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Email marketing · 

7 minutes

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

20 Tips to Improve Email Deliverability

In the digital marketing landscape, email marketing holds a potent position. However, the effectiveness of the most meticulously planned emails can be compromised if they fail to reach the recipient's inbox. This concern brings us to the importance of email deliverability. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss various strategies on how to improve email deliverability and enhance the success rate of your email marketing campaigns.

What is Email Deliverability? A Definition

Email deliverability, often mistaken for email delivery, plays a pivotal role in the success of your email campaigns. While email delivery simply refers to whether an email was received by a recipient's server, email deliverability dives deeper. It is about whether your email successfully lands in your recipient's inbox and not in the spam or junk folder.

What is a Hard Bounce?

A hard bounce refers to an email that has been returned to the sender because the recipient's address is invalid or non-existent. This could be due to several reasons. These include the domain name not existing, the recipient email server blocking delivery, or the email address not being found.

When a hard bounce happens, it's crucial to remove these email addresses from your list promptly. Continuous sending to these addresses can negatively impact your sender reputation and subsequently your email deliverability.

What is a Soft Bounce?

A soft bounce, on the other hand, is a temporary deliverability issue. Unlike hard bounces, these email addresses are generally valid and the email gets as far as the recipient's mail server. However, it bounces back because the recipient's mailbox is full, the server is down, or the message is too large.

Soft bounces don't necessarily need to be removed from your email list straight away, but they should be monitored. If the soft bounce keeps occurring over an extended period, it might be best to remove these from your list as well.

What is a Spam Trap?

A spam trap is an email address that's used to expose and track spammers. These email addresses are usually those that have been abandoned for a long time and are then repurposed by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and blacklist providers.

Since these addresses are not used for regular communication, any email received is considered unsolicited or spam. Landing in a spam trap can seriously harm your sender reputation and email deliverability. To avoid them, maintain a clean email list by using double opt-ins and regularly removing inactive users.

How to Improve Email Deliverability: 20 Tips

1. Use a Reputable Email Service Provider (ESP)

Your choice of ESP can play a significant role in determining your email deliverability. Reputable ESPs like Piggy have sturdy delivery networks and actively monitor their users to curb spammy practices, increasing your chances of steering clear of the dreaded spam folder. Opt for an ESP that showcases high delivery rates and aligns with your requirements.

2. Authenticate Your Emails

Email authentication aids Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in verifying the sender's identity, reducing the risk of your emails ending up in the spam folder. Implementing standards such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) can help bolster your credibility in the eyes of ISPs, thereby improving your email deliverability.

3. Maintain a Clean Email List

Keeping a clean email list, free from incorrect or non-existent email addresses, is crucial to prevent high bounce rates that could tarnish your sender reputation. Regularly audit your email list, remove hard bounces, and keep it updated to enhance your engagement rates.

4. Get Permission

Securing permission from your recipients before sending emails should be your priority. Consent-based email marketing not only complies with regulations like GDPR but also boosts engagement rates. You can obtain permission through methods like sign-up forms or double opt-in procedures.

5. Avoid Spam Triggers

Steering clear of spam triggers is a surefire way to improve email deliverability. These triggers include using excessive capitalization, overuse of exclamation marks, or certain words like "free" or "guarantee".

6. Keep Your IP Warm

Warming up your IP address is a way to build its reputation by gradually increasing the volume of emails sent. Start with a low volume of emails and scale up over time. This approach will help ISPs to recognize your IP as a legitimate email sender.

7. Use Double Opt-In

A double opt-in process requires the subscriber to confirm their subscription, ensuring that your email list consists of people genuinely interested in receiving your emails. It also helps avoid spam traps and reduces bounce rates.

8. Provide Clear Unsubscribe Options

Transparent and easy-to-use unsubscribe options can paradoxically improve email deliverability. Providing an easy opt-out option can help maintain a clean and engaged email list, and it's a requirement under laws like CAN-SPAM.

9. Monitor Deliverability Rates

Monitoring your deliverability rates regularly is crucial. Use tools provided by your Email Service Provider or third-party applications to track bounce rates, open rates, and spam complaints. These metrics provide valuable insights into your email deliverability performance and can help you identify any emerging issues that need attention.

10. Test Your Emails

Before hitting the 'send' button, conduct thorough tests to check the content, design, and compatibility of your emails across various email clients and devices. This step ensures that your recipients experience your email as intended and also helps to prevent your email from landing in the spam folder.

11. Segment Your Lists

Segmentation is a powerful tool for improving email deliverability. By dividing your email list into smaller groups based on characteristics like past purchases or engagement rates, you can send highly targeted emails. Targeted, relevant emails are more likely to be engaged with, which positively affects your sender reputation and overall deliverability.

12. Maintain a Consistent Sending Schedule

ISPs tend to favor regular and predictable email sending behavior. Maintaining a consistent email sending schedule can improve your sender reputation and subsequently, email deliverability. However, be cautious not to overwhelm your subscribers with too many emails, as this may lead to increased unsubscribe rates.

13. Don’t Purchase Email Lists

Buying email lists can seriously damage your sender reputation and result in high bounce rates, as the recipients didn't give permission to receive your emails. It also violates terms of service for most ESPs and can even lead to hefty fines under regulations like GDPR.

14. Use a Recognizable Sender Name

The sender name can significantly impact whether a recipient opens an email or sends it to the spam folder. Using a recognizable and trustworthy sender name can increase your open rates and thereby improve your sender reputation and email deliverability. Remember to maintain consistency across your emails to strengthen your brand recognition.

15. Personalize Your Emails

Personalized emails lead to higher engagement rates. Incorporating elements such as the recipient's name, their past purchases, or their browsing behavior in your email can make it more relevant and appealing. Higher engagement can lead to improved email deliverability as it sends positive signals to ISPs about your email practices.

16. Use a Proper Reply-To Email Address

A no-reply email address can make your email seem impersonal and even discourage interaction. Using a reply-to email address encourages two-way communication and gives your recipients an easy way to ask questions or provide feedback. This practice can lead to higher engagement rates and subsequently, better email deliverability.

17. Include a Plain Text Version

While HTML emails can be visually appealing, not all email clients can properly display them. Including a plain text version of your email alongside the HTML version ensures that your message gets through, even if the HTML version fails to load. This can improve your email deliverability and ensure a better user experience for your recipients.

18. Avoid Large Attachments

Large attachments not only take longer to load but can also trigger spam filters. To improve your email deliverability, consider linking to files hosted on your website or a cloud service instead of attaching them to your emails. This approach also provides an added benefit of driving traffic to your website.

Link shorteners can often be flagged by spam filters as they're frequently used in spam emails. Instead, use the full URL or hyperlink text within your email. It’s a small adjustment that can significantly improve your email deliverability.

20. Regularly Update Your SPF Record

Your SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record is a type of DNS record that identifies which mail servers are allowed to send email on behalf of your domain. Regularly updating your SPF record to include all servers that send email for your domain helps to authenticate your emails and improve their deliverability.


Improving email deliverability is a complex process that involves a variety of factors, from choosing a reputable ESP to personalizing your emails. However, with the right strategies and a commitment to best practices, you can ensure that your emails reach the inbox of your recipients, leading to higher engagement rates and better results from your email marketing campaigns.

Remember, improving email deliverability is a continuous process. Monitor your metrics regularly, keep abreast of changes in email marketing best practices, and don't be afraid to test different strategies to see what works best for your audience.

This concludes our deep-dive into how to improve email deliverability. By implementing these strategies, you're on your way to a robust and effective email marketing strategy. Happy emailing!

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