Tarun Gupta

12 Ways to Improve Email Deliverability in 2020

Tarun Gupta | Aug 6th, 2019 | Email Marketing Resources
12 Ways to Improve Email Deliverability

Email marketers consume most of their day in setting up a successful email marketing campaign. It starts from campaign planning to crafting the perfect copy.

They spell out in detail the target audiences, and the message to be sent. All the email marketing best practices are put in place to see surefire campaign success. After putting so much efforts and energy, it hurts a lot if the message doesn't make to the right recipient. You may have acted with a right campaign strategy, design, and development, but if the email doesn’t reach the inbox, it's futile and of no use.

While measuring the metric, marketers often mix delivery and deliverability as the same term. Both the terms are often used interchangeably, but have very different meanings.


In email marketing, Delivery refers to a condition whether or not a receiver accepts your email. Leaving the inbox or spam folder aside at first place, Delivery ensures if the message can physically be accepted in the first place?


Also called Inbox Placement refers to where that message ends up once it is accepted. Deliverability is condition that tells where the mail ends up once it's accepted, whether in the inbox, spam folder, or another folder. Email Deliverability Consists Of Three Major Components


This is the set of certain protocols that authenticates the sender's identity. This combines together several set of regulations viz. Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC).


This metric checks sender's reputation and trustworthiness. Notably, an organization and a internet service provider (ISP) weighs you differently on reputation scale. You can yourself boost your reputation by generating positive subscriber behaviour and establishing you as a trusted sender. This is the finest way to boost your sender reputation. You can do it by relevant, personal and specific emails to your subscribers.


Content of an email is another key point that creates the difference. The email should consist a message that's appropriate for your audience and must be relevant. Poor writing and messaging practices impact your e-mail deliverability and hurt the chances of your email being opened or read. Among three parameters cited above, identification and reputation make the most out of it. They are the main reasons behind if your mails are thrown in spam or Junk folders.

12 Ways to Improve Email Deliverability

As you're now more open about the difference between deliverability and delivery, here is a quick take on how to ensure delivery of your emails in the inbox.

1. Keep Your Email List Clean

An email list with likely more inactive subscribers can impact the deliverability of your campaign. As the list constitutes a bunch of inactive subscribers can offset your engagement metrics. That's why you should consider removing or suppressing inactive customers after a set time. If you're facing serious deliverability crunch, chances are there that your email list includes spam traps, means it has emails which look like real email addresses. Use an email validation service, software or tool for removing invalid emails on a regular basis.

2. Allow Unsubscription

Sending emails to those who are not even interested in receiving them, leads to poor open rate. If you have allowed your audience to subscribe your newsletter, give them an option to unsubscribe it as well. There could be plenty of reasons why your audience is leaving your list. If they're no more interested in listening to you, better let them go.

Attach an unsubscribe link in your email to allow them do so. It will even be helping you in boosting your subscriber engagement and cleaning up your email list. Once those people go out of your list and your emails reach the people who want to receive your emails, then opens and clicks will automatically increase.

3. Stick More to Personalization

While sending the mails, ensure they're being sent to the right people at a very right note. When clicking the send button check whether you are sending content that matters to your audience. This is the most important question need to be asked to yourself first. Sending emails that resonate with your audience positively impact your deliverability.

4. Verify blacklists

If even after using permission-based, opt-in lists, you are getting frequent non-deliveries then check blacklists to ensure that your domain, IP address or ISP is not listed there. Inquire about the IP address your emails are being sent from and check it against blacklist databases.

5. Be on a Whitelist

Today, by registering with ISP Whitelists, all campaign owners can have the convenience of being proactive with their ISP reputation. Being registered on an ISPs Whitelist largely ensures accurate email delivery, or at least a mail delivered to right recipient. Also, note that getting on a whitelist is a time-consuming job that involves an authenticating process to ensure that only reputable addresses are regarded. To begin with the procedure, you need to contact your ISP and the ISPs of your major recipients and avail information regarding their particular process for whitelist registration.

6. Maintain Opt-in records

Often it happens that your customer chooses opt-in to receive your email but later forgets it and put you to a spam list. In this situation, a spam monitor, like Spamcop or Spamhaus might contact you with an alert, providing you with a chance to show that the recipient actually did opt-in. But for this accomplishment, you have to maintain a record of opt-in data. Also, it is suggested to have an opt-in reminder in your email messages. If your recipient gets his/her subscription details in the message, the possibility of reporting the message as spam reduces.


7. Segmentation List

Big list creates big problems, hence, it is better to segment your list and send your message in targeted batches. Categorize your email lists appropriately once data mininig is finished to avoid having one massive list. Segmentation can be done in accordance with zones, so that each zone will receive the message at an optimal time in the day. Also, make use of regional segments to personalize each lists subject.

8. Manage List

Maintaining a clean list significantly reduces the amount of hard bounces. Get rid of invalid addresses and other list members who have opted-out. A proper data valiadation may help here. A clean list is more apt to assured delivery. Always keep in mind that ISPs easily pick invalid addresses in a bulk email campaign.

9. Get a Dedicated IP Address

Individuals having the need of sending bulk email quite frequently must get a dedicated IP address. In case of sharing an IP address with other users, chances of getting it flagged by an ISP spam-filter get prominent. Also, ensure to have a dedicated IP address that comes with a reverse DNS entry setup.

10. .Take Bounce Rates Seriously, Very Seriously:

Whether your email deliverability meet hard or soft bounce, they've some business risks involved. Before getting into deeper, let's find these two terms. Soft bounce is a temporary problem occurs due to an unavailable server or full inbox. Even though the error could be fixed, frequent soft bounces may be a cause of concern. If this is the case, you shouldn't wait any more to remove emails that soft bounce.

Similarly, hard bounce is a permanent failure that prevents an email from being sent. The situation arises when one or more email addresses are non-existent, invalid, or blocked. ISPs love to see low hard bounce rates as it shows that senders take care of email deliverability lists and keep them fresh. Invalid and non-existent emails are likely the great candidates to be spammed or sent to the junk folder.

Managing soft and hard bounce is core to the campaign success. Irrespective of the email deliverability services provider or the automation solution you use, define a threshold for the bounce. Assign a number that denotes the maximum number of times a mail can bounce. If the bounce reaches to that limit, throw those email addresses out of the campaign.

11. Refrain From Buying Lists:

This is something I frequently tell to my fellow marketers. Whether you've been in the marketing for a while or just started up your venture, do not buy an email list to expand your database. Though, this strategy seems lucrative for most of the marketers, this is generally a poor practice with serious drawbacks. See, why should you not go with a purchased email list.

It may lead to unsolicited emails:

When you buy a list from vague sources, you can't authenticate the quality and validity of the emails that list contain. Since, most of those email addresses are unsubscribed, means recipients didn't opt in to receive your communications, they'll dump your emails in junk.Every time a recipient marks you as a spam, you lose your reputation score. If spam complaints are getting frequent, your ISP could put your IP in blacklist, that ultimately could make it harder for all your future emails to be delivered.

Quality of the emails may be compromised:

You can't rely on the quality of a list purchased. With a purchased list, you can't be really sure whether the email addresses are correctly formatted, and whether they’ve been scrubbed for spam traps or syntax errors. The email addresses in the list could be obsolete, old and may have email addresses from varied demographics.

It may increase spam rates:

Email marketing companies usually define spam rate thresholds before starting a campaign. So, if your spam complaints exceeds certain percentage, they may terminate your contract. With a purchased email deliverability list, spam percentage may go really high. It is deemed being a really bad reflection to ISPs. To have a fully validated email list, you should perform a full audit of your sending behaviors and list hygiene practices.

12. Segment Your List:

List segmentation helps you to achieve maximum deliverability. If you understand your audience well, there would be good chances that your emails are delivered to the right inbox. Segmenting your email list helps you directing your emails to specific individuals based on their demography and and other behavior.

This helps you to reach the right target audience every time you send out an email marketing blast. This significantly improves the deliverability of the emails. When you start mass mailing to the list, it may backfire if the list contains first time subscribers or those who are irrelevant to the mail's subject matter. This could send a reflection that you don't value your clients. With segmentation, you can filter specific email addresses targeted to address customers’ unique needs.

2 Responses
Leave Reply
Aman Kashyap Says:

If you are using email marketing, treat your list like it’s gold. If you don’t take care of it, your emails won’t be getting delivered to people’s inboxes, which means you won’t be making money from them.

Aman Kashyap Says:

Excellent post. I think that we can increase email open rate by adding some real and unique Title of the Email too.