The Spamhaus Project


Top 5 tips from Email Software Providers to email senders

Email senders - take note: in this blog, the deliverability experts from Emarsys, Twilio, and Validity share their top 5 tips for you to achieve consistent email deliverability. You're welcome!

by The Spamhaus TeamJuly 27, 20224 minutes reading time

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In this final blog post, with contributions from the deliverability experts at Emarsys, Twilio, and  Validity,  the Email Software Providers (ESP) share their most valuable advice to help senders achieve consistent inbox placement. From how to take ownership of issues to re-engagement techniques. Keep reading for the good stuff…

A recap of our contributors

With over 50 years of deliverability experience between Kate, Kiersti, and Steve, you are not going to find a group of specialists more perfectly poised to impart sound deliverability knowledge! What follows are their most practical nuggets of advice that should help you get your email delivered consistently:

1) You need to be constantly monitoring and adjusting

Achieving deliverability is a journey. And it’s not a linear one. Just because you’ve nailed it right now doesn’t mean that’ll be true in 6 months, and vice versa. It takes constant monitoring and adjusting – not least because consumer expectations, legal standards, industry standards, and email filtering effectiveness are getting tougher. Senders need to stay vigilant to keep up.

So if you start encountering issues, know you aren’t the only one. But as Steve puts it, “don’t use ‘but I haven’t changed anything’ as an excuse. If nothing has changed, that could be exactly why delivery problems suddenly start appearing.” Be proactive; nurture your lists and recipients with the care you’d expect.

2) Remember you’re sending to a real person not just to an inbox

“Whether you’re sending small or huge volumes of mail, a sender needs to remember that there is a person at the end of the email address” states Kiersti. That person expects:

  • To ask for email to be sent to them
  • To be served only relevant content that engages them
  • To be in control of the sender/receiver relationship so they can increase/reduce frequency or opt-out altogether.

You might think that giving them further information is helpful – it’s not your call to make. Give your recipients what they’ve signed up for, no more, no less. “This truly is a relationship being built, and the person behind the email address is deserving of respect” explains Kiersti.

3) Don’t surprise your recipients

If an email is unexpected, it’s much more likely to end up in the spam folder. Get it right from the beginning, starting with the data capture process. Steve imparts “set clear expectations, ideally providing choices around content, and make sure the data capture processes are secured against abuse.”

If you are changing your email program, changing the content slightly, or updating the frequency, communicate that to your recipients.

Similarly, as Kiersti describes, “if you are changing domains, that should be advertised in advance, so mail from the new domains is expected, making it more likely to receive engagement.”

So save your surprises for loved ones – and keep your email predictable.

4)   Monitor against key performance indicators (KPIs)

Reaching your subscribers isn’t as simple as hitting ‘send.’ Validity research found that almost 20% of emails didn’t reach the inbox last year!

“Senders need to be more proactive about looking beyond surface-level metrics to know what’s really going on with their email performance. Even if 97% of your emails were delivered, these emails might have landed primarily in the spam folder,” explains Kate, who goes on to add “That’s why we recommend that senders keep a close eye on inbox placement rate—the percentage of mail that reached subscribers’ inboxes instead of being blocked or labeled as spam.”

Echoing the importance of tracking, Steve says “Don’t just monitor positive metrics: monitor risk factors, negative metrics, and the likely causes of delivery issues.” So beyond open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, keep an eye on bounce rates, unsubscribes, and spam complaints. Steve also highlighted monitoring “the number of contacts not interacting with campaigns, because lowering the ‘ignore rate’ helps focus attention on data quality and campaign effectiveness.”

5) Suppress or remove disengaged contacts

The final bit of advice: “Review when and how often inactive customers and previous purchasers return. This will help you create a meaningful re-engagement program and give you the data needed to justify suppression and removal of long-term inactive contacts.” A great tip from Steve!

Final thoughts…

“The ESP remains an important tool for a sender, but consent and expectation setting happens before a sender even brings that email address into an ESP” – Kiersti.

Senders, you have the ultimate responsibility to deliver. So keep on top of your sign-up process, maintain your data quality, and keep the value of your content consistent. For more on sending best practices, see our eBook.