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15 Best Practices to Improve Email Deliverability in 2024

32 min read
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Imagine this – you just spent a lot of time writing a compelling email copy only to have your emails placed in the spam folder. 

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Getting emails delivered to the recipients’ Primary inboxes has become harder than ever.

Whether you’re sending cold emails or marketing emails, it’s essential to improve email deliverability before hitting the “Send” button.

Email deliverability, as you may already know, refers to how successfully your emails reach the intended recipient’s inbox. 

That means if you have poor email deliverability, your emails are more likely to land in the Spam folder rather than the intended “Primary” inbox.

The good news is – with some effort, you can improve email deliverability and get your emails to successfully reach the Primary inbox of your recipients!

In this post, we’ll show you how to improve email deliverability with 15 best practices and achieve higher email open rates & better campaign outcomes.

Improve Email Deliverability – Table of Contents

Email Delivery Vs. Email Deliverability

Before we reveal the best practices to improve email deliverability, let’s quickly understand the main differences between email delivery and email deliverability.

Most people who start doing email outreach think that email delivery and email deliverability are the same thing and use the terms interchangeably. 

The truth is, both these terms have entirely different meanings. 

Here is a comparison table that highlights the 5 key differences between email delivery and email deliverability.

Email DeliveryEmail Deliverability
DefinitionThe act of an email being sent from the sender and arriving in the recipient’s inbox.The likelihood that an email will arrive in the recipient’s Primary inbox rather than landing in the spam folder.
FocusIndividual email.Overall email sending capability and reputation.
Metrics1) Delivery rate 
2) Bounce rate
1) Sender reputation score
2) Spam complaint rate
3) Email open rate
4) Placement in spam folders
FactorsWorking email infrastructure & valid recipient address.Sender IP reputation, email authentication, and relevancy of content.
GoalGet a specific email to the recipient’s inbox.Build and maintain the sender’s reputation to consistently reach the inbox.

Why is it important to Improve Email Deliverability?

Getting your emails reliably delivered to recipients’ Primary inboxes is crucial for the success of your email campaigns. 

But, your emails can only successfully reach the Primary inboxes if they pass the following tests:

  • It must get past spam filters that try to block unwanted emails.
  • It needs to avoid getting flagged as spam or junk by email service providers (ESPs).
  • The email must reach the recipient’s Primary inbox instead of getting bounced/blocked or landing in the spam folder or promotions tab.

If your emails overcome these hurdles, it means you have good email deliverability. But if your emails consistently fail to make it to the Primary inboxes of your recipients, then you clearly have an email deliverability problem.

If that’s the case, you need to work on improving your email deliverability before sending another email.

When you successfully improve email deliverability, you can enjoy many benefits such as:

1 – Increased Email Visibility

If your emails consistently end up in spam folders or get blocked by recipients’ email providers, the majority of your intended audience will never even see your messages in the first place. This is because your emails will automatically filtered to spam and rarely opened by your recipients. 

Even if they do end up opening the spam folder, your emails will get lost among the hundreds of other unwanted messages. 

Increasing your email deliverability will ensure your email lands directly in the Primary inbox rather than getting filtered out or blocked. This gives your email much greater visibility to your target audience and a higher chance of being opened and read.

2 – Better Engagement and Conversion Rate

If your recipients need to dig through their promotions or spam folders to find your email, most are not likely to bother doing that.

But, if your emails successfully make it to the recipients’ main inboxes, they will have a significantly higher open and response rate compared to those relegated to other folders. 

That’s why it’s critical to improve email deliverability to ensure your emails are delivered directly to the Primary tab to get more opens and clicks. It increases the likelihood of having an ongoing engaged conversation with your recipients rather than one-off emails. 

What we’re trying to say is that higher inbox placement can directly translate to better engagement metrics and increased conversions.

3 – Avoid Damaging Sender Reputation

When too many of your emails get flagged as spam or blocked, it will severely impact your sender’s reputation. This includes damage to both your domain as well as your IP reputation.

The worst part? – Once your domain develops a poor reputation, it will be extremely difficult to get your future emails delivered and land in the Primary inbox. 

Spam complaints against your emails can also lead to blacklisting by major ESPs, which is almost impossible to recover from. This long-term damage to your sender’s reputation will ultimately hurt all your future email campaigns as well. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to improve and maintain good email deliverability to protect your domain’s reputation and ensure your emails continue to be welcomed into recipients’ Primary inboxes.

Best Practices to Improve Email Deliverability

Ready to learn how you can improve your email deliverability? 

There are 15 best practices we recommend implementing to improve your email deliverability.

1 – Check & remove your IP from blacklists

One of the first steps you should take to improve email deliverability is to check if your sending IP address has been blacklisted by major ESPs like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc. 

There are plenty of free online IP blacklist checkers & monitoring tools (i.e.MailGenius) out there you can use to find out. 

If you find your IP is on any blacklist, you need to act immediately on getting your IP address removed. 

As we mentioned earlier, it’s almost impossible to recover from getting blacklisted. But, one thing you can do is demonstrate to ESPs that you have resolved the spam issues and submit a request for delisting your IP address from their blacklist.

For example, if you’re a Gmail or Google Workspace user, you can submit your IP blacklist removal request to Google via their Sender Contact Form.

If you use a different ESP, you can simply Google how to remove your IP address from your ESPs blacklist to submit your request.

2 – Authenticate your email domain

If your sending IP address is not blacklisted by any ESPs but many of your emails still end up landing in recipients’ spam folders, it may be because you haven’t authenticated your email domain.

If you’re doing cold email outreach or sending marketing emails to a large list, it’s critical to set up proper email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your email domain.

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

    SPF is an email authentication protocol that allows you to define the list of mailing servers to use. The process involves creating a TXT record in your DNS and specifying how recipients’ email servers are supposed to handle your emails.

    To add SPF, follow these steps:
  1. Log in to your domain settings. This is usually through your hosting provider or registrar like GoDaddy or Zoho.
  2. Create a new text record.
  3. For the name, enter @ or a prefix like “mail.” This will apply SPF to your whole domain.
  4. For the value, enter your SPF rule. This tells your domain to only allow emails from your authorized mail server. An example rule is “v=spf1 mx -all.” Your provider may have a different rule.
  5. Keep the TTL or time-to-live at the default setting.
  6. Save the record.

This will enable SPF for your email domain. It will tell your recipients’ servers that emails from your domain are legitimate.

  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

    DKIM is an email authentication method that allows email recipients to verify if an email was sent by an authorized user.

    The DKIM record adds a digital signature to your email header with secured encryption and provides two keys. The private key is stored confidentially by the sender’s ESP and the second public key is retrievable by the recipient’s email server from the sender’s DNS.

    Now, when the recipient receives an email from you, the recipient’s email server will use the public key to verify the DKIM signature in your email header.

    To add DKIM, you need to follow these steps:
  1. Log in to your domain settings again.
  2. Create a new text or CNAME record. Follow your hosting provider’s instructions on which type to use.
  3. Paste in the DKIM value provided by your host.
  4. Set the hostname to match your DKIM selector. For example, if your selector is “s1”, the host would be “s1._domainkey.”
  5. Click save to publish the record.
  6. You can check if your DKIM is working on this website [insert DKIM checking site].
  • DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)

    The DMARC protocol allows you to publish a policy in your DNS records to indicate which mechanism(s) are used for email authentication. Furthermore, it also lets you specify instructions for recipient mail servers to follow if the messages fail the DMARC evaluation.

    Creating a DMARC record is important because it helps to protect your email domain from being used in unauthorized email campaigns and make sure that only legitimate emails are delivered to your recipients.

    Follow these steps to create a DMARC record:
  1. Create a new DNS text record or edit an existing one.
  2. In the name or host field, enter “_dmarc.yourdomain.com”
  3. In the value or text field, add your DMARC record text. For example: “v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:[email protected]
  4. The field names may be different depending on your DNS provider.
  5. Save your changes.

This will enable DMARC for your domain and notify recipients’ email service providers to check your SPF and DKIM records to verify your emails and deliver them directly to the Primary inboxes. 

3 – Use a custom tracking domain

A custom tracking domain is basically a secondary domain or subdomain that you can use exclusively to track your email open rates and clicks in your emails. This works by masking tracking URLs with your own domain name instead of the actual tracking domain.

If you’re currently using your primary domain to monitor email opens, clicks, and link tracking, setting up a dedicated custom tracking domain is highly recommended. 

This way, even if your tracking pixels get filtered or blocked by email clients, it won’t damage your primary sender domain’s reputation.

When you start tracking your links using a custom domain, you gain useful insights into how your email campaign is performing. You can also understand user behavior better based on how they interact with your links.

In a nutshell, setting up a custom tracking domain gives you more control over tracking and also helps protect your primary email-sending domain’s reputation.

4 – Register a few secondary domains

Sending cold outreach or marketing emails using your primary domain’s email address is a huge mistake!

At any point, if your recipients start marking your emails as spam, it will jeopardize your primary domain’s reputation, which must be avoided at all costs.

If you want to send cold outreach or marketing emails, you must do so using secondary domains. This way, even if one of your secondary domains gets blacklisted or associated with spam, you can quickly switch to another secondary domain that’s clean and has a good sender’s reputation.

For example, if your primary domain is www.yourcompany.com, you can register a few secondary domains such as:

  • www.yourcompanyhq.com 
  • www.yourcompanyinc.com
  • www.yourcompanyhub.com
  • www.yourcompany.io
  • www.yourcompany.net
  • And so on…

P.S.Don’t forget to redirect your secondary domains to your primary domain so that if a recipient tries to visit your website through one of your secondary domains, they’re automatically redirected to your official website on your primary domain.

Rotating between a couple of secondary domains also lowers the chances of being regarded as a spammer compared to using a single primary domain excessively. 

So, we recommend you register closely matching secondary domains for sending cold outreach and marketing email campaigns.

Read More: 5+ Best Cold Email Infrastructure Tools for 2024

5 – Use a reliable Email Service Provider (ESP)

Your choice of email service provider also plays a crucial role in your overall email deliverability.

Based on our experience, Microsoft Office 365 or Outlook has the best deliverability for sales emails. Its emails are less likely to be filtered and it allows sending more emails.

Google Workspace is also good for deliverability. It has lower sending limits than Office 365 but is very popular and easy to use.

In general, you should absolutely avoid using outdated and less secure ESPs like Yahoo and mail.ru. Emails from these ESPs tend to get filtered into spam more often compared to Microsoft 365 & Google Workspace. Plus, these two ESPs also have very limited integrations and difficult user interfaces.

So, if you’re yet to select ESP for sending cold outreach or marketing emails, you can consider using either Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.

6 – Use multiple email accounts

If you’re sending emails to a large list, using multiple email accounts can further increase your email deliverability. Ideally, you should create 5-7 email accounts per each secondary domain.

This is because sending a large volume of emails using a single email address has a higher chance of getting flagged as spam by ESPs as well as recipients.

But if you use multiple email addresses, it will make your emails appear less suspicious and more natural. Just one thing you need to ensure is that all your email addresses use the same domain and sending infrastructure to achieve high email deliverability.

So, in addition to getting a few secondary domains, you need to also create multiple email accounts to be able to send a large volume of emails without jeopardizing your email deliverability.

For example, if you want to send 10,000 emails per day, you should use 200 unique email accounts across 40 domains and send 50 emails per day from one email account for optimum email deliverability.

Here’s a detailed breakdown for better understanding.

7 – Warm up your email accounts

Let’s assume that you’ve registered a couple of secondary domains and created multiple email accounts. Now, your emails should be able to reach the Primary inboxes of your recipients, right?

Well, it’s not that simple. If you’re using new email accounts to send cold outreach or marketing emails, it’s essential to warm up your accounts first.

For the uninitiated, email warm-up is the process of sending a small number of emails initially and gradually increasing the email-sending volume over time. 

Warming up a new email account will help to establish a good sender’s reputation and prevent your emails from getting filtered by spam algorithms. 

The warm-up process will demonstrate strong deliverability consistently over the first few dozen emails to build trust & authority with major ESPs. Then, you can gradually increase the volume and frequency of emails being sent from your new email account. 

To automate the email warm-up of your new accounts, Saleshandy has partnered with TrulyInbox to provide this service free of cost for our users. 

8 – Personalize emails for each recipient

Another best practice to increase the email deliverability of your cold outreach and marketing emails is personalizing your content for each recipient. 

Email personalization generally involves including the recipient’s first name, company name, specific pain points they’re facing, and offering tailor-made solutions to achieve their goals.

Personalized and relevant emails are less likely to get filtered by spam compared to generic emails and recipients are more likely to open, read, and even respond to your emails.

So, the extra effort of researching your prospects and personalizing your email content is well worth the effort. It could not just improve your email deliverability but also pay off in terms of higher engagement and more closed deals.

The best part? – You can also automate this aspect of your email campaign using advanced tools. Saleshandy, for one, comes with merge tags and a Spintax feature that lets you auto-personalize each outgoing email for specific recipients.

9 – Avoid using spam-triggering words

In addition to personalizing your emails for each recipient, you should also avoid using spam-trigger words in your email content. 

Spam filters by major ESPs use advanced algorithms to identify words and phrases that spammers generally use in their emails. But these spam filters are pretty good at spotting emails with spam words and phrases. 

So, if your email content contains any spam-triggering words such as “buy now”, “act now”, “free”, etc., you’re emails are highly likely to get filtered into the spam folders of your recipients.

Here’s a comprehensive list of all spam-triggering words you should generally avoid using in your email content.

Apart from avoiding spam-triggering words, you should also consider the actual messaging in your emails. Ideally, your emails should come across as natural and conversational rather than pushy or salesy.  

Polishing your email content for a positive experience is equally important to prevent getting marked as spam by your recipient and improve the overall email deliverability of your campaigns.

10 – Send emails to verified lists only

The quality of your lead list matters a lot in the overall email deliverability of your campaigns. If you want to improve email deliverability, it’s a best practice to avoid buying contact lists from third-party vendors.

Sending emails to purchased contact lists will have a higher chance of your emails being bounced because of invalid or wrong email addresses. This, in turn, will negatively affect your email deliverability.

So instead, you should create an ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas who would actually benefit from using your product or service. 

Based on your ICP & buyer personas, you can then research and make a contact list for email outreach. There are plenty of free email finder & verification tools you can leverage for this.

Salehandy Connect is one of the free LinkedIn email finder tools you can use to extract verified email addresses from the platform with just one click.

Watch the below video to see Saleshandy Connect in action.

11 – Make it easy to unsubscribe

If you’re sending unsolicited emails, it’s crucial to provide your recipients with an option to opt-out from your email list. 

Ideally, there should be a clear “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of every unsolicited email you send. And it should be easy for your email recipients to unsubscribe from your email list.

This is important because it not only contributes to improving email deliverability but also prevents your emails from being marked as spam.

So, if a recipient clicks on the “unsubscribe” link from your email to get off your list, you must honor their request immediately. 

If you keep sending emails to recipients who have requested to unsubscribe from your list, they’re highly likely to mark your emails as spam, which will negatively impact your email deliverability.

Remember, it is extremely crucial to keep your spam complaint rate as low as possible to maintain high email deliverability. 

12 – Don’t surpass daily email-sending limits

Most email service providers have a strict daily limit on the number of emails you can send per day. 

Even if you’ve warmed up your email account, keeping your email sending volume under the daily limit is crucial to improving and maintaining high email deliverability. This helps to establish a good sender reputation and avoid getting your email account temporarily blocked for surpassing the limit.

Gmail users with standard email accounts, for example, have a daily email-sending limit of 500 emails per day, while Google Workspace accounts have a 2,000 daily email limit per day.

If you surpass the Gmail daily email sending limit unintentionally or accidentally, your account may get suspended for a day. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep track of how many emails you’ve sent. Neglecting to do so can hamper your email deliverability.

13 – Maintain a consistent sending frequency & volume

The next best practice you can implement is to establish and maintain a consistent email-sending frequency as well as volume. 

This is important because it can help to improve your sender’s reputation and eliminate the unusual spikes that may occur if you send too many emails at once or in a short period of time.

So, if you stick to a regular & predictable sending pattern, your recipients and ESPs will see you more as a reliable and trustworthy sender. Secondly, a consistent sending frequency, volume, and schedule helps avoid triggering spam filters or blocks. 

But, if you suddenly send a large volume of emails after a period of low activity, spam filters are more likely to flag this as unusual behavior. 

On the other hand, if you maintain a steady send volume and frequency, it will allow spam filters to establish a pattern and baseline for your sending habits.

As a result, your email deliverability will eventually improve when you send a predictable number of emails on a consistent schedule.

14 – Send emails to relevant recipients only

If you send emails to irrelevant people, it is only going to negatively impact the email open rate, engagement rate, and reply rate of your campaign.

In the worst-case scenario, many of these irrelevant prospects might even mark your emails as spam, which could drastically increase your spam complaint rate. When this happens, your email deliverability is going to take a hit and your email account may get blocked as well.

To prevent that from happening, you must only reach out to relevant recipients who are going to benefit from your offerings. If you send emails to a random list of people bought from third-party vendors, you’re only going to hurt your email deliverability.

So, take the time to properly research your ideal prospects and segment your contact list based on demographics, interests, and any other relevant factors or attributes. 

After that, use this segmentation to divide your contact list that aligns with your email content. 

Sending such relevant and hyper-targeted emails reduces spam complaints and unsubscribes, and results in increased engagement. This, in turn, will greatly contribute to the overall email deliverability of your campaigns.

15 – Use a specialized email automation tool

Sending a high volume of personalized and well-timed emails while avoiding errors or excessive sending requires meticulous planning and execution. That’s why, it’s best to use email automation tools that come with built-in email personalization, automation, and other features that make your job easier.

Rather than manually personalizing every email, automation tools enable you to create customized templates that pull in recipient names, preferences, and other details to scale personalization across all your campaigns. 

In short, implementing email deliverability best practices at scale requires a sophisticated platform built for automation, personalization, and deliverability.

Saleshandy is one such email automation software that lets you auto-personalize your emails, set up automated initial and follow-up sequences, schedule sending time, and more to streamline your email campaign efforts.

Here are Saleshandy’s key features that make it the best email automation tool for sending large email campaigns.

  • Merge tags – Merge Tags allow you to automatically insert information specific to each prospect like their name, company, etc. This makes your emails more personalized.
  • Spintax – Spintax lets you create many versions of parts of your email text. These variations are randomly sent to prospects. This makes your emails less repetitive and improves delivery.
  • AI Writing Assistance – AI Email Writing Assistant helps identify and remove spam trigger words from your email copy to further optimize your emails for optimum deliverability.
  • Email ramp-upEmail Ramp-Up gradually increases the number of emails sent over time, while keeping a good gap between emails.
  • Auto follow-upAuto Follow-Up automatically sends follow-up emails to prospects who haven’t replied to your first email.
  • Sender rotationSender Rotation rotates multiple email accounts that you’ve connected to Saleshandy when sending emails. This helps to avoid spam filters and increase email deliverability.
  • Sequence scoreSequence Score rates how effective your email setup, sequence setup, and email copy are and provides tips for improvement.
  • Unified inboxUnified Inbox lets you manage all responses from your accounts in one Saleshandy inbox. This helps to ensure that you never miss an important response from your recipients.

How to send automated email campaigns using Saleshandy?

Using Saleshandy to send automated email campaigns is pretty easy. 

Here are the steps you need to follow to set up an automated email campaign in Saleshandy.

Step 1 – Create your Saleshandy account

The first step is to open Saleshandy’s website, click on the Sign Up for Free button, and create a new account.

Once you’ve created your Saleshandy account, you need to verify it by clicking on the verification link sent to you in the automated verification email. 

Step 2 – Connect your email account(s)

After verifying your Saleshandy account, the next step is to connect your email account to Saleshandy.

Open the ‘Settings’ section and navigate to the ‘Email Accounts’ tab.

On the next screen, click on the ‘Add Email Account’ button from the top-right corner.

After that, enter your email account credentials and click on the ‘Add Email Account’ button.

Once that’s done, your email account will be successfully linked to Salehandy.

IMPORTANT NOTE – You can connect unlimited email accounts to Salehandy.

Step 3 – Authenticate your email domain

Once you’ve connected your email account, you need to authenticate your email domain. 

For the uninitiated, email domain authentication helps to establish a good sender reputation and achieve high email deliverability. This is crucial for making sure your emails land in the Primary inbox of your prospects.

The good news is it’s pretty straightforward to authenticate your email domain. You just need to set up SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) records.

Step 4 – Warm up your email account

Once your email domain is authenticated, you need to warm up your email account before launching your email campaign.

Email ramp-up is a critical part of the process because it also contributes to establishing a good sender reputation.

The process basically involves sending a small number of emails from a new email account and gradually increasing the number of outgoing emails each day.

Saleshandy allows you to warm up your email account automatically. 

Go to the ‘Email Warm Up’ section and click on the ‘Go To TrulyInbox’ button.

Saleshandy has partnered with TrulyInbox to provide email warm-up service to all its users for free.

So, go ahead and sign up on the TrulyInbox website using the email account you’d like to warm up automatically.

After that, click on the ‘Add Email Account’ button.

Next, select your ‘Email Service Provider’, enter the requested information, and click on the ‘Connect & Save’ button.

Upon clicking the button, TrulyInbox will start warming up your email account. 

Step 5 – Add your prospects

In this step, you need to upload your prospect list while your email account is being warmed up.

Open the ‘Prospects’ section and click on either ‘Add Prospect’ to add your contacts one by one or select ‘Import Via CSV’ to upload them in bulk.

On the next screen, click on the ‘Choose File’ button, select your CSV file, and hit the ‘Next’ button.

Now, follow the instructions that show up on the next few screens to finish uploading your prospects to Saleshandy.

Step 6 – Write your initial email

After uploading your prospects to Saleshandy, you can finally start drafting your initial email copy.

Go to the ‘Sequences’ section and click on the ‘Create Sequence’ button.

After that, click on the ‘Add Step’ button as shown below.

Finally, start writing your initial email copy on the pop-up screen. Once you’re done writing the email copy, hit the ‘Save’ button.

Step 7 – Set up an automated follow-up sequence

Once you’ve written the initial email, you can also set up an automated follow-up email sequence that will be sent based on pre-defined criteria.

Open the ‘Sequence’ section and click on the ‘Add Step’ displayed below your initial email.

Note that you can add multiple automated follow-up emails in Saleshandy.

Step 8 – Activate your email campaign

Finally, it’s time to activate your email campaign.

For this, go back to the ‘Sequence’ section and toggle the ‘Activate Sequence’ switch as shown in the screenshot below.

As soon as you activate the sequence, Saleshandy will start sending your emails to each prospect individually while keeping an appropriate time interval between each outgoing email for higher email deliverability.

Step 9 – Monitor your response rate

After activating your email sequence, wait for a few days to monitor your campaign performance.

Saleshandy has a built-in performance monitoring analytics feature that lets you check how many prospects have opened your emails, clicked on the links provided in the emails, and responded to them.

Reopen the ‘Sequence’ section and you can see your performance metrics of each email right there.

The Main Takeaway!

There you have it! – These are the best practices you need to implement to increase the email deliverability of your campaigns. 

The main takeaway is your sender’s reputation matters a lot if you wanna have success with your email campaigns. So, take the time to authenticate your email domain and follow other best practices mentioned in this post to generate significant results.

FAQs

1) Why is my email deliverability low?

There can be a number of reasons for low email deliverability such as poor sender reputation, lack of email domain authentication, high spam complaints & email bounces, or irregular sending patterns and email blast behavior.

2) How do you fix email deliverability issues?

Some steps you can implement to fix email deliverability issues include setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records, regularly cleaning your email lists, personalizing your email content for each recipient, and monitoring bounce rates and spam complaints.

3) How do I improve email deliverability?

There are plenty of ways to improve email deliverability such as optimizing your email content to avoid spam filters, using a reputable email service provider, segmenting your email lists for targeted messaging, and regularly monitoring key performance metrics like open rates and click-through rates.

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