6 best practices for you as a marketer to increase the deliverability of your emails

6 best practices for you as a marketer to increase the deliverability of your emails

Anton Nordström
Jun 2023
Anton Nordström
Graphic woman in front of the computer

Increasing and maintaining email deliverability is about creating long-term engagement with your readers. It's similar to growing a tree; you need to water and nourish it regularly to keep it growing and thriving.

It does not happen overnight - it takes time, patience and care.

As a marketer, it's important that you understand that email deliverability is directly linked to engagement. Once you've ensured that everything technically works as it should, it's up to you to provide content that engages.

But it is not always easy to know how.

In this article, you will discover what it takes to create engagement with your readers while keeping your email providers happy. 

So, let's cultivate engagement that will flourish for years to come!

Tech giants set the agenda - but what do they want from you?

Nobody knows.

That's the case - and it's nothing to hide.

While not all the pieces of the puzzle are known, we know some parts and can make informed guesses about others. In this way we can construct, not a complete, but a limited picture of what Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others mean by 'engagement'.

We know that the degree and type of interaction with your email communication is important. For example, engagements that contribute positive signals can be:

  • Degree of opening
  • Click through rate
  • Spam reports
  • Answers to emails
  • forwarding of e-mails
  • Time to opening
  • Time to click
  • Time spent in the email

These are signs that the little clump of ones and zeros in your inbox has been of interest to you.

What sends negative signals is the opposite. That email:

  • Long time in inbox before being engaged with
  • Deleted without being read
  • Marked as spam
  • And a historical lack of interest from the recipient.

The 6 tips I will now share come from the realization that what both email providers and customers want to see... is good communication.

6 best practices to ensure higher engagement and better deliverability. 

1. Segmentation - the right message to the right person.

On assignment or in projects, I quite often build behavioral segments for different campaigns. It can be about selling or informing about a big match being broadcast.

Over the years, I have found that the more time I spend on segmentation, the better the results. 

Less unsubscribes, more clicks, better results.

And that is obvious. 

But what I long refused to understand is that I can also take segmentation one step further. Not just to find the right people for the right campaign (and think only in terms of SELL or ACTIONS) - but to give customers a better experience and thus strengthen deliverability.

Why not segment users by how often they report wanting communication? Or by engagement level? 

More engaged = more communication. Lower = less.

Or ask customers which part of your product(s) or services they are interested in and send them information about that (and nothing else)?

To summarize: think about the whole customer journey and not just the point of purchase when segmenting.

2. pride - a must.

If you want to create great communication that engages the reader and delivers results, you need to put your back into it. And that energy comes not from unhealthy amounts of caffeine, but simply from a determined professional pride.

You want to create good communication, with thought behind it, to the right people.

Because there is plenty of communication that works okay

And everything about it is okay: the content, the design.

The result. 

But to really engage, and keep the level of engagement up, it needs a little more...

I promise that the readers, through their little screens, can smell when someone has gone the extra mile. When someone has respect for what they create and by extension, respect for the reader themselves. 

So the first step is that you, your organization and your employees; all want to make great content. 

Think about it - what does communication that we can support look like?

Then there is only one thing left. Roll up your sleeves and get to work!

3. re-engagement - a second chance.

If you have lost contact with someone, the first step is always to reach out. This is also the case with people in your base who may have once opened, read and commented; but are now ignoring you.

'Re-engagement' is identifying these inactive users and then finding something that interests them. 

Maybe it's sending a push notification about a new feature in your app. 

Or it may be a really strong offer in a category of goods they have previously bought a lot of.

It could be anything, really. Because at some point they were hopefully interested in your business - now it's time to find a new reason! 

But for some, you are simply no longer relevant. They have had their needs met elsewhere.

And then you can't do more.

As well as looking out over the horizon and testing...

4. Sun-setting - cleaning out the pantry.

It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. But sometimes it needs to set for some of your contacts.

Sun-setting means that inactive members in your database are asked if they want to remain members. A yes is a yes. No answer or a no is a no.

And then they are simply removed. This is sun-setting.

So why is it good? You struggle so much to get people into your database. Enticing them with guides, content and various promises. To then just sweep them away seems like a bit of a waste.

But it is not. On the contrary. 

It is an investment in the rest of your database. The ones that are active.

Because what happens when you remove those who never read or click through your emails? The percentage who do, goes up and so does the engagement level.

To email providers, it looks like your company is a responsible sender. Because you are.

Plus, the key figures will look better! ;) 

5. Test - make it your mantra.

Always. Be. Testing.

The reality is terribly complex. Devastatingly so. 

And we poor humans have always tried to create order out of chaos.

This idea of systematically testing things, drawing conclusions and then testing again ad nauseum is still the best answer we have. No matter if the question is "How fast is the universe expanding?" or the more mundane "why did we only get 0.6% unique click rate on the last campaign? 🙁".

So test, test, test! Then, test again!

It is the only way.

6. Strategy - map and compass.

Make an honest attempt to link your email communication to parts of the customer journey and where appropriate, encourage them to take the next step.

Think about what purpose each email serves and how it ties in with not only your marketing strategy, but also your company's identity. 

The strategy is a chart that allows you to sail without danger or delay.

For example, it is frighteningly easy to spend too much time sending emails as the need arises. Instead, you should think about how each email and each type of email contributes to the big picture.

If emails are created because we "should do something", a huge emergency siren will go off in your head. 

🚨FARA! 🚨

Instead, do your research first.

Use it to formulate a strategy with clear objectives.

Test and optimize against it.

Then you will never waste your time or your customers' time again.


There you have it, six tips to improve email delivery and create a long-lasting engagement with your readers. But remember, it's not something you do once and then forget about. This journey requires constant attention, adaptation and refinement. And like any successful journey, it starts with a single step. So take that first step today.

If you need help during your trip, you can always contact me or one of my colleagues at Leadfront.

Take care!

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