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How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

Master Email Newsletter Deliverability Strategies

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Newsletters are the best way to own your audience, build a community, and create a solid business foundation.

Crafting a newsletter is more than just putting together text and images. Your newsletter demands attention and precision. But before it reaches the inbox of your subscribers, there's a vital checkpoint – deliverability.

Deliverability is the measure of whether your email reaches its intended recipient's inbox or gets lost in the ether. Your design choices play a role in defining your deliverability rate; that’s the reason why designing goes beyond just aesthetics.

In this blog, we'll introduce you to the world of design, ideas, deliverability, and everything you need to know to make your newsletter truly stand out and succeed. Keep reading!

Email Deliverability vs. Email Delivery

These two terms are frequently confused, but they are distinct concepts that require differentiation:

Email Delivery: This refers to whether the recipient's mail server accepted the actual email file and delivered it to the mailbox, regardless of the folder it ends up in.

Email Deliverability: This encompasses the complete process of the server accepting the file and subsequently placing it in the recipient's inbox, rather than in spam.

The Deliverability Matrix: Where Do You Stand?

Understanding where you stand in terms of deliverability is crucial. And deliverability benchmarks can vary significantly depending on your industry. One type of newsletter might naturally see better results than another due to its unique audience and content.

  • If your open rates are consistently above 20%, you're in great shape.

  • If you're in the 15-20% range, you're proficient. Maintain what's working, but consider sending an extra email to your highly engaged list to give deliverability a boost.

  • If your open rates are consistently below 15%, it's time for a warm-up. Focus on engaging your most active subscribers to improve your sender reputation.

Now, you might be wondering, on what basis are you supposed to set deliverability goals for your email marketing strategy?

The key is to benchmark your performance against your own historical metrics over time. If you have monthly data, compare it to your monthly averages, and if you have data from the previous year, use that to challenge your current statistics. 

This approach will help you better understand your unique email marketing landscape and make informed decisions to improve your email deliverability.

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

Factors Affecting Email Deliverability Rates

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

MBPs (Mailbox Providers) use thousands of filters that can affect your deliverability, here are some of the main ones you should consider:

  • The number of received spam complaints.

  • The content of the email.

  • The volume of emails sent within a specific time frame.

  • The links used in the email.

MBPs do place significant importance on the credibility of your domain and IP address. Before delivering any email, they perform a "reputation check" to assess whether you might be sending unwanted messages or have questionable motives.

Action Steps for Stellar Deliverability

Building your email reputation is a constant process that takes many iterations, it doesn’t happen within a couple of emails. 

While we all want to see quick results, it takes time to build a quality email list, and experimentation will be the best way to succeed. You can take a few easy steps to start building it from your first email, here’s how:

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates
  • Use a professional and recognizable email address associated with your domain (e.g., [email protected]). Avoid generic or free email addresses.
    ⭐ The best practice we recommend is to use a subdomain. In this example  [email protected] (say - mail., news., daily.) These are all connected to yourdomain.com, but keep that domain safe from any mishaps of sending (just in case).

  • Subdomain>domain. For email, avoid using www. as a subdomain. This can be flagged as phishy. It is great for the web but it doesn’t cut it when it comes to emailing.

  • Follow industry best practices for sending volumes and frequencies.

The content and design of your emails play a crucial role in ensuring they reach the inbox. While these factors don't usually directly impact delivery rates, they affect engagement rates, which MBPs monitor closely.

10 Ways to Optimize Your Email Design for Better Deliverability

  1. Email is a different space than the web in terms of rendering, filtering, and attention. With beehiiv, you will specifically need to design two posts (for optimal email design). While your email version needs to be short and enticing to keep people engaged, you can go for an enhanced version of it on the web that they can read if they please.

  2. The size of your email file affects whether your message lands in the inbox or gets filtered as spam. Most experts recommend keeping the email file size between 15 KB and 100 KB to ensure deliverability.

  3. Extra-large emails can be clipped or cut short, particularly in email clients like Gmail for iOS and Android. This can hide critical content or calls to action, impacting the effectiveness of your email campaigns. To avoid clipping, follow best practices for responsive email design and layout.

  4. Filters, like Gmail, will look for the number of links and have reputations and trust levels for each domain. There is an inherent risk when linking out to landing pages other than your own. 

  5. If your readers want to opt-out and don't find a clear option to do so, they might mark your content as spam. While all emails do have an unsubscribe link, the common approach is to make it small or unnoticeable – which leads to spam complaints. Having a clear and visible unsubscribe link is a win-win.

  6. Use 8 words or less in your subject lines. Keep it clear and compelling but not clickbaity.

  7. Optimize your email design for mobile devices. A responsive design wins hearts; most people now check their emails on the phone.

  8. Personalize your emails and segment your audience. It can be as simple as segmenting based on the source that your audience has come from (Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit) or even based on demographics.

  9. Experiment with different sending frequencies, subject lines, and content types to find what resonates best with your audience.

  10. Keep a close eye on your metrics. If you see improvements, keep doing what's working. If not, adjust your strategy.

Why MBPs Block Your Emails and How Can Design Help

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

By focusing on user-friendly design, relevant content, and ethical email marketing, you can improve the chances of your emails reaching your subscribers' inboxes instead of being blocked or filtered as spam.

Here are some common reasons why MBPs might block your emails and how design factors can play a role:

  • Your email contains content that resembles spam- misspelled words or recurring grammatical errors, misleading subject lines, or poorly designed HTML with missing elements.

⭐Even additional HTML elements can be an issue if you copy-paste from MSFT Word. Doing that brings over a whole bunch of background code that can ruin rendering. Using the beehiiv editor can save you time and effort.

Your email design should be clean, your content is relevant, and not overly promotional. Avoid using spammy phrases and symbols in your email content or subject lines.

  • Suspicious design elements such as broken links or attempts to mimic official websites can trigger ISP filters designed to protect recipients from phishing attacks.

There are many links on the internet that you and I have no control over. All links in your emails should be functional and lead to legitimate destinations. Avoid any design elements that might be mistaken for phishing attempts. 

  • If recipients frequently mark your emails as spam or complain about them, MBPs may take action to block future emails from your sender address or domain.

Focus on sending valuable content to your subscribers. Pay attention to the design to ensure it's user-friendly and easy to read. 

Offering an unsubscribe link is a legal requirement and it can help you keep your email list clean while giving your subscribers a choice to opt-out instead of marking your email as spam.

⭐ It can be a small courteous gesture to add an unsubscribe link at the top of longer emails that could help reduce spam complaints. A clean email list is better than spam complaints.

  • MBPs may block your emails if they consistently have low open rates and click-through rates, as this can be an indicator of uninterested or inactive subscribers.

Optimize your email design to encourage engagement. Utilize compelling subject lines, personalized content, and visually appealing layouts to capture recipients' attention. Keep your emails short and entice your audience to engage with your content on the web.

Google Postmaster provides insights into Gmail's view of your domain and IP reputation. How to set up your Google Postmaster.

Designing Your Newsletter Can Be Fun

No, it does not have to be difficult to build a beautiful newsletter. With beehiiv, you can go above and beyond with your design game to customize it your way!

Here are some beehiiv newsletters that are great examples of it!

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

The Neuron’s email with an amazing text-to-visual ratio.

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

Arnold’s Pump Club’s testimonial section. 🤌

How Your Email Design Can Boost Deliverability Rates

Emailing is one of the best ways to build a community but it can take time to get the results you want, iterating and following these design and deliverability practices can save the day and help you stay on top of your email game!

What’s better is that with beehiiv, you don’t have to worry about many of these issues. This means you can focus more on creating what you love!

Here’s beehiiv’s ultimate guide to deliverability by the CEO Tyler Denk himself that can help you learn more about email deliverability.

Happy emailing!

Why trust me - Over the last 10 years I have worked in Deliverability, Compliance, and Privacy, and even ran consulting and onboarding for 250ok (a 3rd party toolset for email nerds like me).

I love taking the "addresses are humans" route to helping people understand email list dynamics and human vs. technological filtering.

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