Email Deliverability Tips

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Email Deliverability Tips

By: Tom Kulzer

Ensuring requested opt-in email is delivered to subscriber inboxes is an increasingly difficult battle in the age of spam filtering. Open and click thru response rates can be dramatically affected by as much as 20-30% due to incorrect spam filter classification.

- Permission

Confirming that the people who ask for your information have actually requested to be on your list is the number one step in the battle for deliverability. You should be using a process called confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in to send a unique link to the attempted subscriber when they request information. Before adding the person to your list they must click that unique link verifying that they are indeed the same person that owns the email address and requested to subscribe.

- Subscriber Addresses

When requesting website visitors to opt-in ask for their "real" or "primary" email address instead of a free email address like Yahoo or Hotmail. Free emails tend to be throw away accounts and typically have a shorter lifetime than a primary ISP address.

- List Maintenance

Always promptly remove undeliverable addresses that bounce when sending email to them. An address that bounces with a permanent error 2-3 times in a 30 day period should be removed from the list. ISP's track what percentage of your newsletters bounce and will block them if you attempt to continually deliver messages to closed subscriber mailboxes.

- Message Format

Usage of HTML messages to allow for text formatting, multiple columns, images, and brand recognition is growing in popularity and is widely supported by most email client software. Most spam is also HTML formatted and thus differentiating between requested email and spam HTML messages can be difficult. A 2004 study by shows that plain text messages are undeliverable 1.15% of the time and HTML only messages were undeliverable 2.3%. If sending HTML it is important to always send a plain text alternative message, also called text/HTML multi-part mime format.

- Content

Many ISP's filter based on the content that appears within the message text.

  • Website URL: Research potential newsletter advertisers before allowing them to place ads in your newsletter issues. If they have used their website URL to send spam, just having their URL appear in your newsletter could cause the entire message to be filtered.

  • Words/phrases: Choose your language carefully when crafting messages. Avoid hot button topics often found in spam such as medication, mortgages, making money, and pornography. If you do need to use words that might be filtered, don't attempt to obfuscate words with extra characters or odd spelling, you'll just make your messages appear more spam like.

  • Images: Avoid creating messages that are entirely images. Use images sparingly, if at all. Commonly used open rate tracking technology uses images to calculate opens. You may choose to disable open rate tracking to avoid being filtered based on image content.

  • Attachments: With viruses running rampant and spreading thru the usage of malicious email attachments many users are wary of attached documents. It's often better to link to files via a website URL to reduce recipient fear of attachments and reduce the overall message size.

- CAN-SPAM Compliance

The January 2004 Federal CAN-SPAM law introduced a number of rules regarding the delivery of email. It's important you have your legal counsel review your practices and ensure you are in compliance. The two most important rules include having a valid postal mail address listed in all commercial messages and a working unsubscribe link that is promptly honored to remove the subscriber from future messages.

- Reputation

Reputation services are often used by large ISP's as a way to vet email senders regarding their email practices and policies. Businesses listed with these services are then given less stringent filtering or no filtering at all. Several reputation services are:

- Relationships & Whitelisting

Contact with major ISP's and email providers is essential in letting them know about your requested subscriber email. Many large providers such as AOL and Yahoo have specific whitelisting programs and postmaster website areas to ensure your email is delivered as long as you meet their policies and procedures in handling your opt-in list.

Email deliverability is about ensuring requested opt-in email is delivered to the intended recipient. While no single tip will enable you to get 100% of your email delivered each one utilized as a group can go a long way to reaching that goal.

About The Author

Tom Kulzer, CEO and Founder of Newtown, PA based AWeber Communications, Inc. an opt-in email service provider. With 7 years managing opt-in follow up and newsletters for small businesses, email deliverability is an integral part of day to day operations. Learn more: and


Cara 08.07.2011. 12:20

What's the best way to manage a small mailing list for free? I need to send emails to a group of less than 200 addresses on a regular basis. What's the best way for me to do this and manage the list of addresses with as little maintenance as possible?


Admin 08.07.2011. 12:20

- Easy list management from an easy to use interface
- Better deliverability rates than if you were to send the emails yourself
- All emails are spam compliant and allow people to unsubscribe automatically
- You have an audit trail of IP's should anyone ever make a complaint
- You can set up a sequence of emails to be delivered automatically to each user
- Easy integration into web forms so you can easily collect email addresses on the web

and the list goes on. The simple point I am trying to make is, yes, you should get an autoresponder if you plan on being serious about this. One of the problems is if you start out doing things your way and then decide to move to an autoresponder later, all those people will have to reconfirm they want to be on your list before most autoresponders will let you send them mail. So you are much better off starting with the autoresponder right from the beginning.
I agree and can add some extra tips here.

- Do not treat your list like crap
- Give them cool stuff that make them look forward to you sending it.
- Think like them and what they want.
- Send stuff at spontanious intervals.
- Always before you send an email ask is this something i want to receive
- Never keep spamming your list. They will cotton on to what you are doing

Most of all, treat them like gold, that is the quickest way to make your list reward you with emmense profit.


Aaron 07.01.2011. 02:09

what are some email deliverability tips that work? Array


Admin 07.01.2011. 02:09

some email deliverability tips that work are
Avoid creating your emails using the writing tone a spammer would use.
Implement authentication protocols


Mike V 20.07.2012. 17:52

creating an email list with Feedburner? I have an email list that I send a tip of the day to. I would like to transfer to Feedburner and understand I need to set my tips into an RSS feed. Is there any way to have Feedburner send one tip a day automatically without having to send the tips every day?

Mike V

Admin 20.07.2012. 17:52

I wasn't aware of Feedburner email management until I read up on it:

It seems like a roundabout process, though it appears you can schedule daily transmissions, providing there are updates in your feed list.

More typically a marketer would use an autoresponder email management service where you could schedule a sequence of mailings in advance, most of these services require your users subscribe through their provided forms in order to maintain high deliverability and low spam complaints with the ISP postmasters. Constant Contact may be one that allows imported, Aweber is the standard used most, these services typically cost $20 a month, though Mail Chimp offers a perpetually free account for up to 2000 addresses, providing you are not marketing anything remotely shady.


J M 29.09.2009. 17:30

Where can I test email deliverability? I want to test some emails that I want to use in a campaign, but I want to test them first, to see how safe they are, I want to achieve a high rate of delivery but not sure where...if anyone knows any sites or services that do so, please let me know.

colanth...thanks, but thats clearly not what im not spamming, its legit, i want to run tests, there are things such as format and the ratio of html to text that will increase or decrease your rate of delivery.

where can I test this is my question...please dont want my time, or yours on stupid explanations. I want links, urls, sites where this can be done.


Admin 29.09.2009. 17:30

my tip :
-send only plain text (a-z , A-Z ,0-9 , standard ASCII symbols), no formatting , no table ,no paragrapgh or bullets ,no fancy color. no more than 254 characters for the To: field.

-email address validity and legit verification can be performed at these 2 websites : (select Email Verification radio button)


Migx R 15.04.2008. 08:18

Question on StrongMail? Hi guys I just want to ask basically what StrongMail Solutions does? because I can't understand their terms, could you explain it in a very simple way, is it a email server? then what does it do? thanks

Migx R

Admin 15.04.2008. 08:18

StrongMail offers a forum to discuss issues and to share hints and tips they?ve discovered using the StrongMail servers. These forums also are used by our Support Team to post interesting cases from our support files for everyone to take advantage of.
StrongMail is the only provider of on-premise email solutions that enable both marketing and IT professionals to solve their unique challenges and maximize their investment in the email channel.

Our genesis is a next-generation email platform designed to solve infrastructure challenges around email performance, integration and deliverability within enterprise deployments. Leveraging that foundation, we have expanded our solutions to include sophisticated campaign management and transactional capabilities that enable marketers to maximize their email programs with improved relevancy, tracking and ease of use.

The end result is a comprehensive suite of products and services that expertly handles every aspect of high-performance email delivery and management ? from superior delivery and integration technology to harness data from accross the enterprise, to an intuitive email marketing application with the advanced features that marketers need to create and deliver highly-relevant communications. Explore our solutions for in-depth examples of what we can offer you.


bugfree 21.07.2011. 14:45

How can I talk to a human being at Yahoo about spamming by Yahoo customers? My network now receives far more fraud spam from users than from any other network. It seems Yahoo is no longer making any effort to control it. Before I implement greylisting for Yahoo senders, I would like to discuss the matter with a deliverability manager at Yahoo. How do I contact an actual human being with knowledge and authority there?
Sorry Lyn, you completely misunderstood the question. I suppose you didn't think about what "my network" might be. I'm not talking about securing my systems here. I'm talking about a sweatshop industry in sub-Saharan Africa where children sit at PCs and create Yahoo Mail accounts. Children can read those distorted letters ("captchas") they use to keep automatic robots from doing it.
The Yahoo Mail accounts are used to send fraud spam of the "Advanced fee fraud" or "4-1-9 scam" type. I get more of that stuff from Yahoo's IP addresses than from any other source. Perhaps it has something to do with no longer accepting plain text abuse reports. They stopped taking those last year.


Admin 21.07.2011. 14:45

Yahoo is not responsible for securing your account, you are.
If for instance, you go around giving out your personal information to others, that is not Yahoo's fault. Or you are irresponsible in how you "surf the web," picking up all sorts of "bugs,' and such, from bad sites that are not trustworthy. Yahoo can not follow up on every complaint of a "hacker." First, most of the complaints of hackers are really viruses the account owner picked up. Second, a serious "hacker" uses false web addresses and reroutes their transmissions making them most difficult to try to track. And third, there are just too many out there, Yahoo has a business to run; it is the job of the authorities to catch and punish criminals, not Yahoo's.
It is up to you to secure your account AND your computer. You can help to secure your account with the tools provided by Yahoo, and by using a good strong password. You need to use the security measures available to you to secure your computer.
Install a firewall and an anti-virus program if you do not have one yet.
I strongly recommend a program for malware and adware also. I suggest you do some research on the subject of computer security, to learn what you should know in order to use your computer wisely and safely. Then, if you want to control your spam, you should. You can not completely stop all spam, but you can help to put a big dent in it.
First, try not to open any of them, that only makes them send more and more to you.
Check mark them and click on 'Spam,' this should stop those addresses from being delivered to your inbox.
Use your spam guard and block address.
Look for the 'Options' link at upper right corner of mail screen and click on it
Options /mail options
Click on 'spam' in the list on the left.
Make sure spam guard is on, by checking in the little box.
Then in 'Blocked Email Addresses,' enter the E-mail address you wish blocked, in the box after 'Add a blocked address' and click on the 'add' button, then click on save changes at top left of screen.
You will never get mail from that address again.
This should help you to control your spam.
Other tips:
Do not ever open E-mail from people you do not know; and unless you are absolutely sure who it is from then treat them as spam.
Opening spam alerts the sender that your address is a valid one and they send you loads and loads more of it to you.
Never, ever give out your account information or other personal information to anyone.
If you are on a site and you absolutely have to sign up for something, check the entire page to make sure you uncheck any lines wanting to send you any other info, notices, catalogs, ads, and the like.
Added detail:
Yes, spammers change one item in their addresses a lot, so you might try blocking the entire domain, by putting in
for instance: *
Or, if they change the domain, instead of the company name you can block the name by putting in Imatheft_inc@*
Hope this helps.


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