Sorry to burst your bubble, but delivering to the inbox 100 percent of the time is impossible, unless your email list has 10 emails in it. Email deliverability is a tricky subject and virtually impossible to achieve 100% inbox delivery. It’s easy to get distracted or confused with all of the articles on the web in regards to email marketing and deliverability. Most email marketing experts consider following “Best Practices” to be your best bet. About 20 percent of legitimate commercial email never reaches the inbox. Email filtering is a constantly changing battleground for most major ISPs and email filtering companies. Some ISPs, like Yahoo for instance, decide to send email to a “black hole”. What this does, is it makes it look like your email was accepted and delivered to the end user recipient, but never makes it to its destination. Yahoo just accepts the email and dumps it. The problem that arises from this is that you think your email was delivered, when it actually was not and you have no reason to believe there is a problem with the email because there is no bounce codes returned, letting you know there was an issue. This is one of those impossible problems to deal with when it comes to email delivery. How could you remove a hard bounce if you don’t know that it was a hard bounce, invalid and undeliverable, if the ISP doesn’t tell you? You can’t.
The word “delivery” is very misleading. For most reports, it’s simply a measure of the bounce rate. Inbox deliverability is a different number and reflects what percentage actually reaches the inbox. Just because your message was delivered, doesn’t mean it was delivered to the inbox. Also, it is very important to remember that just because an email is delivered to the inbox, this doesn’t mean it will be opened, read or clicked on, so delivering your email message to the inbox is only a starting point to reach your final goal of getting someone to interact with your message, and click on a link within it, to go to your website. As with any email marketing campaign, it’s all about engagement. Actually, it’s always been about engagement; that is, what complaint data (clicks on the “report spam” button) reflects. This then affects your sender reputation, which in my opinion, is the most important factor in getting your email delivered and delivered to the inbox.
What is sender reputation?
Sender reputation is anti-spam functionality that’s used to block messages according to many characteristics of the sender. Sender reputation relies on persisted data about the sender to determine what action, if any, to take on an inbound message. The IP address of the sender is what is scored and used to determine if your sending practices are good enough for an email server to accept your email. Without getting into to much technical detail, sender reputation is based on your email volume, consistency of your sending patterns, complaint rates, bounces, spam trap hits and content. Essentially your reputation dictates your deliverability.
The Bottom Line
The best way to improve your chances of getting your email delivered to the inbox, is by sending relevant email to your recipients. Use common sense when deciding which emails, offers or newsletters to send to your optin email lists. This will also improve your sender reputation and give you the best chances of making your email marketing efforts effective, prosperous and assist in improving your chances of delivering your message to the inbox.