Email Deliverability: Why It Matters and How to Boost It

email deliverability - why it matters and how to boost it
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By Jess Dixon

Are you following all the rules of good email marketing but not seeing the return you’d like? Perhaps you’re close to concluding that 

If this sounds familiar, don’t give up yet. According to Salescycle, 73% of marketers rate the return on investment (ROI) of email marketing as either “excellent” or “good”. That’s higher than the score for any other marketing channel. In other words, you need to get email marketing right. 

If you’re having trouble getting that high ROI, it’s possible that your email deliverability is at fault. But what is email deliverability and how can you improve it? Read on to find out. 

What is email deliverability? 

Email deliverability simply refers to your ability to deliver emails to people’s inboxes. Various factors can get in the way of your subscribers receiving your emails – soft bounces (also known as temporary delivery errors,) invalid email addresses, and spam filters are just a few of the most common. 

Before you go any further, check your Sender Score. You’ll get a number between 0 and 100. Anything above 90 is a good score, while anything lower indicates that you have room to improve your deliverability. 

Let’s look at five strategies to help you do exactly that. 

Focus on engagement

People might be receiving your emails, but how are they responding to them? Email engagements, such as open rate and clicks, has a direct impact on your deliverability score.

Therefore, you’ll be well served by focusing on increasing engagement with your marketing emails. After all, they are no use if they languish, ignored, in people’s inboxes. 

The first step to increasing engagement is to segment your email list. Are you sending the same emails to everyone? Stop doing that right now. Targeted email communications aimed at specific customer groups will increase relevance and make people much more likely to engage. 

How you segment your list depends on what makes sense for you. Demographic data (such as age and gender,) purchase history, and geographical location are all options you might wish to consider. 

You can also increase engagement by personalizing your emails. 82% of marketers saw improved email open rates when those emails used the subscriber’s name or other personalized element. 

As your engagement rate increases, so too will your deliverability score. 

Clean up your email list

Old, incorrect, or inactive email addresses are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to a high bounce rate (which leads to a low deliverability score.) What to do? Make sure you clean up your email list regularly! 

You can do this easily using one of the many affordable email verification solutions that are available, such as Voila Norbert or Find Emails. All you need to do is upload your list and then wait while the tool works its magic. Once it’s ready, you can download your cleaned up data, safe in the knowledge you’ll only be emailing addresses that actually exist. 

Use the double opt-in system

When people opt in to your email list, what happens next? If you’re just adding them to the list and emailing them straight away, you’re missing a critical step. Though a single step opt-in process is simpler, it tends to lead to a higher number of bouncing emails and spam complaints. 

Instead, make use of a double opt-in. A double opt-in sends an email to the recipient when they subscribe, asking them to click a link or otherwise confirm their email address. Why take this step? By doing so, you ensure that only those who really want to receive your emails will get them. You might get fewer total sign ups, but the quality of them will be much higher. 

The result? You guessed it – a better deliverability score. 

Send marketing emails on a consistent schedule

Hands up if you’ve ever sent nothing for ages and then sent several emails in quick succession. Yes, me too. However, what you might not know is that this can harm your Sender Score.

Instead, send your marketing emails on a consistent schedule. Send the same number of marketing emails each week, and aim to send them on the same day. If you can send them at around the same time of day, even better. 

How many you should send is another question for another day. To give you a basic rule of thumb, though: Smartrmail reported that 4 to 8 marketing emails per month was the sweet spot. 

Watch your sender name

The sender name is the name that appears next to the subject line in a recipient’s email inbox, telling them who it is from. Your sender name should be consistent with every email, and should make it clear who you are and where you are from. 

The “[Name] from [Company]” format is popular and always works well. For example, your customer might see an email from “Sarah from Awesome Ecommerce Store” rather than from simply “Awesome Ecommerce Store”. 

Why? Two reasons. First, are you more likely to open an email that comes from a business name or a person? If you said a person, you’re in the majority. More people will open an email with a person’s name in the sender line, and as we’ve previously discussed, open rate matters. Second, a consistent sender name means your recipients will recognize you in their inbox and won’t mark your emails as spam. 

Finally: give it time

It’s relatively easy to improve your deliverability score and keep it high. Just make sure you follow email marketing best practice and monitor your Sender Score regularly. If you follow these tips you’ll see fewer spam complaints, a better open rate, and more conversions. 

Give it time, though. If your deliverability score is poor, it’s unlikely to improve overnight. You need to consistently work at it and track how you’re doing. Be patient and be consistent! 

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