Email Deliverability Best Practices

Email Deliverability Best Practices

Table of Contents

    Effective communication is the cornerstone of success for small businesses. With email being one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, ensuring your messages reach your intended audience is paramount. This guide dives into the realm of email deliverability and provides essential email deliverability best practices to help business owners achieve consistent inbox placement and engage their customers effectively.

    The basics of email deliverability:

    Email deliverability refers to the ability of your emails to land in the recipient’s inbox rather than getting lost in spam folders or blocked by email service providers. It’s a crucial metric that directly impacts the success of your email marketing campaigns and customer engagement efforts.

    There are four important ways to measure the deliverability of your emails. They are:

    1. Open rates: A simple percentage of how many people open an email.
    2. Complaint rates: This metric measures how often your emails are marked as spam.
    3. Bounce rates: This is the rate at which emails fail to reach an inbox, or bounce, negatively impacting your sender reputation. Tip: Avoid spam traps!
    4. Delete without read rates: This refers to how many emails have been deleted without being opened.

    Here’s a snapshot of how these metrics are visualized within your ActiveCampaign account below.

    metrics in activecampaign

    Email authentication requirements

    Beginning February 2024, Google and Yahoo are rolling out authentication requirements and spam prevention changes impacting all senders, with more direct impacts on deliverability for bulk senders. 

    Google’s requirements:

    Enable email authentication: One key aspect of Google’s requirements is the necessity for senders to set up DKIM email authentication. In addition to DKIM, a basic DMARC record will now also be required. While it’s highly encouraged that all senders set up DKIM and DMARC, there are greater implications on deliverability for bulk senders.  Note, these changes do not impact customers who already have DKIM and DMARC set up.

    Transition from @gmail to your own domain: Switch from addresses to a domain you own for upcoming email authentication changes, and acquire a domain if you don’t have one yet.

     Keep spam complaints low: Starting February 2024, maintain spam complaints below 0.1% for inbox success. Want to learn more about how to keep your spam complaints low? Check out this article. For more information on monitoring spam complaints with Gmail see here.

    The top email deliverability best practices:

    Now that we have covered the basics of deliverability, let’s dive into some best practices that can help your business this year. 

    1. Build a quality email list: Start with a solid foundation by collecting email addresses organically. Never purchase email lists, as these often lead to higher bounce rates and spam complaints. You can use sign-up forms on your website, social media, and during purchase processes to encourage visitors to subscribe.
    2. Implement double opt-in: Double opt-in is a two-step confirmation process where subscribers confirm their subscription via email. This not only ensures that your contacts are genuinely interested but also reduces the chances of spam complaints.
    3. Segment your list: Tailor your content to specific segments of your audience. Segmentation allows you to send relevant and personalized content, increasing engagement and reducing the likelihood of unsubscribes or spam complaints.
    4. Authenticate your domain: Implement DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) protocols to verify the authenticity of your emails. This not only improves deliverability but also protects your brand from phishing and spoofing attacks.
    5. Maintain list hygiene: Regularly clean your email list by removing inactive subscribers and email addresses that bounce consistently. High bounce rates can harm your sender reputation and trigger spam filters.
    6. Monitor engagement metrics: Keep a close eye on open rates, click-through rates, and engagement levels. Low engagement can signal to ISPs that your emails are not relevant, leading to potential inbox placement issues.
    7. Avoid spam traps: Spam traps are dormant email addresses that ISPs use to identify senders with poor list hygiene. Regularly cleaning your list and following best practices will help you steer clear of these traps.
    8. Test before sending: Use tools to preview how your emails will appear in various email clients. This ensures your emails look professional, load correctly, and have a better chance of avoiding the spam folder.

    Maintaining deliverability when migrating to ActiveCampaign:

    Whenever you switch email marketing providers, you will see an initial dip in deliverability rates immediately following the migration. Don’t panic! This is temporary and will quickly stabilize and can even go up. There are a few factors that cause this temporary dip:

    First, your emails now come from a new IP address; you need to develop a reputation for high-quality sending. If you’ve always sent good communications, then you should be able to build your reputation quickly. Just know that you may have a few more deletes and soft-bounces in the beginning, although it is something that you can bounce back from (pun intended).

    Second, some businesses use a new email service/migration as a reason to purchase a list of “fresh” leads. Those leads did not opt-in and may lead to several people marking your messages as spam. They may also bounce, or you may unintentionally hit spam traps.

    Some suggestions to minimize this dip include:

    1. Don’t send too much, too fast. Warm up your contacts to your new “home.” The larger the list, the bigger the potential for issues.
    2. Keep content messages and sender information as steady as possible during this time. Give your contacts time to recognize that you are still you, and let them remember that they enjoy opening your emails.
    3. Send to your most engaged leads first. They already trust you and expect to hear from you, so they are the most likely contacts to open your communications and quickly boost your reputation.

    Closing remarks

    Achieving high email deliverability is an ongoing effort that requires a combination of strategic planning, technical implementation, and content optimization. By adhering to these best practices, business owners can establish strong sender reputations, build meaningful connections with their audience, and ultimately drive success through effective email communication.

    If your emails aren’t landing in recipients’ inboxes, your marketing efforts are going to waste. This is why email deliverability is so important. In Emailtooltester’s deliverability test, ActiveCampaign came first among competitors with an average deliverability rate of 93.4%.

    emailtooltester best email deliverability
    Average deliverability among the most popular email marketing tools.

    Remember, a well-crafted email that lands in the inbox has the potential to become a powerful tool for nurturing customer relationships and driving business growth.

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