How to improve email deliverability

Product News

You may not be thinking about email deliverability, but you should. Here’s why:

You have the perfect email.

The subject line is engaging. Not quite click-bait, but not boring either.

The pre-header draws you in.

The graphic is meaningful and catchy.

The text is a masterpiece.

And then…it flops. 


Your perfect email never even makes it to the inbox. 

You have an email deliverability issue.

What is email deliverability? 

Email deliverability is the measure of whether or not email is received in a recipient’s inbox.

Success: Mail delivered to the inbox. Failure: Mail delivered to the spam folder — or not delivered at all.

Al Iverson, Director of Deliverability Products and Services for Kickbox, shared this definition in a recent webinar with the Insightly team

He explained that the basis for deliverability is reputation. Reputation is based on metrics from your email sends, and it is driven by feedback. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) want to know if your email is wanted or not and they learn that based on the behavior of your recipients, (e.g. did they open it, scroll it, click on it, interact with it?)

Let’s take a step back, though. Because, as Iverson explains, it really starts with spam filters. Spam filters are used by ISPs and mail providers for safety purposes. They prevent phishing, business email compromise…really the bad stuff. To avoid trouble with spam filters, you want to show the ISPs that you are one of the good guys. 

In 2003, the US federal government enacted CAN SPAM to ensure consent, honor opt-outs and prohibit falsity and deception. ISPs can still block email that is CAN SPAM-compliant so you should consider it the baseline with which email marketers must comply.

So now you understand deliverability, spam, and the associated regulations. Let’s see how effective marketers use this information to hit the inbox. 

What is a good send vs. a bad send?

EnvelopesAccording to Inverson, there are some aspects of email that ISPs look at being ‘good’ and can boost your email sender reputation. They include interactions, high opens, high clicks, low bounces, TINS (This Is Not Spam) clicks.

Conversely, these are issues that negatively affect your reputation: complaints, spamtrap hits, high bounces, low opens, low clicks.

To improve your email sender reputation, you should send wanted mail that is expected by your recipients to email lists that have good list hygiene

Based on that, it’s clear that you should avoid using third party data and for sure avoid purchasing lists. While these are tempting strategies that may appear to help you in the short term by accelerating your list growth, they will do more harm than good in the long run.

In summary, if someone did not overtly sign up to receive email from you, they are more likely to report it as spam which will hurt your reputation and make it harder for you to deliver mail to everyone – even those who want your email messages. 

How to build your list the right way

Magnet with stick figuresSo, you’re not going to purchase a list or use third-party data…great. How, then, do you get your message out to the masses and ensure your emails get delivered? You need to build a list and that takes time and effort.

First and foremost, you need great content. It should be timely, relevant, insightful, and engagingly well-written. Offer people your content in exchange for adding them to your email list. Make it simple for people to opt in by keeping forms on landing pages short and sweet. 

To keep people on your email list and to keep adding more addresses to your email list, your content must be fresh. Yes, it’s difficult to come up with fresh content all the time, but it can be done. Keep in mind that there are a lot of great storylines you could get out of a single effort. For example, a customer interview could become a blog post, a social post, a customer story video that’s posted to your website, and a webinar. (Psst….the blog post you are currently reading started out as a webinar.) 

Once you get great content, iteration is important. Every marketer should be testing to find out what’s resonating, and then building future plans based on what you learn.

Finally, have a deep understanding of what your prospects are looking for. Use your sales team’s intel, review the competition, know your sources of information and the channels that are important in your industry. Know who your thought leaders are. Listen to sales calls for more information about pain points and develop content to meet them. Make sure that you know what your prospects and customers need, and then serve that content to them in a way that’s easy for them to access. 

As you can see, a content marketing strategy takes time. Just like building your email list for the best email deliverability, a great content marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight.

Measuring email deliverability

Measuring email deliverability starts with your email sending platform. After every email, you must look at opens, clicks, unsubscribes, bounces, etc. Look at each send, but also look over time for trends so you can anticipate any issues before they grow into a larger problem. 

Hot tip! If you choose Insightly Marketing, your email reports will be easy to read and learn from for your next send.

Beyond your email delivery platform, there are additional tools you can use to up your email deliverability game. For example, an email verification tool (like this one from Kickbox) can help you ensure upfront that the data you are collecting is valid.  You can even integrate email verification into your sign-up process so that bad addresses are rejected.

Not ready to step up to a paid service?  Kickbox also offers a service called KBXSCORE that allows you to share your email and get a quick score on authentication, blocklist issues, configuration, content checking and more. This one is 100% free, so there’s no reason not to take the extra step and give it a try.

Deliver your email with Insightly Marketing

Email is a high ROI tool for your marketing team. According to a recent survey, it drives $36 in return for every $1 spent. With that data point in mind, there’s no reason not to use email in your marketing mix, but you’ve got to do it well. 

Insightly Marketing allows your team to build beautifully formatted automated emails and report on deliverability easily. Plus, it includes advanced features like behavioral-based segmentation, customizable prospect grading and scoring, an intuitive journey builder, and more.

Insightly Marketing is also part of a powerful platform that puts your marketing automation tool in the same suite of products as your CRM and customer service app. This aligns sales, marketing and customer service teams on a single, powerful platform

Get a demo of Insightly today or start your free trial.


Watch the full webinar:

Email Deliverability 101