5 Tips to Protect Deliverability
Updated: Mar 26
Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to your subscriber's inbox. If you've ever worried about your emails going to spam, bouncing, or getting held from delivery, you're already thinking about your deliverability. Depending on the maturity of your email program, there are different techniques and rules to follow. But for starters, try adhering to these 5 recommendations to protect your ability to send.
5 Tips to Protect Your Deliverability
Here's how you can build up an email program that respects your customers and gets your emails into the inbox.
Set up a Welcome Email with a Double Opt-In One of the most recommended best practices for all new subscribers is to confirm with them that they consent to hear from you. At the time of subscription, set up an automatically triggered confirmation email welcoming the subscriber to your business. In that email, you want to ask for a "double opt-in". We do this by asking them to click a button to “Confirm” that they intended to subscribe. Imagine how much more engaged your email audience will be when they have all confirmed "yes, I DO want to receive messages"! These users are less likely to flag you as spam, and more likely to engage, which helps your "Sender Reputation".
Segment by Engagement It's always wise to segment your list and avoid sending to the whole list. But one of the most effective deliverability-saving tactics you can use is to segment your list by engagement. Start by break your list out into "Engaged", "Win-back" (or "lapsed"), and "Churned". Engaged users are those who have opened or clicked in the last 6 months. Win-back users are those who have not engaged and thus merit a different kind of messaging. Churned users are those who have never engaged, or haven't engaged in 12+ months. They are a high risk group to message since they have made clear by their behavior that they are not interested in your emails.
Practice Good List Hygiene What makes your list "dirty"? Well, first, it's adding subscribers who never explicitly opted in to begin with. If you don't have record of an opt-in, these folks have got to GO. This means you need to avoid risky list acquisition practices like list buying or renting. You should also have bounce suppression in place. This means that if emails to a specific user soft bounce 3 or more times, we stop sending to them for a bit (for hard bounces, just once, and stop sending permanently). Avoid having to do massive cleanup audits by putting these rules in place early on.
Monitor Engagement by Domain The simplest way to keep an eye out for potential blacklisting activity (without hiring a 3rd party service) is to monitor engagement by domain. For example, if you are seeing lower open and click rates for subscribers “@aol.com” you may need to reach out to the postmaster at AOL. You can request that these inbox providers lift a blacklist but be prepared to show them how you plan to follow best practices.
Prioritize your Customer The whole purpose of spam filters, blacklisters, and inboxers isn't to make email marketing harder. It's to protect people from getting unsolicited messages or harassing content. In order to appease these gatekeepers, you really just need to do one thing - put your subscribers first. My rule of thumb for every campaign is to ask "Does this message provide value to the reader?". If not, I don't send it. As long as you build your email marketing strategy with the customer experience as top priority, you'll be protecting your ability to send.
There Is No Magic Cure for Bad Deliverability
So many different things can affect your deliverability, and the remedies to bad deliverability can sound extreme. BUT, as long as you are always putting the subscriber first and following simple best practices, you will be set up for inbox success.
Want to learn more? You can always contact me here.