How to Improve Email Deliverability for Link Building Campaigns

Stewart Dunlop

Editors Note

The lovely people at Snov.io have helped us compile the best actionable advice on getting your emails delivered into the recipients inbox.

This is the single most important part of link building. Without this, everything else fails! 

Although around ⅔ of marketers say emails are essential for their companies, many score email marketing ROI as “Average” or “Good” but not an “Excellent”. Aside from the issue with finding contacts, there’s another problem – how to reach out to prospects’ Inboxes and be noticed by them? A starting point is – to ensure the email deliverability ratio is high. And in this article, we’re going to teach you how.

What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability shows how many emails were delivered to the recipient Inboxes as a percentage of sent ones. The metric tells of the number of messages that got up in front of the prospect’s eyes. Thus, it provides a basis for calculating conversions and potential revenues.

Deliverability differs from “email delivery”. The latter stands for messages that were overall successfully delivered to an email box. Even if the delivery ratio is high, in case a good number of messages end up in recipients’ “Spam” folders, the deliverability score will be poor. And so will be the email marketing ROI, ultimately.

How to improve email deliverability

First and foremost, you have to check email deliverability. There’s a couple of ways to do that:

  • send a message to a test email

Open your mailbox and mail to test e-address, e.g. “ping@tools.mxtoolbox.com” provided by MxToolbox. You will receive an instant reply containing a link to the email deliverability report.

“Some services will provide you full deliverability report if you email on a test email address”, image source: a snapshot from mxtoolbox.com

  • test HTML with an email spam checker

Open and copy the code of one of your sent emails and paste it to the checker, like Postmarkapp or others. You will see the overall spam score and description of issues.

“You can analyze email HTML and see its spam score”, image source: a snapshot from spamcheck.postmarkapp.com

  • launch test campaigns

Register several new email addresses and list them. Then, sign up with an email’s sender, e.g. Snov.io or MailChimp, upload the list of contacts, and set up an email campaign. After the campaign ends, navigate to the dashboard and analyze the delivery report.

If you want to improve email deliverability or anticipate mailing failures – here’re 11 tips that might help.

Authenticate your email domain

When you perform outreach from custom mailing domains, like “abc@yourcompany.com”, you need to first verify the domain ownership. This is done by adding a record to the DNS settings of your domain. The record will show mailing systems that your account is secure and that they can let incoming emails by anti-spam “firewalls”.

There are 2  types of domain authentication records – a CNAME record and a TXT record – that can co-exist with one another. Verifying with a TXT record is more widespread. You can also add a DKIM (a modified TXT) record to your domain’s DNS records – to protect it from spoofing.

Other common authentication methods include:

  • validating IP addresses with SPF
  • protecting domain with DMARC.

Maintain proper IP allocation

Your sender score depends much on the IP address you send emails from. If Internet Services Providers mark an IP address as suspective, chances to reach out to recipients weaken considerably.

All else being equal, the following factors may worsen the reputation of an IP address:

  • too many emails are being sent out per unit of time
  • spam complaints and a growing unsubscribing ratio
  • too many deliveries errors.

It’s better to use a dedicated IP address for every mailing stream that you launch. It prevents exceeding limits, which can happen in the case of shared IP addresses. Also, if one mailing IP accidentally becomes suspected, others won’t be damaged and can still be used for mailings.

Perfect the opt-in process

You can’t add an email address to the mailing database if it didn’t pass through opt-in verification. Meaning, before launching regular campaigns, you have to ask for the right to do it.

You can choose either a single or a double opt-in verification. Single opt-in doesn’t imply that you should receive formal consent from a recipient, while a double opt-in requires to send a confirmation email and get consent.

In both cases, make the process clear for subscribers. Describe how your going to use contact data, provide a link to Privacy Policy, and mention that they have a right to unsubscribe at any time.

Write subject lines of the non-spammy variety

Avoid using spam-trigger words in the email body and subject line. These are single words or phrases that create unnecessary urgency, mislead, provoke, or push on recipients. Mailing systems are immune to manipulative or needy language, so even an authentic email copy may not pass the anti-spam protection.

Avoid certain keywords

It’s better not to mention money, time restrictions, and all sorts of guarantees in subject lines. Also, do not use words related to health, like “pharmacy” or “medicine”.

Provide a preference center

Give recipients an option to mention what mailings do they want to receive. For example:

  • monthly updates
  • product news
  • personalized offers
  • activity notifications, etc.

This will help to reduce the unsubscription ratio because your prospects might remove newsletters they’re not interested in, rather than unsubscribing from all at once.

Clean up your list regularly

You should review mailing lists and databases and get rid of contacts:

  • that have unsubscribed from receiving newsletters from you
  • that haven’t replied to you or opened emails for around a year.

In case you have an on-site subscription form, run lead gen campaigns via social networks, or distribute lead magnets in some other way, your database is continually fulfilled with new emails. Before incorporating new contacts into the mailing list, validate them – get rid of a catch-all, temporary, or other suspicious emails.

Avoid spam traps

Traps are put on websites intentionally – to detect and punish unfair senders who don’t stick to GDPR and mailings best practices. If you emailed to a spam trap, your domain would be blacklisted by ISPs.

To prevent the risk, don’t ever buy contact databases. Always use opt-in verification of new subscribers, protect on-site sign-up forms with Captcha, and try email verification services.

Send an email that people love

The more relevant content you send to recipients, the higher the probability to get clicks and conversions back is. Think about what email looks like, especially on mobile, not only about the message you send. Because if recipients see broken HTML, they’ll hardly become engaged with the content or want to receive from you more newsletters, agree.

“Apply responsive email layout on mobile”, image source

Check feedback loops

You can get notifications every time a sender domain receives a spam complaint. All common mailing systems, including Yahoo and Google, have postmaster tools. Among other things, that allow to set up and see feedback loops. As such, you can quickly unsubscribe users who complained about spam and avoid further complaints by eliminating the cause.

Send emails at just the right frequency

When you test email deliverability, pay attention to frequency. It may be that you send out too many emails, which makes recipients annoyed with your brand and willing to complain or unsubscribe.

Not to overdo newsletters, launch drip campaigns. With these, you can build email sequences based on user actions and deliver more relevant messages at a right time.

Check blacklists

Your mailing IP address can be blacklisted, for some reason. There are many blacklists you can find on Google, but pay the foremost attention to Composite Blocking List (CBL) and Spamhaus Block List (SBL). If your domain ші in a “spammers” list, check out the reasoning and apply for removal as soon as possible.

It’s not the number of emails you send out daily what matters for conversions. Neither is the vastness of your contact database. If you want to benefit from mailing campaigns, email marketing deliverability, open rate, and click-through rate should be your top priority focus.