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Email Deliverability: Crush Your Inbox Goals With These 5 Tips

Author: Angela Ash
by Angela Ash
Posted: Dec 17, 2023
domain owners

Email deliverability is tremendously important, and it shouldn’t be difficult to see why.

With email marketing running stronger than ever, brands need to polish their strategies to ensure their offer stands out. That may be a bit difficult if their messages keep hitting recipients’ spam folders or getting lost in transit.

Why do these things happen?

There are a couple of reasons but, fortunately, they’re solvable. The only prerequisite to curb the routine is to be informed and adhere to a couple of established steps.

We’ll skip the part about sending irrelevant messages to random people as that much should be obvious to anyone claiming to be an email marketer.

From Send to Inbox: The Journey of Email Deliverability

The path an email takes from the sender to the recipient’s inbox may be somewhat longer than many people imagine. Even though email deliverability seems instantaneous, there are actually a couple of processes working in the background.

Each and every email sent needs to pass certain filters, algorithms, authentication protocols, and anti-spam regulations before reaching recipients’ inboxes. This complex code works hard to determine whether the message will reach its intended destination.

The Role of Authentication: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication techniques are, perhaps, the most significant authentication protocol elements, so let’s take a brief look at them.

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) wards off unauthorized senders. SPF verifies the legitimacy of the sender (domain owners can specify authorized mail servers) and helps keep forged sender addresses at bay.

  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is the digital signature validating email content integrity. DKIM ensures that the email's body and attachments are unaltered.

  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) unifies SPF and DKIM and determines what happens to emails that fail authentication.

These 3 protocols provide a powerful defense against spam and unsolicited senders, so it’s crucial that you try aligning both SPF and DKIM.

How SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Work

DKIM adds a digital signature to the email header. It is generated using a sending domain-unique private key. When the recipient’s ESP received your email, it used the public key to verify the signature. DKIM prevents email spoofing and phishing attacks.

SPF allows domain owners to specify which mail servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of their domain. SPF records show which IP addresses or mail servers can send emails using their domain name. ESPs check SPF records of all emails to verify whether the email is coming from an authorized source.

DMARC is an email authentication protocol unifying SPF and DKIM, as mentioned above. The practice translates into adding an extra layer of protection against email spoofing, phishing, and unauthorized use of domain names in email headers. Domain owners can specify how email servers should handle messages that fail authentication checks.

  • DMARC comprises a complex set of processes, which include:

  • Authentication checks —the recipient's email server checks the SPF and DKIM authentication results of all incoming emails. Only emails passing all these checks are considered legitimate.

  • DMARC record: —DMARC records are available in domain owners’ DNS settings.

  • DMARC policy —DMARC records specify whether emails failing the checks should be marked as spam, rejected, or delivered. It also allows domain owners to request from receiving servers to send back reports about failed authentication attempts.

  • Reporting — DMARC sends detailed reports about emails that pass or fail authentication to domain owners, which helps them keep their records clean.

DMARC protects both the sender and the recipient from phishing attacks and help domain owners to control how their domain name is being used.

Cracking the Code: Factors Affecting Email Deliverability

Leaving these essential technicalities aside, there are a slew of more palpable factors affecting email deliverability.

We’ll hereby go through the most important of these, which should not be overlooked.

  • Sender reputation — ESPs observe your past behavior, engagement rates, and complaint history.

  • Content quality —compelling subject lines coupled with relevant content devoid of trigger words will help your emails reach recipients’ inboxes every time.

  • List hygiene — regularly remove inactive subscribers and avoid purchased lists to ensure stellar email deliverability.

  • Engagement metrics — these metrics show how the recipients interact with your emails. High open rates, CTRs, and low bounce- and complaint rates jointly attribute to better email deliverability.

  • Mobile optimization — mobile-optimized emails boost deliverability rates.

  • ISP Filters — ISPs use network-level filtering to block access to illegal- and inappropriate content. They automatically block suspicious content using unreliable IP addresses or suspicious keywords.

  • Frequency and consistency — it’s crucial to strike a balance between email frequency and consistency to avoid overwhelming recipients (they may start flagging your messages as spam otherwise).

Strategies for Stellar Inbox Placement and Engagement

Finally, to ensure your emails are hitting recipients’ inboxes continually, look for a fine mixture of placement and engagement.

Here is a checklist to help you not overlook any important aspect of the process:

Segmentation and personalization — tailor your content to different segments of your audience to boost your brand’s relevance. Use personalized subject lines and relevant content that resonate with recipients.

  • Consistent sender identity — establish a recognizable sender identity and maintain a consistent tone. This will help you inspire trust and boost open rates.

  • Compelling content —the quality of your value proposition can make or break your entire email marketing campaign. Hence, make sure to craft compelling, informative, and engaging content.

  • Responsive design — with the majority of emails being accessed on mobile devices, responsive design is a must. Basically, you’ll want to make sure your emails display seamlessly on all screen sizes.

  • Engagement tracking —monitor engagement metrics (open rates, CTRs, and user interactions) to find out how you can improve your future campaigns.

  • Testing and optimization: A/B test subject lines, content layout, and CTA buttons to better optimize your emails.

  • Unsubscribe management — add an unsubscribe button to all emails you send to prevent your messages from being marked as spam.

  • Feedback loop integration — use feedback loops to collaborate with email service providers to address recipient complaints.

As you can see, there’s a lot to be done to ensure your email deliverability is at its finest. Rather than a one-time effort, it’s a continual process, so make sure to set up procedures and follow through. Over time, as your brand gains recognition and sets up a recognizable tone, recipients will learn to distinguish your emails at a glance.

About the Author

Angela Ash is an expert content writer, editor and marketer, who focuses on topics related to remote work, freelancing, entrepreneurship and more.

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Author: Angela Ash
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Angela Ash

Member since: Jan 30, 2021
Published articles: 66

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