You Ask, I Answer: How to Improve Email Deliverability?

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You Ask, I Answer: How to Improve Email Deliverability?

Laura asks, “How do I improve my email deliverability?”

You Ask, I Answer: How to Improve Email Deliverability?

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Christopher Penn 0:13

In this episode, Laura asks, How do I improve my email? deliverability? So deliverability is a topic that comes up in email marketing an awful lot people rightly want to know, how do I get more of my emails into my customers inboxes.

And there’s a whole bunch of things that you can do.

So let’s go through like six or so of the top things you can do to improve your deliverability.

Number one, and the most obvious, don’t send garbage, right.

One of the ways you get your deliverability ruined is either sending to email the people that didn’t ask for it, or sending valueless email that, that even if people signed up for it, they still like this is junk, we’re just going to hit spam.

So don’t send garbage would be the first and most important thing you can do.

Let’s assume though, that that’s taken care of.

Second thing you can do to improve deliverability give an obvious unsubscribe make it super easy for people to unsubscribe you.

I mean, if you’ve been on my website, you’ve seen my unsubscribe button.

It’s this giant, swirling, colorful thing at the top of every email, plus an additional unsubscribe link at the bottom, because that’s where people look for these things.

Make it easy for people to get off your list.

The reason why is a lot of people will just do the easiest thing they can and the Report Spam button is right there at the top of like Gmail interface.

And the unsubscribe link requires scrolling.

So what is what’s the less motivated person got to do, I gotta hit report spam, they’re just going to you know, and your your inbox, your deliverability tanks.

And when people hit that button, so make your unsubscribe, obvious, make it easy, so that you you never want the them to your audience to be hunting for it or trying to find that you want to be so obvious that yeah, they do it and they end they they leave.

So that’s number two.

Number three is cleaning your list, clean your existing list, and then scrub new subscriptions.

There’s really important again, one of the things that impacts deliverability is the number of bounced emails you send you send an email to an AOL address.

And AOL says we don’t have anything here by that name.

Those are bad, those are really, really bad.

So make sure that you’re cleaning your list, I do it quarterly, I clean my list quarterly.

And then once a year, I just revalidate the entire list top to bottom.

And yeah, I will lose like 10,000 subscribers, sometimes.

But they’re non working addresses, right? Those are addresses that shouldn’t be in there in the first place, or they haven’t opened an email in a year.

In those cases, you’re not helping yourself, if you’re sending into addresses that are that poorly performed.

A lot of email providers, particularly ones like Gmail, look at the performance of emails in aggregate and say, Okay, how good a sender is this, I get, if they send 1000 emails and not a single one of them got opened, that’s probably a pretty clear indication that that email is not super valuable.

On the other hand, if people are expecting your email, and and want to open it, you know, actively there, they’re eager to jump in on it, then, to these detection algorithms, these spam detection algorithms, that’s a pretty good sign that yeah, we wanted that email.

So that is important.

The next thing is protocol implementations.

So there are three, four, email marketing deliverability protocols that you need to implement, called SPF for Sender Policy Framework.

D, Kim domain key identification demark, I can’t remember what demark stands for.

Christopher Penn 3:57

And then Bimi and Bemus, based on demark.

So if you get demark, right, that means just a few extra configuration options.

But all these things essentially, say, when an email comes from your system, it is actually from you it is authentication to say that this is not some spam, or just, you know, masquerading as you that you actually sent these emails.

And a lot of it is traceability.

You put in your servers that you’re sending from, and then you know, your domain name and all that stuff.

And then recipient email service, look at that.

Look at an incoming email, look at the credentials in SPF and DKIM and DMARC.

And say, yep, you are who you say you are.

So we’re going to let this email through.

Or they’ll say, No, it doesn’t match up, we’re going to toss this thing.

So those protocols are super, super important.

Make sure that you get them right.

They’re done in your DNS.

If you use a service like Akamai or Cloudflare or some other DNS service.

A lot of the times they make it fairly easy to set those things up.

You just have to follow the URL wizards and stuff to make sure you add in things.

Marketers, very often get these wrong.

They will put in, you know, a company that has like an IT department will make sure that that company’s outlook servers all are registered.

But it doesn’t know that marketing is also using say like Marketo, or Hubspot.

And as a result, when a marketer goes to send email from us system like Hubspot, but it’s not in your DNS records, the recipients are like, servers.

Like I don’t know who this this email is, it says come from Hubspot is really from my company that comes out, we’re just gonna toss it.

So those integrations are really, really important.

The next thing to do is whitelisting asking people, hey, please add me to your address book or your contacts or whatever, it’s, it’s a simple thing to do.

But it tells a mail server, yes, let this through.

Because I actually want it so asking people don’t add me to your your address book is really important.

Make sure that your email address that you’re sending from is one that can be put in a contact book or log.

So like, please don’t send an email from you know, do not [email protected], don’t do that, send it from a real address, I do a newsletter at

So that you can register it, and so that somebody can add it to their, their their contacts, really important.

And the last thing is monitoring.

So in your email service provider, whoever it is, they probably have monitoring logs in your, in your various gateways.

Like if you use Amazon’s email service, there’s a whole dashboard there about your reputation and stuff like that.

There are blacklist monitors to monitor whether your email has been your domain has been added to a blacklist.

There’s things like Gmail, Postmaster tools, from Google, all of these are services that you need to monitor and check in on at least at least once a month, if not more frequently, to look and see is our reputation among these different servers and services good or bad.

Because if it’s bad, your emails not getting through.


So making sure that you’re not flagged on these systems.

And if there is a flag of some kind, there may be a way to either appeal it or remediate it, depending on the system.

And the notifications, but the very least, you should be looking in those systems and saying, hey, it looks like you know, Gmail is reporting 3% of our send was bad addresses, that’s pretty clearly a sign that we need to clean our list.

Or, you know, Amazon says, hey, 1% of your list reported you as spam.

Okay, we need to make that button bigger, at the top of our emails, so that people can find their way out and they’re not reporting us as spam.

So that’s how you improve deliverability.

It’s a It’s not rocket surgery.

I think none of this stuff is is super complex.

There’s no coding or stuff.

It’s just a lot of administrative work.

It’s it work is what it really is.

And that’s where marketers get in trouble.

Because marketers don’t talk to it generally, and don’t collaborate with them, then it doesn’t know what marketing’s doing and can’t help configure the system so that email servers which are an IT function, can recognize what marketers are doing.

So you’ve got to be friends with your IT department or your vendor or whoever that is you work with.

Because that will help you get your messages out and delivered much more easily.

So really good question.

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