Email marketing best practices can help you to send better emails and build better email campaigns.

These practices will raise your subscribers’ engagement rate and keep your email marketing strategy in compliance with anti-spam legislation like GDPR.

It’s every email marketer’s wet dream; for all your email to be delivered, opened, and engaged with.

However, it’s not always the case.

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But this is what email marketing best practices are here for.

In this article, we go in deep about email deliverability best practices.

What is email deliverability?

Email deliverability is making sure your emails get delivered to your recipient’s mailbox.

Email deliverability is an entire process your email has to go through before it lands in the recipient’s inbox.

Your email has to move through different filters like spam filters, content filters, and others.

These email filters are designed by various internet service providers.

At the end of this process, your email will land in one of the recipients’ inbox folders, either primary, promotions, updates, or god forbid, spam folder.

The purpose of email deliverability?

Deliverability is the key to all email marketing.

Email deliverability helps you alert if your emails are getting delivered or not.

You see email deliverability is a metric that reveals important facts about how your email marketing campaign is doing.

Email deliverability is measured as the percentage of your emails that reach your subscribers.

If your email isn’t reaching 87% of your subscribers, then what’s the point of sending it?

Email deliverability: Who’s involved?

There are three parties involved to get an email into a subscriber’s inbox, the senders, the gateways, and the recipients

The Senders

Email senders are divided into three categories: legitimate email senders, email certification providers, and spammers.

  • Legitimate email senders:  businesses that have a legitimate reason to send emails, like transactional emails, marketing emails, newsletters, etc.
  • Email certification providers: technically are more providers that have good relationships with ISPs and can vouch for you as a sender. This will help you bypass ISP filters and land in the inbox. You need to pay a monthly membership fee and build your sender reputation.
  • Spammers: accounts that send unsolicited emails like malware, phishing emails, and others. Spammers are the reason why the ISPs have to be strict.

The Gateways

It’s ISPs and third-party companies that manage whether your email gets delivered.

  • Major ISPs: If you can achieve deliverability with major ISPs, then you don’t have much to worry about with minor ISPs.
  • Minor ISPs: use bought versions of the processes and algorithms that the major ISPs use to monitor email sending.
  • B2B anti-spam systems: Each business uses an anti-spam system differently, so there aren’t one-fits-all deliverability guidelines. Luckily, business addresses rarely use them to sign up for e-commerce mailing lists.
  • Blacklisting organizations: Make reports about senders using bad sending practices. All major ISPs see these reports as a reference for possible spammers, you don’t want to end up on one.

Recipients

Recipients are your email lists subscribers receiving your emails.

The ISPs’ purpose is to protect recipients from spammers.

You have to know ISPs’ game and understand the tools they use to protect your sender reputation.

This is achievable if you follow email’s best practices.

Why is email deliverability important?

Email Deliverability is important because it converts emails’ purpose and leaves you alarmed if your reputation is endangered.

  • Deliverability helps with conversion: You send emails to your recipients to be open, read, and take action. Low deliverability beats the whole email campaign’s purpose. Improve your email deliverability and the conversion rate will follow.
  • Deliverability protects you from being a spammer: To land in the inbox rather than being dumped in the spam folder is sweet freedom. Sending mass emails will only earn you a spammer label. Maximize your email campaign’s deliverability by following the best email practices.

20 Email deliverability best practices you must follow in 2022

Email marketing best practices are small steps that can open wide doors for you, without them, the door will close shut on your nose.

1- Authenticate your email domain

You need to enable Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), to protect your email from spoofing e.g. somebody else using your email domain. If someone takes over your domain, it will cause you poor delivery rates.

Authenticating your email with SPF and DKIM proves to the ISPs that you are authentic and not a spammer.

2- Maintain proper IP allocation

Email marketing is about sending big numbers of emails per day.

However, once you reach 25,000 daily emails, you need a dedicated IP address.

To have a dedicated IP address, you need to warm up your IP address before starting email campaigns. This way, you will gain ISPs’ trust.

However, don’t add IPs to avoid penalties.

ISPs are very developed, and piling up IPs will only give ISPs the message that you want to avoid penalties and will get your entire IP pool blocked.

3- Simplify the Opt-Out Process

You collect email addresses method plays a big role in your deliverability rates. Double opt-ins gathers only engaged subscribers.

When subscribers end up on your email list through single opt-ins, they forget they even subscribed to your list and 76% of them will mark you as a spammer.

This will alarm the ISPs that you’re spamming everyone on your list (even those on your email list that want to receive your email!).

We recommend using double opt-in. Double opt-in involves two verifications for the user and proves far more successful in cultivating an engaged email list.

4- Use a Confirmed Opt-In

It’s just another synonym for a double opt-in. This method is when a person receives a confirmation email after subscribing to subscribe to your email list.

If you’re greedy, you probably will prefer a single opt-in or even a pre-checked box to subscribe.

However, it will ruin your long-term deliverability rate.

Because mass subscription is like fast food, you forget you ate it. The same thing for most subscribers, they forget they even subscribed, and once will receive your email, they will report it as spam.

Confirmed opt-ins give you lower bounce rates, higher open rates, higher-quality leads, more engagement, and lower unsubscribe rates.

Using confirmed opt-in to grow your email list using a confirmed opt-in, you will be 200% sure it will improve email deliverability.

Another perk is that confirmed opt-in is compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act, this will shield you from the penalties from the FTC.

5- Write subject lines of the non-spammy variety

Subject lines are a big part of raising your game for the opening rate.

A great subject line should not trigger your subscriber into being spammed, rather write a persuasive subject line.

Deceptive email subject line like adding “ FWD:” or “ RE: “ at the beginning of the subject line makes the recipients be skeptical of your emails even if he reads the content.

6- Provide a preference center

Once your recipients subscribe to your email list, make sure to provide a preference center so that they will be able to choose how frequently they want to receive email from you.

A preference center helps put your recipients in control of how much they want to hear from you. This lowers your chances of being labeled as a spammer and generates a better engagement.

This is the recipe to being a good pupil in the IPSs eyes.

7- Clean up your list regularly

Keeping inactive and unengaged subscribers on your email list will only damage your sender’s reputation and deliverability rates.

You need to clean your email lists regularly to weed away invalid and inactive users and keep only healthy subscribers to your emails.

You can also automate this process by providing a clear and easy way for your users to unsubscribe from your emails.

8- Avoid spam traps

Spam traps are email addresses that ISPs and email community organizations use to catch spammers to stop them from sending unwanted emails.

If you end up in a spam trap, the next thing you know, you are flagged and put on a deny list.

Email marketers can avoid spam traps by keeping a pristine email list of engaged users, and never buying email lists.

9- Be Consistent With Your Sender Name

Inaccurate sender information can get your emails sent to spam.

It’s a direct violation of the CAN-SPAM Act and can give you penalities.

Your sender’s information should state exactly who you are or who your company is.

One important thing is, that you should be consistent with the sender’s name.

Choose one sender name and stick with it.

When recipients are able to instantly recognize you, it lowers the risks of your emails getting flagged as spam.

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10- Stick to a Consistent Schedule

Bombarding subscribers with emails is never a good idea.

Sending subscribers your emails too infrequently isn’t a good idea as well.

You need a nice balance where you’re entertaining your subscribers with fresh content without overdoing it.

Scheduling consistent emails campaigns are the best option.

Try for a schedule the first week, 1 email per week, keep it for a month and see your subscribers’ interaction.

Based on their engagement, you can either send more frequently or less.

11- Create a Suppression List

Create a suppression list with only inactive subscribers.

A suppression list will stop these recipients from hurting your email deliverability.

How?

Inactive subscribers that aren’t engaging with their emails only fluctuate your sender reputation and deliverability.

12- Secure your servers with TLS

TLS protects email communications.

TLS establishes a secure and encrypted connection from two points.

TLS uses asymmetric encryption to keep email communications private, especially during transit.

Encryption for emails protects your email’s contents from being read or modified while being sent.

Encryption has a whole process for authentication between the sender and recipient.

Emails that use SMTP without encryption are open to the risk of email content being attacked by man-in-the-middle attacks or wiretaps.

13- Don’t be afraid of unsubscribes

Your subscriber will unsubscribe from your email lists.

Having unengaged or uninterested subscribers is screwing with your sender reputation.

The unsubscribe button should not scare you but it actually benefits you.

Having subscribers unsubscribed from your email lists is making your email cleaning process much easier.

Not having the unsubscribe button is one of Avoid black-hat marketing tactics.

Also not having the unsubscribe button is anti-spam policies like GDPR.

Make this step easier for your subscribers in a two clicks process.

This process can benefit you even more if you ask for feedback that can reveal to you where your email marketing is lacking.

14- Warm-up your inbox

After authentication, you can’t send thousands of emails from a new email account yet.

You have to warm up your inbox e.g. start slowly sending emails and grow gradually.

If you send thousands of emails from the start, this might trigger your ESP’s alarm and will plumb your email deliverability.

Unfortunately, this sometimes ends with permanent blocking of your account.

Inbox warm-up helps in increasing your sender reputation score and makes your account healthy for email campaigns.

15- Avoid being blacklisted

Email blacklists are the list of suspected IP addresses and domains of being potential spammers.

These databases decide which emails are valid and which all are SPAM.

There are a few tactics to avoid and tactics to practice for you to avoid your email on blacklists.

You can avoid spam complaints by not spamming your recipients, bad email content, or ignoring unsubscribe requests.

You can use double opt-ins, include the unsubscribe button in your emails, regularly email clean-ups, and optimize your content email.

And even if you end up on a blacklist, you can manually remove your email from those lists by contacting the particular blacklist operator.

You need to start warming up your domain once again.

For this, make sure to check your domain reputation and IP address on a regular basis. Keep the bounce rates low

16- Verify your list

Always, always, always, clean your email lists.

No matter where you are in your email marketing campaign because there will always be inactive and invalid subscribers.

It’s on you to correctly manage your email lists and clean them frequently to avoid hard bounces and a decrease in email deliverability.

It’s also best to follow email deliverability best practices.

17- Be careful with the re-engagement campaigns

Subscribers have already become disengaged, you have to give them a good reason to catch their attention.

Your subscribers are people who are bombarded with emails each day.

You need to use your re-engagement campaigns with caution.

The rule of thumb, build your strategy around your recipient’s level of commitment.

Create highly tailored win-back emails. Plan your approach based on the subscriber’s behavior and lifecycle stage.

For example, subscribers who have just become inactive need only a reminder email. On the other hand, inactive subscribers should be tempted by a highly appealing offer.

18- Format your email properly

Your subscribers don’t read your emails word by word, they skim them instead.

For a reader’s eyes to easily skim, you need to enhance the important details:

    • Structure your emails to help readers quickly and avoid giant blocks of text.
    • Keep your paragraphs short and focus on one idea per paragraph.
    • Use bullet points and lists.
    • Use catchy and informative headers
    • Use CTA buttons with a colored CTA box and text to stand out.
    • Leave some white space e.g. a breathing room between your lines of email copy.

19- Link to quality sites

Before hitting that send bottom on a mass email marketing campaign, test your email deliverability at every step to ensure your email sender score and your domain health. Here are some of the best tools for testing email deliverability:

20- Maintain proper IP allocation

Keep in mind that you need a dedicated IP address. And when you add a dedicated IP address, you’ll have to properly warm it up before sending to your entire list so that your gain trust with the ISPs that you are sending a wanted email.

FAQs about email deliverability

What are email delivery and email deliverability?

Email delivery is when an email is successfully delivered to the server of your subscriber’s internet service providers (ISPs).

Email deliverability is when an email successfully arrives in the person’s inbox.

What is a good email deliverability rate?

Good email deliverability is 80% to 90%.

However, this percentage is relative to the email marketing software you use for sending emails.

How can ISPs affect email deliverability?

ISPs ensure that spam doesn’t make it to a spam folder and your inbox.

If no one is clicking on your emails, soon you will end up in the spam folder…or not even delivered at all.

Your emails not being delivered and mistaken as spam will only tarnish your sender reputation.

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