This article was written by Chris Arrendale of Inbox Pros as part of a series on Email Deliverability
Many email marketers feel that email deliverability is a black box, and get confused about what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of myths out there, and it gets difficult to figure out which ones to believe and which ones not to. To help clarify things, here are 3 tips on demystifying email deliverability, with details on what each point means.
Delivered doesn’t = Deliverability
This is an essential point in the deliverability field. Many email marketers, after reviewing reports, believe that if 98% of their emails were delivered, 98% went into the inbox. This is misleading, however. The term ‘Delivered’ is a way to measure that the recipient’s mail server accepted the email.
Deliverability, in contrast, is the process of getting to the inbox and measuring the open/click statistics. Getting your email into your subscriber’s inbox is the only way to get opens, clicks, and conversions! Deliverability is constantly changing and evolving, so reviewing data and email results is key.
All Bounces Are Not Created Equally
There are 2 different types of bounces: hard and soft. Hard bounces occur when the email server rejects the email due to permanent conditions. Examples of this include a bad mailbox or bad domain. Soft bounces occur when the email server rejects the email due to a temporary condition. Examples of this include a full mailbox, or a temporary ISP block. Bounce rates heavily affect your IP/domain reputation. If bounce rates are too high, the ISP may think you are trying to spam them and may block your domain or IP address. There is no “magic number” that can get you blocked/bulked.
Spam Filters Change Thousands Of Times A Day
It’s important to keep in mind here that what worked last week may not work this week! Certain words, phrases, images, etc. could be causing issues with your content if they also show up in spam emails. It is imperative to perform ongoing testing with content and design. There are many reasons why your email could have been bulked or blocked, including:
1. Did you send to a new list that you haven’t sent to before?
2. Did you receive a lot of abuse complaints/hit a lot of spam traps?
3. Has the reputation on the IP or domain gone down?
4. ISPs can and will change their filters thousands of times a day.
5. A word/phrase that was accepted 2 hours ago may be blocked now.
Many of these filters look for the following:
1. Recipient engagement.
2. Authentication – SPF & DKIM.
3. The reputation of the sending IP address.
4. The sender’s domain reputation.
5. Characteristics of the email content.
6. Digital fingerprint of the email itself.
Marketers must have a consistent and proactive approach to email deliverability to run programs that drive revenue. If you actively monitor unsubscribes, complaints, and bounces, you’ll have a real understanding of what constitutes good deliverability.