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Don’t want to end up in your customer’s spam folder this holiday season? Time to optimise your email deliverability.


Don’t want to end up in your customer’s spam folder this holiday season? Time to optimise your email deliverability.


As the countdown to the holiday season officially begins, now is the time to revisit your marketing strategy to ensure you are ready for the peak shopping season. Toshi Onishi shares tips for optimising your email deliverability.

While the festive season is one of the most exciting times of the year, it is not without its challenges. As a marketer, one of the most common issues you want to avoid is your emails ending up in the spam folder and the frustration that comes with it.

First, let’s look at the number of emails going around. While exact figures vary, it’s easy to say that this number is likely to be somewhere in the billions, if not more. For example, according to Gmail, in 2019, there were 1.5 billion active Gmail users worldwide, and this is just Gmail alone. If each of those active users sent an email on any given day, that’s 1.5 billion emails on that day alone. That’s a lot of emails.

During the holiday season, both the volume and frequency of emails increase. It’s vital to understand that the sheer volume and frequency can easily cause email fatigue among customers. As a result, the subscribers start ignoring or deleting the email without even clicking or, worse, enlisting them as spam. 

So what is email deliverability, and why should brands care?

A better understanding of what happens when you hit send will make it easier to avoid your marketing efforts getting lost in the digital wilderness this holiday season, and beyond. For all its simplicity on the surface, making it to the inbox is one of the more complex and widely misunderstood elements of email marketing. 

Deliverability refers to the art of landing messages in the inbox rather than the spam folder. It incorporates anything that touches email delivery. Many factors can affect the deliverability of your emails including, but not limited to:

  • The reputation of your domain and sending IP address
  • The quality of your contact list, which comprises engagement, opt-in confirmation, source ethics, etc.
  • Your message’s design and content
  • The frequency of your messaging and its relevance

How to stay away from the spam folder

The short answer is, revisit your email marketing program and optimise email deliverability. As the holiday season inches closer, it’s key to pay close attention to the content, code and management of your mailing list. Also, consider how well you are complying with deliverability best practices.

Effective content is key to cut through the holiday noise. Therefore, it’s important to create content that is relevant and engaging for the customers. Specifically, remember what expectations you set for the recipient when they were signing up. If the recipient engages positively, such as opens, clicks and marks the message as ‘not spam’, mailbox providers will respect that decision. Even better if the recipient adds your address to their safe list.

From a coding perspective, if you have any third-party links within your email that do not link to a reputable source (i.e., the destination domain is not regionally or globally recognised by a typical recipient) it might be best to remove them, as filters may think of it as a phishing attempt.

List management and compliancy

As for list management, revise how you are managing it from acquisition to exit. Are you acquiring email addresses via a proper opt-in process such as a sign-up form on your website and not purchasing lists? Is your sign-up source secure, so it does not get abused by spammers? Are you segmenting and suppressing those who do not engage with your email? While it might not feel like your growing your list, proper list management is essential to any email marketing program.

Finally, following SPAM regulations provides the best chance for your messages to be delivered safely to your subscriber’s inbox. Double-check how compliant your email marketing program is to the guidelines available. Are you going above and beyond? Are you honouring unsubscribe requests promptly? How are you handling complaints? All these factors add up and will influence the destination of your email.

Remember, a well-crafted, beautifully designed email won’t do your company any good if your subscribers don’t see it because it never made it into the inbox. Be sure you are not on Santa’s naughty list this year. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure your emails land in the inbox more consistently, providing great results for your organisation during the upcoming holidays.


Toshi Onishi is a senior deliverability analyst at dotdigital.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels.


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