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Best practices to improve sales email deliverability in 2023

12 min read
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Do you send out a lot of cold and warm sales emails and get low open rates and responses like “I found your message in the Spam/Promotions folder”?

Turns out – hitting send on the emails isn’t good enough to have them get straight to your prospects. You need to improve your email deliverability too.

Email deliverability is a measure of an email’s ability to land into a recipient’s primary folder.

All sales emails, as intended by email service providers, are to be filtered into promotions or spam folders. This means your sales emails are already geared towards having email deliverability problems.

So how to improve email deliverability rates? And how does bad email deliverability impact your sales? Let’s explore.

Why does email deliverability matter in sales?

Emails that don’t make it to the primary inbox are least likely to get opened. And this defeats the purpose of sales emails, i.e., to capture the prospect’s attention and divert it towards the message.

Sales operations aren’t cheap – since it takes resources to build email and prospect lists before outreach. 

Conducting sales email outreach with bad email deliverability is the equivalent of screaming into a void since the message doesn’t reach everyone.

This eventually impacts conversions and the bottom line, making it counter-intuitive for the sales team to conduct email outreach. 

With that in mind, we’ve prepared this guide to walk you through all the measures you need to take to improve the email deliverability rate for your sales emails. 

How to optimize your email deliverability?

1. Domain optimization

Most sales emails are sent from addresses ending in <@companyname>. This is your email domain and here’s how to increase the email deliverability of your sales emails by domain optimizations:

a) Warm-up domain 

Email addresses and domains without sent emails and engagement history are likely to go to spam easily.

This is a safety measure by email services to protect users from spammers who generate and use new addresses to reach victims.

So every time you create a new email address for email outreach on your company domain, make it a point to warm up your emails.

Mimic normal email sending patterns and send emails to a pre-selected group of recipients, who can engage and signal your genuity. 

b) Stay clear of domain blacklists

Domain blacklists are lists of domains that have a lot of spam reports due to spamming and unsolicited email activity.

They can also include domains sending unauthenticated emails(more on that later). These lists exist to preserve a list of bad domains so as to block or filter their emails in the future. 

If you are using an older domain that had a different owner or had your emails reported as spam, your domain might end up in these blacklists.

You can check for your domain in blacklists using blacklist checking tools. If you do find your domain in one of the blacklists, you would need to get in touch with them and request them to delist your domain.

c) Use aged domains

Freshly registered domains with no activity are likely to go to spam if used for sales outreach emails from the very beginning.

Either register your domain well in advance so it’s at least six months old or buy an old domain clear from blacklists to use for your sales outreach.

If your domain is freshly registered, let it sit for over six months. An empty response to a ping to your domain might also raise concerns over its legitimacy, so redirect all requests to a landing page to avoid 400 and 500 errors.

d) Register a subdomain and use it only for email activity

It is a good practice to register a sub-domain exclusively for email marketing. As you use the same subdomain over the period of time, it will build a trust factor among the recipients.

2. IP address optimization

IP addresses are the numerical address of servers that send your emails. Let’s learn how IP address optimizations will improve email deliverability:

a) Use reputed email services

If you’re just starting out and using existing professional email suites for your sales email outreach, use reputed ones.

In our experience, Microsoft Office 365 or Outlook has the best email deliverability for sales emails. Emails are less likely to get filtered, and it has better tolerance over the volume of emails sent.

Gmail comes next, it has lower limits and tolerances, but is excellent in terms of usability and popularity. For reference, check our detailed comparison between Gmail and Office 365.

Avoid older, less secure services like and Yahoo. Apart from being filtered more often, you’ll find lesser integrations and clunky interfaces on these services.  

b) Have dedicated IP addresses

If you’re using email sending services like Amazon SES, Sendgrid, etc., to send sales emails and newsletters, there is a good chance your emails are being sent from a shared IP.

Shared IPs are a group of common servers used by all users on a platform – which would mean you could be sending emails from the same server a spammer’s also using.

Shared IPs on these platforms could be blacklisted, and if you send your emails from these IPs, your domain will be blacklisted too. 

To ensure this doesn’t happen and affect your email deliverability, rent dedicated IPs from these services. This will ensure your emails aren’t being sent from a shared IP and no one else can harm your sending reputation and deliverability.

c) Add authentication records

Authentication records are entries of your email servers in DNS and MX records, which are used to sign every email you send.

These include SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Email servers on the receiver end look for these signatures in every email and emails coming from unauthenticated domains don’t have them, hence getting filtered into spam. 

These authentication records can be added by the domain webmaster. If you manage the domain by yourself, you can add these records as per instructions here.

3. Content optimization

Domain and IP make for the technical part of the optimizations. Email content while being non-technical also affects deliverability outcomes, so let’s explore the optimizations that work to improve the deliveries:

a) Avoid spam triggering words

The vocabulary you use in your emails can dictate if the email is spam or otherwise.

Email filters can read through your email content and detect the promotional tone of your sales emails based on certain words you use.

Avoid using such trigger words in your sales email templates, so your emails don’t go to spam. 

b) Customize tracking links

A lot of sales email services will add tracking links to measure engagements on your emails.

When there’s a domain mismatch between the tracking link and the signature/recipient fields of the email, it detects it as an added external URL, which also has a negative impact on email deliverability.

Adding tracking links from the same domain you’re sending emails helps mask them, and evade email filtering.

Custom tracking links can be used by setting up a custom domain – it is available on Saleshandy and can be set up for free.

It requires adding a DNS record to your domain, which will allow Saleshandy to mask tracking links by using your domain instead of default ones. Custom domain also helps with clearing Blacklists and adds another layer of authentication to your emails.

c) Add unsubscribe links

If your emails are promotional in nature and your recipients don’t find an option to opt out of them, they’re likely to report you spam.

Sales emails being promotional should include unsubscribe links, which also ensures you’re adhering to CAN-SPAM laws, apart from improving deliverability. Unsubscribe links are available to insert in your emails in the Saleshandy’s dashboard itself.

d) Personalize content

Promotional sales emails with similar content being sent back to back are likely to trip the email filters on your recipient’s end.

To work around this, personalize your email for every recipient in the email campaign(sequence). You can add merge fields within your email template that enable you to personalize the content for every recipient.

This helps you differentiate your email, improve email deliverability and get more responses. You can automate personalization and send your sales emails on Saleshandy.

To compose better emails, Saleshandy provides real-time writing assistance. It provides 4 suggestions to improve your email content and increase your email deliverability.

e) HTML to Text ratio

HTML heavy emails are focused on the design and graphical formatting, which is a characteristic of marketing emails.

Emails with more HTML content than plain text are likely to go to spam out due to this. While one can’t omit HTML completely, it’s important to maintain a balance. Ideally, the ratio between plain text and HTML should be 60:40.

If you’re using sales engagement tools like Saleshandy, you’ll find an option in the editor to switch to editing the HTML of the email, where you can measure and format your template and balance the HTML-Text ratio to be appropriate.

f) Format and test emails

Once you’ve composed your email, check its formatting and send test emails to your own address and open it on various devices and platforms.

This will allow you to review your formatting and layout choices, and help you fix them if needed.

Bad formatting(even in your email’s HTML) is not a good practice and can flag or filter your email as promotional, triggering filters for automated sending behavior.

You can also conduct an email deliverability test to check how your email scores. Take extra time and add final touches to fix formatting to ensure your email looks as intended, and can get delivered to the primary inbox.

g) Use branding in your from name

Add a brand name in your “from” line to make your email look more personal and less spammy. For example, John from Saleshandy. Just add [your company name] after [your name].  

Using this approach, you will see an increase in open rates as it makes your email look authentic than any promotional one. 

4. Scheduling and sending optimization

Once you’ve set up your email and have it ready to send – here are a few more things you need to take care of to ensure you aren’t overshooting your ESP’s sending limitations.

a) Keep email sending limits in check

Depending on which Email Service Provider(ESP) you use, you’ll have limits on the number of emails you can send. This limit is supposedly 10,000/day for Outlook and 2000/day for GSuite accounts.

When you’re scheduling campaigns(sequences), make sure you’ve calculated the usage of your email sending limits before scheduling the campaign(sequence).

If you try sending more emails and exceed limits, your ESP will temporarily or permanently block your emails. As a result, you may no longer be able to send more emails using your account.

b) Schedule for recipient’s timezone

Sending out an email during your recipient’s inactive hours(for eg., 3:11am), might signal it as promotional communication.

Sending out emails in their active hours gets you better deliverability, and is more likely to get opened and read. You can easily schedule your emails during your recipient’s active hours using Saleshandy.

c) Verify emails to avoid bounces

Sending out sales email campaigns(sequences) to a list of unverified emails makes them likely to bounce.

Having a lot of emails bouncing decreases the deliverability of your future emails. To ensure your emails don’t bounce and your domain doesn’t land in a blacklist, verify all the emails.

Clean all your email lists and make sure your recipients are active and reachable. Saleshandy’s campaigns(sequences) have built -in email verification that verifies your prospects and makes your campaign(sequence) ready to be sent.


Looking after a long list of checks can be overwhelming, just to be able to send sales emails.

But email deliverability is one of the biggest challenges for SDRs.

Lack of it makes your sales outreach efforts futile. Sparing a few technical tweaks, most of these best practices can be part of your SDR’s workflow. This ensures the best conversions while maintaining productivity. 

Make a checklist, and go through all the steps before scheduling a sales email campaign(sequence). Monitor the results, and let us know in the comments if you see an improvement in your response rates!

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