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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Heppell

Is Your Email Deliverability Strategy Working? 7 Key Steps to Ensure Success

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience. In fact, email remains a powerful and cost-effective tool. However, low email delivery rates can be frustrating. If you’ve ever sent out an email blast only to find that half of your recipients never received it, you’re not alone.

The problem lies in deliverability—the art of ensuring your emails land in the right place. Despite being a primary communication channel, email newsletters often get caught in spam filters or end up buried in users’ spam folders. The algorithms governing inbox placement evolve rapidly, making it challenging for marketers to keep up.

Here’s the catch: Past success doesn’t guarantee future deliverability. Even if you were a deliverability wizard five years ago, staying effective requires ongoing effort. Approximately 20% of emails either remain undelivered or find their way to the dreaded spam folder.

So, how can you improve your chances? Follow these best practices to avoid deliverability pitfalls.

Why Email Deliverability Matters?

Email deliverability is crucial for email marketers due to its high return on investment (ROI) compared to other digital marketing channels. Litmus reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing, $42 is generated in return. Kickbox listed several reason as to why improving email deliverability matters:

  1. Foundation for Email ROI: Marketers need their emails to land in recipients' inboxes to achieve higher opens, clicks, and conversions. Without good email deliverability, engagement goals cannot be met.

  2. Avoiding Wasted Investment: Sending emails that end up in spam folders or being blocked leads to wasted time, effort, and potential revenue loss. It also incurs indirect costs such as time spent resolving issues, increased customer complaints, and the potential need to hire expensive consultants.

  3. Creating a Virtuous Cycle: Email providers now prioritize recipient engagement, both positive and negative. By focusing on creating engaging content and following industry best practices, marketers can build a loyal audience, improve metrics, and ultimately increase ROI.

  4. Distinguishing Legitimate Senders: With the overwhelming amount of spam and malicious emails received daily, it's crucial for legitimate senders to stand out. Following best practices helps establish trust with mailbox providers, ensuring that emails reach engaged recipients and avoid being marked as spam.

An email that is being delivered.

7 Practical Steps to Improve Your Email Deliverability

Here are practical steps to enhance your email deliverability:

  1. Use Double Opt-in to Collect Quality Addresses

  2. Manage Sender Reputation

  3. Maintain a Regular Sending Schedule

  4. Personalize and Segment

  5. Avoid Spam Traps

  6. Authenticate your Email Domain

  7. Include easy unsubscribe options

  1. Use Double Opt-in to Collect Quality Addresses

To collect quality email addresses, use double opt-in, ensuring that subscribers genuinely want to receive your emails and have valid addresses. This method involves prompting users to verify their email after signing up, confirming their interest in your content. Those who complete this process are more engaged and likely to interact with your emails. With double opt-in, you're guaranteed a list of individuals genuinely interested in your company, increasing open rates and engagement while maintaining deliverability. 

While single opt-in may seem convenient, it risks spam complaints and potential ISP blocking, making double opt-in the preferred choice, especially in regions like parts of Europe where it's mandatory to combat spam and respect recipients' preferences.

2. Manage Sender Reputation

To safeguard your sender reputation, understand that email clients assess trustworthiness to determine inbox placement, which significantly affects email delivery. A poor sender reputation leads to fewer emails reaching subscribers, impacting conversion rates negatively. Key factors influencing sender reputation include email engagement and list hygiene:

  • List Engagement: This refers to how subscribers interact with your emails, with positive signals including actions like opening, clicking links, and forwarding, while negative signals involve deleting emails or marking them as spam.

  • List Hygiene: It pertains to maintaining a clean and updated email list by regularly removing incorrect addresses and unengaged subscribers. Eliminate three types of problematic email addresses: unknown users, recycled spam traps, and pristine spam traps, as they harm sender reputation and decrease email deliverability.

To mitigate risks, avoid purchasing or renting email lists and ensure opt-ins are delivered to recipients' inboxes after sign-up. Poor email acquisition practices can lead to legal violations, increased spam complaints, and blacklistings, ultimately damaging sender reputation and email deliverability.

3. Maintain a Regular Sending Schedule

Improving email deliverability hinges greatly on maintaining a consistent sending schedule. Email service providers closely monitor the regularity of your email campaigns, as abrupt increases in sending, known as sending spikes, can trigger spam filters and harm your sender reputation. The timing and frequency of your emails should align with industry best practices and your audience's preferences to maximize engagement. 

Bombarding them with too many emails, especially at inconvenient times, can lead to fatigue and unsubscribes. To maintain engagement and retention, it's crucial to send emails at an appropriate frequency, starting with one per week and gradually scaling up while ensuring each message provides genuine value. Striking this balance ensures that subscribers remain engaged with your content and less likely to opt out of your mailing list.

4. Personalize and Segment

To enhance email deliverability and engagement, personalization and segmentation are key strategies. Personalizing emails by addressing recipients by name, acknowledging their pain points, and offering tailored solutions can significantly increase open rates and responses. Personalized emails witness a 5-10% higher open rate compared to generic messages. While it requires extra effort, personalized emails are less likely to be filtered as spam and more likely to yield positive results. Utilizing tools like Saleshandy can automate personalization, streamlining the process for improved efficiency.

Segmenting your email list based on demographics, geography, behavior, buyer's journey, and customer lifecycle stage ensures that content remains relevant and resonates with recipients. By delivering targeted content, you increase the chances of engagement and maintain a positive sender reputation.

5. Avoid Spam Traps

Spam traps are clever tools used by ISPs and anti-spam groups to catch spammers in the act. They resemble regular email addresses and are often disguised within outdated or abandoned accounts. Falling into a spam trap can lead to severe consequences, including being blacklisted and having your IP address flagged for spamming. It's crucial to avoid purchasing email lists, as they may contain spam traps that could ruin your email deliverability.

To prevent falling victim to spam traps, consider using email validation tools to verify your subscriber list. Additionally, be cautious of spam trigger words and phrases that can activate spam filters and divert your emails straight to the junk folder. These trigger words include urgent calls to action like "Act immediately" or exaggerated phrases like "100% FREE." Avoid using characters like ", >, !," writing in all caps, and employing symbols or exaggerated numbers in your subject lines to improve your email deliverability and avoid getting trapped in the spam folder.

6. Authenticate your Email Domain

To ensure your emails reach recipients' inboxes and avoid spam filters, it's crucial to authenticate your sender domain through methods like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These authentication protocols signal to email servers that your domain is legitimate and not fraudulent, thereby increasing the likelihood of your emails landing in the inbox rather than the spam folder.

SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, verifies that incoming emails are from authorized and legitimate senders, preventing email spoofing. DKIM, or DomainKeys Identified Mail, adds a digital signature to email headers, allowing recipients to verify the email's authenticity. DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, combines SPF and DKIM to authenticate emails and block fraudulent messages.

By authenticating your email domain using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, you ensure that your emails are delivered reliably and securely, minimizing the risk of being flagged as spam or fraudulent.

7. Include easy unsubscribe options

To maintain high email deliverability and minimize spam complaints, it's essential to prioritize unsubscribe options in your email campaigns. Despite common concerns, offering prominent and easily accessible unsubscribe links proves beneficial in the long run. Research shows that approximately 50% of subscribers resort to marking emails as spam due to difficulties in unsubscribing. Therefore, emails should be designed with visible unsubscribe options, accompanied by confirmation emails upon unsubscribing to ensure transparency and gather valuable feedback.

Providing a single-link unsubscribe option streamlines the process for recipients, reducing frustration and potential spam complaints. Including an unsubscribe link in the email footer or prominently displayed within the content facilitates opt-out requests and maintains positive engagement rates. By prioritizing user opt-out mechanisms, businesses uphold email deliverability standards and mitigate the risk of negative repercussions associated with high spam complaint rates.

Final Thought

Improving email deliverability is crucial for any successful email marketing campaign. Following best practices ensures that your emails make it to the inbox rather than getting lost in spam folders. It's essential to stick to these practices and regularly test your campaigns to maintain a positive email reputation and increase deliverability over time. With email algorithms constantly evolving, staying informed about the latest strategies is key to adapting to changes and ensuring your emails reach their intended recipients.

Monitoring delivery results and promptly addressing any issues that arise is vital for effective email management. At Starchelle Communications, we offer the expertise and support needed to enhance your email delivery rates. Don't hesitate to reach out to our team for specialized advice and assistance in optimizing your email campaigns.


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