15 Email Delivery Tips

Jun 09 2015

“Do not underestimate the importance of email deliverability.”
If you are unfamiliar with the term, ‘Deliverability’ is the measure of the percentage of emails that are making it to the inbox. Garnering high deliverability is something that does not happen overnight, it involves your sending IP’s relationship with the ISP’s that you will be emailing to; and like all good relationships, it will take time. Below I will lay out 15 ways that you can increase your overall deliverability so you can begin to increase the ROI of your email campaigns.

Here are 15 Tips to increase your email deliverability

Warm up your IP
Warming up your emailing sending IP means that you begin sending out low volumes of emails on your dedicated IP and ramp up your overall volume over time. Now, this is something that depends on the overall volume you plan on sending a month, if your sending volume is less than 100,000 emails a month warming up your IP does not matter too much, compared to senders who email out more than 100,000 monthly messages. You can find a great post on warming up your sending IP from the team over at SendGrid here.

warm up IP addresses

Check Your Sender Score
Not knowing your sender score as an email marketer is a lot like not knowing your credit score when you are looking to buy a new car or a house. This important number can tell you what percentage your emails are making it to the inbox and what percentage of them is instantly going to the spam folder. You can find a good tool to monitor your sender score here. This allows you to know monitor your progress over time so you can see if what you are currently doing is helping or hurting your overall deliverability. Here is a good free tool you can use.

graph of sender score

Implement a Sender Policy Framework
A sender policy framework or SPF increases your trustworthiness in the eyes of the receiving email server. The server can cross check the domain name against the associated IP address to make sure that it is legitimate. If you don’t have an SPF in place, your emails might be rejected. Here is a good post on setting up your SPF.

Removed Bounces and Unsubscribes
Removing your bounces and unsubscriber’s is going to be paramount to your email success over time as it will help to minimize your spam complaints and improve your overall IP reputation. Most ESP’s will manage this for you, but if you are mailing with your own system this is definitely something that you need to stay on top of, because not only will it help to increase your deliverability but it could prevent a lawsuit from happening.

Send Emails on a Consistent Basis
One cause for lower sender score and a poor IP reputation is random and erratic broadcast activity. If you are not maintaining a regular schedule with your emails, it creates sending spikes; which is something that ISP’s associate with spammers. Do your best to stick to a consistent email sending schedule.

Validate Emails Coming into your List
Begin with your registration forms to add a layer of protection with real time data verification. Putting email verification in place can give you the option to block out all spammy accounts, role based address, invalid/undeliverable addresses, complainers and more. This will greatly increase your email deliverability and as an added bonus it can also decrease the amount of fraud coming in through your web forms.

Use a Double Opt-in
Email only to subscribers that have actively subscribed to your email list, they know you and why you are sending to them therefore are more than happy to engage with your messages while not seeing your mail as spam. The best way to defend against spam complaints is to use a double-opt in. All you do is send a confirmation email to the new subscriber in order to validate their address and gain their consent.

Make sure your Links Work Much like in SEO, ISP’s frown upon broken links in your email campaigns as this is something commonly associated with spammers. So when you are looking over your test emails to assure the copy looks good, test out the links to make sure they are working; if they are not fix them otherwise your deliverability could go down.

Monitor BlacklistsIt is important as an email marketer to constantly monitor what blacklists that you are on and is something that should be checked every week. This is important because the major ISP’s monitor these lists every time they receive a message to check if the IP sending the email is a spammer or not. By being blacklisted on one of the major lists such as Spamhaus, your email deliverability will suffer greatly.
Spamhaus is one of the most widely used Blacklists and getting listed on it and other sites like it indicates problems with complaints and spam traps, which is likely caused from lack of permission, or lack of list hygiene over the years on your behalf. This is something that you will want to constantly be monitoring because being listed can absolutely ruin your campaigns. Here is a good, free, blacklist monitoring tool that you can try.

Watch Your Feedback Loops
By monitoring your emails feedback loops you can understand which customers are marking your messages as spam and change your sending habits to these people as the more they mark you as spam the lower your sender score will be.

Engage with your Customers
Focus on increasing the engagement of your campaigns by improving the content you are sending out ; you need to provide value to your list beyond your product. Incorporate emails that educate, are fun, ask questions- that truly entertain your subscriber’s and show off your brand’s personality. By sending out these useful emails to your list consistently, you will stand out amongst your competitors and make it so your emails are actually being opened and engaged with; something the ISP god’s smile upon, increasing your deliverability.

Remove un-engaged subscribers and try to Re-Engage
We all have them on our lists, the people that opted in to receive our mailing but never open them. Their lack of engagement can crush your deliverability if you are constantly mailing to them. Do not be afraid to send them a few emails attempting to re-engage with them. If after 2 or 3 failed re-engagement attempts without a response from them, purge them from your list- they are doing more harm than good.

Watch your Subject Line Language

The subject line, one of the most important aspects of any email but done wrong and you will be punished, greatly punished. There are many words that you should avoid to increase your deliverability, by no means will I be able to name them all but here is a short list of some that come to my mind-
• Cost
• Money
• Free
• Cash
• $$$
• Earn
• Clearance
• Buy
For a full list you can check out this Hubspot post, they created a rather extensive list of Spam trigger words.
Also, avoid using all capital letters in your subject lines. It is going to do nothing but hurt you, and it looks stupid.

Scrub and Cleanse your List
Doing a quarterly list scrub is something all businesses should be doing to maximize the amount of inboxes that make it to your subscriber’s inboxes. A list scrub is simple and easy to do and can greatly enhance the ROI of your email campaigns. Here is a good reputable service to try that is also giving you 10,000 free verifications.

Never buy a List, ever!
If you want to be on the fast-track to poor deliverability and IP reputation feel free to buy a list and join the spammers of the world in their playbox, i.e. the spam folder. Buying an email list is going to do nothing but hurt your sender score and IP reputation; it may look like a good way to grow your list from the onset but it is not.


If you are not doing any of the current techniques to improve your email deliverability, it is an easy thing for you to implement right away to boost the revenue of your email campaigns. If you are an email marketer your list is like your baby, something that needs to be taken care of. If you do not take care of it, your emails will not be getting deliver into people’s inboxes, which means you will not be making money with your list.

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