Important things to know about Deliverability

Deliverability needs to be considered as part of your email marketing strategy. Deliverability means maximising the potential number of emails that reach the inbox. Your deliverability rate depends on a number of things like your sender reputation and the quality of your list.

Here we will look at the main things you need to consider to get the most out of your email campaign.

Using a white listed server

It’s important to know where your marketing provider’s mail servers are located. UK servers do not like receiving mail from places like the USA, Russia or China; because they are programmed to think that the mail is spam. Only ever use a British IP address, but be aware that because you are using a UK based email marketing provider, it does not mean that their servers are British.

It can take years to build a solid sending reputation, but here are some things you can do immediately to ensure those emails hit the inbox, not the junk folder:

- Remove unsubscribes straight away

- Process bounces

- Gain recipient permission

- Know your sender score

Use a spam checker

Before you even think about sending you email, test it using a spam checker. Most email marketing companies will check for you, or will have the correct software to do so. But you can do this yourself, using external software. One of the most popular is Litmus, which passes your email through all major spam filters.

The scan checks the content of the email for specifics words, phrases or images that are associated with spam.

You will then receive a score for your campaign. If the score is over 5.0 then it will be necessary to edit your email to reduce the score. If this is not done then your deliverability rate will be seriously affected. If your score is under 5.0 then it is generally seen as suitable to be sent.

Monitor your bounces

A bounced email is one that has not got through to the intended contact. The two main types of bounce are:

- Hard bounce – where the email address is incorrect or the address doesn’t exist anymore

- Soft bounce – where an inbox is full or if the email has bounced back due to a filter system.

Using analytic tools you can monitor the amount of soft and hard bounces. You don’t want to send continuous campaigns to those contacts who have bounced; again, it will affect your deliverability rate. Move these contacts into a separate list to avoid your emails bouncing again.


You will need to remove any unsubscribes from your contact list immediately. It is a legal requirement that email senders must include an unsubscribe link somewhere in the body of the email.

Although some unsubscribes are unavoidable, if your email is relevant, interesting and compelling, you can reduce your unsubscribe rate quite drastically.

Do’s and Don’ts

A successful email campaign requires a few specific things – a well laid out design, the right balance of images and text, and avoids the spam filters. Here are things to consider when you’re designing your next email:


- Keep your email to a sensible size. The usual width is 600 pixels.

- Address the email to someone, the more personal the better.

- Explain the link between the features and benefits of your product/service.

- Put a limit on pictures. Too many images will mean your email is caught in spam filters.

- Use offers. Free shipping, competitions or discounts work very well.

- Use bullet points to grab attention. People will scan an email before reading it thoroughly.


- Avoid creating a long email. Keep it short and sweet.

- Don’t use one single image. Most email service providers turn pictures off by default, so the reader would see a blank page unless they opt for images to be turned on.

- Don’t use CSS styles. They won’t render correctly when opened in email clients.

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