How to Improve Your Email Deliverability (6 Effective Strategies)

Syed Balkhi
Email DeliveryPhoto byAdobe Stock

Email marketing is one of the oldest and most effective ways to connect with your audience, nurture leads, and boost sales. Many different factors determine the success of your campaigns, including email deliverability.

Business leaders and marketers across all industries need to track this metric if they want to grow and thrive. When you think about it, this makes sense. Nearly 16% of all emails sent are lost or end up in spam folders. So, if people can’t see what you want to show them, they will never read your email, click your call-to-action, or otherwise connect with your brand. 

Simply put, your email deliverability rate is the percentage of emails that reach your target audience versus how many were sent. A high deliverability rate means your emails are landing squarely in the inboxes of subscribers around the world. On the other hand, poor deliverability translates to lost sales and engagement opportunities.

Optimizing your deliverability can boost your brand reputation, improve engagement, and save money and time because most messages will reach the intended subscriber. 

Today, I’ll show you 6 effective strategies you can use to improve your deliverability rate and get more people to read your marketing emails. 

Let’s begin!

Never Buy Email Lists

Purchasing email lists may seem like a quick way to expand your reach, but the negative consequences make this a strategy you should never pursue.

When you send emails to people who didn’t explicitly sign up by handing over their name and email address, they will likely mark your emails as spam. If enough people report your messages, it sends a clear message to email providers that your content is unwelcome.

Repeatedly being flagged as spam can damage your sender reputation, making it more likely that your emails will be blocked by spam filters or blacklisted. This can prevent your emails from reaching any inbox, not just those who marked your message as spam.

Instead of buying email lists, I suggest focusing on building an organic list by providing valuable content that’s designed to attract your target audience. This will ensure the people joining your list are genuinely interested in your brand and what you have to say, which typically translates to a better email deliverability rate.

Confirm Interest with Double Opt-Ins

A double opt-in is a two-step process that requires subscribers to confirm their email address after signing up for your list. Normally, this involves clicking a link in their welcome email to confirm their subscription. This simple step will have a noticeable impact on email deliverability and audience engagement.

Requesting confirmation ensures that your list is filled with people who are genuinely interested in what you’re offering. It can also reduce spam complaints, boost engagement, and improve your sender reputation.

In short, double opt-in is a must-have for any business that wants their emails to reach more subscribers.

Establish Expectations, then Follow Through

Now, let’s discuss how establishing expectations and following through can impact your deliverability. When users decide to join your email list, it’s usually because they are interested in something specific, like a lead magnet or coupon. 

Once a visitor becomes a subscriber, the first email you send should include the offer that originally caught their attention. For example, if someone joins because they want your free eBook, put the download front and center so the subscriber can get what initially sparked their interest. 

The next thing you need to do is set expectations. Tell them what will happen next and how their feedback will impact future messages. You could tell new subscribers that you want to send them a monthly digest of relevant blog posts, for example. In this instance, you’d want to ask subscribers what topics matter to them so you can curate a list of relevant content. 

Not only will this help you build rapport, but it will also help you personalize future emails. Since about 80% of online shoppers expect businesses to send content and offers that resonate with their needs, it’s easy to see how setting expectations and following through can impact engagement and deliverability. 

Test Your Emails

Testing your email is an excellent way to make sure your emails look good on a wide range of devices, which means more people will read what you have to say. 

The last thing you want to do is put a ton of time and effort into designing campaigns only to find that most of your subscribers can’t see the message. In my mind, smartphones are a prime example of why testing matters. About 70% of people own a mobile device, and most of them use their phones to check for new emails.

If someone clicks on one of your emails and it doesn’t work or looks bad, there’s a slim chance they’ll return to your email on a desktop computer to see if it makes more sense. 

Here are a few actionable ways to test your marketing emails

  • Send test emails to yourself and co-workers with different devices
  • Emulate smartphones using browser extensions and similar tools
  • Look into professional testing services that can help you optimize your emails for multiple platforms. 

Regardless of how you choose to test your emails, one thing’s for sure: it will impact deliverability and engagement. We found that, on average, consistent testing resulted in a return on investment increase of 28%!

Let Subscribers Adjust Their Preferences

If you want to keep your subscribers happy and engaged with your list, ensure they can easily adjust their preferences. Think of it this way: we are more willing to interact with people (and businesses) when there are 2-way conversations.

Most people want to have some control over how they engage with others. Contextualized for this situation, people want to determine what types of emails they receive and how often. 

You should always ask new subscribers to share their preferences, but that’s not always enough. I recommend adding a section to the bottom of each email where subscribers can click through and change their email preferences whenever they want. 

If someone feels like they are receiving too many emails from your business, they can simply adjust the frequency instead of altogether unsubscribing.

Give your audience the freedom and flexibility they desire, and there’s a good chance users will stick around and open future emails, which will have a positive impact on deliverability.  

Scrub Your List

Despite your best efforts, some people will stop opening your emails. After you try to win them over with a re-engagement campaign, you might need to consider removing them from your list. 

Removing inactive subscribers is called list scrubbing, and it’s extremely important for maintaining deliverability. Let’s say 1000 people join your email list a month, and around 300 people become inactive by the second month. That means your list will grow by 12,000 a year, but there will also be over 3600 people who stop responding or opening emails. 

Ideally, you want as many people as possible to open your messages. Scrubbing your list and removing inactive users ensures that only people who are currently showing interest in your business receive emails. A high open rate means your emails are viewed as reputable in the eyes of email service providers. 

I suggest reviewing your email lists quarterly or at least twice a year. Send a “last call” email that asks subscribers to confirm if they’re interested in receiving marketing emails from your business. If they don’t respond after a week, remove them from your list. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to improve your email deliverability. The strategies I outlined today will help you at various stages in your marketing journey. You’ll want to keep a careful eye on your email analytics throughout this process so you can ensure you’re making the best decisions possible for your target audience. 

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Syed Balkhi is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses. 19+ million websites use his software to grow and compete with the big guys. 100+ million people read his blogs every year to grow their website traffic, sales, & conversion

West Palm Beach, FL

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