Definitive Guide to Improve Sales EMail Deliverability in 2021
Do you send out a lot of cold and warm sales emails, and get low open rates, and responses like “I found your message in the Spam/Promotions folder”? Turns out – hitting send on the emails isn’t good enough to have them get straight to your prospects. You need to improve your email deliverability too.
Email deliverability is a measure of an email’s ability to land into a recipient’s Primary folder. All sales emails, as intended by email service providers, are to be filtered into Promotions or Spam folders. This means your sales emails are already geared towards having email deliverability problems.
So how to improve email deliverability rates? And how does bad email deliverability impact your sales? Let’s explore.
Why Email Deliverability Matters In Sales
Emails that don’t make it to the Primary inbox are least likely to get opens. And this defeats the purpose of Sales emails, i.e. to capture the prospect’s attention and divert it towards the message. Sales operations aren’t cheap – since it takes resources to build email and prospect lists before outreach.
Conducting sales email outreach with bad email deliverability is the equivalent of screaming into a void, since the message doesn’t reach everyone. This eventually impacts conversions and bottom line, making it counter-intuitive for the sales team to conduct email outreach.
With that in mind, we’ve prepared this guide to walk you through all the measures you need to take to improve email deliverability for your sales emails.
How to optimize your email deliverability
1. Domain optimization
Most sales emails are sent from addresses ending in <@companyname>. This is your email domain and here’s how to increase email deliverability of your sales emails by domain optimizations:
a) Warm up domain
Email addresses and domains without sent emails and engagement history are likely to go to spam easily. This is a safety measure by email services to protect users from spammers who generate and use new addresses to reach victims.
So every time you create a new email address for email outreach on your company domain, make it a point to Warm up your emails. Mimic normal email sending patterns and send emails to a pre-selected group of recipients, who can engage and signal your genuity.
b) Stay clear of domain blacklists
Domain blacklists are lists of domains that have a lot of spam reports due to spamming and unsolicited email activity. They can also include domains sending unauthenticated emails(more on that later). These lists exist to preserve a list of bad domains so as to block or filter their emails in the future.
If you are using an older domain that had a different owner, or had your emails reported as spam, your domain might end up in these blacklists. You can check for your domain in blacklists using blacklists checking tools. If you do find your domain in one of the blacklists, you would need to get in touch with them and request them to delist your domain.
c) Use aged domains
Freshly registered domains with no activity are likely to go to spam if used for sales outreach emails from the very beginning. Either register your domain well in advance so it’s at least 6 months old, or buy an old domain clear from blacklists to use for your sales outreach. If your domain is freshly registered, let it sit for over 6 months. An empty response to a ping to your domain might also raise concerns over it’s legitimacy, so redirect all requests to a landing page to avoid 400 and 500 errors.
2. IP Address optimization
IP addresses are the numerical address of servers that send your emails. Let’s learn how to do IP address optimizations to improve email deliverability:
a) Use reputed email services
If you’re just starting out and using existing professional email suites for your sales email outreach, use reputed ones. In our experience, Microsoft Office 365 or Outlook has the best email deliverability for sales emails. Emails are less likely to get filtered, and it has better tolerance over volume of emails sent. Gmail comes next, it has lower limits and tolerances, but is excellent in terms of usability and popularity. For reference, check our detailed comparison between Gmail and Office 365.
Avoid older, less secure services like mail.ru and Yahoo. Apart from being filtered more often, you’ll find lesser integrations and clunky interfaces on these services.
b) Have dedicated IP addresses
If you’re using email sending services like Amazon SES, Sendgrid, etc. to send sales emails and newsletters, there is a good chance your emails are being sent from a shared IP. Shared IP’s are a group of common servers used by all users on a platform – which would mean you could be sending emails from the same server a spammer’s also using. Shared IPs on these platforms could be blacklisted, and if you send your emails from these IPs, your domain will be blacklisted too.
To ensure this doesn’t happen and affect your email deliverability, rent dedicated IPs from these services. This will ensure your emails aren’t being sent from a shared IP and no one else can harm your sending reputation and deliverability.
c) Add authentication records
Authentication records are entries of your email servers in DNS and MX records, which are used to sign every email you send. These include SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Email servers on the receivers end look for these signatures in every email and emails coming from unauthenticated domains don’t have them, hence getting filtered into spam.
These authentication records can be added by the domain webmaster. If you manage the domain by yourself, you can add these records as per instructions here.
3. Content Optimization
Domain and IP make for the technical part of the optimizations. Email content while being non-technical, also affects deliverability outcomes, so let’s explore the optimizations that work to improve the deliveries:
a) Avoid spam triggering words
The vocabulary you use in your emails can dictate if the email is spam or otherwise. Email filters can read through your email content and detect the promotional tone of your sales emails based on certain words you use. Avoid using such trigger words in your sales email templates, so your emails don’t go to spam.
b) Customize tracking links
A lot of sales email services will add tracking links to measure engagements on your emails. When there’s a domain mismatch between the tracking link and the signature/recipient fields of the email, it detects it as an added external URL, which also has a negative impact on email deliverability. Adding tracking links from the same domain you’re sending emails helps mask them, and evade email filtering.
Custom tracking links can be used by setting up Custom domain – it is available on SalesHandy and can be set up for free. It requires adding a DNS record to your domain, which will allow SalesHandy to mask tracking links by using your domain instead of default ones. Custom domain also helps with clearing Blacklists and adds another layer of authentication to your emails.
c) Add unsubscribe links
If your emails are promotional in nature and your recipients don’t find an option to opt-out of them, they’re likely to report you spam. Sales emails being promotional should include unsubscribe links, which also ensures you’re adhering to CAN-SPAM laws, apart from improving deliverability. Unsubscribe links are available to insert in your emails in SalesHandy’s campaign editor.
d) Personalize content
Promotional sales emails with similar content being sent back to back are likely to trip the email filters on your recipient’s end. To work around this, personalize your email for every recipient in the email campaign. Using techniques like Mail merge, you can add merge fields within your email template that enable you to personalize the content for every recipient. This helps you differentiate your email, improve email deliverability and get more responses. You can automate personalization and sending your sales emails on SalesHandy.
e) HTML to Text ratio
HTML heavy emails are focused on the design and graphical formatting, which is a characteristic of marketing emails. Emails with more HTML content than plain text are likely to go to spam out due to this. While one can’t omit HTML completely, it’s important to maintain a balance. Ideally, the ratio between plain text and HTML should be 60:40. If you’re using sales engagement tools like SalesHandy, you’ll find an option in the editor to switch to editing HTML of the email, where you can measure and format your template and balance the HTML-Text ratio to be appropriate.
f) Format and test emails
Once you’ve composed your email, check it’s formatting and send test emails to your own address and open it on various devices and platforms. This will allow you to review your formatting and layout choices, and help you fix them if needed. Bad formatting(even in your email’s HTML) is not a good practice and can flag or filter your email as promotional, triggering filters for automated sending behavior. You can also conduct an email deliverability test to check how your email scores. Take extra time and add final touches to fix formatting to ensure your email looks as intended, and can get delivered to the primary inbox.
4. Scheduling and Sending Optimization
Once you’ve set up your email and have it ready to send – here’s a few more things you need to take care of to ensure you aren’t overshooting your ESP’s sending limitations.
a) Keep email sending limits in check
Depending on which Email Service Provider(ESP) you use, you’ll have limits on the number of emails you can send. This limit is supposedly 10,000/day for Outlook and 2000/day for GSuite accounts. When you’re scheduling campaigns, make sure you’ve calculated the usage of your email sending limits before scheduling the campaign. If you try sending more emails and exceed limits, your ESP will temporarily or permanently block your emails. As a result, you may no longer be able to send more emails using your account.
b) Time gaps between email sending
If you’re sending too many emails in unit time, your campaign will get filtered for suspicious activity. This might block, and/or filter your emails. It signals unnatural sending patterns, hence filtering your emails into spam. Using tools like SalesHandy, you can time the gaps between two emails. SalesHandy’s emails go out in random time intervals, to better mimic human sending behavior.
Timing emails like this helps with filtering and blocking from your email service provider. This enables more of your emails to deliver straight to your recipient’s primary inbox.
c) Schedule for recipient’s timezone
Sending out an email during your recipient’s inactive hours(for eg., 3:11am), might signal it as promotional communication. Sending out emails in their active hours gets you better deliverability, and is more likely to get opens and reads.
d) Verify emails to avoid bounces
Sending out sales email campaigns to a list of unverified emails makes them likely to bounce. Having a lot of emails bouncing decreases the deliverability for your future emails. To ensure your emails don’t bounce and your domain doesn’t land in a blacklist, verify all the emails. Clean all your email lists and make sure your recipients are active and reachable. SalesHandy’s campaigns have email verification built-in and ready before you hit send on your email campaigns.
Looking after a long list of checks can be overwhelming, just to be able to send sales emails. But email deliverability is one of the biggest challenges for SDRs. Lack of it makes your sales outreach efforts futile. Sparing a few technical tweaks, most of these best practices can be part of your SDR’s workflow. This ensures the best conversions while maintaining productivity.
Make a checklist, and go through all the steps before scheduling a sales email campaign. Monitor the results, and let us know in the comments if you see an improvement in your response rates!