You need a complete picture of your email program’s performance. Knowing how to test your email deliverability, when to do it, and why it’s important can help you reach your recipients’ inboxes and help you obtain a positive email ROI.
Have you noticed your open and click-through rates have been tanking lately? Or are you losing subscribers left and right? These are clear signals that you’re failing to land in the inbox or sending your marketing campaign to recipients who no longer give you permission to email them.
Unlike email delivery failures where your subscriber’s ISP server fails to accept your email, email deliverability is a whole different beast. Failure in deliverability means that your message was delivered, but it didn’t make it to the inbox. And there could be numerous reasons why that happened.
In this blog, we’ll cover what metrics impact your email deliverability, how to test and monitor your inbox placement, and why it can be costly if you don’t.
Testing email deliverability: the short version
There is no magic formula for landing in the inbox every time.
Once your email is delivered, the question becomes where will your message end up? Spam? Junk mail? The inbox? Preferably the latter, of course! Email deliverability (aka, measuring your inbox placement) is the percentage of emails that reached your subscribers’ inboxes and not their Spam or Junk mail.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t tell you this information. You need access to these metrics with the help of a suite of deliverability tools along with access to a deliverability consultant who can help you monitor and better understand or even strategize what’s going on with your deliverability and what you can do to improve it.
What you’ll need to test your email deliverability
You need accurate insight into several metrics that influence whether you make it to the inbox or spam. There are hundreds of factors that can influence it, which makes improving it complicated.
Here are some of the top influencers/some of the metrics you’ll want to collect and review to assess your email deliverability.
- Sending domain and sending IP address.
- ISP sender reputation data, if available (like Microsoft SNDS or Google Postmaster Tools)
- Bounce rates
- Engagement rates
- Failing to use authentication protocols (or not spoof-proofing your sending domain name)
- User/spam complaint rates
- Blocklistings (for both your IP addresses and domains)
- Sub-par email content
- An improperly configured sending structure
Why should I test my email deliverability?
If you use email to reach your subscribers, then testing your email deliverability isn’t optional. Email marketing has the highest return on investment (ROI) compared to social media or any other marketing channel.
Your ability to reach your recipient’s inbox is at the heart of your email campaign’s success. Therefore, you need to know which factors influence it and what you can do about it when those metrics take a dip (or a dive).
Sender reputation and inbox placement
Almost 85% of all emails sent are spam. ISPs need a way to protect their inbox owners from unwanted (and sometimes dangerous) spammers and spoofers.
Your sender reputation is one of the ways an ISP can determine whether or not you’re a trustworthy sender. You may be thinking, of course, I’m trustworthy.
I just want to connect with and convert my recipients.
While your intentions may be altruistic in every way, that doesn’t mean an ISP will agree. When your sender reputation is problematic, you’re less likely to reach the inbox. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can damage your sender reputation:
- High bounce rates
- Low to non-existent engagement
- User/spam complaints
- A damaged sending domain or sending IP reputation
- Failing to eliminate spam-like content from your emails
- The ISP’s unique set of data points that can red-flag you as untrustworthy
Improve your engagement rates
Email marketing is all about making connections, converting your recipients, and recouping your email marketing investment. Those goals are impossible to achieve if you keep ending up in Junk mail.
Email engagement is the holy grail of email deliverability. By testing your email deliverability (ideally, both before and during your cold email campaign), you’ll gain deeper (and clearer) insights into how your recipients are responding to your campaign (if they’re doing it at all), and those insights can help guide you on how to drive higher engagement rates and boost deliverability success.
Increase conversions & your email campaign’s ROI
With the time, money, and other resources it takes to send an email campaign, you need to engage and convert your recipients. But you can’t do that if you’re ending up in Junk mail over and over again. If you aren’t converting, then you’re not getting a return on your email campaign’s investment.
The bottom line is, you can’t afford that. According to Litmus, for every $1 you spend, you’ll see a $36 ROI. Testing your email deliverability can give you the insights you need to connect, engage, convert, and achieve a high ROI.
Step 1: Test the quality of your email content before you send it
You need to create relevant and dynamic email content. Imagine testing your email content before you ever send it.
Kickbox’s Email Pre-check deliverability tool can give you insights about how to improve your content via feedback filters and instant spam scores. From creating a consistent user experience across all of your recipients’ email clients to catching design errors, broken links, and what may trigger a spam filter, you’ll be able to optimize your content before sending it.
Step 2: Use a deliverability tool to give you insight into where your email may land
You can only count on a mailbox provider to confirm delivery — not where your email landed after it was delivered. At Kickbox, our Inbox Placement Deliverability tool will lift the curtain so you can see where your emails are landing across most major and international mailbox providers.
Step 3: Monitor your sending domain and IP reputation
An ISP will use your domain reputation and IP reputation as a gauge to determine the health and trustworthiness of your brand’s sending practices.
Of course, your IP and sender reputation carry unique data points and weight to your sender reputation. To keep your sender reputation in good standing, it’s critical to monitor both your sending domain and sending IP reputation.
Using Microsoft SNDS
For Microsoft Outlook users, you can gain visibility into your IP and domain reputation with Microsoft Smart Network Data Services (SNDS).
In addition to gaining access to data points that can affect your email sender reputation in Outlook, you’ll also have access to Junk mail reports any time a recipient moves your email to the Junk folder.
Using Google Postmaster Tools
To check your domain and IP reputation in Gmail, Google Postmaster Tools can help you gauge and monitor them so you can improve your email deliverability.
Beyond insight into your domain and IP reputation, you’ll also have access to:
- Spam rate
- Feedback loop
- Encryption errors or issues
- And more
Here’s how to check your domain reputation with Google Postmaster Tools. You can also access a more detailed rundown of how to do this here.
Step 4: Keep track of your blocklists
Ending up on a blocklist can gravely impact your delivery and inbox placement. These real-time lists identify sending domains and IPs known to send spam. Whether a recipient has marked you as spam, you’re hitting spam traps, or a spam filter has shuffled you off to Junk mail, action will be taken against your sending IP or your sending domain. When enough of these actions accumulate, you’ll likely find yourself on a blocklist.
If you do end up on a blocklist, you need to know about it immediately so that you can delist before it causes havoc for your sender reputation.
Kickbox’s 24/7 blocklist monitoring alerts you in real-time with instant notifications if your sending domain or IP is on a blocklist. When this happens, we’ll provide you with the resources you’ll need to learn more about the issue and get help to request removal (delisting) from any blocklists.
Ready to reap the benefits of Kickbox’s suite of deliverability tools?
While understanding email deliverability is anything but cut and dry, testing your deliverability and monitoring it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Taking proactive measures, such as maintaining clean email databases, only sending your campaigns to consenting recipients, and monitoring your sending domain and sending IP reputation can help you reach the inbox more often than not.
At Kickbox, our suite of deliverability tools is designed to give you clear insights into your inbox performance, email placement, and more. You’ll also be able to detect issues with authentication, content, and infrastructure.
Our around-the-clock blocklist monitoring will alert you in real-time if your sending IPs or domains end up on over 90 blocklists, including the big dogs like Spamhaus, and more.
Sign up and let our deliverability tools and consultants demystify your deliverability issues. So you can reach (and convert) your recipients and maximize your email ROI and overall revenue potential sooner instead of later.