Email Deliverability Optimization: Best Practices

Email Deliverability Optimization: Best Practices

On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that your emails are arriving in your subscriber’s inboxes and not in spam folders? 

Did you know that a “successful delivery” includes emails that ended up in subscribers’ spam folders? Does this fact change your level of confidence?

In this blog, we’ll explore simple, effective techniques that optimize your emails for deliverability. They will help you avoid the risk of being unseen by your hard-earned audience. 

By segmenting subscribers, A/B testing, and understanding how email providers evaluate your emails, you can greatly enhance the chances of your messages reaching the intended recipients.

And fair warning, not taking action on your email marketing practices will have a negative impact. Let this be the end of aimless blanket weekly newsletters, and the beginning of strategically planned email campaigns. 

What is a Spam Score and How Do I Learn Mine?

Have you ever taken a deep dive in your spam folder looking for something lost only to find a few emails you wish you’d seen a few weeks earlier? 

So, how’d they end up there? Unfortunately, they were screened as spam by your email provider. Either because of the nature of the content or the spam score of the sender. 

A spam score is a metric used to assess the likelihood of an email being flagged as spam by email filters. It determines the deliverability of your emails and plays a crucial role in the success of your email marketing campaigns. 

To find your spam score, you can utilize various email deliverability tools available online. These tools analyze different factors that contribute to your spam score, such as email content, sender reputation, domain reputation, and technical configurations. They provide insights and recommendations to help you optimize your emails for better deliverability and reduce the chances of them ending up in spam folders. 

Monitoring and improving your spam score is essential to ensure that your emails reach the intended recipients and maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

What Metrics Are Important On Your Email Deliverability Dashboard

It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking at the dashboard of your email provider, but we’re going to give a quick overview of the most important metrics and how they relate to each other. 

  • Open Rate: 
    • This is the percentage of people who opened your email. It indicates the effectiveness of your subject line and overall email appeal.
    • This number is likely inflated due to Apple’s iOS 15 update. Most marketers have looked at other metrics to indicate success since this change. 
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): 
    • The percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within your email. It measures the engagement and interest generated by your email content.
  • Conversion Rate: 
    • The percentage of recipients who completed a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. It reflects the effectiveness of your email in driving desired outcomes.
  • Bounce Rate:
    •  The percentage of emails that were not delivered to recipients’ inboxes. Bounces can be classified as either hard bounces (permanent delivery failure) or soft bounces (temporary delivery issues).
  • Unsubscribe Rate:
    •  The percentage of recipients who opted out of receiving future emails. It indicates the level of disinterest or dissatisfaction among your subscribers.
  • Spam Complaint Rate:
    •  The percentage of recipients who marked your email as spam. It highlights the relevance and quality of your email content and overall email marketing practices.
  • Delivery Rate:
    • The percentage of emails successfully delivered to recipients’ inboxes. It measures the overall deliverability of your emails and can be influenced by factors like sender reputation and email authentication.
  • ROI (Return on Investment):
    •  The financial return generated from your email campaign compared to the cost invested. It provides insights into the profitability and effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.

By tracking and analyzing these metrics, you can assess the performance of your email campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your email marketing strategy.

Building a Strong Sender Reputation is Crucial for Email Deliverability

What is a ‘sender reputation’, and how does it affect deliverability?

Sender reputation is a key factor in email deliverability. It represents how trustworthy and credible an email sender is, as evaluated by ISPs and recipients. Factors like engagement, complaint rates, spam reports, and adherence to industry best practices contribute to the reputation.

A positive reputation boosts the chances of inbox delivery, while a poor reputation may result in emails being flagged as spam or undelivered. 

To maintain a positive reputation, it’s crucial to follow best practices, such as obtaining permission, monitoring bounce rates, and promptly addressing spam complaints. 

By establishing a reputable sending history, you enhance your credibility and improve the likelihood of reaching your recipients’ inboxes.

Solutions To Improving Your Sender Reputation

Segment Your Subscribers 

Engage with Precision: Rather than sending the same generic email to everyone on your list, segmenting your subscribers based on their engagement levels can work wonders. 

Categorize your segments by: 

  • Behaviors: This involves grouping subscribers according to actions such as purchase history,  website activity, and specific interactions with emails, (such as opening an email within 30 days, etc.). 
  • Preferences: This involves understanding subscribers’ interests, preferences, or specific topics they are interested in. By tailoring emails to their preferences, you can provide more personalized and engaging content that resonates with their specific interests, increasing the likelihood that they will open the email. 
  • Demographics: This means categorizing subscribers based on factors such as age, gender, location, etc. This allows you to deliver targeted messages to specific audience subsets based on their unique characteristics. 
  • Engagement: This focuses on categorizing subscribers based on their level of interaction and engagement with your emails. This can include factors such as Open Rates, Click-Through Rates, or recent activity. This allows you to encourage engagement and nurture the relationship.

By segmenting your subscribers based on their engagement levels, you can tailor your content to their interests and needs, resulting in higher open rates, increased click-through rates, and improved conversions. Neglecting segmentation can lead to less relevant emails, negatively impacting deliverability and overall marketing success.

Segmenting by engagement ensures that your key emails are received by your most engaged audience. Whether you’re announcing a new location, running a holiday sale, or launching a product, targeting these highly engaged subscribers enhances your sender reputation and increases the likelihood of your emails being opened.

Unlock Potential through A/B Testing 

A/B testing is a valuable technique that allows you to experiment with different elements of your emails and discover what resonates best with your audience. 

By testing variations of subject lines, email content, or call-to-action buttons, you can gain insights into what drives higher engagement and conversions. 

This iterative process empowers you to refine your email campaigns based on data-driven decisions, optimizing their effectiveness over time. Without A/B testing, you might miss opportunities to improve your emails and their impact on your audience.

There are many circumstances that A/B testing would be valuable for optimizing your email campaigns. Below are a few suggested scenarios:

  • When designing a new email template or making significant changes to an existing one.
  • When testing different subject lines.
  • When testing various call-to-actions.
  • When testing different buttons, whether in size, shape, or placement. 
  • To test various images, this could be the image itself or the placement of content within the email. 

It’s important to remember that A/B testing is an ongoing process, allowing you to continuously refine your email marketing strategies and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns based on real audience feedback.


Personalization in email marketing plays a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing sender reputation. 

Addressing recipients by their names, tailoring content based on their preferences, or sending relevant offers based on their past interactions, demonstrates that you value and understand your subscribers. 

This level of personalization helps establish trust and credibility. It will reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam or unsubscribed from. This not only enhances engagement and response rates but also fosters a positive perception of your brand. 

A positive user experience strengthens your sender reputation, leading email service providers to prioritize delivering your emails to the inbox instead of the spam folder.

Ultimately, personalization in email marketing serves as a powerful tool to improve your sender reputation and ensure your messages reach and resonate with your audience effectively.

Follow Best Practices

Following email marketing best practices is crucial for supporting your sender reputation. By following these practices, you show your commitment to sending relevant and engaging emails to recipients who have explicitly consented.

Below is a list of basic guidelines for email marketing:

Build a Permission-Based Email List: Only send emails to recipients who have explicitly opted in to receive communication from your brand.

Practice Proper List Hygiene: Regularly clean your email list by removing inactive or bouncing email addresses.

Implement Double Opt-In: Use a double opt-in process to ensure that subscribers have confirmed their email address and explicitly agreed to receive emails from you.

Provide Clear Unsubscribe Options: Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe from your emails and honor their requests promptly.

Optimize Email Content: Craft compelling subject lines and use concise, relevant, and engaging content that aligns with your audience’s interests.

Use a Recognizable From Name and Address: Ensure your recipients can easily identify and trust the sender. Use a recognizable and consistent from name and email address.

Avoid Spam Trigger Words: Steer clear of using words and phrases commonly associated with spam in your email content, subject lines, and sender information.

Test Emails Before Sending: Preview and test your emails across different devices, email clients, and spam filters to ensure they display correctly and avoid deliverability issues.

Monitor and Analyze Results: Monitor metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and spam complaints to identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategies.

By following these tips, you can enhance your sender reputation, improve deliverability, and maintain positive engagement with your audience.

Maximizing Email Deliverability: Essential for Business Success

Effective email deliverability is crucial for small businesses to establish meaningful connections with their audience. By implementing the best practices discussed in this guide – optimizing your emails, segmenting subscribers, conducting A/B testing, and building a strong sender reputation – you can unleash the full potential of your email marketing efforts.

Imagine a scenario where your emails land directly in the inbox of engaged subscribers, enticing them to open, click, and take action. Picture the satisfaction of delivering personalized content that resonates with your audience’s interests and needs. Visualize your sender reputation increasing as your emails consistently reach the right people at the right time.

But be aware, neglecting email deliverability can lead to a different outcome. Your messages will get lost in spam folders or blocked by email providers, causing your hard work to go unnoticed.

Don’t let that happen. Take control of your email deliverability by implementing the strategies outlined in this guide. Fine-tune your approach, optimize your content, and nurture a strong sender reputation. The rewards will be substantial – increased engagement, improved conversions, and a thriving relationship with your valued subscribers.

Remember, email marketing is more than just sending messages; it’s about creating connections, nurturing relationships, and driving business growth. So, embrace the power of email deliverability optimization and unlock a world of opportunities for your small business.

Ready to take your email campaigns to the next level? Let our expert supercharge your email marketing strategy and drive real results for your small business.

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