How to Improve Email Deliverability and Your Sender Score

Email deliverability is a major concern for marketers, but taking these steps will increase the likelihood that your message lands in your contacts' inbox.

Does email deliverability keep you up at night? Do you wonder how many of your emails are actually getting to the inboxes of your contacts? Have you seen a sudden, inexplicable drop in engagement? Do you know your Sender Score?

Email deliverability is a major concern for many marketers, and for good reason: If your email doesn’t make it to your contacts’ inboxes, all the work that went into crafting ideal subject line(s), building out the content, and perfecting the call to action is wasted.

While it may seem like email deliverability and sender reputation are outside of your control, in reality, there are a variety of steps you can take to maintain or improve your sender score. That will result in more of your emails reaching your contacts' inboxes.

Factors such as the size of your campaigns and the volume of emails sent overall,  as well as the quality of your messaging and the quality of your contact list affect deliverability. Yes, even the list itself.

Email Contact List Hygiene

Let’s start with your contact list. A major component in deliverability is how your audience engages, or doesn’t, with your messaging. If the Email Service Providers (ESPs) are seeing a high percentage of your contacts marking emails as Spam or Unsubscribing, or simply not engaging with your messages, your email sender reputation will take a hit.

Another warning flag is the number of bouncebacks (messages sent to out-of-date or incorrect email addresses) logged by the ESPs.

As these reputational hits add up, fewer and fewer of your emails are going to make it to the recipient’s inbox, even to those who want them.

The first step to boosting your overall deliverability is to keep a clean contact list. If you’re still using email lists purchased years ago full of unengaged, poor quality contacts that have not yet been purged, purge those now (and don’t buy anymore lists).

You want a contact list filled with prospects or customers interested in the solutions you provide. Their engagement is crucial to your sender score, as they are much less likely to mark messages as spam or unsubscribe if they’ve chosen to opt in.

Think of it as herd immunity for your contact list. The more of your contacts that engage, the safer your email sender reputation is.

Once you’ve performed some email contact list hygiene, the next steps will help build solid relationships with the remaining contacts.

If you have a large contact database, it’s best not to suddenly email your entire list all at once, if that’s not something you’ve done in the past. Sending a large batch in a single blast is often interpreted as a spam attempt by ESPs, who will reroute your emails to the spam folder and will damage your overall deliverability rating.

Best Practices for Email Deliverability

Fortunately, Motiva has best practices for email deliverability built in. Send Time AI's staggered sends are designed in such a way that sending even large batches of contacts will avoid raising any eyebrows.

Instead of sending emails all at once, Send Time AI targets your audience on a per-contact level based on their past engagement, so your message is hitting their inbox at the time that’s best for them.

Motiva's Message Testing also avoids setting off warnings with ESPs. Batches are randomized and sent over a period of hours or days. Even if you have a large block of contacts at a single company, it's highly unlikely that all those contacts would be included in a single batch.

Additionally, if you're using Multivariate Message Testing, not all your contacts will be seeing the same email. As the weaker messages are identified by Motiva, those messages are no longer sent. The remaining contacts will only see the messaging with the best chance of piquing their interest. 

Another way to break down large groups of contacts and simultaneously increase engagement is through Segmentation. By combining contact data with Motiva’s built-in Persona reporting, you can refine your target audience and personalize your message to that smaller group. Providing relevant content to your audience protects your sender score, and enhances your bottom line.

But even your most devoted contacts can get overwhelmed if they receive too many messages. This can lead to unsubscribes, a shrinking contact list, and a reduced email sender reputation. By using Motiva’s Frequency Intelligence report, you’ll have a clear sense of how many is too many for your unique audience, and then you can adjust the Frequency Management settings accordingly.

Let’s say that the Frequency Intelligence report shows that if a contact receives more than one email a day, there’s a spike in the number of Unsubscribes. If you configure Frequency Management to one email per day per contact, then Motiva will ensure that your contacts receive no more than one email from your organization per day, provided you’re using Motiva’s Simple, Message Testing, or Send Time AI steps.

While some of these recommendations may seem counterintuitive, you can improve your business results with a smaller but engaged audience than with the old batch and blast approach. Start with email contact list hygiene, then leverage Motiva's built-in best practices to improve email deliverability, and sprinkle in a little personalization to speak directly to the pain points of those contacts. Your bottom line will thank you.

Learn more about how Frequency Management can help companies subject to GDPR and Email Sender Reputation.

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