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5 Email Deliverability Stumbling Blocks

Jul 12, 2013   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

colored building blocksOne of the biggest blows an email marketer can be dealt is shockingly low email deliverability. A good email deliverability rate to work toward, according to Ginger Shimp on BtoB Blog, is 90 percent, yet, according to Direct Marketing News, the average is just 81 percent. When you view your campaign performance report and note unusually low email deliverability, you ask yourself, “What went wrong?”

As Yesmail points out in its white paper “End the Nightmares! 10 Email Deliverability Myths Debunked,” far too many email marketers finger the subject line as the culprit. “Gone are the days when you could solve all of your deliverability problems by scanning subject lines and keywords for the word ‘Free,'” Yesmail says. And while you should rid your subject lines of spammy words and phrases, there are far more stumbling blocks hindering your email deliverability.

Those stumbling blocks, according to Yesmail, include:

Sending Reputation

Sending reputation (also known as email reputation) is the measurement of your email sending practices and the extent to which you follow the standards established by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). ISPs measure several metrics that make up your sending reputation, including bounce rate, abuse/spam complaints and spam trap hits.(See this blog for tips on improving your email reputation.)

Problematic URLs

In email marketing, partnering with another sender to run cross-promotional or co-registration programs to increase opt-in subscribers seems like it’d be a great idea. In reality, it can be a major stumbling block to email deliverability. “ISPs will flag certain URLs commonly found in messages that generate excessive abuse complaints,” Yesmail says. And it’s not just the companies you plan to partner with you need to worry about-it’s their partners, too.

Link Shorteners

Link shorteners, such as, and, are invaluable tools on social media platforms like Twitter. While ideal for social media, you should avoid using link shorteners in email marketing at all times. “Spammers also use the link shorteners to hide their website domains from the recipients,” writes Sendloop. “If you use the same link shortening domain that was used by spammers before, ISPs may block your emails.”

HTML-to-Text Ratio

Today’s most popular email marketing campaigns tend to have one crucial element in common: visuals. “While plain text or bare-bones emails can still be extremely effective,” says Corey Eridon on HubSpot, “sometimes it’s also wonderful to amaze your subscribers with creative, captivating or delightfully understated email design.” Emails too laden with images, however, can be a stumbling block to email deliverability. “Spammers like to use images to convey their message with a small amount of text, since ISPs’ systems cannot ‘see’ the words in the image,” Yesmail explains.

One final email deliverability culprit is bad data. On average, business see a 30 percent annual churn rate of their email databases due to outdated or inaccurate information. In a December 2012 study, almost 30 percent of business executives said they believe they’d lost a customer due to bad data.

The good news is email marketers can scrub bad data from their databases, hurdling the paralyzing stumbling block, with email validation. To learn more about email validation, click here, or discover more email deliverability stumbling blocks and methods to overcome them in “Email Deliverability: 21 Steps to Success.”

photo credit: Holger Zscheyge

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