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Email Deliverability: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Emails Read

You’ve spent numerous resources building your email list. And your team has written fantastic emails. But, have you thought about email deliverability? Specifically, are your emails being delivered to your contact? Or are they going into the spam folder?

We outline why email deliverability is important in the below guide. We answer what you need to keep in mind, and how you can keep tabs on your business’s deliverability. 

Let’s get started.

What is Email Deliverability?

Email Deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to your contacts’ inboxes. There are many important aspects in email marketing, but email deliverability ranks as the leader.

If a contact does not receive your email, nothing else matters. All of the work you spent writing the email, brainstorming subject lines, and creating graphics, goes out the window. 

Thankfully, it’s something within your control. All you need to do is read this article, keep our points in mind, and practice honest marketing. 

Email reputation

Check your email reputation periodically. There are many email reputation tools out there, but here are a few to get you started: 

Keep your list clean

Your email deliverability is dependent on the email addresses you’re sending to. People occasionally switch emails. And sometimes they fall out of your funnel and are no longer a qualified contact. 

You can manually identify these people using your email marketing software by searching for contacts who have not opened or clicked an email within the past 6 months. You can also choose to be more aggressive and filter the last 3 months. The time period is up to you. 

There are several tools that automate this for you. Here are a few:

Don’t spam

Be careful not to spam people. If you’re like us, you don’t want to waste your time reading useless emails. Neither do your contacts. Only send contacts quality emails that benefit them. Segmentation and personalization are your friends. 

And do whatever you can to avoid spam traps. Spam traps are email addresses used to capture email marketers sending unsolicited emails. The spam trap captures the email and adds it to a public blacklist or reports it. 

Spam traps can be avoided by organically building your email list and not purchasing it from a third party vendor.

Don’t get blacklisted

I’m not talking about the hit TV show but about an email blacklist. Many email providers use these blacklists to filter out emails for their customers and users. Once you land on one of these blacklists, you’ll quickly start to notice a drop in your open rates and click-through rates. 

It’s hard to recover from these, and we’re not going to get into all of that here. For now, just be sure to practice good email etiquette.

Authentication and These Acronyms (SPF, DKIM, and TLS)

Bad people can spoof your email without proper authentication. Spoofing is when someone appears to send an email through your servers to the recipient but it actually went through their servers. Here’s how to avoid that.

SPF to verify your sender IP

Add a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record to your domain to help your recipients know where your emails should be coming from and to trust they are not spoofed.

To add an SPF record, open your DNS and add a TXT record. Your email vendor will likely have a support article to walk you through the steps. Here is Google’s.

DKIM to verify ownership of an email message

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an email authentication method designed to detect forged sender addresses in emails (email spoofing).

DKIM allows your recipient's email provider to check if the email being sent was authorized by the sending domain. This is completed by a digital signature affixed to each outgoing email.

Gmail uses DKIM by default. You can also check out how to set it up here if you need to send emails from a non-mail.google.com server.

Encrypt with TLS

Transport Layer Security (TLS) offers encryption technology for your message while it is “in transit” from one secure email server to another. 

Many email providers do not send emails through TLS by default. Gmail users can set it up for their domain here.

Also, Google has a useful Transparency Report for Email Encryption.

What You’re Sending Affects Deliverability

Only send emails that your contacts want. Don’t flood their inbox with useless emails. Your reputation is important as a brand, as well as for email deliverability. 

Make it about them

Personalize your emails. Avoid sending vague emails to your audience. Personalized email software such as Funnelfly allows for you to personalize emails at scale. 

Write your emails like you talk. Keep them engaging and interesting—more like a conversation.

Design – more than just pictures

Don’t forget about your email’s design. Plain text often has higher open rates than HTML heavy emails. Check how your email renders on different devices. If your audience uses mobile devices often, then you’ll want to ensure your emails are easy to read on mobile devices. 

Pay attention to your emails’ image/text ratio. Use your best judgement here. 

Legality

Most email marketing software makes sure they are compliant with web laws, such as GDPR.

Links

Be conscious of the number of links used in your emails. We recommend including two links at most in your email. The more links you include, the higher the risk your email will be filtered out of your contact’s inbox. 

It’s also good practice to only include one call to action in an email. 

Beware of URL shorteners. While they are a great tool for tracking link clicks, they are popular among attackers—especially public or free URL shorteners. If URL shorteners are a must for your business, try one of these: Rebrandly, YOURLS, and Phurl.

Don’t mislead with subject lines

Subject lines are incredibly important. A great subject line increases the odds of your contact opening your email. Be careful with the strategies you implement here and do not mislead your contact. 

Avoid using only capitals. Adding “RE:” or “FW:” to a subject line is a new strategy used by marketers as a play on social proof. Avoid these as they risk your contact’s trust in you as a business. Plus, emailtools may filter these emails out as the strategy becomes more popular. 

Importance of the email address

Don’t use free email in your email marketing. If a contact signs up for emails from “YourDomain”.com, they’re expecting emails from “YourDomain”.com and not an email ending in Gmail. 

General company email addresses have their own purpose, but it’s best to send emails from a specific person when the person is building a relationship with the contact. A company or team email address is better used for customer-wide emails around new products and bug releases. 

Also, do not use a “No-Reply” sender email address. No-Reply email addresses scream you don’t care about the customer. 

Another acronym –DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is used to define how your email provider handles messages that appear to be sent from your domain but that are actually spam.

Before you set up DMARC, you’ll need to set up SPF and TLS as we outlined above. 

To pass the DMARC check (as defined by Google):

  1. Incoming messages must be authenticated by SPF, DKIM, or both.
  2. The authenticated domain must align with the domain in the message From: header address.

DMARC adds an extra level of cryptography to ensure email providers recognize your email and label them as safe and authentic.

Consistency

As with everything, consistency is key. It’s important to be consistent with your emails. Send your customer-wide product newsletters on the same day of the month and around the same time. Send your weekly newsletter emails on the same day and near the same time as well. 

This builds a routine for your contacts where they come to expect your emails and are ready to open them and read them. It’s one of the easiest and simplest methods to ensure reliable email deliverability. 

Other Factors Affecting Email Deliverability

Single vs. double opt-ins

Use double opt-ins where you can. While they are not always required, they will improve the amount of spam entries you receive. You can also add it later if you see an increase in spam email submissions. 

What is a single opt-in?

A single opt-in is when a contact enters their email address and is immediately added to your email list. There is no verification that they own the email entered, and they  will begin receiving emails from you.

What is double opt-n?

A double opt-in requires the contact to verify their email address by clicking a unique link sent to their email address. The email address is added to your email tool, but they will not receive an email from you until they click the link to verify their email. 

Make it easy to unsubscribe

Make it really easy for contacts to unsubscribe. If you don’t, then you risk them reporting you or adding you to their spam folder. Think about it—if they want to unsubscribe, then they are not the best contacts to email for your business. 

You’ll occasionally receive replies to your emails with “Unsubscribe” or “Please remove me.” You should warrant these as well and unsubscribe the contact from your email marketing software. 

Pulling It Together

Now that you know why email deliverability is important, you are one step closer to setting yourself up for success.

Funnelfly can help you by connecting directly to your Gmail and G Suite accounts to scale personalized email. Google takes on a lot of the security measures for you so you have less to worry about in your email communications. 

Try Funnelfly for free here. Need someone to write your email templates and be your coach? Check out Growth Coaching. Want someone to own your email communication and provide top of the funnel lead generation ideas? Check out Growth Genius.

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