The Basics of Getting Email Delivered

Amanda DeLuke

Tis’ the season for getting stuff delivered, especially of getting email delivered.

Let’s say Santa delivers all of the presents to all of the appropriate houses. Sounds great, right? Well, what if he started leaving the presents in random places like your kitchen, your bathroom, and your garage. Not so great. Just because something is delivered, doesn’t mean it actually makes it to where the recipient will find it.

Let’s talk about what Santa’s helpers can do to get these emails delivered to the right place. But first, what does it mean when an email is delivered and what is deliverability?

An email is considered “delivered” when the receiving system has accepted the message (and hasn’t resulted in a bounce). Deliverability takes that a step further and references the ability to reach the inbox. After mail is delivered, it can go through several levels of filters before it is placed into the users’ mail system. So if mail is not authenticated, contains “spammy” content, or doesn’t follow the systems’ or users’ rules; it’s probably not going to make it to the inbox.

Step 1: Get mail delivered:

  • Make sure to send to valid, opt-in addresses.

Step 2: Land in the inbox:

  • Authenticate the domains you send from.
  • Make sure to email at a consistent volume each month/year to show you are reliable and predictable.
  • Send only to recipients that are engaged (anyone who has not opened/clicked within three months should be suppressed).
  • Create content that is relevant to your audience.
  • Have a clear unsubscribe link to deter subscribers from marking your email as spam.
  • Check content for blacklisted URLs, exposed URLs, and obvious spam triggers.

What is considered non-delivered mail?

  • Soft bounce – after multiple attempts to send, the receiver replies with a temporary error.
  • Hard bounce – the receiver has indicated that the email is invalid or has been rejected.
  • Block – the receiver has indicated that they cannot accept further messages at that time which may require remediation.

Getting Emails Delivered Pathway

So if you are like Santa and need to make sure people on your list get what they want, where they want it, then it would it would be wise to follow Santa’s helper’s tips. Oh, and be sure to leave cookies out for Santa, not spam!

Check out more deliverability tips here.

About the Author
Amanda DeLuke

As a Deliverability Specialist, Amanda helps with client sender reputation, abuse management, and internal deliverability process. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys playing the alto sax, mountain biking, and chasing after her identical twin boys.