In email marketing, sending cold emails can be an excellent way to connect with potential customers, partners, or clients. But there's a catch: your best cold emails must actually reach your target audience's inboxes to be effective.
The results of your cold emails may differ according to your strategy, but the results depend on the analytics such as open rates, click-through rates and replies. This is where email deliverability comes into play.
Deliverability ensures your emails land in your recipients' inboxes without ending up in spam folders or getting lost in email limbo. To help you improve your cold email deliverability, we've put together 15 practical tips in this ultimate guide to cold email deliverability
What is Email Delivery and Email Deliverability?
Email deliverability is an important metric for email marketers. But before diving into these metrics, let’s clear the terminologies. Many people confuse email delivery and email deliverability, but there is a difference.
Email delivery refers to successfully transmitting an email message from the sender to the recipient's email server.
In simpler terms, it's about whether the email was sent without errors, such as bounced emails or technical issues preventing it from being handed over to the email server of your recipient.
Email deliverability encompasses more than just the technical aspects of email transmission. It involves the entire journey an email takes from the sender to the recipient's inbox, considering factors like reaching the recipient's server, landing in the inbox, and being viewed by the recipient.
This concept considers technical elements and various factors, such as sender reputation, content quality, recipient engagement, and more. The ultimate objective is to guarantee that emails successfully reach the inbox without being flagged as spam or rejected entirely.
15 Tips to Improve Email Deliverability
A high email deliverability rate indicates an effective email marketing strategy, ensuring your messages reach their intended audience.
Achieving a good email deliverability rate involves various factors, from how you structure your emails to your sender's reputation. Here are 15 pro tips to help you improve your deliverability of cold email:
1. Authenticating Your Domain
Setting up authentication protocols is one of the most crucial steps to enhance your email deliverability. This helps with the technical aspects of effective cold email deliverability. It also protects your emails from phishing and spoofing.
There are 3 Important authentication records:
1. SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
SPF is like a permission slip for your emails, specifying which servers can send emails for you. This prevents spammers from faking your identity and sending fake emails from your address. It's a key security measure for authenticating your emails.
2. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)
DKIM is like putting a special stamp on your emails, showing they're real and haven't been messed with. This stamp ensures the email your friend gets is the same as the one you sent, with no sneaky changes. It's like a guarantee for your email's safety and authenticity.
3. DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance)
DMARC combines SPF and DKIM, acting as a supervisor to ensure effective coordination. It sets rules for handling emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks.
DMARC adds an extra layer of security, reducing the risk of your emails being marked as spam. It also provides reports on your email performance, allowing you to stay in control.
You can set up these authentication records in your domain settings. Setting up these protocols helps ISPs (Internet service providers) verify that you are the legitimate sender. Thus, reducing the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.
To learn how you can set SPF, DKIM and DMARC in detail, check out this blog: SPF, DKIM, DMARC explained: Enhancing email security and trust
2. Maintain a Clean Email List
Cleaning and maintaining your list of emails is a must if you plan to boost your deliverability. Remember you want a list of people who may want to engage with your emails, and you’ll want to ensure you aren’t sending material out to invalid or outdated emails.
You can do this by removing invalid and outdated email addresses that can reduce your hard bounces and verifying your email list using email verification tools.
You can send emails to verified email addresses with a high deliverability and confidence rate. This can help you decrease the chances of high bounce rates that can harm your sender's reputation and deliverability.
3. Warming Up Your Emails
If you're sending many cold emails, it's crucial to do email warming first because ESPs keep an eye out for scammy messages. Even with good intentions, using a brand-new or inactive email account might not sit well with the recipient's ESP. This may land your email in spam folders, as many spammers use new or inactive accounts.
Start by warming up your email account to set yourself apart from spammers.
You can do this manually by sending your emails internally in your company and sending messages to your friends or relatives.
Encourage engagement, such as replies, opens, clicks, and marking emails as important. You can also automate the warmup process using an email warm-up tool. Warming up emails signals to ESPs that you're a legitimate user and not a spammer.
Begin by sending a small volume of emails to people you know and gradually increase it over time. This warms up your IP address and reduces the risk of being flagged as a spammer.
You can learn more about email warmup here: Email Warm-Up: A Comprehensive Guide to establishing Sender Reputation
4. Craft a Compelling Subject Line
Every email subject line is like a movie trailer. As an interesting trailer builds excitement for a film, a good subject line affects your email open rates. Thus contributing to higher open rates.
Positive engagement metrics, such as cold email open rates, play a significant role in the evaluation process of email service providers (ESPs) and contribute to shaping sender reputation.
Furthermore, a well-crafted subject not only encourages recipients to open your email but can also help avoid spam filters or spam trigger words, reducing the likelihood of emails being designated spam.
Avoid using spammy words or excessive capitalization, and focus on crafting email lines that generate a sense of curiosity about your subject. Try using thought-provoking questions like “ Want to learn how top companies are getting 200% ROI?”. Use statistics and numbers to make your subject more authentic.
To learn more about how you can create compelling subject lines, read this blog: The power of curiosity: Creating intriguing Cold Email Subject Lines
5. Personalize Your Emails
Ever noticed how emails that feel like they were written for you are more appealing? Personalization is important in getting positive engagement results in your email campaigns. It makes the message personal for your recipient and creates a sense of familiarity in your recipient's mind.
Personalizing your email copies increases your open rates and reply rates, positively affecting your engagement and leading to a good email reputation as a sender.
You can personalize emails by addressing recipients by their first name and tailoring the content to their interests. For example, you can talk about their recent project or a product launch.
You can also include the company name and first name in the subject line to increase engagement and reduce the likelihood of being marked as spam.
You can learn more about how you can do effective personalization here: Personalization in Cold Email Outreach: Connecting on a human level
6. Optimize Your Email Content
Avoid using too many images, large attachments, or excessive formatting, as these can trigger spam filters. The goal is to send emails that people genuinely want to open and enjoy. Giving your email content a little makeover goes a long way in ensuring it stands out in the inbox crowd!
Ensure your content is relevant, informative, and easy to read. Conduct A/B testing many times to understand what resonates with your recipients. Be cautious not to include too many links or emoticons, as these may trigger spam filters. Strike a balance between conveying your message and establishing a connection.
When your email content is spot-on, clear, interesting, and not overly promotional, it's like having the golden ticket to the inbox.
7. Monitor Results and Minimize Bounce Rates
Keeping an eye on how your emails are doing is super important to ensure they reach people.
Because email addresses change a lot, you can't just make a list once and forget about it. You must continue monitoring your cold outreach campaign results to remove the emails that give hard bounces. This will help you maintain your list hygiene and decrease high bounce rates.
High bounce rates signal to ISPs that your list is outdated or low quality. Not monitoring those in the long term can harm your sender's reputation and affect email deliverability
8. Provide a Clear Unsubscribe Option
Make it easy for people to say ‘no' to your emails. Every email you send to someone who doesn't want them is like trying to convince a friend to do something they're not interested in— not cool.
Making it easy for people who aren't interested to unsubscribe is good. It lets them choose not to get more emails from you. It also helps you know who likes what you send because the ones who stay are probably interested in what you share.
They might be potential customers if they had a choice to leave but stay. Keeping that simple ‘unsubscribe' link follows the rules and stops people from marking your emails as spam.
After someone unsubscribes, honour their choice by removing them from your list. This way, you can focus on contacts who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
9. Test Your Emails
Before sending your cold emails to a larger audience, send them to a small test group. Testing your emails before hitting that send button is like a final polish to ensure they are in top-notch shape before they head out.
It's not about making sure they look good, though that's important too. You want to catch any sneaky typos, ensure all your links work, and see how your email appears on different devices.
For example, imagine you've included a link that doesn't work on mobile devices. Testing helps you spot these issues before your big launch.
Plus, it helps you dodge spam filters and ensures everything's ready for a smooth ride into your recipients' inboxes. This allows you to identify issues and make necessary adjustments to resolve the email deliverability issues.
10. Avoid Sending too many Emails too Quickly
Sending a large number of emails in a short time can trigger spam filters. So, take your time with your email campaigns, sending them out bit by bit and maintaining time gaps.
Even when using an automated tool for your email campaigns, your emails should have a decent time gap to make them seem human-like and avoid triggering ESPs to mark them as spam. Most email automation tools can always set a delay between emails. Sending emails too quickly might trigger spam filters.
Look for an email marketing tool that offers these features so that you can schedule and set a delay according to your preferences.
11. Monitor Your Sender Reputation
Your sender reputation is a critical factor in email deliverability. Regularly check your sender score with tools like Sender Score, which measures your sending reputation.
Your email reputation as a sender is like your email credibility, which plays a crucial role in whether your follow-up or new emails reach people's inboxes.
To keep tabs on how you're doing, you can use free tools like Sender Score. It's like a report card for your email sending reputation, measuring how trustworthy and reliable you are in the eyes of email providers.
Checking your sender score is key to understanding how your emails are perceived and maintaining a positive reputation for better email deliverability.
12. Segment Your Email List
When you organize your email list into different groups, it helps you send more specific and interesting emails to each group. This way, people are less likely to think your emails are annoying or unwanted.
So, take some time to learn about the people you're emailing and put them into groups based on things like age, interests, and other important details.
After that, use this segmentation to divide your contact list to aligns with your email content.
Sending such relevant and hyper-targeted emails reduces spam complaints and unsubscribes and increases engagement. This, in turn, will greatly contribute to the overall email deliverability of your campaigns.
13. Using Custom Tracking Domain
If you use an in-app tracking system provided by your email automation tool to monitor email opens, clicks, and link tracking, it's crucial to consider setting up a dedicated custom tracking domain.
A custom tracking domain is a distinct or subdomain exclusively employed to monitor these activities. By substituting the default tracking domain with your personalized one, you enhance the branded and trustworthy feel for recipients and positively impact and try to maximize your deliverability of email.
When tracking links carry your brand's name, it adds legitimacy to your emails, reducing the chances of being flagged as spam and improving the likelihood of landing in recipients' inboxes. This step is recommended for maintaining a professional and reliable image in your email communications.
14. Create Domain variations for Outreach
If you're considering sending cold emails or even marketing emails, it's advisable to use a different or a secondary domain for sending those emails. Think of it as having multiple unique email accounts, allowing for more effective email delivery and adaptation to changes in email systems.
Using different domains is like having a safety net. If something goes wrong with one address or domain, it won't impact the others, preserving your main domain's reputation.
This approach also simplifies the handling of complaints and the prompt resolution of issues. If one of the reputations of your domain goes bad, you can put it in warmup and switch to the other one.
Consider creating 2-3 secondary domains by adding variations to your main domain, such as prefixes or suffixes. For instance, if your domain is “example.com,” you could obtain additional domains like myexample.com or examplehub.com.
This not only helps with brand identity but also enhances email deliverability. Don’t forget to redirect these domains to your primary domain so the recipients get redirected to your main website.
To learn more about how you can create domain variations, check out this blog: Domain hacks: Creative Cold Email Domain Variations to stand Out
15. Respect Legal Requirements
When diving into email marketing, it's crucial to stick to the rules outlined by laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR.
The CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. insists on transparent sender information, easy opt-out options, and truthfulness in email content to prevent misleading practices.
On the European front, GDPR focuses on safeguarding personal data, requiring explicit consent for data processing, granting individuals control over their data, and mandating prompt notification of data breaches.
Not abiding by these regulations can result in substantial fines, impacting your pocket and email deliverability. For instance, if you're running a promotional campaign, ensure recipients can easily opt-out by adding unsubscribe buttons.
By following these laws, you stay legally compliant and build trust with your audience, establishing a foundation for successful and ethical email marketing practices.
Ready to maximize your Cold Email Deliverability?
Alright, that’s a wrap of this cold email deliverability guide! So, here's the scoop: improving cold email deliverability is crucial for the success of your email marketing campaigns.
By following these 15 pro tips or cold email strategies we discussed above, you can enhance your chances of reaching your target audience's inbox and achieving better results from your cold email efforts.
The big takeaway? Focus on every aspect, from sender reputation to your email content. Remember, deliverability is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and adaptation. But trust me, the rewards of a strong sender reputation and higher engagement rates make the effort totally worthwhile!
Let us know how useful did you find these tips and how soon you will change your email delivery process accordingly. Just comment below
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