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Email Deliverability Best Practices And Tips

E-Mail Black Hole
Many businesses and bloggers who just have started their own email newsletter or ezine take it for granted that their emails get delivered to all recipients. Indeed they are very surprised when they find out very soon that reality is quite different.

Did you really expect that your email message gets delivered to all — for example — 5,000 subscribers all the time, did you?

Your email marketing service provider might advertise with a deliverability rate of 95% or more, but that's not the full story. Those figures are in most cases based on hard bounces when the sender is notified that the email is not being accepted by the recipient because of an invalid email address or the sender being blocked. Those instances are rare nowadays.

The truth is many email messages are simply being lost!

They are filtered out by corporate firewalls or large ISPs (like Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail) without informing the sender or recipient about this fact. In some cases your message is pushed into the spam folder even when your spam score analyzer indicated, “this message doesn't look like spam at all.”

According to data from Return Path as reported by Emarketer (↑) only 82% of messages sent by permission based email marketers landed in the inbox in the USA in the first half of 2009. When it comes to emailing business subscribers only 72.4% of all messages sent reached the addressees.

The absolutely surprising fact for me was that Gmail ranks among the worst services when it comes to having messages delivered into the inbox.

Nondelivery Rate by ISP, first half 2009, % emails sent
Hotmail and MSN20%

That means you shouldn't be too glad about people signing up to your list using a Gmail address, but also when you are using Gmail yourself you might not get all messages you want to get. About a week ago you could see rants and complaints on Twitter about emails not getting through to Gmail subscribers. Now I understand that this was not an isolated case. Gmail deliverability is a real issue.

This was a pretty long prelude. Let me tell you now what you can do for making sure as many email messages get delivered as possible.

Best Practices For Getting Marketing Messages Delivered By Email

This list is rather short, but nevertheless very important.
  • Use an email marketing service provider for sending your emails. A provider like AWeber, iContact, or Mailchimp for example. When you also need a shopping cart solution at the same time Infusionsoft or 1shoppingcart offer excellent email marketing functionality on the side.

    A service provider deals works hard to maintain a good relationship to the ISPs (email network admins and managers actually “talk” to each other), they obey all technical and legal protocols and actively keep their client base spammer free.

    I personally use and recommend AWeber (↑)

  • Motivate your readers to white list your email address.

    Sign up to my email newsletter and check out how I do it. I have written a description for every major ISP and email software client. Sign up now in the top, right corner on my blog!

  • Keep your content focused on the interests of your subscribers. Provide value, engage them, ask for feedback.

  • Segment your subscribers based on their level of interest. (I could and probably should write an extra series of articles about this topic.)

  • Make it easy for subscribers to leave your list.

    That way they will less likely hit that dreadful “spam button” and it is actually valid feedback for you. Much better if they stayed inactive on your list for the rest of the time.

  • Check your subject line and message with a spam analyzing tool before sending it.

    Those tools will give you hints how to improve your message in case it looks spammy.

Do you have any additional tips for my blog readers?

What's your experience.
Let us know
Leave a comment.

John W. Furst


E-Biz Booster Blog on : Email Marketing And Troubles With Timezones

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I have the feeling that I will write another post very soon. Therefore, I keep this one extra short. How many emails do you receive each day? Let’s cut out spam and probably transactional emails like New Subscriber, New Comment, … I&


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Ed on :


I find a lot of newsletters I have signed up for in gmail's spam folder at first. Usually the problem disappears once I have marked them as "Non Spam."

It's really important to get the new subscriber to pay attention to their inbox/spam box right away after they have signed up.

I like your setup.

May I copy it?

John W. Furst on :


Thanks for the thumbs up, Ed.

Don't copy me verbatim then it will be okay. You'll find more info about the "whitelistening HOW TO" in the description of that page in the footer.



P.S. For everybody else. You'll need to sign up in order to see what we are talking about here.

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