Vladislav Podolyako
Jan 11, 2021
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Sometimes, you can’t help thinking that there is a digital black hole. Located between yours and your prospects’ inboxes, it devours your B2B emails, wasting away business opportunities. 

Sounds familiar? Well, you’re not the first B2B business owner who tried and failed to reach their target audience. What is it? A curse? A conspiracy? Aliens? 

To tell the truth, the usual suspects behind low email deliverability are domain settings and human error. On the one hand, dealing with them might look like combating paranormal activity. On the other hand, fixing domain settings and human behavior is possible while lifting a curse or sneaking onto a UFO isn’t. It’s time for you to:

So, let’s roll!

How do you fix email deliverability?

Email deliverability indicates how many emails make it to your recipients’ inboxes. It depends on many factors, such as domain settings and your behavior as a sender.

Improve your sender reputation

Before you start looking for a good email deliverability test, make sure you know how mailbox providers perceive your sending behavior. To do that, you must evaluate your IP reputation and domain reputation.  

IP reputation

A vital component of any company’s sending process, IP reputation is responsible for your relationship with email service providers. Since IPs are affected by the incidents that occur on the provider’s platform, all credible email service providers usually take care to monitor their IPs and protect them from becoming a part of malicious networks or botnets.

Domain reputation

Domain reputation is a trust score your domain has among various email service providers.  Due to this, even the most trusted IP address won't save your sender's reputation if your domain was caught violating the CAN-SPAM act. 

Tips for improving IP reputation 

  • Work with credible service providers. Avoid platforms that have millions of users but don’t implement proper security measures. Choose service providers that don’t hesitate to check their accounts and monitor user behavior regularly. 
  • Optimize your sending volumes. Respect the limits established by email service providers. Send small batches of emails every day, gradually increasing the volume. Remember: only spammers are in a hurry to blast as many messages as they can before the ban hammer hits. The more organic and natural your growth is, the less friction will your experience with email service providers.
  • Stick to a schedule. Consistency and punctuality are the virtues that separate businesspeople from spammers and phishers. Suppose your IP-address displays organized and predictable behavior, sending messages on certain days and in certain time periods. In that case, email service providers are more likely to believe that it’s used for work and communication.

Tips for improving your domain reputation

  • Review your content. If your open rate declines or you get a growing suspicion that your recipients move your emails to spam folders, checking your messaging is a must. See if your subject lines and body text comply with B2B email writing guidelines and use an email spam checker to find spam triggers.
  • Lean on your loyal customers. Your most loyal and eager clients can be your life-savers. If you’re only getting started with your outreach, target them with your first email campaigns to score interactions and pick up the speed in the most natural way possible. In a couple of months, you’ll be able to build up your sending volume and start your cold outreach right.
  • Send to validated email addresses. Don’t believe what you see, and double-check any contact data you receive. To err is human. Sometimes, your prospects don’t update their address on their website or in their profile. Sometimes, data grows old and obsolete. It’s up to you to avoid such pitfalls by researching and upgrading your database.

Verify your authentication

Low deliverability can also be caused by authentication issues. It means that there is a problem with protocols that are supposed to prove your sender identity to email service providers.

Making sure that your email is identified properly should be another thing in your to-do list. Sure, it feels like biting more than you can chew, but it all becomes bearable once you learn about the main components that impact your authentication. 

Naturally, email service providers keep evolving and adding new authentication methods to counter the schemes of phishers. However, the most common authentication issues are usually caused by a faulty SPF record or a wrongly generated DKIM key. 

SPF best practices

  • When creating an SPF record, add all your domains, even the ones you don’t use for outreach.
  • Avoid making an overcomplicated SPF record. It shouldn’t exceed 255 characters.
  • Don’t forget to always test your SPF records with special tools. G-Toolkit is particularly useful for Gmail users.
  • It’s okay to ask for help. Employ an expert to take a look at your SPF record, check it for any issues.

DKIM best practices

  • Create a public key for showcasing it to verification servers and a private key for your signing server.
  • If you work with massive email marketing campaigns, make several keys, and rotate them several times a year.
  • Sign all your messages with DKIM, even your bounce emails, and the emails sent by your partners.

Clean your lists

Another way to improve email deliverability is to take a good look at your sending list and clean it out. The reasons for these are hygienic. Any contact data eventually expires. People unsubscribe, go bankrupt, don’t respond for too long — letting all those data bits just lay around is simply poisonous to your outreach. 

A clean list is a list that includes validated and active emails only. It guarantees that your emails land straight into the inboxes of relevant titles and won’t either be moved to spam or returned back to you as bounces. Sounds like a great thing to have. But how do you make sure your list is always clean and ready for outreach?

How to improve the quality of your email lists 

  • Use hand-curated data and don’t buy premade lists. They are quite likely to contain obsolete information that would hurt your outreach.
  • Provide your recipients with clear opt-out options, so you would instantly know when to remove an email from the list.
  • Add only the contacts willing to interact with you. Don’t add prospects to your campaign lists until you get their response to your intro email.
  • Perform regular checks on your list’s hygiene, remove all invalid bits before they become dangerous to your performance.
  • Re-engage your inactive recipients to figure out their thoughts and intentions. In case they don't want to talk shop, step back gracefully and remove them from the list.

More tricks for improving email deliverability

When you’re done with the basics and your email deliverability is healthy and steady, you’ll probably start wondering about the ways to accelerate it even further. It’s a logical step, and in fact, there are many things you can do to boost your performance.  

Encrypt your email (using TLS) to build trust with users and mailbox providers

In the world of data leaks and hacking, privacy is everything. Your recipients are always concerned about keeping their business data away from prying eyes. You can (and should) relieve their fears as much as possible. A TLS protocol encrypts both incoming and outgoing messages, providing extra security. There’s no doubt that both recipients and email service providers will appreciate your caution.  

Looks matter: be consistent with your design

While most B2B emails are not about looks and quirky styles, design still influences your recipients’ perception of your message. Therefore, injecting a bit of brand identity into your campaign is not a bad idea as long as there is a clean, neat design for all your content, from emails to case studies. 

Mobile-friendly designs are no longer optional

Smartphones and mobile gadgets became a part of the business lifestyle long ago. Developers keep adding new features to help business owners manage their tasks anywhere, anytime. It’s your duty to do the same and make sure that your emails look good on both the PC and mobile screen. 

Always include a plain text version of your campaigns, along with the HTML version

Some mailbox providers such as Outlook have issues with displaying HTML emails properly - and sometimes, trying to cover those issues up with design and HTML settings isn’t worth the headache. Adding a plain text version is a much easier solution that will keep your messages readable and your recipients informed.  

Setup MX records for your sender domain 

An MX record or a mail exchanger is a DNS record that specifies the server that will be processing incoming emails for your domain. Basically, an MX record lays down the routes for incoming email in correspondence with SMTP protocol. Any business that intends to launch massive email campaigns is bound to deal with MX records at some point, so the sooner you set one up for your domain, the better. By doing so, you’ll make it clear to email service providers that you’re very serious about your outreach. 

Fix your email deliverability issues

Now you know more about email deliverability and things that affect it. However, knowing is only half of the battle. If you’re eager to put your newfound knowledge into practice, you still need to locate the weak spots. Doing it all yourself can take a while. The good thing is, you don’t have to fight on your own. So if you want an in-depth analysis of your inbox and domain health, feel free to reach Folderly specialists and make your first steps towards improved deliverability.

Vladislav Podolyako
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.