How to Ensure High Email Deliverability in your Outreach Campaigns

How to Ensure High Email Deliverability in your Outreach Campaigns
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Veronika Belova
by Veronika Belova

2 Min. Read

Want to boost your email deliverability? You’re in the right place. 

Email is the backbone of every sales cadence and it’s no surprise why. They’re easy to personalize, simple to scale, and offer a wealth of engagement data. Customers also love it with 80% of prospects saying they prefer a thoughtful email over a cold call.

But not every email makes it to the inbox—spam filters often reroute them to junk folders or block them entirely.

Want to boost your email deliverability? You’re in the right place. In this article we will explore how to increase your email deliverability, giving you the best chance of connecting with potential clients and kickstarting valuable business relationships.

Ready to dive in?

Key Takeaways:

  • How to enhance your sender reputation for email campaigns
  • Effective email content and list management
  • Drive your email strategy with analytics

What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is a metric that tracks how effectively your emails make it to their intended targets. It’s critical for sales, as it directly influences how likely your email campaigns are to succeed. After all, customers can only respond to the emails they actually receive. 

Email deliverability is often measured as a percentage of emails accepted by the internet service provider (or ISP for short). 


Why do I have an Email Deliverability Score?

Email deliverability scores are given by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as a way to monitor sender reputation to maintain the quality of their email services, protecting their users from spam, phishing, and other malicious activities. 

Deliverability varies across Internet Service Providers and you don’t just have one, fixed, deliverability score. 

These key factors are impacting your email deliverability:

Sender Reputation

Your sender reputation is determined by everything your email account sends out. The volume of emails, whether they get opened, whether you get any spam complaints, and how often your emails bounce. 

Spam complaints

All email clients provide their users with a way to mark emails as spam. Get too many complaints, and email clients will mark all your emails as junk to protect their users.

Volume of Emails

Sudden spikes in email volume can raise red flags. Hint: This is why it’s always important to stagger large email sends and to warm your email account up.

Email Bounce Rates

ISPs value authentic engagement. If a lot of your emails bounce, it suggests you’re sending unsolicited messages, making your account seem less genuine.

Open Rates

ISPs look for meaningful communication, and an opened email is a sign of just that. 

Email Content Quality

It’s not just the engagement metrics that impact your email deliverability. It’s also the content in the emails themselves. If your subject line includes typically sales-orientated words like ‘free’, ‘act now’, ‘buy now’, or ‘guaranteed’, it’s more likely to trigger a spam filter. 

So, if you have a poor sender reputation, how can you fix it?

Email open rate is directly impacted by email deliverability

How to Improve Sender Reputation:

Regular Email List Cleaning

Half the battle comes from working with old email lists. Check if any of your contacts have unsubscribed, and remove them. 

Check if any haven’t opened your emails over the last few months, or ever. If some of your contacts haven’t engaged with your emails over a long period of time, remove them from your list. 

This will massively reduce your bounce rate, improve your open and click-through rate (CTR), and is a big step towards improving your sender reputation and email deliverability. 

Consistent Sending Volumes and Times

It’s best practice to send emails consistently. If you do a monthly newsletter, send it once a month, and at the same time each month. Sudden spikes of emails from the same sender can trigger spam filters which will harm your deliverability. 

Authenticate Your Email

Just like social media and other accounts, you can authenticate your email account to prove you’re a valid and recognizable entity. 

Protocols like the Sender Policy Framework, DomainKeys Identified Mail, and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, all help verify, validate, and authenticate your account, which can help improve your email deliverability. 

Encourage Engagement

Design your emails to encourage opens and clicks. There’s a fine line here between this and spam, so don’t overdo it, but anything you can do to boost your open and click-through rates will help improve your email deliverability, as well as hopefully bringing in some additional leads.

Address Complaints Promptly

If anyone unsubscribes from your emails, be sure to remove them as soon as possible. Complaints are one of the worst signals that you have a low sender reputation, and can significantly harm your email deliverability.

Importance of Monitoring Feedback from Recipients:

You should be constantly adjusting and improving your email strategy based on the feedback you get from your contacts, as this not only helps you improve your email deliverability, but also helps you build trust with your audience. 

If your emails are consistently interesting and engaging, your audience will be more likely to open them, and to do business with you. Let’s look at how you can improve your email quality.

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Effective Email Content and List Management

Once you’ve improved your email deliverability, it’s time to work on your email content. Compelling and engaging email content, combined with effective list management, is crucial to a successful email strategy. 

Guidelines for Creating Compelling, Engaging, and Non-Spammy Content:

Focus on Relevance

Try to tailor your emails to the interests and needs of the segment you’re contacting. Look where they are in the buyer’s journey, and think how you can address any issues they might be having. 

Clear and Concise Messaging

Keep your email to the point. Don’t rely on complicated designs or lengthy blocks of text. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep everything ‘above the fold’ – all on one page so your reader doesn’t need to scroll. You should aim to communicate everything to them at a glance.

Avoid Spam Trigger Words

We’ve already touched on this, but it’s so important to avoid any words commonly associated with spam emails like “free,” “guarantee,” or “no risk”. Also, avoid exclamation marks, or use of all capital letters. Think ‘would I open this?’ If not, you should rewrite it.

Include a Clear Call to Action

Always include a clear call to action. This should be something strong and active, that tells them what they’re going to get. Avoid bland or generic CTAs like ‘click here’, as they don’t generate nearly as much click-through.

Lastly, make sure you’re emailing the right contact by validating their email addresses. In industries with high turnover, 5-30% of your mailing list might be invalid by the end of the year. You can find up to date email addresses for your contacts with Surfe, we validate the email address with ZeroBounce to increase deliverability, making sure your email will land with the right person.

Best Practices for Email List Management:

Regular List Cleaning

Depending on the frequency of your email campaigns, you should do monthly or quarterly checks on the engagement levels of your emails, and remove any contact that hasn’t opened them in a while. This is the best thing you can do to have a healthy email list, and a high email deliverability. 

If you’re a new sales rep and you’ve inherited an old email list, the first thing you should do is to go through and remove any contacts that bounce. 


Divide your list based on demographic data, past behavior, engagement history, or other criteria, that you can then tailor your campaigns to for increased engagement rates. 

Opt-In Confirmation

It’s vital that everyone on your email list is opted in to receive them. If you can, use double opt-in methods to validate your contacts’ email addresses. This should lower your level of spam complaints, and improve your overall deliverability. 

From here, you can monitor your emails’ performance with analytics, constantly refining and optimizing your email strategy.

Email CTR

Drive Your Email Strategy with Analytics

How to Use Email Analytics to Improve Deliverability and Engagement:

Monitor Delivery Metrics

It’s important to keep track of how many emails you send vs how many actually land. Your hard and soft bounces should be monitored and kept as low as possible.

Analyze Engagement Patterns

Always check your open rates, CTR, and overall conversion rates from your email campaigns. This will help you understand what resonates with your audience, but is also useful for maintaining a high deliverability. 

Segmentation Analysis

Different segments of your audience may react differently to different subject lines, content, or timings. You may be able to optimize your campaigns for different segments, improving your overall engagement levels.

A/B Testing

Following on from this, you should always be A/B testing your emails to see which subject lines and sending times prompt the most engagement. The better your results are, the better your deliverability will be. 

Important KPIs to Monitor for Email Deliverability:

Open Rates

This is a percentage of how many of your emails get opened. It’s the first step in any email campaign, so you want this to be as high as possible. 

If your open rates are consistently low, your deliverability will suffer as a result. 

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

This is a percentage of how many people clicked a link in your email. Every email you send should have a clear call to action that prompts the user to click through to your website. This is a strong signal of sender reputation, so if your CTR is high, your deliverability will be too. 

Bounce Rate

This is a percentage of how many of your emails ‘bounced’, or weren’t able to arrive in an inbox. This can be because the inbox was full, the target email address is no longer active, or because you’ve been blocked. 

If a contact regularly bounces, remove them from your list to lower your bounce rate and improve your deliverability. 

Conversion Rate

This is a percentage of how many prospects took the desired action from your email, whether that’s downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a webinar, or purchasing a product. 

Unsubscribe Rates

This is one of the most important metrics to monitor and keep on top of. If anyone unsubscribes from your email list, you must remove them as soon as possible. If you don’t, and they complain, your deliverability will suffer as a result.

Let’s Wrap It Up!

Email deliverability is absolutely vital to your outreach efforts. Check in with your email or analytics team to check the metrics we’ve mentioned here. If you improve your email deliverability, you may well improve your sales pipeline at the same time!

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FAQs about Email Deliverability:

How do you improve email deliverability?

Authenticate your email domain. Ensure all your contacts have opted in. Write non-spammy subject lines. Keep clean, segmented lists with validated emails. Send emails that are useful and interesting to your audience to increase engagement. 

What is a good email deliverability rate?

95% and higher is considered to be a good delivery rate. The bounce rate, categorized into hard bounce and soft bounce, shouldn’t be higher than 3%.

What hurts email deliverability?

Low engagement is one of the biggest factors that can damage your overall email deliverability. Check your email list and remove anyone who hasn’t opened or clicked any of your emails in months, as they aren’t engaged and are just hurting your chances with other prospects. 

What is the impact of low email deliverability?

Low email deliverability hurts your ability to communicate with leads and customers. If left unchecked, it can eat into your bottom line, harming your conversions, and your business relationships.

How is email deliverability calculated?

You can work out your overall deliverability rate by taking the number of delivered emails and dividing it by the total number of emails sent. You’ll then multiply that number by 100 to get your percentage. So if you deliver 75 emails, and you’ve sent 100, you have a deliverability rate of 75%. 

What affects email deliverability?

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Spam complaints

What is a good email deliverability rate?

A good email delivery rate is above 95%.

Sure, 100% would be perfect, but it’s not realistic. Just aim to keep it as high as you can!

How to stop emails going to spam?

The best way to stop your emails from going to spam is to monitor your bounce rate and keep it as low as possible. Beyond that, remember to authenticate your email account, and try to keep your engagement as high as possible to prove you send high quality emails. 

What happens if my email is blacklisted?

If your IP address appears on a blacklist, your email will be rejected and won’t ever get delivered to that recipient’s inbox. To fix being blacklisted, you’ll need to engage with that contact directly, and ask to be removed. 

What is the difference between a hard and soft bounce?

Soft bounces are temporary email delivery failures, often due to issues like a full inbox. Hard bounces are permanent failures, usually caused by invalid email addresses or blocked domains. If you have any hard bounces on your mailing list, you should simply remove those contacts.