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Maximize Email Deliverability with Testing: A Guide

Emails are every marketer's first love.

But it could be painful if that love isn’t reciprocated, irrespective of whether your email lands in spam, unsubscribed, or is simply ignored.

Though you can’t eliminate the problem entirely, there is a way to reduce it significantly by at least ensuring that email lands where it’s supposed to– the reader’s inbox.

In this article, we will see how to maximize email deliverability for better results and ROI.

What is Email Deliverability & Why is it Important?

Email deliverability refers to the ability of an email to successfully reach a recipient's inbox without being filtered as spam or blocked by internet service providers (ISPs). In other words, it's a measure of the likelihood that an email will be delivered to its intended recipient's inbox and will be read by them.

Email delivery, on the other hand, simply refers to sending an email from one email server to another.

In summary, email delivery is sending an email, while email deliverability measures whether that email successfully reaches the recipient's inbox. High email deliverability requires careful attention to factors such as email content, sender reputation, authentication, and email list management.

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What are the Factors Affecting Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability isn’t an easy nut to crack since a lot of factors affect it, including:

  1. Sender reputation: ISPs use sender reputation to determine whether an email is likely to be spam or not. Your reputation is based on your sending frequency, spam complaint rate, bounce rate, and engagement rates. Building and maintaining a positive sender reputation is crucial for good email deliverability.
  2. Email content: The content of your emails impacts deliverability. Emails with spammy language or too many images or links can trigger spam filters and cause your emails to be marked as spam.
  3. Email authentication: Authenticating your email with tools like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC can help ISPs verify that your emails come from a legitimate source and improve email deliverability.
  4. Subscriber engagement: If your subscribers are not opening or clicking on your emails, it can signal to ISPs that your emails are not valuable or relevant, hurting your email deliverability.
  5. Email list quality: The quality of your email list also affects deliverability. Sending emails to invalid or inactive email addresses can increase bounce rates and negatively impact your sender's reputation.
  6. Technical issues: Technical issues with the email server or client are another main reason affecting deliverability. For example, if your emails are being sent from a blacklisted IP address, they may be blocked by ISPs too.
  7. Spam complaints: High spam complaint rates can negatively impact your sender's reputation and reduce your email deliverability. Encouraging subscribers to whitelist your email address and providing easy opt-out options can help reduce spam complaints.

Overall, email deliverability is a complex and dynamic process that is affected by many factors. By paying attention to these factors and improving your email marketing strategies, you can increase your chances of reaching your subscribers' inboxes.

How to Test Your Email Deliverability?

  1. Open rate: The open rate is the percentage of recipients who opened your email. A lower rate may indicate that your email is not getting delivered to the inbox or that the subject line and preview text must be more compelling to encourage recipients to open the email.
  2. Click-through rate (CTR): The click-through rate is the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in your email. A low CTR can indicate that your email content or calls-to-action are not resonating with your audience or that your email is not getting delivered to the inbox.
  3. Bounce rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of emails not delivered to the recipient's inbox. A high bounce rate can indicate that your email list needs to be cleaned or that your sender reputation is poor. There are two types of bounces: hard bounces, which occur when an email is undeliverable because the email address is invalid or doesn't exist, and soft bounces, which occur when an email is temporarily undeliverable (for example, if the recipient's mailbox is full).
  4. Complaint rate: The complaint rate is the percentage of recipients who mark your email as spam or junk. A high complaint rate can negatively impact your sender's reputation and deliverability.
  5. Delivery rate: The delivery rate is the percentage of emails successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox. A low delivery rate may indicate that your email is being filtered as spam or blocked by ISPs.
  6. Spam trap hits: Spam traps are email addresses that real people do not use but are used by ISPs to catch spammers. Sending an email to a spam trap can negatively impact your sender's reputation and deliverability.

By tracking these metrics and taking steps to improve them, you can optimize your email deliverability and ensure that your emails reach your subscribers' inboxes.

How to Improve Email Deliverability With Testing?

Improving email deliverability can be a complex process involving various factors, including the quality of your email list, the content of your emails, and the technical setup of your email server. Testing is a crucial part of this process, as it can help you identify issues preventing your emails from reaching your subscribers' inboxes.

Here are some steps you can take to improve your email deliverability with testing:

  1. Test your email content: Ensure that your email content is relevant, engaging, and free of spam triggers. Use online tools to test your emails for spam score, content quality, and other factors affecting deliverability.
  2. Test your email-sending domain: Ensure that your email-sending domain is appropriately set up and authenticated with Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). Use DMARC Analyzer to check your domain authentication settings.
  3. Test your email server: Ensure that your email server is configured correctly and meets the technical requirements of email providers. Test your email server for DNS resolution, SMTP authentication, and blacklisting issues.
  4. Test your email list quality: Ensure your email list is clean and up-to-date by removing invalid email addresses, inactive subscribers, and spam traps. Use tools such as NeverBounce to validate your email list and identify any issues affecting deliverability.
  5. Monitor your email deliverability: Keep track of your email deliverability metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates, to identify trends or issues over time. Use tools like Google Postmaster Tools to monitor your email deliverability and identify any problems that need to be addressed.

What Should You Do Next?

A half-hearted attempt at email marketing won’t get you those customers' eyes. You need a fool-proof email deliverability strategy that lands you comfortably in the subscriber’s inbox.

Start by focusing more on quality rather than quantity. Ensuring that you are building a high-quality email list of engaged subscribers who have opted-in to receive your emails is crucial for improving your deliverability.

Also, refresh your content to what is relevant to your subscribers' interests and provides value. Use personalization and segmentation to target your emails to specific groups of subscribers.

Maintaining email list hygiene and authentication is a good way to improve email deliverability.

Improving your email deliverability takes time and effort, but the benefits of a well-executed email marketing strategy are well worth it. By following best practices, testing your emails, and monitoring your metrics, you can improve your chances of reaching your subscribers' inboxes and achieving better engagement with your audience.

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