The Mail Blaze Guide to Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is a hot topic on everyone’s lips when it comes to email marketing. We often get asked: “How can I get my message into my subscriber’s inbox?” Although compelling subject lines, strong CTAs and kick-ass creative in your campaigns is part of our response we don’t want you to ignore email deliverability as a metric when judging whether your campaigns are successful or not.

To understand how you can improve your email deliverability we’ve compiled this Guide to Email Deliverability, just for you.

We’ll cover the following:

  • Email deliverability 101
  • What is a good email deliverability rate?
  • What could be causing a bad email deliverability rate?
  • Mail Blaze Tips to help you improve your email deliverability rate -- Design and Content related tips -- Technical elements related tips

Email deliverability 101

Email deliverability (also known as inbox placement rate) is defined as a metric that shows you the number of emails that reached your recipients’ inboxes. You can also see email deliverability as the percentage of emails that did not bounce when you sent out your campaigns.

It’s important to differentiate between email delivery and email deliverability.

Email delivery: When your email is successfully delivered to the receiving server.

Email deliverability: When your email successfully reaches your subscribers inbox.

Therefore if you were to work out your email deliverability rate you’d do it as follows:

Email Deliverability!

Why should you care about your email deliverability rate?

You may have a massive contact list that you are sending too which may lead you to wonder why you should really care about what your email deliverability rate is.

Firstly, looking at this metric will help you know if your subscribers are actually getting your emails. You can get to know your audience better by finding out who your most engaged subscribers are and see how you can boost engagement with others.

Looking at this metric helps you identify which of your subscribers are referrals. This can help you set up your offers to entice referred customers in a more appealing way while showing you that you have brand loyalty.

If you see your email delivery rates are rocky or there is a sudden spike in unsubscribes, you can look at some common problems to troubleshoot. You will also be able to see the quality of leads you are getting that are subscribing to your lists.

What could be causing a bad email deliverability rate?

Waiting too long before you send your first email: You’ve built up your opted in contact list, now you’ve got to make sure to send your subscribers some emails. Not contacting your subscribers could lead to them forgetting that they opted in to your list and lead to them forgetting they’ve subscribed.

Custom authentication: It’s really important that you authenticate and [verify your domain] ( to ensure a good email deliverability rate. Custom authentication tells your ISP that your emails are legitimate. Gmail has said that authentication is one of the most important things to do when you are looking to ensure your emails get sent to your subscribers’ inbox. You should also put verified SPF and DKIM settings in place so that there is some verifiable information that receiving mailboxes can reference.

Confirmed opt-in lists: At Mail Blaze we always recommend sending to users that have opted in to receive emails from you. Making your subscribers double opt-in (i.e. having to confirm their email address and subscription) means you’ll have subscribers who are more engaged from the start. This builds your sending reputation from the get-go. Having a confirmed double opt-in subscription process also protects you from spambots and other incorrect sign ups.

Sending from a free domain email address: We’re sure you’ve received an email before thinking: “Who is this and when did I sign up to this?” When setting up your email campaigns you want to make sure that your subscribers immediately know who you are and that every part of your campaign shows this.

Using a From Name and address that is derived from a free email address like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo is something that can lead to a bad email deliverability rate. Yahoo, Gmail and many other ISPs mark emails as spam if bulk emails are sent from email addresses that are the same as their domain. Rather use an official company email address - .e.g. [email protected] If you have multiple services or divisions in your business you may want to customize your send-from address further to ensure there is no confusion as to where the email is from.

Your subject lines: Subject lines can cause a bad email deliverability rate if they contain lots of spam-flagging elements. The rule of thumb here is to consider whether you think your subject line looks like spam and refine it if it does. Avoiding excessive punctuation, all caps as well as spam triggering words. Make sure the subject line matches the content.

Images: Having too many images in your email can flag your email as spam and lead to a bad email deliverability rate. If you need to use quite a few images always remember to add alt text. Alt text will give your readers more information about the image in case it doesn’t show in your subscriber’s email client.

URL shorteners: URL shorteners can have a big impact on your email deliverability rate as they have historically been used by spammers to hide the nature of their links. Best practice is to use hyperlinks to link to your website where needed instead of using full links that look ugly and bully.

Unsubscribe process: Hiding your unsubscribe link or making it hard for subscribers to unsubscribe can be detrimental to your email deliverability rate. Using a tiny font size or white on white text can also cause issues.

Mail Blaze Tips to help you improve your email deliverability rate

Now that we’ve looked at what can negatively impact your email deliverability rate. We’ve put together a checklist to help you optimise and improve.

Design and Content related tips

  • Pay attention to your subject line - no spammy words
  • Make it easy for people to unsubscribe if they want
  • Don’t use URL shorteners - rather hyperlink
  • Make your design responsive and mobile-friendly - use our preview tool to optimise your mobile design

Technical elements related tips

  • Configure your DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • Set up your Sending Policy Framework (SPF) which tells your recipients’ server that IP addresses are allowed to send emails from you


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