How to Manage Email Deliverability Issues?

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If you’re finding it tough to get your emails delivered, this blog post is exactly what you need! Email deliverability problems can hurt your marketing efforts, so it’s important to tackle them head-on. In this post, we’ll walk you through a detailed analysis and provide clear steps to diagnose and fix any issues affecting your email deliverability and open rates.

Without further ado, let’s start!

Email deliverability issues refer to challenges that arise when your emails aren’t successfully delivered to recipients’ inboxes. These issues can encompass a range of problems, such as:

  1. Spam Filtering: Your emails might get flagged as spam by email service providers’ filters, leading to them being diverted to recipients’ spam or junk folders instead of their main inbox.

  2. Bounce Rates: Bounced emails occur when messages are returned as undeliverable, often due to invalid email addresses, full inboxes, or server issues.

  3. Blacklisting: Your domain or IP address may end up on email blacklists, usually as a result of being associated with spammy behavior, which can lead to widespread delivery failures.

  4. Low Engagement: If recipients consistently ignore or delete your emails without opening them, email providers may interpret this as a lack of relevance or value, affecting your future deliverability.

  5. Authentication Problems: Issues with email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC can hinder deliverability by causing emails to be rejected or marked as suspicious.

Email Deliverability - The Journey of an email
Source: bloomreach

Common Causes of Emails Going to Spam

Let’s start with poor sender reputation.

If your email address or domain has been associated with sending spam in the past, internet service providers (ISPs) may automatically block or filter out your future emails, assuming they’re also spam.

The second common cause of email going to spam is lack of authentication.

If your emails aren’t set up correctly with certain settings called SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, ISPs might not trust them and could mark them as spam. These settings help prove that the emails are really coming from you.

The next one is high complaint rates

If lots of people mark your emails as spam, ISPs take note and are more likely to automatically filter your future emails into spam folders.

Move over to content and formatting issues

If your emails use words often found in spam, have messy code, or don’t seem personalized, they might be filtered into the spam folder. ISPs scan for these red flags.

email deliverability issues spam email example

The last one of the common causes of emails going to spam is list quality.

Sending emails to old, unengaged, or improperly acquired email lists can increase the spam rate.

Content Issues

Certain words and phrases are closely associated with spam or phishing attempts. These include overly aggressive sales language like “Buy now!”, “Free!”, “Guaranteed”, or “No risk”.

Email service providers have algorithms that scan for these keywords, and using them can trigger spam filters.

Also, emails that are too pushy or sales-oriented can be off-putting not just to recipients but also to spam filters.

It’s important to balance promotional content with informative or educational content that adds value to the recipient.

Lastly, if your subject line promises something that the email content doesn’t deliver, it not only frustrates recipients but can also be flagged by spam filters.

Always ensure your subject line accurately reflects the content of the email.

Formatting Issues

If your email is created in HTML (which most are), coding errors can lead to display issues or cause the email to trigger spam filters. Common mistakes include:

  • Unclosed tags
  • Excessive use of tags like <font>, <b>, <i>, and <u>
  • Overly complex and nested tables
  • Using too many different colors and fonts

It’s crucial to test your HTML in various email clients to ensure it displays correctly and doesn’t look like spam.

Moreover, a professional, clean design is key in emails. Cluttered layouts, too many different fonts and colors, or inconsistent branding can confuse the recipient and spam filters alike. A consistent, branded template is more likely to be trusted by both.

Emails that consist mostly of images with little text can be a red flag for spam filters. This tactic is often used by spammers to avoid detection by text-based spam filters.

Ensure a good balance between text and images, and always provide alt text for images so that the message can be understood even if the images are not displayed.

And the last to check here is that you don’t use shortened URLs.

Spammers often use URL shorteners to disguise malicious links. If your email contains shortened URLs, it might be flagged as spam. Use full URLs, ideally branded ones, to maintain trust and clarity.

How to avoid going into spam - Best Practices

To avoid your emails getting to spam try to personalize your emails, and optimize them for mobile.

By personalizing your emails, you can improve engagement and decrease the chances of being flagged as spam. This includes using the recipient’s name or mentioning their past interactions with your brand.

One important thing to have in mind is email mobile optimization.

With more people checking email on their phones, ensure your emails look good on mobile devices. Responsive design adapts to different screen sizes, improving the user experience and engagement.

Signs of Deliverability Problems

Email deliverability is all about making sure your emails actually reach people’s inboxes.

It involves everything from setting up your emails correctly to ensuring they aren’t marked as spam. Good deliverability means your audience sees and can interact with your emails, while poor deliverability could mean your emails are blocked or ignored.

When it comes to understanding whether your emails are being delivered effectively, there are a few clear indicators that could point to problems:

  1. Low Open Rates: If few people are opening your emails, it could mean that they’re not even seeing them because they’re going straight to the spam folder or they’re just not appealing enough to open.
  2. High Bounce Rates: This happens when a large number of your emails don’t reach their destination at all. It might be because the email addresses are incorrect, or outdated, or the recipient’s email server is blocking your emails.
  3. Spam Complaints: If recipients are marking your emails as spam, it’s a direct signal that they think your emails are junk or irrelevant. This feedback is serious because it can hurt your ability to send emails in the future.

Diagnosing Deliverability Issues

Understanding the reputation of your IP and domain is crucial for managing email deliverability. 

ISPs use this reputation to decide whether your emails should reach the inbox or be relegated to the spam folder. 

Below, we discuss the difference between IP and domain reputations, how to find your IP address, and methods for checking if it’s blacklisted or assessing its reputation.

Understanding IP vs. Domain Reputation

What is the difference between IP and Domain reputation?

So, IP reputation is associated with the specific IP address from which emails are sent. ISPs monitor the sending behavior from this IP to evaluate trustworthiness.

A poor IP reputation (due to spam complaints, high bounce rates, etc.) can lead all emails from this IP to be blocked or sent to spam across all domains using this IP.

While Domain reputation is linked to your email domain (@yourcompany.com). It accumulates based on the history and quality of email interactions associated with the domain.

Negative actions tied to the domain, like sending to bad email lists or getting flagged frequently as spam, can harm your domain’s standing, affecting email deliverability even if you switch IPs.

Determining Your IP Address

To find the IP address from which your emails are sent, you can use a simple command in the terminal on your computer:

On Windows:

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Type nslookup mydomain.com, replacing “mydomain.com” with your actual domain name, and press Enter.
  3. Look for the line that says “Address” which will list your domain’s IP address.

On macOS or Linux:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Type dig +short mydomain.com, replacing “mydomain.com” with your actual domain name. This will display the IP address(es) associated with your domain.

Checking IP and Domain Blacklist Status

Using Online Tools:

  • MXToolbox:
    1. Go to MXToolbox.
    2. Enter your IP address or domain.
    3. Select “Blacklist Check” and view the results to see if your IP or domain is listed on any email blacklists.
  • MultiRBL:
    1. Visit MultiRBL.valli.org.
    2. Enter your IP address and check for blacklistings across multiple databases.

If you discover that your domain or IP address has been blacklisted do some of the following:

  • Contact the blacklist operator to understand why you were listed.
  • Follow their specific steps for removal, which usually involves addressing the reasons for blacklisting and proving that those issues have been resolved.

Assessing IP and Domain Reputation

  • SenderScore.org:
    1. Go to SenderScore.org.
    2. Enter your IP address.
    3. Register for free to see your Sender Score, which is a measure of your IP reputation on a scale from 0 to 100.
  • Google Postmaster Tools:
    1. Sign up for Google Postmaster Tools using your domain.
    2. Verify your domain ownership.
    3. Access detailed data on how Gmail views your domain’s health and reputation.
  • Talos Intelligence:
    1. Visit Talos Intelligence.
    2. Enter your IP or domain.
    3. Get a reputation score and see whether your domain or IP is considered suspicious.

These steps and tools will help you monitor and understand the current status of your email-sending capabilities, guiding you in making informed decisions to improve your email deliverability.

Analyzing Email Content and List Quality

Analyzing email content and list quality is crucial for maintaining effective email marketing campaigns.

Firstly, it ensures that your emails are delivered successfully by minimizing the risk of being filtered as spam. By creating relevant, valuable content and avoiding common spam triggers, you increase the likelihood of your emails reaching recipients’ inboxes.

Regularly evaluating and cleaning your email lists is important for several reasons. 

It helps maintain a high-quality subscriber base. Removing inactive or unresponsive email addresses ensures that you’re targeting engaged recipients who are more likely to interact with your emails. 

This can lead to higher open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement, which are essential for the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Improving Email Deliverability

Improving email deliverability is important for successful email marketing campaigns

By implementing effective strategies, you can ensure that your emails reach the intended recipients’ inboxes, maximizing engagement and conversion opportunities. 

In this part of blog post, we’ll discuss key tactics to enhance your email deliverability and optimize the performance of your campaigns.

IP and Domain Warm-Up

When you start sending emails from a new IP address or domain, it’s important to gradually increase the volume of emails you send. 

This process is called IP and domain warm-up. By starting with a small number of emails sent to highly engaged recipients and gradually increasing the volume over time, you build trust with email service providers (ESPs) and establish a positive sending reputation.

Enhancing Content Quality

The quality of your email content plays a significant role in email deliverability. To enhance content quality:

  • Avoid using language that might trigger spam filters. Instead, use natural language that resonates with your audience.
  • Personalize your emails and segment your audience to ensure that each recipient receives content that is relevant to their interests and behaviors. This increases engagement and reduces the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.

Managing Email Lists

The quality of your email list directly impacts deliverability. To effectively manage your email lists:

  • Implement a double opt-in process, where recipients must confirm their subscription before receiving emails. This ensures that you have explicit permission to email them.
  • Regularly clean your email lists to remove unengaged subscribers. This helps maintain a healthy list of active and engaged recipients, improving deliverability and engagement rates.

Monitoring and Adjusting Based on Metrics

Monitoring key metrics is essential for optimizing email deliverability. To effectively monitor and adjust your email marketing strategies:

  • Track deliverability metrics such as open rates, bounce rates, and spam complaints regularly to gauge the success of your campaigns.
  • Use A/B testing to experiment with different email strategies and identify which ones yield the best results. By adjusting your strategies based on performance metrics, you can continuously improve your email deliverability and overall campaign effectiveness.

Pros of Managing Deliverability Internally

Managing email deliverability internally gives you complete control over your email strategies and audience engagement. You have the flexibility to tailor your email campaigns according to your specific goals and requirements without relying on external services.

While there may be initial setup costs involved, managing email deliverability internally can be cost-effective in the long term. Once you have the necessary infrastructure and expertise in place, you may find that your costs are lower compared to using third-party services, especially as your email volume increases.

Cons of Managing Deliverability Internally

Managing email deliverability internally can be resource-intensive, requiring significant time investment and expertise. You’ll need dedicated staff or team members with the necessary skills to monitor and optimize deliverability metrics, troubleshoot issues, and implement best practices.

Setting up and maintaining internal email deliverability infrastructure can be complex and challenging. It involves managing technical settings, such as authentication protocols and IP reputation monitoring, as well as staying updated with evolving industry standards and best practices. This complexity can pose challenges, especially for smaller teams or organizations with limited resources.

Summing Up

Addressing email deliverability issues requires a comprehensive approach, including technical adjustments, content improvement, and proactive engagement strategies. 

By understanding the causes, diagnosing issues effectively, and implementing strategic improvements, you can significantly enhance your email marketing effectiveness.

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