Recent stats have shown that the return on investment when it comes to email marketing can be up to 4,400%.

It’s important that in order to help secure new customers and to entice those existing customers back, the right type of content should be landing in their inbox on a regular basis. This means email deliverability should be a priority.

This guide discusses what email deliverability is and why it matters for your business, as well as the tips needed to improve it. Not all of your emails will actually land in the inbox of your subscribers, so it’s important to maximize the number that do.

What is email deliverability? 

In order to understand how you can improve email deliverability, it’s good to know what it is if you’re unfamiliar. Email deliverability is the ability to send emails that you’ve crafted for your subscribers, and have them land in their inboxes. 

It helps you to figure out whether your email campaigns are actually being delivered, and if not, then you can explore why that’s the case. There are different elements as to what can cause deliverability issues and that will be explained further along in this article.

You will normally see a delivery rejection that’s provided by your email service providers to give an indication of why it was rejected, depending on the data they receive from the subscriber’s inbox. 

Why does it matter?

Just like any and all content that you put out to your subscribers or followers, it’s important that your hard work gets seen.

Whether you’re promoting a post on your social media feeds or want to let your customers know about the launch of a new product, email deliverability is one way of knowing your message was received. When you’re working hard on something, you want it to get the recognition and appreciation it deserves.

Email deliverability can help you assess which messages are getting in front of your subscribers. By knowing this information, it can help you fix errors and improve delivery for all your future marketing emails and your overall sales engagement strategy. 

Email delivery vs. deliverability

It’s important to understand the difference between email delivery and deliverability.

With email delivery, it’s all about if your subscriber or receiver of the email can receive the message in the first place. It’s basically whether or not you achieve inbox placement in the first place. 

Delivery refers to whether or not someone receives an email you’ve sent, and if they’ve not received it, what happened.

Usually, it can be because the domain or email address doesn’t exist or perhaps no longer exists. It’s also worth checking if the IP address has been blocked and therefore preventing the message from being received.

With email deliverability, it’s about whether it gets to the inbox. So once the email has been delivered, where does it end up? Deliverability is where it’s landed specifically, whether it’s the main mailbox itself or it could be in a spam folder. It’s worth looking at deliverability as that second point beyond email delivery.

Email deliverability consists of three main parts.

This is identification, reputation and content. For identification, it defines a set of protocols in order to prove that you are, in fact, the person you say you are whenever you’re sending out an email to your subscribers. Reputation is a score that will signal how trustworthy the emails you send are, and each internet service provider might have a different score for you. 

It’s therefore important that you’re encouraging your subscribers to add your email to their contacts or mark you as a trusted sender.

That way, it means you avoid landing in the spam area of the mailbox and can ultimately increase open rates. And finally, content is the message you have in your email. Is it appropriate and high-quality when it comes to the formatting? You might not be aware of this, but your formatting could affect email deliverability. 

When it comes to delivery issues in your emails, it might not just be a one problem thing. It could be that you have different issues in relation to each subscriber to your email marketing. 

Ways to improve

Improving your email deliverability is certainly going to be a great help for better success with your email marketing campaigns going forward. It’s also a big part of your overall user activation strategy. So here are some useful ways to improve it and to ensure your email deliverability rate is much higher as a result.

Start with a clean mailing list

First things first, start off with a clean list. This means taking a look at your current subscriber list and removing those who are inactive and simply not responding to anything you’ve sent out so far. There are going to be some who will enter an invalid email into your lead capture form intentionally or simply by mistake. It’s worth going through your list and getting rid of any that aren’t valid by verifying email addresses. You might also have emails that look like real emails but are actually spam traps. 

Usually, these are used to identify spammers, and so if you find some of these on your list, then it’s worth removing these too. By starting off with a relatively blank canvas, you’re going to be left with the right subscribers who are actually going to engage with what you send them. 

Include an option to unsubscribe

One of the many frustrating things that can come from email marketing is that there’s no option to unsubscribe sometimes. However, thanks to GDPR, it’s essential that you have an option to unsubscribe and that the unsubscribe icon or button is clear to see. Even though it can be unfortunate to lose a subscriber, there’s a reason why they did, and it’s not going to really affect your rate of deliverability. In fact, it’s going to make sure that you have genuine subscribers who are interested in being on your email list

When displaying the unsubscribe button or option, it’s something you’d usually put at the bottom of the email. Make sure you don’t hide it or make it unclickable as this is only going to frustrate subscribers, and you want them to leave the email list in a positive way.

Work on your personalization

Your subscribers are likely going to be receiving multiple emails a day from different companies, and so it’s worth making sure yours stands out. You don’t want to cause spam complaints from subscribers with content that isn’t even tailored to them specifically. Sending out a blanket promotional email is just likely to get deleted or ignored. With that being said, it’s worth doing a few things to personalize the email so that it gets clicked on but also arrives safely into their inbox. Make sure that you’re reading the copy within the email to check for any spelling errors.

A person’s email is a personal channel, and so it’s important to tailor the email you’re sending to refer to them either by their name or in relation to what they might be interested in. You want your content in the email to resonate with them, and that’s only going to happen if you’re really thinking about what is going to work for them specifically. 

Make sure you sound interesting and engaging

As mentioned above, your subscribers are going to have many emails. That’s why it’s important to make yours as engaging and interesting as possible. Your subscribers should look at your email and instantly want to click to see what they’ve received from you. It’s good to look at how your brand voice is conveyed over email and that it’s consistently the same at all times. If you wouldn’t read the email you’ve created, then why would they?

Stay legal

It’s important that with GDPR, you are complying with the web laws that have been set in place when it comes to what you send out. Depending on the email marketing software you use will dictate whether you are protecting yourself already or not. It’s always important to check your content and double-check to ensure no laws are being broken. Ensure things like the unsubscribe button and how you use the customer’s data are being done correctly. 

Segmentation is your friend

Segmenting your subscriber list can be useful when it comes to tailoring and targeting the right recipients for the content you’re sending out. Rather than giving every subscriber on your list the same information, segmenting it into groups can be helpful to personalize the experience. 

It can be good to segment it based on specific characteristics such as their interests and preferences, where they’re based, and even their purchasing behavior thus far with your business. Segmenting helps both your subscribers and with deliverability by improving the engagement of the content you send. 

Work on your subject line

Subject lines are essential to nail and something that you have control over. They are the visual element of an email that will be seen first when your subscriber looks through their inbox. For that reason, you want to improve your subject lines where possible to improve the deliverability rate. Find those lines that create urgency and intrigue. You want to entice your readers to click on it without making it clickbait. 

Depending on your segments, each subscriber is going to react differently to your subject lines, so you want to make them unique for each segment. You also want to stay consistent with what you’ve done before so that you avoid spam folders.  The timing of the email being sent is also important because it can lower your sender reputation. Make sure you keep the schedule consistent when sending out emails to avoid it being rejected.

Always do a final check

And finally, it’s always important to do a final check of the content you’ve created along with your sender policy framework. Many businesses have found to kick themselves when sending an email out with grammatical errors or information that is clearly wrong. You also don’t want to send content that could land you in hot water. Make sure that you are running your emails through the right tools to ensure it’s the best content possible. Spam-checking tools are widely available, and there’s a range of free and premium options out there.

These tools can be great to use because they can check for certain words or phrases that might trigger a rejection. The more thorough you can be with this stage of the process, the better. It shows professionalism to your subscribers and that you’ve not simply made a slap-dash email that makes no sense or is full of spam-related content. It’s not going to help with your email deliverability, after all. 


Deliverability is something that is important for the future of your eCommerce. In order to keep your subscribers engaged and to help entice new sales, email deliverability is important to focus on.

At the end of the day, you want to send content that is going to be read and not ignored or even misses the mark of landing in the inbox. With all the energy and hard work that you put into your business and in regards to your email marketing, you owe it to yourself to increase the rate of email deliverability.

So, with that being said, use these tips to help improve it. There’s always room for growth and improvement in anything you do when it comes to your e-commerce.

Author Bio

Darya Jandossova Troncoso

Darya is a photographer, artist and writer working on her first novel and managing a digital marketing blog — Marketsplash.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, creating art and learning everything there is to know about digital marketing.