Friday, 28 July 2017

Email deliverability and how to improve your delivery rates


Email deliverability is about ensuring that your emails get through to your recipients inbox.



As mailbox providers become more and more sophisticated in preventing and blocking unsolicited and potentially harmful spam, there is a challenge for businesses to ensure that reputable bulk email campaigns are distinguished from spam and that their message reaches the customer.

Checking and maintaining your email deliverability is important. 


You spend time creating campaigns and processes, writing content and making your business work around your customers' needs. But there's not much point doing all this if your emails aren't delivered.

This blog shares information from the go-to deliverability man; Ken Driscoll. It covers the four principles of email marketing campaign delivery. You can read about the three ways to measure your email deliverability and finally see our list of ten simple, effective tips to make sure your deliverability is effective.

Email Deliverability Explained


In his book ‘Email Deliverability Explained’, professional email deliverability consultant Ken O’Driscoll has identified 4 key principles that organizations need to adhere to to ensure a successful e-marketing campaign.

1. Deliverability and the four key principles of a successful email marketing campaign 

1) Gain explicit permission – make sure that you have confirmation from your contact that they want to receive your emails before emailing then for the first time, and always provide  the option to switch off or unsubscribe from notifications

2) Maximize engagement –  many mailbox providers base filtering decisions on how recipients react to your emails. If the majority either don’t open, mark as spam or delete without reading then it’s likely that ALL of your emails will be filtered as spam. Therefore always ensure that content and subject headings are going to provide the interest needed for the recipient to open.

3) Maintain your reputation – spam filters place heavy reliance on the reputation of a sender. By analyzing databases for any history of  poor quality emails and interrogating a senders technical set up, mailbox providers will quickly pick up on a poor track record.

4) Comply to technical standards – good senders take account of mailbox operators’ specific guidelines and best practices. If you fall below these then you risk being filtered out.

2. How do we stack up? Measuring your email deliverability


There are three main metrics for providing a high level measure of your email deliverability;

1. Delivery rate; the percentage of emails which were accepted by mailbox providers. Simply calculated by total emails sent minus total bouncebacks and rejections as a percentage of the total emails sent.

2. Complaint rate;  the percentage of complaints (either direct from contacts or via automatic complaints from mailbox providers) in response to your total emails sent

3. Conversion rate; the percentage of recipients who received, read and took desired action as a result of your email – not to be confused with click through rate which simply measures recipients clicking on links within the email

Beyond these metrics, you can also apply more detailed analysis such as open rate, click through rate, inbox placement rate (measuring the percentage of recipients who received the email directly into their inbox - not presorted into bulk or spam folders), and unsubscribe rate (measuring the proportion of contacts opting out of your emails.

3. Ten tips for improving your email deliverability

Work your way through these tips and see where your email deliverability is letting you down. You can read more detail in Ken's book, which is available on Amazon for just a few dollars.


1) Ensure your domain expiry date is more than one year away
2) Check that your website is not listed as being infected with a virus or malware
3) Make sure you have a confirmed opt-in process for newsletter or promotional mailings
4) Use a reputable email validation service for any new email addresses acquired
5) Understand and comply with mailbox providers bulk-sender guidelines
6) Make sure your content is relevant and engaging to recipients
7) Include plain text version of message in HTML emails
8) Ensure all external content links back to your sending domain’s website
9) Handle unsubscribe requests promptly
10) Don’t re-add or add to other lists anyone who has previously unsubscribed.

The harsh reality is that there is no quick fix to achieving a high level of email deliverability, and this article only scratches at the surface of some of the measures that can be taken. However if you take measured steps and keep track of, and apply best current practices then you will see a steady rise in the proportion of emails getting through.

Ken Driscoll, Email Deliverability Explained Amazon $3USD.
Useful blog from Yoast about how to clean up and check your domain




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