10 things you can do to maximize the deliverability of your email outreach

Eva Maria Schmidt
June 6, 2019

You might be completely aligned on your email strategy and all set to execute your brand’s next campaign, with thoughtful design, a carefully crafted message, and personalized content. But if you haven’t prepared in advance by following best practices for email deliverability, to optimize inbox placement and open rates, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Here are 10 tips to help ensure deliverability for your email outreach.


Email Deliverability: the successful arrival of an email in a recipient’s inbox
Email Delivery: the successful delivery to a receiving server (but not necessarily to the inbox)

  1. Setup & Authentication: Make sure the technical setup of your environment is correct and your (sending) domains are authenticated properly. At Selligent, we deliver a standard set of DNS records for all mail domains, containing A, MX, SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and Google Authentication records.
  2. Domains: Mail domains set up in Selligent Marketing Cloud must be dedicated for that environment; they cannot be used on other platforms or systems. We enforce this to protect corporate domains, as bulk mailings always have some risk of causing issues. By using a dedicated subdomain, other domains will stay unharmed in case of issues. Additionally, if issues do happen, it’ll be easier for us to analyze and determine the possible cause and find an appropriate solution.
  3. Subdomains: Use different subdomains for different email streams. It’s an industry best practice to separate different kinds of emails on different sending domains.
  4. User Lists: Keep your user lists clean! High-quality lists produce greater email interaction and typically generate high reputation for IPs and domains. This will result in higher inbox placement rate – and thus, a high conversion rate. To keep your lists clean, always enable Email Quality and set them to at least “normal.” Additionally, apply sunsetting to identify, re-engage, and eventually remove inactive users.
  5. Acquisition: Protect your acquisition process. Growing your user list is important, but make sure you do so in the right way. Protect sign-up forms against abuse by implementing CAPTCHAs and other means to avoid automated signups. Always use double opt-in to confirm a user’s email address. NEVER buy or rent 3rd-party lists. Only send to users who have given their explicit consent to receive mail from you.
  6. Content: Make sure you send quality content that is relative to your users. User engagement is important when sending emails: those who open and click in your emails send a positive sign to the providers, indicating they are happy to receive the emails. To promote engagement, provide content that is relevant and useful to the user.
  7. Design: It’s best to stick to a template. Don’t make big, unexpected changes to the way your emails look; or don’t change the sending domains. If people no longer easily recognize your emails, they might mark them as spam. If you are going to make big changes to your overall email structure, notify your users up front so they are prepared.
  8. Unsubscribe: Always include an unsubscribe link and header in all of your emails, so users can easily sign off. This should be a one-click process.
  9. Respect Image-to-Text Ratio: Emails which are heavy on images are prone to triggering spam filters. They may also cause problems for users on mobile devices: their data might be limited and the connection might be slow, causing long loading times.
  10. Test: Always thoroughly test your journey and your emails before hitting the send button. There are so many variables that can affect deliverability, opens, clicks, conversions and your brand reputation, so make sure you test each and every time.