your emails, and this becomes a huge loss when you have a user base in billions.

What is an ideal email deliverability rate?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. But in general, it is advised to achieve a deliverability rate between 85%-95% to get the maximum benefits out of your marketing initiatives.

However, the numbers may change depending on the organization. It is always advised to conduct market research to learn how competitors operate, and to evaluate your present email inbox placement rate and key metrics, including engagement rates, to determine what can be done better to get improved results.

Following that, a deliverability benchmark for emails should be established, and the email marketing team should work together to meet it.

How is email deliverability tracked and tested?

Email marketings

You cannot know directly if the email is being sent to the recipient's spam folder or inbox. There is no way the accuracy of email deliverability. But there is work around this bottleneck to check and track.

The process usually starts by tracking whether the email was opened or clicked. The mailing platforms, with built-in analytics, attach a tiny transparent tracking pixel along with the email. The file is of the size 1 px to 1 px, which is literally invisible to the recipients.

This tracking pixel is able to track easily when an email is opened or clicked. It also tracks the device and app with which users have opened the email.

You must be wondering if it's illegal to do that, right?

No, there is no law (yet) against the use of tracking pixels. So, anyone can use it for their marketing campaigns without users’ permission.

Best practices to improve your email deliverability

There are various best practices to improve the email deliverability and we’ll cover it one by one in depth.

Build the right domain reputation

ISPs pay a lot of attention towards the credibility of the sender’s domain. They always run a ‘reputation check’ before sending the mail to the recipients.

  • It is easy to implement and very important
  • Domain reputation takes time and effort to build
It becomes important to build your reputation from the very first marketing campaign -
  1. Sending emails to users who have opted-in: The users are likely to mark your emails as spam if they’ve not explicitly given permission to receive such marketing campaigns. And few spam complaints can significantly reduce the domain reputation. Also, using a purchased mailing list is an absolute no if you’re starting to build your domain reputation.
  2. Make it easy to unsubscribe: Although, all mailing platforms now have a mandatory option to add an unsubscribe button, without which you cannot send the campaign. Make sure to let the users unsubscribe easily from your campaigns to avoid forcing them to hit spam. ISPs keep a lookout for emails that have not been opened in ages, which in turn reduces domain reputation.
  3. Mailing list hygiene by removing bounced emails: Every now and then, it is a good practice to clean your mailing list and remove inactive subscribers. This could lead to bounced emails. It is important to understand what hard and soft bounce means and why removing hard bounce emails are important.

    • Hard bounce means when an email fails to be delivered due to a permanent issue (like, wrong email address). The server does not make any more attempts to complete email delivery.
    • Soft bounce means when an email fails to be delivered due to temporary issues (like, full mailbox). The server will make more attempts to complete email delivery.
  4. Consistent schedule to send emails: ISPs keep a check on the consistency and timing of the emails being sent from you to the recipients. It gets flagged if the frequency of emails have been increased from one a week to thrice a week. Avoid such practices to keep your domain reputation healthy.

Email marketings

Selecting the right mailing infrastructure

Internet service providers implement several email authentication techniques to make sure the sender of the email is genuine. And it is not difficult to pass through these authentication if you’re a genuine sender.

  • Setting up a right infrastructure will require the help of developers team
  • It is fairly easy to implement and a very crucial step while setting up the infrastructure
  1. Authentication with DKIM: DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is used for email authentication. In layman terms, DKIM is a digital signature sent with every email. DKIM includes encoded details of message body, header and sender’s domain information.

    When an incoming server receives an email with DKIM, it decodes the signature with public key and compares it against the DKIM received. A match ensures boosted deliverability. Absence of DKIM affects the email deliverability.
  2. Authentication with SPF: SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is another authentication method. SPF informs an incoming server on which hosts (IP addresses) to allow with given email addresses.
  3. Authentication with DMARC: DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is the combination of DKIM and SPF. It additionally has an extra check called the ‘alignment test’. If any sender fails the check, DMARC sends a detailed report back to the original sender if a legit email fails.

    Any of the above two (DKIM/DPF) is a must to use DMARC. All three of them can be used together as well. It provides additional security from cybercrimes and spam.
  4. Always have a double opt-in: Nowadays, everyone is following double opt-in to ensure the email address is correct as well as you have user consent. A user must confirm their intent by clicking on the email received in the inbox after providing their email address for any reason.
  5. Keep active feedback loops: These are surveys that can help you understand why the users are unsubscribing from your mailing list. Feedbacks like too many emails or never signed up to emails should be taken seriously.
Email marketings

Last but not the least - Crafting targeted content

  • It is extremely easy to implement with proper research
  • It needs time and effort to create the right content for your audience
  • Good content will increase user engagement on your emails
  1. Personalize the content: Users’ interaction with the emails becomes crucial to maintain domain reputation. Thus, sending relevant information to the right audience is of utmost importance.
  2. Use proper branding: It is not necessary for a CEO to send the emails every time. But sending it with a person’s name adds more credibility to the content and doesn’t seem to the user that they’re being spammed by the marketing team.
  3. Always send a welcome message: The welcome message ensures two things - first, the email address is correct and landed in the inbox; and second, it creates a personal touch with ‘thank you’ or ‘welcome’ emails. It’s a good way to inform the users what to expect.
  4. Spammy titles are a NO: If the content is interesting and you have a legit mailing list, then you don’t need click-bait titles. Spam filters are capable of filtering them out.
  5. Segment the users: Not everyone in your mailing list would like to know the new features launched exclusively to support the marketing team in startups. CEOs and CXOs would prefer different content. Thus, segmenting the users and sending them relevant content is important.
  6. Avoid using ‘no-reply’ emails: Replies from the users is a positive sign. It means they’re interacting with your emails. It is important to not use ‘no-reply’ emails and lose on such engaging audiences.

Final Thoughts

Now you must know how email deliverability is different from email delivery. Email deliverability takes time, patience, a lot of testing, and deeper understanding on how the system works. The execution becomes easy after this.

The checklist for email deliverability will always follow the priority order - Reputation, Infrastructure, and Content. With the pointers mentioned above, you can keep your mailing list healthy, send relevant content to the target segment, and engage with customers.

To fulfill your vision of exponential growth and reaching the pinnacle of marketing efforts, Springwood automated marketing services can help you in achieving your vision. With a structured scientific approach, we create a robust and solid foundation of your marketing automation campaigns.

Keywords - email deliverability, email delivery, email marketing, automated marketing

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