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How Email Deliverability Is Essential to
Deliverability, Privacy & Best Practice Director
What is deliverability (versus delivered)
Why deliverability matters
Key terms to know
What you need to know to get into the inbox
• How to protect and grow your reputation
• How deliverability success drives revenue
Chris Arrendale has more than 11 years of experience in
the technology and software industry and has worked
directly with many different ISPs, webmail providers,
spam filter providers, blacklists, and partners to
resolve deliverability issues. Chris graduated with his
BA from Emory University and his MS from Southern
Polytechnic University. He also maintains several
professional certifications including Microsoft Certified
Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Certified
Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US). Chris is
actively involved with the Email Experience Council
(EEC) roundtables, Messaging Anti-Abuse Working
Group (MAAWG), International Association of Privacy
Professionals (IAPP), Email Sender & Provider
Coalition (ESPC), Atlanta Interactive Marketing
Association (AIMA), and Only Influencers (Email). He
works with many enterprise clients to make sure that
new clients are provisioned correctly, ISP blocks are
removed, blacklists are monitored, and to educate
clients of the ever changing deliverability landscape.
Today You Will Learn
The understanding of email deliverability
Essential terms to know and understand
The deliverability ‘checklist’
The flow of an email
How email filters work
Deliverability content tips
Reputation is key to email deliverability
Actionable takeaways and next steps
Why Deliverability Matters
• Delivered is a way to measure that the email
was accepted by the mail server.
• Deliverability is getting to the inbox and
measuring the open/click statistics.
• Getting your email into your subscriber’s inbox is
the only way to get recognized, get opens, and
• Deliverability is constantly changing and
Key Terms to Know
• Hard bounce - The rejection reason from the
recipient mail server indicates a permanent delivery
failure. Retried delivery attempts will not be
• Soft bounce - The rejection reason from the
recipient mail server indicates a transient delivery
failure. Retried delivery attempts may be
• Block - No further email will be accepted for a period
• Bulked - Messages will be accepted for delivery but
will be placed in a lower priority folder.
Key Terms to Know - Part 2
• Abuse complaint - Notifications from ISP via
Feedback loop that the recipient marked the email
as “Spam”. Abuse Complaints should be opted out
• Blacklist - List of IP addresses or domains that are
not allowed entry into a particular network.
• Whitelist - Needed for most large volume senders
and allows for higher volume of emails to be sent.
• Spam trap - A valid email address that monitors who
sends email to it and will harm your reputation.
4 Steps to the inbox:
• 4 Steps to the Inbox
First - Configure:
– Setup Authentication - SPF, SenderID, DomainKeys, DKIM.
Second - Make Friends:
– Get signed up on all feedback loops and white lists possible – not all ISP’s and
Inbox Providers have one but research those that do and sign up!
– Research reputation.
Third - Design Campaigns:
Make sure your Image to Text Ratio is ~30/70.
Include an “Add to Address” Book statement.
Include text or html unsubscribe link (not an image) – one click opt out is best.
Include Postal Address in Footer.
Lastly - Maintain:
– Keep User Engagement High – Target recipients with relevant content and stop
sending to any that are not interested.
– Keep your abuse complaint rate below 0.3% - remove complaints immediately.
– Keep your bounce rates below 10% - remove hard bounces immediately.
– Entice and remind recipient’s to add your from address to their address book.
Typical Path of an Email
Email Content – The Essential Email
• Ensure subject lines
are substantive (not
speak to business
benefits; ideal length
is 100-140 characters
and more than 16
To: John Smith
From: Client X
HTML Headline for Email Subject
• Personalization is
optimal in B2B emails
• Ensure domain
reputation for landing
page URLs remains
high; also, make sure
there are both text and
graphical links to
Text. Embedded call-to-action.
Text. Re-iterate call-to-action.
Footer + Unsubscribe
• Maintain 70/30 ratio
with essential graphics
• Design email content
with 'images off,'
ensure high mobile
• Smaller section
graphic or highlight
graphic of offering in
the Content Offer
• Include preheader text
that is essentially the
‘boilerplate version’ of
your Content Offer
• Optimize the footer
Email Image Data Points
• Designing email content with ‘images off’ is
essential to having the best inbox experience.
– Keep images small and
lightweight to not cause
rendering issues or delays in
– Never include the CTA or
Unsubscribe in an image.
– Always include ‘alt’ attributes.
– Always include height +
– Microsoft Outlook 2007 and
2010 do not support
background images either.
Source: Litmus, “The Ultimate Guide to Styled ALT Text in Email”, (https://litmus.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-styled-alttext-in-email).
• Many filters look for the following:
The reputation of the sending IP address.
The sender’s domain reputation.
Characteristics of the email content.
• Spam filters are always evolving and changing
thousands of times a day!
• B2B rule sets can vary from domain to domain.
• Meticulous list management:
Use caution with list append and acquisition companies
TINS (This is Not Spam)
ISP Panel Data
• Engagement includes
• Important to perform list hygiene to segment out the
inactive subscribers and possibly do a ‘win back’
• Sending volumes to smaller domains is key to
• Major ISPs publish rate limits and connection
• B2B and smaller B2C domains do not publish these
• Key is to send smaller volumes to not ‘flood’ the
recipient’s mail server.
• Get whitelisted, if possible.
• Communicate this with your subscribers!
Continually testing is key
• Testing all parts of email
content is essential for any
– Subject lines and message body content
are just the beginning.
– Layout and images play a key role in
overall B2B email effectiveness.
– Segmenting by target audience and
having a well-designed landing page are
equally as important to a great piece of
Source: MarketingSherpa, “Benchmark Survey”, July 2011.
Keys to Drive Revenue via Deliverability
Increase emails being delivered.
Increase emails being opened/clicked.
Increase subscriber engagement.
Decrease dead addresses and/or spam
• Impact conversions and program
Move The Needle
Preheader text data points
• Utilizing the preheader and optimizing the email
footer will provide a better email experience for
– Link to the online web version of the
– Link to the unsubscribe and forward to a
– Compelling ‘text snippets’ with offers.
– Mobile readers utilize and show the
Source: Multichannel Merchant, “How To Increase Email Response Rates”,
Mobile data points
• Mobile email design is now the standard and
content should now be more ‘mobile-friendly’
– More and more recipients are viewing emails on mobile technology, so the key is to design
content for these devices – Laptop, Tablet, Cell (Both IOS + Android)
Source: DemandGen Report, “Content Preferences Survey”, May 2012.
1. Make sure you are authenticating outgoing
2. Meticulously manage your lists.
3. Manage volumes and rate limits to smaller
4. Brand your emails via email links, from, etc.
5.Test, test, test!