Getting the email delivered

Let’s say that you are going to buy a new house, it’s your dream project and you have lots of interesting new ideas. You have planned everything in detail and the only thing you now are missing, is the money to fulfill your dream. Like most of us do, we contact the bank to get a loan. The bank looks into your financial history to see if they will take any risks lending you the amount you need. Your financial history is generally determined using a few key factors:

  • Punctuality of payment
  • Amount of debt
  • Length of history
  • Credit types used
  • Most recent credit obtained

When the bank summarizes these factors they will get your credit score; as a number on the scale. Your number tells them whether you are a risk or not; will you be able to pay them back? The amount you wish to lend combined with the risk factor will grant you the loan or not. So either you have to work harder so they don’t see you as a risk, or you have to lower your expectations and lend less money.

So what has this got to do with email deliverability?

Just like the banks takes risks lending you money, ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc takes a risk by accepting emails from you. The ISPs will protect their clients (the recipients of the emails) from viruses, phishing and anything that can harm them. For this they have very clever automated systems to find spammers since 90% of all emails actually is spam. These systems (spam filters) look at some key factors to decide if emails are spam or not. The amount of email senders out there is way too many to take care of this manually. Problem is; even if you are not a spammer, you might look like a spammer. It all depends on your metrics. Too many bounces or complaints will trigger their filters and your emails will not get delivered. And even if you don’t have many complaints or bounces your emails might get blocked. The reason is they look at the total combined risk adding all the metrics together. So to get the email delivered to the inbox, you have to prove that you are a good sender. 20% of all legitime emails never reach the inbox because ISPs filtering systems removes emails that is not spam, but just looked like it. And for some sender this is even higher just because their metrics flags their emails as “probably spam”. Therefore it’s important to know your metrics and what to do to get to the inbox.

Key metrics to getting the email delivered:

Easy fixes to prevent further filtering:

For when the problem appears (and nice to know for everyone):


Next: Myths in email deliverability

This is an article in the Carma Campus Class in Deliverability