Table of Contents

A Comprehensive Guide On Email Deliverability

A Comprehensive Guide On Email Deliverability


As an email marketer, you probably know this scenario. You spend hours perfecting your email campaign, sweating over every minor detail, and hitting send, only to find yourself in the one place you don’t want to be in – the spam/junk folder.


That’s not necessarily on you. Email marketing is complex to perfect, but with 71.8% of small businesses using email to communicate with their customers, it is a necessity.


Getting better at email marketing starts with understanding the concept of email deliverability and why it’s so important to the success of your campaigns.


This article aims to dive into:


  • The definition of email deliverability,
  • Why it matters so much,
  • What a good deliverability rate is and how to measure it,
  • The factors that affect email deliverability, and
    Ways in which you can improve your deliverability.


Right then, let’s get started.


Table of Contents

What is email deliverability?


Email deliverability measures how often your emails are landing in the recipients’ inboxes, rather than being marked as spam. Measuring email deliverability helps you refine your email approach, enabling you to reach your key audiences.


Oftentimes, email deliverability is confused with email delivery, and they are not the same terms.


Email delivery is when an email is successfully delivered to the recipient’s email service provider (ESP).


Email deliverability is when an email has successfully arrived at the recipient’s inbox.


There’s a possibility to have good email delivery but poor email deliverability, wherein the email might have reached the recipient’s server, but ended up in the spam folder instead of the inbox. Get it?


Email deliverability, in a way, is the foundation for a successful email campaign. It’s simple enough to say that if you’re not getting emails delivered, you don’t have an email campaign!


But there’s so much more to why understanding and using email deliverability is crucial to the success of your business’s email marketing campaigns.


Why is email deliverability so important?


There are two crucial reasons why marketers need to pay attention to email deliverability.


Why email deliverability is important

1. Ensures maximum ROI and success of email campaigns


It’s straightforward. If you’re investing your marketing resources into emails, only for them to never reach your recipients, what good is the email marketing campaign in the first place?


The ability to reach the recipient’s inbox is the foundation of email ROI.


When you pay attention to email deliverability rates, you are taking the necessary steps to ensure every mail you send makes it into your recipient’s inbox.


Monitoring and improving your deliverability rates is key to ensuring a successful email marketing campaign.


2. You connect with your customers


An email is a direct line of communication with your customers.


Failure to raise your email deliverability rates will result in an unnecessary interruption in that line of communication. Understanding how your clients are reacting to your content requires observing engagement and click rates.


Without the measure of deliverability, you’ll never know how good or effective your email marketing strategies are.


You can be sure that any other metrics you’re looking at are true representations of customer engagement if you keep an eye on where your emails are landing in your inbox.


Understanding the importance of email deliverability is a must-have for businesses to kill it at email marketing. But what’s more important is to understand what affects deliverability.


What is a good email deliverability rate, and how do you measure it?


To be honest, it’s hard to place a solid figure as to what a good email deliverability rate is.


According to a recent study, just 80% of commercial emails reached the recipients’ inboxes.


Every marketer’s deliverability goal is 100%, but let’s face it, in the real world that’s impossible because some emails can go into the spam or junk folder. On that note, ideally, you want 95% or higher.


There is no set formula to calculate email deliverability. Instead, there are a few metrics you want to look out for when trying to measure your email deliverability rates.


  • Delivery rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Inbox placement rate (or IPR)
  • Open and engagement rate


Here’s how you can use these metrics to measure your deliverability rate.


Metrics to measure email deliverability rate

1. Delivery rate


A good delivery rate doesn’t mean good email deliverability.


However, it is still a key component to measure deliverability because soft and hard bounces affect the sender reputation, something that reduces the chances of your mail reaching the recipient’s inbox directly.


Calculating delivery rate

2. Bounce rate


Bounces are when your emails don’t get delivered to the recipient’s inbox and are of two types.


Hard bounces are when an email can’t get delivered because the recipient’s address is invalid, or their email domain doesn’t exist.


Soft bounces are when an email can’t be delivered because the recipient’s inbox is full, your email is too large, or the server is down.


Ideally, your bounce rates shouldn’t exceed 3% or they will negatively affect your sender reputation.


3. Inbox placement rate (or IPR)


IPR shows the number of emails that reach your recipients’ inboxes and are not in the spam folder. As a general rule, IPR is used for permission-based email marketing.


Here’s how you can calculate IPR:



You should take the IPR for all ESPs (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.) you sent into account to get a clear and complete view of your deliverability.


4. Open and engagement rate


These are simple enough.


Open rates measure how many of your emails are actually opened by the recipient and can be tracked with software or email deliverability tools that send you a notification whenever a user opens your email.


Engagement rates show how much interest they have in your email by interacting with it, responding to your messages, taking action on links you send, or opening the mail multiple times.


Both these are an indication of whether your emails work, or if there’s something you need to work on.


Factors that affect email deliverability


While there are numerous factors that come into play when talking about email deliverability, there are five crucial ones you have to understand.


  • IP addresses
  • Domains
  • Recipient behavior
  • Send frequency
  • Email content and format


Lets’s dig deeper.


1. IP addresses


The Internet Protocol address is a numerical identifier of the sender’s server. An IP address is assigned to each device connected to a computer network.


An IP address represents the sender’s reputation, which is dependent on a number of variables.


  • Send volume – How many emails were sent.
  • Send frequency – How many campaigns are launched each week or month
  • User engagement – Those who open, and click, maybe even complain or unsubscribe.
  • Quality – Emails that failed to deliver or bounced.


The way an internet service provider handles an email is influenced by IP reputation.


To send marketing emails, the majority of businesses use an email service provider or ESP. There are two IP address types that are utilized by ESPs.


Shared IP:


The same IP address is used to send emails from multiple businesses or brands.


Smaller businesses that send just a small amount of email can profit from a shared IP pooling volume. ISPs take into account an IP’s email volume when evaluating its reputation.


Too few emails (usually fewer than 20,000 per week) won’t register. A shared IP is almost always advised for low-volume senders.


Dedicated IP:


The business or brand has a distinctive IP address. It is not disclosed to other businesses.


Large brands that send a lot of emails should use dedicated IP addresses. With this, businesses can manage their own IP reputation without being concerned about outside senders.


To get ISPs to accept email from a dedicated IP, it should be “warmed up” by gradually increasing frequency and reputation.


2. Domains


Similar to the IP address, the reputation of a sending domain affects email deliverability.


It’s always a good idea to choose a domain name with a variation of your business or brand name. For example, Grammarly uses, wherein is the domain name.


Similarly, using a free domain email address such as Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail is also a bad idea.


If you send bulk or commercial emails from the same domain to an email account on Yahoo, Gmail, or other ISPs’ domains, those ISPs will automatically label your emails as spam.


Using a send-from address suited to the specific area of your business is essential for great email deliverability, especially if your brand provides products and services offered across numerous industries.


3. Recipient behavior


The actions of your recipients are evaluated by ISPs using deliverability algorithms.


For instance, suppose an individual repeatedly deletes your email without ever opening it, the ISP may filter your emails into a subfolder. Your emails may never find the recipient if there are too many complaints or unsubscribes.


To counter this, consider using strategies that encourage the individual to open or click, such as


  • Using engaging, to-the-point subject lines
  • Adjusting mail frequency according to subscribers
  • Deleting unengaged subscribers, and so on.


4. Send frequency


Reputation in emails is hard to build and easy to lose. Keep your frequency in mind as you start sending emails on a regular basis.


If you bombard readers with too many messages, they might unsubscribe and you might get spam filter alerts for sending too many messages.


Send frequency should only be once or twice a week unless you are a recognized daily sender.


It’s also best to encourage subscribers to opt-in to receive more emails in advance of any plans to boost frequency (for holidays or promotions, for example).


This way, subscribers will appreciate and look forward to your emails.


5. Email content and format


Email deliverability is affected by your email’s content as well.


Despite the impact being smaller, ensure your subject line, preheader text, body material, and photos are relevant to each other.


The built-in filters of ISPs assist in identifying spam and preventing it from entering the mailbox.


Whenever possible, avoid using “spammy” language and formatting.


Examples are multiple special characters in the subject line like “Big sale! Come check it out!!!”, or subject lines with an enticing copy in all caps like “CLICK HERE NOW!”.


10 ways to improve your email deliverability


Here are a few basic but crucial practices to improve your deliverability rate.


  • Warm up your IP address
  • Check your sender reputation
  • Authenticate your email domain
  • Refine your opt-in process
  • Introduce double opt-ins
  • Avoid spammy subject lines
  • Pay equal attention to your email content
  • Target engagement above all
  • Make your emails personal
  • Practice good list hygiene


Here’s how to go about it.


1. Warm up your IP address


One of the biggest mistakes most marketers make is getting started right away with a new ESP.


The ISPs have no idea who you are when you switch ESPs and acquire a new dedicated IP address.


ISPs will think you’re a spammer if you start emailing everyone on your list without first developing your new reputation because, in essence, that’s what spammers do.


Sending emails in small, timely batches, building a solid sending reputation, and gradually ramping up until you’re sending to your entire list will help you warm up that new IP address.


2. Check your sender reputation


Make sure you have a high sender score or reputation as a first step. Your sender reputation is an ISP’s overall assessment of your trustworthiness as an email sender.


Your emails will be forwarded to the spam folder if your sender score (calculated on a scale of 1-100) drops below a specific threshold.


Avoid receiving complaints, appearing on blacklists, or sending to an excessive number of unidentified users if you want to maintain a positive sender reputation.


3. Authenticate your email domain


In the email world, impersonation is not flattery— it’s one of the quickest ways to ruin your sender reputation.


By using SPF and DKIM to authenticate your email, you can show ISPs that you are who you say you are and that you are authorized to send emails.


4. Refine your opt-in process


Your deliverability rates are significantly influenced by the way you gather email addresses.


Your email list will be full of active consumers thanks to an enhanced opt-in process.


Your email list will be full of active consumers thanks to an enhanced opt-in process.


The ISPs will believe you are spamming everyone on your list (even those who want to receive your mail) if you send emails to those who weren’t aware of or didn’t consent to receive messages from you.


5. Introduce double opt-ins


Additionally, you should certainly have a double opt-in for your email list.


While you may think this restricts you from growing your subscriber list to its maximum size, in the long term, it is advantageous because it decreases spam complaints, which can also hurt email marketing deliverability and brand reputation.


6. Avoid spammy subject lines


Your emails’ subject lines are important pieces of text that will eventually decide whether a user will open them.


Although specific catchphrases may not always put you in the spam folder automatically as ISPs continue to improve their filtering systems, it is still a good idea to avoid using them in general.


These include stuff like ‘FREE!!!’ or ‘Risk-free trial!!!’.


There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule or list of terms that, if you adhere to them, will ensure you a spot in the inbox.


Nevertheless, avoid being pushy or salesy when crafting your subject lines and instead concentrate on the real value of the message.


7. Pay equal attention to your email content


When attempting to increase email deliverability, you must win over both your recipients and the ISPs.


ISPs safeguard end users, so if they show satisfaction, the ISPs will be delighted with your sending and continue putting your emails in their inboxes.


Above all, recipients will interact with your emails if they find them enjoyable and valuable. It’s not just about sending out as many emails as possible. In order to improve email deliverability, you need to pay equal attention to the content of your emails.


This means making sure they are relevant, engaging, and valuable to your audience. If your emails aren’t resonating with your subscribers, they’ll be more likely to mark them as spam or unsubscribe.


So make sure to put in the effort to create high-quality email content that will keep your subscribers engaged and coming back for more.


8. Target engagement above all


As soon as you reach their inbox, ISPs start paying attention to your engagement rate. Customers who don’t open your emails are signaling to ISPs that they don’t want them, making you look like spam.


To engage your subscribers and raise your deliverability rate, segment your lists, test and enhance your subject lines, and send them tailored timely content.


9. Make your emails personal


Because they respect and trust your brand, email subscribers choose to receive your messages.


Creating personalized emails gives recipients the impression that each email was written specifically with them in mind.


Engagement, conversions, and brand loyalty all grow as a result.


10. Practice good list hygiene


The multi-step process of email list hygiene should be evaluated on a regular basis. To prevent sending emails to invalid or nonexistent email addresses, it’s crucial to clean up your email subscriber list.


By reducing bounce rates, removing inactive subscribers from your list, and reducing spam complaints, practicing good list hygiene will improve your deliverability.


Want to learn more about this? Check out: 9 Best Practices For Maintaining A Clean Email List.


And there you have it!


That was a brief explanation of what email deliverability is, how to improve it, and why it’s crucial to keep an eye on it to ensure good, consistent deliverability rates.


The laws of supply and demand apply to email too, and as marketers, you should always aim to maximize the effectiveness of email marketing.


You can better understand what a subscriber wants by continuously tracking the activity and engagement levels of those subscribers. Then, you can personalize emails to individual subscribers’ demands.


Your deliverability will improve significantly as a result.


About Scale It Right

At Scale It Right, we offer hyper-focused demand generation as a service to help your startup or SMB scale and grow. Our approach is designed to help businesses generate high-quality leads and accelerate their growth through targeted marketing campaigns and personalized outreach.

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