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Mastering the Inbox: A Comprehensive Guide to Email Deliverability

In today’s digital age, I cannot overemphasize the importance of email communication in business. Email serves as an essential conduit for business communication and marketing. While it’s easy to press the ‘send’ button, there’s much more to successfully delivering an email than meets the eye. In this article, I’m going to delve into one of the fundamental aspects of email marketing—email deliverability. If you’ve ever questioned why your emails aren’t reaching the intended inbox or why they’re landing in the spam folder, then this article is just for you.

What Is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability, often misunderstood as email delivery, is a critical concept in email marketing. Email delivery is all about whether an email was delivered to the recipient’s server, while email deliverability delves deeper—it’s about whether the email was delivered right into the recipient’s inbox.

For me, I think of it as a journey. The email’s voyage from the sender (you) to the recipient’s inbox is not as straightforward as it seems. Various checkpoints and processes can influence where your email ends up. So, understanding email deliverability is key to ensuring your email reaches its intended destination—your recipient’s inbox.

Factors Impacting Email Deliverability

A variety of factors impact email deliverability. As an email marketer, you must understand these to increase the chances of your emails landing in the inbox. Let’s dive into these elements:

1. Sender Reputation

Imagine this scenario: you receive an email from an unknown sender. You might hesitate before opening it and the same principle applies to email servers. The sender’s reputation, based on their sending IP and domain, plays a crucial role in deliverability. If you consistently send relevant, engaging content that is interacted with positively, your sender reputation improves, enhancing your deliverability rates.

2. Email Content

Even if your sender reputation is solid, poor email content can land your email in the spam folder. Overly promotional language, too many links or images, poor HTML coding and lack of personalization can trigger spam filters. Thus, it’s crucial to keep your email content clean, relevant and tailored to your audience.

3. List Hygiene

The quality of your email list significantly impacts deliverability. Ensure your list is clean, updated and comprises users who have willingly subscribed to your emails. Regularly purge your list of inactive users, bounced emails and unsubscribed users.

How To Improve Email Deliverability

Now that you understand what email deliverability is and the factors that impact it, let’s explore how you can improve it.

1. Build Your Sender Reputation

A positive sender reputation is your ticket to the inbox. Start by ensuring that you’re using a reliable IP and domain for sending emails. If you’re just starting out or have a low volume of emails, consider using shared IP pools from reputable email service providers. As your volume grows, think about switching to a dedicated IP.

2. Keep Your Email List Clean

Your email list is your prized possession, so treat it as such. Only send emails to users who have opted in and always provide an easy unsubscribe option. Regularly clean your list of inactive users and bounced emails. Remember, a smaller, engaged audience is better than a large, unresponsive one.

3. Craft Quality Content

Your email’s content can make or break your deliverability. Avoid using spam trigger words, excessive capitalization or exclamation points and too many images or links. Personalize your content as much as possible to engage your audience. Remember, spam filters are smart, but they’re not human. The more human your email appears, the better your chances of avoiding the spam folder.

4. Use Authentication Protocols

Authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM and DMARC verify that your emails are from you, which can improve your deliverability. These protocols essentially provide a digital signature that validates your email’s credibility to ISPs, increasing the chances of your email reaching the inbox.

Pros and Cons of Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is not merely a concept to understand, but rather a critical process to master for effective email marketing. Let’s explore its pros and cons to give you a better perspective.


Increased Reach and EngagementWhen your emails consistently land in the inbox, they’re more likely to be opened and read. This increases engagement, fostering a strong relationship between you and your recipients.
Better Return on InvestmentWith improved deliverability, your emails reach more people, leading to higher conversion rates. Email marketing already has an impressive ROI and enhancing deliverability further amplifies this benefit.
Builds Trust and CredibilityEmails that reach the inbox reliably, especially those from known and trusted senders, help establish a reputation of trust and credibility with your audience.


Requires Time and EffortOptimizing email deliverability is not a one-time task—it requires consistent effort, regular monitoring and iterative improvements. This can be time-consuming.
Technical ComplexitiesUnderstanding and implementing strategies for improved email deliverability involves dealing with certain technical aspects, like IP warming, email authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) and bounce handling.
Dependence on ISP PoliciesInternet Service Providers (ISPs) have their own policies and algorithms for filtering emails. Despite your best efforts, changes in these algorithms can sometimes adversely affect your email deliverability.

While there are challenges to achieving high email deliverability, the benefits it brings to your email marketing efforts make it well worth your time and attention. Understanding and implementing strategies for improved deliverability will help you realize the full potential of your email marketing campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Deliverability

How can I check my email deliverability?

Check email deliverability with several online tools. GlockApps, Sender Score, Mail-Tester and others. Most email service providers give detailed deliverability metrics.

Why are my emails going to spam?

Emails go to spam for several reasons. Poor sender reputation, spammy content, receiver not recognising sender, or recipient not engaging with earlier emails are common factors.

How can I improve my sender reputation?

Sending quality material to engaged recipients, cleaning your email list, honouring unsubscribes and reducing email bounces will improve your sender reputation. SPF, DKIM and DMARC can also help.

What is an acceptable email deliverability rate?

Depending on industry and email type, a decent email deliverability rate is 95% or greater.

What are SPF, DKIM and DMARC?

SPF, DKIM and DMARC prevent email spoofing and increase email deliverability.

What is IP warming?

IP warming is the practice of gradually increasing the volume of mail sent through an IP address. It’s a strategy used to build a good sender reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and avoid being marked as spam.


As you can see, email deliverability is an art that requires understanding and meticulous execution. By building a solid sender reputation, keeping your email list clean, crafting quality content. Using authentication protocols, you can ensure that your emails reach their intended inboxes.

Remember, the journey of an email is not a straight path—it’s an adventurous trek with various checkpoints. But, with this guide in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate your emails successfully to their destination.

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