Sending marketing emails doesn’t mean just taking a spray and pray approach and hoping for the best. Email is a strategic piece to your marketing strategy. That means you should be looking at more than click-through-rate, open rate and bounce rate when it comes to measuring email metrics. Take a look at this – Email Deliverability.

Email deliverability is the rate at which emails arrive in the inbox. When measuring deliverability, you are measuring how many (typically a percentage) emails actually made it to the inbox, usually broken down into open and click statistics. However, email deliverability is often confused with ‘email delivery,’ which simply means your email was successfully sent to any mailbox (including spam) without bouncing. Understanding this difference means also understanding that since all of your other email metrics are depending on it, email deliverability is one of the most important metrics to measure.

4 Key Email Deliverability Aspects to Keep an Eye On

As with any element of marketing (or business in general), email deliverability is constantly changing by industry from year to year. We’ve put together a list of a few things you should keep an eye out for when it comes to getting your email deliverability right:

  1. Spam Traps – Someone marking your message as spam is worse than someone unsubscribing. When you get marked as spam, it tells the mailbox provider that the message you sent is not wanted and is spam, ultimately ruining your email reputation. A few common spam traps include:

    • Typo Traps – domain addresses that have been misspelled
    • Grey/Recycled Traps – addresses that were once active but have been out of use for a period of time.
    • Pristine Traps – real email addresses that have never opted into any email communications
  2. Laws – As email spam continues to become a major issue, governments around the world have put specific regulations in place to protect their citizens from unsolicited emails. Not following these laws could mean major fines for your business. Please refer to this blog post: International Email Spam Laws – What to Know and How to Comply and become familiar with each country or continent’s law.
  3. Clean Database – Nothing is worse for email deliverability than a messy, outdated database to pull your lists from. Here are a few tips to help keep your email database clean:

    • Have a visible unsubscribe link in all emails
    • Use a preference page that allows people to choose how they want to interact with you (with options such as subscribe to newsletters, promotional opportunities, or all email)
    • Remove inactive recipients after a certain period of time, determined by your organization
    • Remove complainers and unsubscribers
    • Use CAPTCHA to help distinguish humans from bots
    • Use a list validation service like BrightVerify or Webula
    • Include an “add us to your address book” line in your messaging to help with inbox placement
  4. Quality Content – We know content is king, but when it comes to email deliverability, content is also key (and it’s not just the words you say that matter). Remembering to personalize your content and keep your images small and lightweight (below 30k) could be the determining factor on whether or not you make it to the inbox. You should also steer clear from putting IP addresses in links to pages or images (use a hyperlink instead) and avoid using URL shorteners like as they are on blacklists and can easily get your emails marked as spam. Finally, keep everything mobile friendly and make sure your content is relevant to the subject line (i.e. don’t say something about donuts in the header and only talk about carrots in the body).

Why Do Email Recipients Complain?

If there’s one thing email marketers never want to admit, it’s defeat in the form of the unengaged email recipient. The hardest decision to make as an email marketer is when it’s time to stop trying to to reach those unengaged recipients. While it may be tempting to keep trying to send to these particular recipients, your perseverance may actually hurt your overall deliverability in the long run. Here’s a list of the most common reasons why recipients complain:

It’s frustrating when your recipients don’t stay engaged, but it’s important to remember that pushing them can create quite an undesirable outcome and really impact your deliverability.

Simply Being Delivered Isn’t Enough

Email deliverability can make or break your campaign effectiveness, and that’s not a lesson you want to learn the hard way. Following good deliverability practices is often a battle in organizations that suffer from slow lead acquisition. Incorporating a few best practices into your existing email marketing strategy can build relationships, improve conversations, and help drive greater ROI for your email efforts over time.