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Email campaigns are a great way to gain exposure for your brand, build trust with prospects, and nurture loyalty among current customers. Ultimately, these engagements drive conversions and impact a company’s bottom line. Email marketing is a cost-effective way to market a B2C business, no matter the size, goals, or industry.

Whether an e-commerce business aims to drive conversions through discounts and sale alerts, or an agency wants to build an audience through captivating newsletters: It makes sense for marketers to employ email campaigns as part of their overall strategy.

But your emails can only make an impact if your audience receives them. Emails won’t help anyone if they land in spam. In fact, when emails are filtered as spam, it can hurt your brand.

Simple oversight can threaten email deliverability. Below are five tips to ensure that doesn’t happen. Read on to learn how your emails can make it to your subscribers.

1. Track key data and engagement rates

According to Campaign Monitor, the most useful performance metrics for marketers are click-throughs, list growth, conversions, and ROI. These are excellent indicators of how well your email campaigns are performing. But regarding email deliverability specifically, marketers should watch CTR and other user engagement markers.

Emails with low open rates can trigger spam filters and send your messages into spam. Specifically, emails deleted without being opened are red flags for email providers. Gmail also considers the frequency of replies and forwards. These numbers can determine how engaging users find incoming messages.

If you create emails with your audience in mind, deliverability shouldn’t be a problem. Brainstorm ways to maximize open rates when crafting your email strategy.

Focus on creating punchy subject lines that will appeal to your target audience. Free tools like Net Atlantic’s Email Subject Line Grader or Co-Schedule’s Email Subject Line Tester will help you create a compelling hook. Just don’t lose sight of your brand’s voice.

Consider the best time to send emails. Does your data suggest what days and times boost engagement? How often does your audience want to hear from you?

Finally, look into how you can personalize emails and segment your lists to increase their open rates, as well as click-throughs.

The more people engage with your emails, the further your emails will be from the junk folder.

improving email deliverability

2. Regularly review your mailing lists

Go through your mailing lists every couple of months to remove contacts who never open your messages. Try a re-engagement campaign first. However, if subscribers remain unresponsive, it’s time to remove them.

Campaign Monitor allows you to use list segmentation to identify subscribers who haven’t opened your campaigns in recent months.

After removing inactive subscribers, you can expect an initial boost to your email marketing metrics. Refreshing your email lists will increase open rates and overall engagement—keeping email providers happy.

Sending messages to inactive accounts is another trigger for spam filters, so scheduling routine checks is highly recommended.

Frequent reviews will benefit your email campaigns in the long-term and lead to an increase in your overall open rates over time.

improving email deliverability

3. Optimize your emails to avoid complaints

All email dashboards are equipped with a “mark as spam” button. This button allows users to easily report irritating emails. The rate of complaints you receive can be seen in your email reports.

While even the best of newsletters will occasionally be flagged, a significant number of complaints can negatively impact your email deliverability and result in blacklisted future emails.

To reduce the number of complaints your emails receive, make sure your branding is evident in your emails. This way, members of your mailing list will recognize your business and remember why you’re emailing them. But make sure you only contact people who have signed up for your updates.

Additionally, include an “unsubscribe” option at the bottom of your emails. Not only does this encourage a positive user experience, but it’s also the law. American anti-spam legislation (the CAN-SPAM act) means unsubscribe buttons are a must. Plus, colossal fines are imposed on rulebreakers.

Usually, opt-out options are placed at the end of emails. It’s also a smart idea to include a feedback form asking why users opted out. Alternatively, you can offer users various opt-in options based on frequency or email type. This gives users options, discouraging them from unsubscribing completely.

In the below example from InVision, subscribers can choose to unsubscribe or opt for fewer emails based on preferences. They could opt out of the weekly digest, but stay informed of upcoming events.

how to improve email deliverability

Using email list segmentation and sending targeted personalized messages can also reduce spam complaints as your content will be adjusted to your audience.

In fact, according to a survey published by marketing research think-tank Ascend2 in September 2016, marketers find these two approaches to email strategy most effective.

email deliverability tutorial

via Ascend2

4. Use trusted, trackable links

Avoid using generic short links in your marketing emails. Even if they lead to insightful content from reliable sources, they can be blacklisted. This will hurt the deliverability of your emails.

Whether you’re pasting a link into the body of an email or hyperlinking a piece of text, make sure to use a branded link.

Branded links are created using your own domain, whereas generic short links use a domain that is accessible to anyone, including spammers. This is why generic URLs are at risk of being blacklisted by email services like they have in the past.

Besides, you wouldn’t send out emails using a generic email address. So why would you use generic short links? Like generic emails, these can be associated with spam and malicious content.

Branded links are trustworthy and will increase the deliverability of your emails. They can also provide tracking data and incorporate UTM parameters for marketers.

5. Make your team aware of phrases to avoid

Using certain words in your emails can trigger email servers’ spam defenses. You can find an up-to-date list of 455 words to avoid over on’s blog. Among some of the most common trigger words are:

  • Win
  • Don’t hesitate
  • 50% off
  • Join millions of Americans
  • Exclusive deal

Check if there are any phrases that your marketing team are at risk of using and if so, let them know about the risks. Though, it’s not necessarily the end of the world if one of these terms is used in an email blast.

Email providers have become much more skilled at detecting spam and context is ke. So, if you accidentally use a phrase from the list, it doesn’t necessarily spell doom.

Some handy tools can check your copy for spam trigger words. Postmark’s will give you a rating. Green means your message is good to go. While the Email Copy Checker will highlight any trigger words you’ve included in your text.

email deliverability improvement

via Postmark

Wrap up

Following these tips will help ensure your marketing messages make it to the inbox of prospects. They are all fairly easy to implement, so it is worth taking some time to educate your team on how to increase email deliverability and ensure that all your email marketing activities are in-line with best practices.

These tips can also improve the experience of your customers and help your marketing emails more impactful. Everyone wins.

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About the Author Louisa McGrath
This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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