5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

A quick guide to email deliverability

Disclaimer: Our blog posts on deliverability and DNS settings, including DMARC, SPF, and DKIM records, are informative but not exhaustive. Making these changes can impact your sending capabilities. We strongly recommend consulting a deliverability expert or the beehiiv support team before implementing any changes.

Email deliverability often takes a backseat to more exciting topics, such as open rates,list building, and even growth. But if your emails don’t land in the inbox it will all be for nothing. 

According to Validity, Inc., one in every six emails never make it to the inbox. While email deliverability monitoring can involve legal and technical issues, there is actually a lot you can do on your own to improve email deliverability.

Here are five email deliverability best practices that don't require an engineer.

1. Your #1 Email Deliverability Tool: Authentication

5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

We recently published details about the inner workings of authentication, but here’s the fast and simple version. Authentication shows your recipient’s email service three things:

  • The email is coming from you

  • You’re not a known spammer

  • You have permission to send the email to the recipient

Imagine every inbox is a club. Your email wants to get in, but there’s a bouncer at the door. Authentication shows the bouncer your email ID and confirms you’re on the guest list.

The most simple way of doing this is to send your newsletter through a legitimate email service provider that has robust email deliverability best practices of their own.

For example, beehiiv has a strict onboarding verification process to be sure that the senders who use our platform are high quality. This enhances beehiiv’s reputation, which in turn increases the deliverability of emails sent through our service.

Admittedly, authentication is one of those things that mostly happens under the hood - but it’s critical if you want to maximize your email deliverability.

Other email deliverability best practices are more hands-on.

2. Personalization: The Easiest of All Email Deliverability Best Practices

5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

This might surprise you. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your email deliverability is to put your name in the From line.

Whether the recipient knows you from TikTok, a podcast, or face-to-face, your name gets their attention (“Hey, I know this person!) so they’re more likely to open your newsletter and engage.

Over time, this welcoming response improves your email deliverability. On the other hand, if they don’t recognize your email, they might delete it, which can hurt your deliverability in the future.

Even if you send your newsletter using a business name, it's still worth adding your name in the From line if your readers know who you are. Then the From line would say, for example, “Yadira from VRGames,” instead of just “VRGames.”

Also, send your email from your own domain name. For example, YourBusiness.com instead of Gmail. If you have an email service provider with the right email deliverability tools, you should be able to do this.

Using a custom domain allows you to keep control of your reputation - a critical element of email deliverability. This helps with authentication, and it’s less likely to trigger spam filters.

In addition, a custom domain is one more way your recipients can recognize you. In fact, the real superpower of personalizing your email is that it’s a variation of authentication - only your authentication comes from a real human being instead of a series of algorithms.

This brings us to one of the most underestimated email deliverability tools of all…

3. How to Improve Deliverability by Keeping Your Readers Engaged

5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

If you offer high-quality content your recipients want to open, it will increase your email deliverability over time. You should always be cultivating happy, engaged readers.

An important part of engaging readers to improve deliverability is to segment your list. If you’re a veterinarian and you send tips on training a dog to your entire list, your cat lovers won’t be interested. Segmentation keeps all your readers happy. This boosts engagement and, ultimately, email deliverability.

Another great way to engage your readers is to ask questions using polls, or by directly requesting feedback.

4. Spam-Proof Your Content for Better Email Deliverability

5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

It’s important to develop your own unique writing style, but be aware that your content can also send your email to a spam folder. Avoid spammy words and language, especially in the subject line. Don't go crazy with images, excessive links, ALL CAPS, or unnecessary punctuation, such as using more than one exclamation point!!!

An unsubscribe button is a must-have. If someone doesn’t want to receive your newsletter, make it easy for them. You don’t want to force them to block you or mark you as spam.

When your email goes into the spam folder, not only does that specific newsletter go unread, but it will hurt your email deliverability in the future. You should take great pains to prevent this from happening.

Here are a few important considerations when you're designing your content:


  • Use responsive design so your email looks good on a phone, tablet, or computer

  • Invite engagement by asking questions, using polls, requesting a reply, etc.

  • Include visible unsubscribe buttons and make it easy to do so

  • Segment your list and send quality content that your subscribers want to see


  • Use more than two or three emojis

  • Use multiple punctuation marks when one is all you need!!! (Got it???)

  • Write in ALL CAPS

  • Pack your email with excessive links, images, Java, or other code

  • Use a lot of spammy words, especially in the subject line

5. Email Deliverability Best Practice #5: Clean Your Data

5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

Your list should mostly consist of active, engaged subscribers. There are many reasons why people who don’t want to read your newsletter will opt in.

Here are a few examples:

  • They subscribed to get access to a webinar, a download, or some other premium--but aren’t interested in your ongoing content

  • They opted in because something grabbed their attention once

  • Changes in their business or personal life have changed their interests

Whatever the reason, it is important to remove these inactive subscribers from your list. The best way to do this is to occasionally clean your data.

There are three steps to get this done:

First, remove hard bounces

When an email is permanently undeliverable, it is called a “hard bounce.” This usually means the email address is invalid or the recipient blocked you. These emails should be purged from your list.

Second, contact soft bounces and inactive users

A “soft bounce” happens when an email is undeliverable due to a temporary situation, such as an inbox filled to capacity.

If you get repeated soft bounces, try contacting the subscriber to confirm that they want to receive your newsletter. Inactive readers should be treated in the same way.

If you have a comprehensive email service platform such as beehiiv, you can generate an automatic email inviting these readers to reaffirm their interest.

Step three: purge your list

5 Email Deliverability Best Practices

If you are unable to get a response, remove soft bounces and inactive readers from your list.

You should also remove duplicate emails and emails that were entered incorrectly or formatted wrong. Removing these problem emails will lower your bounce rate and increase your open rate. This enhances the deliverability of your emails.

Wrap it all up with email deliverability monitoring

The key to easily following these email deliverability best practices is to use a platform that can both monitor your email deliverability and improve it.

For example, beehiiv can perform all the tasks mentioned above and more, often automatically. We have tools to manage deliverability, not to mention a world-class deliverability support team.

One of the best ways to improve your email deliverability is to give beehiiv a try.

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