8 Actionable Steps to Improve Email Deliverability

As an Email Marketer, you should always have a clear understanding of your email marketing metrics. Blindly emailing your audience without proper segmentation based on engagement has a negative effect on your email deliverability. Emails are frequently delivered to Spam - never reaching the inbox of the target.

What should you do to get emails delivered to your audience's inbox?

(1) Verify the correct technical setup of your email service

What could be more disturbing than let configuration failure of your email domain cause deliverability issues!

Use tools like the MXToolbox's Email Deliverability Tester to verify the correct setup of your domain.

Make sure your domain is configured to authenticate emails send from your email provider (ESP). If not done right, your emails are marked as a potential scam, go straight into the spam folder or even been rejected and never reach the target's mailbox.

The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is the responsible validation system. Each domain publishes information about the servers that are allowed to send emails for the domain. Furthermore, it contains rules about how the target server should handle emails from servers not listed.

Another protocol is the DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) protocol. Outgoing emails are signed with a digital signature. The ESP can verify the correctness of the signature by using a public key that is published under the sender's domain.

You don't have to be an expert to verify the technical setup of your email service. The Email Deliverability Tool provider MXToolbox has a free email deliverability tester. Send a test email from your email service to their email address and get a comprehensive report with hints regarding configuration failures.

(2) Email List Hygiene

Consistently sending emails to invalid email addresses have a negative effect on your sender reputation. Make sure you constantly monitor and remove hard bounces from your email lists.

Make sure that you segment your audience based on engagement. Remove inactive subscribers from your regular email lists. Inactive subscribers show no engagement data like email opens or clicks. If you have constantly low open rates through your emails can cause a bad sender reputation.

Avoid Spam Traps in your email lists. Spam Traps are email addresses used by ESPs to identify spammers that follow bad email address collection practices like scrapping data from websites. This is why you shouldn't buy random email lists.

Another form of spam traps are recycled email addresses from previously active users that were abandoned by their users and now used as spam traps by the ESP.  

Use email validation services like CampaignKit to detect and remove invalid and harmful email addresses from your email lists.

Read more about email validation services in our article Email Verifier - Validate and Clean email addresses.

(3) Use double opt-in during subscription

With double opt-in, you send the first email to your new subscriber with a link to confirm the subscription. This ensures GDPR compliance and also helps to land future emails in the inbox.

(4) Make it easy to unsubscribe

Nobody wants to receive newsletters without an obvious option to unsubscribe. This is the guarantee to be reported as spam. Something you want to avoid at all costs. Having frequent spam complaints is a guaranteed way to get a bad sender reputation.

To avoid spam complaints make it easy for your recipients to unsubscribe from your email lists.  

(5) Warm up your email domain

When you start sending high-volume campaigns from a new IP or domain you should warm up your domain first. This is required to build a good sender reputation with the ESP. Otherwise, they could classify you as spam.

Most Email Service Providers provide automated email warm up service for dedicated IPs.

This not only applies to new IPs or domains, but also to domains you haven't sent on it more than 30 days.

Start sending small amounts of emails per day to your most engaged audience. Slowly increase the sending volume each day. Don't rush the warm-up process. Rushing the warm-up process has a negative effect on building a solid sender reputation. Depending on your volume it can take 2-3 weeks to warm up an IP.

Here is a possible warm-up schedule:

Day Emails
Day 1 200
Day 2 500
Day 3 1000
Day 4 2000
Day 5 5000
Day 6 10000
Day 7 20000
Day 8 40000
Day 9 50000
Day 10 75000
Day 11 100000
Day 12 150000
Day 13 200000
Day 14 250000

(6) Send emails your audience want to read

All the fine-tuning doesn't work if your email content is not on point. Focus on creating engaging content that is relevant to your audience. Otherwise, you see a high number of unsubscribes, spam complaints or just unopened emails. We wrote about it in 5 Ways to Damage Your Domain Reputation. All of this has a negative effect on your sender reputation in the long run.

A good source of inspiration provides goodmailcopy.com. They provide a categorized collection of great emails sent by successful companies.

Always monitor your marketing metrics. How did you open rate change compared to the last send-out? Try to explain what caused the difference if the metric changes.

(7) Avoid No-Reply emails

I assume you certainly received emails from noreply@domain addresses. What was your feeling? When I see a no-reply email, I instantly feel like the sender doesn't want to talk to me.

25% of customers have opted out of a business's email list because of a lack of human touch.

According to ActiveCampaign, 25% of customers have opted out of a business's email list because of a lack of human touch.

Instead of no-reply emails, give your email a personal touch. Let the recipient know who sits behind the email and use (if possible) your real name. Also, make sure that the recipients can reply to your emails.

(8) Stick to your email schedule

Your audience gets used to the number of emails you are sending. Also the timing matters. Don't change that too much. A regular and consistent schedule increases your audience engagement. Too much and frequent changes can have a negative effect on open and click-through rates.


Follow these steps to improve your email deliverability. There is no silver bullet. Start with the technical aspects, then question your content and make sure to measure and understand your audience engagement.

We offer a great service for email list cleaning. Remove bounces and malicious contacts from your email lists.

Ready to dive in?Start your free trial today.