Email deliverability is easy to explain but complex to accomplish. You’ve probably seen email marketing services described as offering “high deliverability” and wondered what that means. Email has gone through necessary evolutions over the years to help users get the most relevant messages in their inboxes while decreasing the amount of spam they receive. Simply having someone’s email address doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to get an email into their inbox, which is why ensuring maximum deliverability is at the core of our product. We work hard to deliver continued success for our customers.
What Is Email Deliverability?
In simple terms, email deliverability (or acceptance rate) is the success rate an email marketer has in getting an email delivered to a person’s email address. This metric is very important when you use email marketing as a way to reach multiple people at once, as when you send your company newsletter. If you can’t deliver an email, then why send it?
To put this into more numeric terms, email deliverability is the percentage of emails that are delivered, divided by the number of emails that are sent. So if you send an email newsletter to 500 of your past and present clients and 450 are delivered, then your deliverability rate would be 90%.
For all of our customers’ emails we send, OutboundEngine’s deliverability rate is 99%. This is only the first step to delivering email success for our customers. Arguably, it is the most important one. Without deliverability, there is nothing else an email can do for your business.
The Complexity of Email Deliverability
The reason email deliverability is so complex is that it continues to evolve. Go back to the ‘90s when email use was starting to become mainstream. If you sent an email to someone, that message was delivered to their inbox. That is until spam filters were introduced to combat emails from your version of the “South African Prince” or male enhancement pharmaceutical sales rep. Spam filters work to protect your inbox from unwanted solicitations, especially those looking to exploit your personal information.
As the years progressed, additional layers of security have been added. Some people use personal filters to keep unwanted emails from their inbox. The automated filters your email service providers have improved to remove poorly formatted email that might appear like spam. Even today, changes to email services like Gmail (inbox tabs and priority inboxes) continue to challenge email marketers with good intentions. The ultimate goal here is to get people to open your email, but there is a lot of work that has to take place before that can happen.
How We Achieve 99% Email Deliverability
On the surface, deliverability seems pretty simple. Write an email, address it and send. Really, that’s all you should have to worry about, but there’s more to it than that. Here are the more complicated, behind-the-scenes factors we stay compliant with in order to achieve this high deliverability rate.
This 2003 federal law outlines the rule of commercial emailing. Short for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornographic and Marketing Act,” this law sets up the requirements that all email marketers must follow and establishes the consequences for not following the law. You can read more about the CAN-SPAM Act here. By law, and common sense, we follow this act to the letter to ensure our continued existence as an email marketing service.
IP Address Reputation
We have a dedicated IP address that we use to send emails for our customers. Over time, the reputation of this IP address increases as all major Internet service providers (ISPs) get used to receiving traffic that is viewed as non-spamming. Without this reputation, emails would never be accepted by the servers.
Warming up IP Address
As we provide our services to more customers, we increase the number of emails sent from our IP address. To keep our reputation intact, we test the email lists of new customers in small batches to ensure that the receiving servers accept these email addresses. If someone purchased a list of junk email addresses, this warming method maintains the deliverability for all of our customers.
When someone marks an email as spam or junk mail, that information is communicated through feedback loops. We’re registered with all major ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Comcast) and receive alerts if and when these reports happen. If there’s an underlying issue, we work to fix it immediately so we can continue to email those domains.
While there is a lot of work that happens on our end to maximize deliverability for our customers, it is very much a two-way street. Deliverability is a partnership because the customer controls the biggest portion of the equation, which is their individual contact list and if their list was ethically sourced.
There are a number of variables at play behind the scenes that directly impact whether or not an email will be delivered. We do our part to protect our own IP address (and reputation) in order to continue offering high deliverability. In turn, this also protects the reputation of our customers, providing them with the continued ability to deliver emails from our platform.