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7 Ways to Improve Email Deliverability & Quality Relevance

7 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Dec. 12, 2018

Spam accounts for half of the messages sent worldwide.

Most top-of-the-funnel sales leaders are tracking the usual suspects. We all monitor sends, clicks, opens, and replies – all base-level metrics. But who is looking at email deliverability and quality relevance?

However, most leaders aren’t focusing on what are arguably the most important metrics: email deliverability and quality relevance. All the while, your recipients’ email servers are working overtime to filter spam.

Ignoring email deliverability and quality relevance measurements is a good way to kill a reputation. Customers will lose trust in you, and spam traps will begin disqualifying you. You’re also wasting a massive amount of time and money if your emails aren’t delivered.

Are you working to improve the bounce rates of your outbound sales team’s emails? Do you monitor the level of personalization in each email? Is positive sentiment on your radar?

To help you get started, here are 7 ways to improve email deliverability and quality relevance.

Contextual Ways to Improve Email Deliverability and Quality

Contextual elements examine the more “human” factors of deliverability and quality. These factors include best practices like using persona-based messaging and setting personalization quotas.

Encourage your sales team to adopt these practices, and you’ll avoid spam prison, provide your customers with a better buying experience, and ultimately win more business.

1. Persona-Based Messaging

From managers to VPs, your team will interact with a wide range of roles as they engage with an account. Since each role has its own unique set of challenges and problems (as well as commonalities), it’s important to tailor, refine, and deliver messages that are relevant to the specific buyer personas your organization is targeting.

By understanding the needs of ideal customers, salespeople are better able to provide value throughout the buyer journey. For instance, sharing specific use cases in which your solution solved similar pain points.

We recommend creating a few different multi-touch cadences around your reps’ most popular personas and measuring the effectiveness of each. Running tests and gathering data around open and reply rates by persona adds efficiency to the sales process.

Skipping this critical step in the sales engagement process decreases the risk of your team connecting with their prospects and increases the likelihood that recipients report the message as irrelevant or inappropriate (a.k.a. spam).

2. Email Personalization

Metrics focused on how your team provides a better buying experience to prospects through personalization should also be a priority.

Personalization doesn’t mean spending asking your sales team to write hundreds of custom emails each day. Messaging should be tweaked from templates provided within pre-built cadences. That’s personalization at scale!

At Salesloft, in addition to the usual suspects (the previously mentioned base-level metrics), we measure whether or not an email is personalized, to what extent the email is personalized* (if at all), and the positive sentiment of the resulting experience. Here’s an example:
sales email deliverability team stats

From this data, we can see that the Positive Sentiment Ratio increases as percent emails personalized increases, demonstrated below.
email deliverability- personalization vs positive sentiment

3. Keep Your Data Clean

The email addresses you send to are just as important as the content you send. Emailing incorrect or out of date addresses results in a high bounce rate or — worst case scenario — you could get caught in a spam trap.

A spam trap uses out-of-date emails that are not actively being used (like the AOL account you set up in 1997) to track down assumed spammers, carelessly emailing the masses. If someone emails the formerly inactive account, the server flags it as corrupt and blocks future messages. That’s bad news for your sender reputation.

The moral of the story:  keep your contact data up-to-date. Take care to remove or update information if a prospect leaves the company. Urge your sales team to double-check and verify that contacts’ email addresses are current in the system to avoid being tagged as spam.

Technical Ways to Improve Email Deliverability and Quality

Don’t make the mistake of addressing only the human factors in email deliverability and quality relevance. There are a few technical approaches to improving email deliverability as well.

1. Use custom tracking domains

Your sales engagement partner uses shared tracking domains to track sent messages. Therefore, the email tracking domain your provider uses won’t match up with your (the sender’s) domain. Mismatched tracking and sender domains can significantly increase the risk of your email being reported as spam.

The good news is that setting up a custom tracking domain can significantly reduce the likelihood of an email getting caught in a spam folder. Custom domain tracking replaces links that use a sales engagement provider’s default tracking domain with links containing your URL.

For more information on how to do this in the Salesloft platform, check out our Advanced Team Email Settings.

2. Implement a Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

An SPF increases your trustworthiness in the eyes of the receiving email server. It enables the server to cross-check the domain name against the associated IP address. Without an SPF in place, your emails run the risk of being rejected.

Work with your DNS server administrator to publish your SPF record to DNS so that mailbox providers are able to reference it. Once in place, test your SPF record with an SPF check tool. It will return the same list of the servers authorized to send email on behalf of your sending domain that recipients see. If any of your legitimate sending IP addresses aren’t included, you can update your record accordingly.

3. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Email) Records

DKIM records do exactly what the acronym sounds like they would. They verify that your company owns your email domain by including domain-specific, encrypted keys with each email sent.

DKIM doesn’t follow the same rules as other deliverability measures since the encrypted keys are specific to your domain. The identifier is independent of additional identifiers in the message, such in the sender’s “From:” field as we’ll see below.

Read up on DKIM here.

4. DMARC (Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)

DMARC isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s just an email validation system designed to detect and prevent email spoofing. It helps combat techniques often used in phishing and email spam. For instance, emails that contain addresses giving them the appearance of having come from someone you know.

It builds on the aforementioned SPF and DKIM protocols, adding that tieback to the author domain name (From:), published policies for recipient handling of authentication failures, and reporting from receivers to senders, to improve and monitor the protection of the domain from fraudulent email.

Find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about DMARC (and then some) here.

Have you checked off all the boxes for improving your email deliverability?

Here’s a checklist of both contextual and technical ways to improve Email Deliverability and Quality.
Contextual + Technical Ways to Improve Email Deliverability and Quality
We’ve found that there is a significant correlation between personalization and response rates, sentiment, opportunity creation, and closed-won opportunities. Not tracking these can put you at a huge disadvantage.

Don’t be left in the dark when it comes to understanding email deliverability and quality relevance.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”KfnDR” via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]Ignoring email deliverability and quality relevance measurements is a good way to kill a reputation. Don’t miss these 7 ways to avoid to trap![/ctt]

Article Footnotes
*Personalization is defined as only those emails sent that were generated from a template and is measured by the difference between the original and the sent message.