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As email marketers, we all get upset by low email open rates. But not all of us have ever checked whether our emails actually make it to the customer’s inbox. The issue of email deliverability is often ignored in the email marketing community, but it shouldn’t be.

According to Deliverability Benchmark Report compiled by Return Path, around 20% of all emails are not getting delivered to the end user. Most importantly, 70% of those messages are never reaching the spam as well, being blocked on the gateway by ISP (Internet Service Provider) filters.

Just think for a moment: if you waste 1 out of 5 emails you send, all these metrics you’re worried sick about deteriorate by at least by 20% as well. How can your prospect open and click through the email they never received?

Before you proceed to work on your open rates, you should eliminate this handicap to the effective lead generation and improve your email deliverability. Let us show you how to do this with 8 sure-fire strategies and finally get all of your emails delivered.

1. Switch to a Dedicated IP Address

Some websites are hosted on shared servers and therefore have the identical IP address. Even though having a shared address may be cheaper than a dedicated one, you face a risk to be hit by bad email marketing practices of your “neighbors”. If any other company with the same IP get blacklisted for spamming, your emails may be blocked and not delivered to your customers as well.

To avoid this, switch to a dedicated IP address and start building its reputation. A good reputation will decrease or even nullify the chance to be banned by IPS, so your email deliverability rate will rise.

2. Enhance Your Email Sender Reputation

After you set up an individual IP address, you have to maintain its positive email sender reputation. If your sender score falls lower than a certain mark (for example, on Sender Score it is 70 out of 100), IPS will reject your emails at the halfway point.

We recommend Sender Score to keep your eye on this metric. The tool generates the results by analyzing existing blacklists, complaints, spam traps, etc. Consequently, you need to reduce those rates and keep them as close to zero as possible.

So how to do this? To avoid complaints and blacklists, send only relevant content that brings value to your target audience. Do it on a regular basis to keep your customers engaged, unless they may forget about you and unsubscribe next time they see your message in the mailbox.

3. Run a Spam Check Every Time You Launch New Email Campaigns

Before you click on a “send” button, make sure your email will land in the inbox. For this, you can use email marketing services like GlockApps or Mail-tester to assist you in checking potential email deliverability. They determine the issues with email template and highlight email spam trigger words that may prevent your email from being delivered.

Spam checks become even easier if you already use a CRM with an email marketing bundle included. For example, ActiveCampaign automatically launches an email spam check every time you start the new campaign.

4. Maintain a Healthy Subscriber List

Before we go any further, remember this. Never ever dare to purchase email lists if your email deliverability rate has already dropped low. We know that getting a ready-made list in a click is quite tempting, but it won’t help you achieve your marketing goals nor lift your favorite email metrics any higher (we know you think about boosting open rates even now).

Want to improve email deliverability along with open rates? Tighten your belt and prepare for the lengthy process of building your own email list. To help you out a little bit, There is a simple 3-step practice for the fast and steady growth of the email list:

  1. Create a compelling free offer. It can be a simple newsletter opt-in form, access to a small yet useful online tool, free e-book or report, or a demo version of a product/service. All the customer needs to do to get this offer is to leave their email list. Here is the example of our offer, 30-minutes free discovery call.

  1. Set a lead capture form on your website. If it’s powered by WordPress, you can use these plugins. Don’t forget to make it visible and include your compelling free offer as a headline.
  2. Utilize email marketing automation software. Use it to send out bulk emails to people that are on your freshly-built list.

Interested in more information on how to grow a healthy email list? Drop a line in comments and we will write a blog post on the topic!

5. Reduce Hard and Soft Bounce Rate

Bounce rate has a different meaning in email marketing and internet marketing as a whole. While in general marketing it’s a % of users who leave the website after viewing one page, in email marketing bounce rate is a % of users that didn’t get your message due to IPS filter block. The higher is your bounce rate, the smaller amount of emails make it to the inbox.

So what’s the difference between hard and soft bounce?

A hard bounce occurs when you send a lot of emails to the invalid or fake email addresses. This is a permanent delivery failure that may heavily affect your email sender reputation if the % of “dead” recipients on your list is high.

To avoid hard bounce, use a double opt-in technique. Don’t add a lead into your least shortly after they filled the capture form and send them one more email for confirmation instead.

A soft bounce usually happens when some temporary issues with email delivery occur. For example, the recipient’s inbox is full, the server is down, or the file attached in the message is too large.

Even though it’s impossible (and unnecessary, to be frank) to avoid soft bounces, pay attention to those that happen repeatedly and consider removing them from your list.

6. Use Proper Subject Lines

We already talk too much about subject lines in terms of email open rates. But here is another incredible fact: your subject line affects email deliverability as well, what makes it doubly important.

There are four golden rules to choose the best possible subject line:

FIRST RULE: Make sure you include the major benefit of your offer.

SECOND RULE: Avoid spammy keywords like “free”, “money inside”, or “open right now”.

THIRD RULE: Add the brand’s name to your “from” line in order to boost your sender reputation.

FOURTH RULE: Always test different subject lines with A/B feature provided by your marketing automation tool.

7.  Avoid Attachments

Speaking of soft bounces, we mentioned a large size of a message as one of the major reasons why your email may get rejected. In such a case, attachments are to blame for your low email deliverability.

To improve it, just never use attachments in your emails. If it’s not possible, try to embed a simple link to the file or a clickable image.

8. Track Down Your Email Stats and Act on Them

Even if you implemented all the suggested changes in your email marketing strategy, maintenance of your results is still a key to long-term success. Each campaign should stay under the radars of your marketing automation software, so you can identify issues and timely act on them.

But first, check out whether the program you choose won’t hurt your campaigns on its own. For example, there is a lot of complaints against Mailchimp that some emails sent with the tool go to spam or promotion tabs. This and some more reasons explain why it’s better to dwell on a “full-stack” marketing automation software instead of a ton of misaligned applications used for each metric.

However, more sophisticated programs require more time and effort to adjust all these tracking tools to your goals. Aren’t sure you can handle a proper setup of your marketing automation software? No problem!

Bonus: Test Which Folder Your Emails Are Getting Sent To in Gmail

A tool we use often when working with clients is a tool by gmass.co.

As you may be aware from your own Gmail account the Inbox can be split into different folders: Inbox (Primary) | Updates | Promotions. From our past research emails sent to Promotions generally have a lower open rate so we aim to get emails sent to the “Updates” folder to increase the open rate.

The tool by gmass.co allows you to test where your emails are going to be sent in Gmail.

There are also different types of Gmail accounts to test such as accounts of various age or with different email filters applied.

You can find it here.

Some factors that may affect which folder your email goes include the length of your email, keywords in the subject and body of the email and the amount of HTML in your email.

Ask us how to set your ActiveCampaign email feature and always get your emals to your customer’s inbox!