5 Email Deliverability Problems That May Sabotage Your Email Success


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It can be an all too familiar problem for email marketers. One day things were going well, and then you found out the slump you hit was because your subscribers hadn’t been seeing your emails. Email deliverability problems can affect companies of all sizes. Here’s how they impact your email marketing – and what you can do to overcome them.

What is email deliverability?

Email deliverability is the rate at which emails arrive in the inbox. It’s different from email delivery, which means delivered anywhere – including the spam folder. If your emails aren’t in the inbox, you have zero potential to make any marketing headway.

This article helps you identify the reasons for decreased email deliverability and exactly what to do to get back on the right track.

1. Your email list could be outdated

Would you mail a birthday card to a friend you hadn’t heard from in years? You probably wouldn’t do that because you don’t know if the address is current. It’s also necessary to verify contacts with email marketing, but you stand to lose so much more. Send a letter to a friend that’s moved and it gets sent back. However, what if you send an email campaign to a list that hasn’t been validated recently? You’re likely to have a lot of them land in the spam folder, but it creates even more problems.

On average, at least 22.71% of an email list churns yearly. Periodic email validation is necessary even for an email list that has been getting good feedback and ROI. Email validation is the process of checking your entire list for any bad data or inactive addresses. Keeping them on your list not only wastes your resources, it will drastically affect your email deliverability.

Find a good email verification service and upload your entire list to the platform. You should do this no less than quarterly. You can also set up an email validation API on all of your forms. That way you’ll keep undesirable and harmful emails off of your list in the first place.

2. You are ignoring spam complaints

You should always make sure you have permission to email your customers and that you are regularly removing inactive subscribers. There’s also abuse emails belonging to people who make a habit of marking emails as spam. Email validation will keep abuse (known complainers) from finding their way on your list.

However, occasionally, you’ll get a spam complaint. About one for every thousand is the average, but what happens if you get more? You don’t want that to happen because your emails go to spam. Always remove anyone who reports you as a spammer immediately. Don’t ever email them again no matter what. Spam complaints are deadly for your email deliverability.

3. Your content isn’t relevant

Sometimes you may get off path, which is one of the reasons why you should share your emails with trusted colleagues. It’s possible that you can get so close to your work that you can’t see it as clearly as someone able to keep objectivity.

Always make your readers the boss of your emails. If you do that, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. Ask yourself, how does this serve the reader? Could you make the email even more beneficial to your audience? If you’re always of service, you’re always relevant.

RELATED: 5 Tactics to Build Rapport with Your Email Subscribers

Another great way to make sure your content is relevant is to ask your readers what they’d like to see. What they tell you may spark a great idea. Relevant content is the only way to get anywhere with your emails. If your readers feel a disconnect from what you send, your email deliverability will inevitably decline. The more relevant your emails, the better your deliverability will be.

4. Your mail server is not configured correctly

A frequently overlooked reason for a decline in email deliverability is a mail server that has not been configured properly. To the untrained eye, your email header may look like everything is normal. But that doesn’t mean you server is set up right. The answer is to use an email server tester.

A reliable mail server tester will identify any misconfigurations you may not be aware of. With that information you’ll be able to make any changes so your emails won’t get blocked. Fixing any issues can mean all the difference between getting your emails delivered in the inbox or going to spam, if they get delivered at all.

5. You’re on a blacklist

Email blacklists are lists maintained by mailbox providers and anti-spam organizations to fight against spam. The purpose of a blacklist is to prevent spam senders from sending malicious emails and thus reduce worldwide spam. They do a good thing, but the downside is that this can affect you as well. Why? Even legitimate senders can inadvertently end up on a blacklist if you get spam complaints or a lot of bounces.

The real damage can come when you’re on a blacklist and you don’t know it. When this happens, your email deliverability plummets even though you’re sending good content and getting permission first.

You’ve got to know you’re on a blacklist before you can get off of it. The only way to know for sure is to use an email blacklist checker. If you find out you’re on a blacklist, there’s a great silver lining. First, you can find out why you ended up on a blacklist and make the necessary changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Secondly, you can contact the blacklist organization and follow its protocols to get removed.

RELATED: 5 Ways to get More Eyes on Your Marketing Emails in 2023

Never be fully satisfied with your email deliverability

It’s hard enough to create great emails that get a return on investment, but nothing in email is ever possible without good deliverability. If you strive for high deliverability, your emails stand the better chance of being successful.

Good email deliverability isn’t a destination you reach and then get to take it easy. You’ve got to work at constantly improving it. Follow all the best practices and continuously prune your list of bad actors and disinterested people. The lists with the best email deliverability tend to have a person who understands how crucial it is to land in the inbox. Anywhere else means you’re nowhere.

Liviu Tanase
Liviu Tanase is the founder and CEO of email validation, deliverability, and email finding company ZeroBounce. As a serial entrepreneur, he founded five companies and has participated in three exits creating quadruple-digit returns. Liviu writes about digital marketing and technology, focusing on email communication. His goal is to help make email marketing work for your business.


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