What is email deliverability?

Email Deliverability - A Concept

What is email deliverability?

It is not a surprise that emails are the most widely used form of customer interaction.  It's the most straightforward and efficient way to maintain communication and package the right ideas with the right messaging to the right set of audience. Email deliverability plays a leading role in determining the success of an email, as well as in planning future emails.
Email deliverability refers to the ability of an email to reach the customer's mailbox. This doesn't necessarily mean that all the emails were delivered to the customers' inboxes. Email delivery rate includes emails that were delivered to the spam folder as well. Email placement is another metric that determines which folder the email reached in a customer's inbox. For example, if a sales rep sends an email and the delivery rate is 90%, it means 90% of the emails were received in the recipients' mailbox and 10% bounced. If 30% of the emails that were delivered went to the Spam folder, then the email placement is 60%.

Why is it important?

While email deliverability is a prevalent term amongst marketers, it has to be taken as a crucial metric by sales teams. Sales reps send emails on a day-to-day basis and will not have the time to determine and plan better deliverability techniques. Imagine emails that are being sent do not reach the customer's inbox or end up in their spam folder. If deliverability is not improved, then eventually the mailing list will end up being stagnant and unresponsive. This just means an organization does not have efficient email communication, and therefore might lead to a loss in revenue. This is why it's crucial that sales reps have better systems in place to ensure that their emails are reaching the customers as they intend them to.

Factors that affect deliverability

Sender reputation

One of the most important aspects of deliverability is the sender's reputation. Email sender reputation is a score that is assigned by Internet Service Providers to organizations that send emails. It is typically affected by factors like the number of emails that an organization sends, complaints received by the ISPs about the emails, the number of emails sent by an organization that go into the spam folder, the number of emails sent to unknown email addresses, email response rate, and other factors.
Based on these factors, the sender reputation score will be assigned to organizations' emails. This will directly influence email deliverability as well. If the sender's reputation is not improved, there is a high likelihood that the day-to-day emails that sales reps send won't even reach the recipients' inboxes.

Email authentication

Organizations use various domains to send emails to recipients. It is critical to authenticate the emails addresses that organizations use to communicate. Email authentication is performed by email servers to check if the email content came from the source email and it wasn't altered or forged in between.  To authenticate your email, the sending and receiving servers should be in sync. All email clients use three standards: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
  1. Sender Policy Framework (SPF): Sender Policy Framework is the authentication standard that verifies the sender's server. If SPF isn't in place, then your emails will be rejected. Without the authentication, the email might look like it's incoming from a malicious source.
  2. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): DKIM is the email authentication standard that uses public key encryption to authenticate the email. This is to ensure that the email isn't forged or changed anywhere along the way.
    It is advisable to combine DKIM with SPF to further ensure security from attacks and to ensure that your emails do not end up in the spam folder. 
  3. Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC): DMARC is another authentication method that acts as a combination of SPF and DKIM and offers additional security. It gives you more control over your authentication system.
Most of the sales teams out there use a CRM to manage their email communication with prospects and customers. You should ensure that the CRM you use guarantees that your emails get deliver to customers. At the least, it should have systems in place to ensure the this. Zoho CRM offers email authentication and makes it straightforward for organizations to authenticate any email source. You can read more about it here. When we ignore email authentication and bounce rates increase, it becomes problematic for the users and ultimately lowers your sender reputation. It might also end up getting your IP address blacklisted. If these authentication standards are in place, it avoids such instances, ensures better email deliverability and thereby better ROI.

Email content

The content used in the email usually plays a role in how a subscriber perceives it. Email providers are likely to mark your emails as spam if the email is not properly formatted and coded. Open-ended tags don't work well for your emails.
Ensure you have a legitimate and thoroughly vetted URL. If the URL is malicious or too short, the email is likely to end up in spam folder. Sales teams need to be vigilant about this. Even if you're in a rush to get conversions, you should not use email content that reads urgent or spam-like. It's important to keep setting high standards for the email content you send to recipients to ensure better deliverability rates and to refine your mailing list with recipients who actually want to engage with your content.

Steps taken by Zoho CRM to authenticate domains and ensuring deliverability

We understand that it's difficult for all the sales teams to take measures to ensure deliverability and make more conversions at the same time. Zoho CRM, in addition to offering email authentication, has a few other measures in place to improve your organization's deliverability.
If your business uses a public domain or a free email address, then there is a high possibility that it might not reach the subscriber. Emails sent from public domains like Gmail or Yahoo are prone to extreme scrutiny and the delivery rate is likely to take a hit. In Zoho CRM, if you use such an email address, the sender email address will be automatically changed to one of our own authenticated domain addresses to ensure better deliverability.
When your business uses a custom domain (for example, xyz@zylker.com), Zoho CRM will continue sending emails from the address xyz@zylker.com without any change if it is being authenticated inside Zoho CRM. If by any chance your custom domain is not authenticated inside Zoho CRM, then the sender address will be changed to our own authenticated domain to ensure delivery of emails. This change is to ensure that the sender reputation is healthy and maintained, as Zoho CRM sends all of the emails of its users through a shared infrastructure. Because of that, it is essential that your domain is also sent from an authenticated source. Otherwise, it might affected others using the same shared infrastructure.

  1. To authenticate your custom domains and to use them for sending emails via Zoho CRM, you can follow the steps in this help document.
  2. The mentioned email deliverability changes do not apply when users send emails through their configured mailbox or when an email relay server is setup for an account.

Steps taken by Zoho CRM to improve Sender reputation

In order to improve sender reputation, you need to give importance to email credibility. Zoho CRM has introduced a new email credibility dashboard that lets administrators analyse their organization’s email sending practices and to periodically keep track of the email bounce and spam complaint rate.
You can read more about the email credibility dashboard in our help document.
Through the email credibility dashboard, Zoho CRM offers some of the following measures: 
  1. An email credibility score along with the actions that are recommended to further improve the score is available in your Zoho CRM account. Since Zoho CRM uses a shared email-sending infrastructure to send your emails, it is vital that all of the organizations have a good email credibility. If one organization has a bad credibility it might tamper with the scores of other organisations that are using the shared infrastructure. Zoho CRM, based on the emails sent, responses received, bounce rate and spam complaints, assigns a credibility score to your organization and based on the data also suggests some recommended actions to improve the credibility.
  1. You can also get the bounce report in Zoho CRM where you will see the number of emails sent and the number of emails bounced. You can get the bounce report for a particular duration and for a particular user. You can use the metrics to understand what went wrong and take corrective action
  1. Apart from this, Zoho CRM also allows you to see how your credibility score has fared over time in the form of a credibility score trend report. It compares the scores with outgoing emails and the bounce rate, which an trend upward or downward. Based on this report, you can implement best practices to improve your overall score
Emails in Zoho CRM are a breeze if you take that initial step to set them up. You can learn more about how emails in Zoho CRM can help you and your businesses ensure not only better deliverability, but also save so much time and effort that can instead be spent on actual selling.

Best practices to improve email deliverability


Have a streamlined email list

To increase your chances of having better deliverability, it is vital that your email list is monitored and revised periodically. This is an essential step, especially for sales reps; teams are prone to skipping this in the monotonous routine of sending emails. You should remove recipients who haven't engaged with your business in a while. The frequency of cleaning and maintaining a streamlined email list will vary for different businesses, but it is a healthy way to improve deliverability and refine customer interactions.

Enable double-opt-in confirmation

Businesses get leads via different marketing efforts. Sales teams use emails primarily for communicating with them. Engaging with prospects or customers who don't want to engage is going to end up in the prospect marking your email as spam. The ISPs will consider this spamming. Therefore, it is considered best practice to enable double-opt-in so you know your list contains engaging customers.

Enable recipients to opt out easily

It is not healthy to have a difficult setup for customers who want to opt out of your mailing list. Providing an easy way for users to unsubscribe is a sure way of maintaining a clean email list. If users are receiving emails when they want to opt out, they will end up marking the emails you send as spam. This will affect email deliverability, so having an easy way out for users is a must.  

Segment customers and send emails

Whenever you plan an email campaign, make sure you segment customers based on region, purchasing pattern, or any other common factor, and tailor the email content to target that particular segment. This will provide a more personalized experience for recipients and also help marketers position the right information to the right audience.
Avoid spam-like subject lines:
Framing your subject line will determine if the subscriber opens an email or not. Consider the kind of emails you would personally avoid and apply that to your own subject lines. Avoid spam-like subjects like 'Free', 'You won't', 'Biggest deal', and other sensationalist phrases. This will push the subscriber to either mark you as spam or unsubscribe.  

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