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How to Improve the Deliverability of Your Ecommerce Newsletter

How to Improve the Deliverability of Your Ecommerce Newsletter

14 min read

Benjamin Franklin started publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1734 to promote his printing business. He published trivia, wisdom, weather reports, and practically everything people found useful at the time. Franklin ended up selling 10,000 copies a year. It was the first time newsletters were used for content marketing and promoting a brand.

Newsletters worked back in 1734, and continue to do so in 2022. They are especially useful for ecommerce businesses. An ecommerce newsletter helps keep customers updated with new products and company news, making your recipients think of your business first when they need something. However, ecommerce newsletters are not just effective lead generation tools (aka, attracting potential buyers).

  • 59% of buyers are influenced by marketing emails, according to SaleCycle.
  • 4.14 billion people check their email every day. Email marketing revenue is set to cross $10 billion next year, as stated by Statista.

In an oversaturated market where ecommerce brands struggle to capture consumer attention, newsletters have become an effective way to build brand loyalty without shelling out millions. However, the success of ecommerce newsletters depends a lot on how many users actually receive them in their inboxes.

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What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is the ability to reach subscribers’ inboxes. This does not take into account the number of emails that go to the spam folder or are turned down by the recipient server.

If you send out a newsletter to 100 subscribers, you may see that it reached only 90 inboxes. Low email deliverability means reduced engagement, increased spam reports, and a high percentage of emails that have not successfully reached recipients. Poor email delivery doesn’t just impact the rate at which people open newsletters, but also endangers crucial transactional alerts, such as emails that notify customers about order and payment status updates.

In email deliverability terms, low open rates and engagement are clear signals to internet service providers that your recipients aren’t interested in your content. Low engagement can even lead to providers blocking your email campaigns.

As you can see, email deliverability is the first thing ecommerce owners need to track in their email marketing efforts.

How to Track Your Newsletters’ Deliverability?

Let’s start with the basics–many email marketing tools allow you to check email deliverability directly in your email reports. This is the first place you should look at. For example, if you send emails via Mailchimp, you’ll get a report for every email campaign you send. You’ll see information about email deliverability in those reports:

If you want to get more insights to understand where you stand, you can also check out these tools that offer a free plan or a generous free trial:

  • MailTester: MailTester offers quite a lot for free. It analyses your emails to determine their quality and offers solutions to improve your score. With the paid version, you can integrate the report into your email provider services and keep a list of purchased tests.
  • MXToolbox: If you’re looking for a more feature-rich email deliverability tool, MXToolbox can be the answer. It checks security protocols and shares reputation change alerts and geolocation of subscribers.
  • GlockApps: GlockApps is a robust deliverability tool that tests authentications, spam score, and IP reputation for seed list accounts (test email addresses created for the purpose of monitoring where messages will land when sent.) You can also see whether your newsletters are reaching the inbox, promotional, social, or spam folders. With GlockApps Bounce Monitor, you can check the bounce rate of your emails (aka the percentage of failed deliveries).

Now that you know the ways to check your ecommerce newsletter deliverability, it’s time to figure out the success of your campaigns.

Is Your Email Deliverability OK?

Ideally, you want to reach 100% of subscribers, 100% of the time. But the reality is often disappointing. According to the October 2021 edition of the EmailToolTester report:

  • The average deliverability of major email tools is 85.3%. So if your deliverability is above 90%, you’re in a good spot.
  • Deliverability changes each year slightly so focus on consistency.
  • The ecommerce industry sees an average hard bounce rate (when the email has been returned to the sender because the recipient’s email address is invalid) of 0.19% and a soft bounce rate (indicates a temporary delivery issue) of 0.26%. Make sure you’re below these numbers for an email campaign to be effective.

How to Improve Your Email Deliverability?

If your email deliverability is not where you want it to be, that might be because of a content or technical problem. Fortunately, you can improve your numbers with a few tweaks.

Clean Your Email List

A lot of business owners buy pre-curated email lists to kickstart their campaigns. This is a grave mistake for many reasons—the first is the lack of updated or real addresses.

You should always try to build a subscriber list via in-house lead generation techniques such as opt-in forms, site pop-ups, email collection forms on the landing page, Facebook Lead Ads, etc. If you run an Ecwid store, you can collect customers’ email addresses at checkout:

Even if you built your own list, many previous customers will stop opening your emails after some time. You need to either get rid of addresses that are inactive or send a reconfirmation email. It is an email that reminds your customers about your business and asks them to confirm their interest in your newsletters.

Periodically use an email verifier tool to trim your list and keep it updated. Failing to do so will increase your bounce rate, which is a red flag for the recipient’s email service provider (ESP). Over time, you will receive a low sender score, which is basically a credit score for your email campaigns. Once it is too low, email service providers may divert your emails to the spam folders.

When it comes to ecommerce newsletters, an engaged audience is far better than having many inactive recipients.

Make It Easy to Unsubscribe

With the conversation around GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and consumer privacy growing stronger, double opt-ins have become standard. A double opt-in requires a subscriber to verify their email address and then confirm interest to receive a newsletter.

Even if your subscribers verify their emails, it doesn’t mean they want to stay in your list forever. That’s why you must allow them to easily unsubscribe from your list. One way you can do this is by adding an Unsubscribe link to each of your newsletters:

If you purposely make it hard to leave your email list, people might move your newsletter to the spam folder to avoid interacting with it. Getting a lot of spam reports might lead to your account being blocked or suspended by your ESP.

Overstaying your welcome might ruin the relationship with your customers permanently, so make sure to show you are willing to help your audience out. Word of mouth praise will increase brand loyalty, and you want to come off as flexible and understanding rather than spammy.

Personalize Your Emails on a High Level

Email is unique in the way it offers a detailed, personalized conversation between brands and customers. Focus on building high-quality relationships with your audience so that they keep engaging with your content. This can be new product launches, asking them for feedback, showing them user-generated content (UGC), sharing brand updates, or even a discount for a special occasion:

A warm and friendly approach combined with highly personalized content will win you a lot of customers and pull you out of the deliverability woes.

Avoid Spam Traps

Spam traps are an internet service provider’s way of protecting users. These decoys are meant to catch spammers, but can accidentally catch legitimate marketers.

The ESP will use fake email addresses as traps. These addresses are either not linked with any real person, spelled incorrectly, inactive, or recycled, meaning that the ESP takes a previously active account and reuses it for trapping reasons. The moment you send an email to one of these accounts, your deliverability takes a huge hit. Spam traps lead to blacklists, and blacklists lead to the death of ecommerce newsletters.

This is why you should use double opt-in to confirm a user’s consent or add a reCAPTCHA to your email collection forms to prevent bot attacks. On top of that, never buy an email list. The email addresses collected are often inactive or contain spam traps.

Related: What Happens If You Open a Spam Email

A quick note: if you want to add a video to your email, it’s always better to embed the video. Blasting out video links or using HTML codes will potentially mark your newsletters as spam.

Write Non-Spammy Subject Lines

There’s no point in writing a captivating email copy if you don’t spend as much (or even more) time on writing a subject line and preheader text. Here are some pointers on writing non-spammy subject lines:

  • Focus on providing genuine value to the readers upfront.
  • Use attention-grabbing lines that are close to the reader’s persona.
  • Use names or recognizable references to drive relevance.
  • Don’t use exaggeration to get clicks. Readers who feel deceived will mark your email as spam.

Take a moment to learn about Email Fails You Need to Avoid.

Protect Your Sender Reputation

This part is for more techy users, but we think it’s crucial for all ecommerce sellers to think about. The sender reputation score judges the reputation of the sender’s address on a scale of 0 to 100. This is an umbrella metric that considers many aspects of your email campaigns, including bounce rate, spam complaints, spam traps, open and click-through rates, as well as quality of content.

The reputation score is also dependent on the consistency of your email volume. A sudden uptick or decrease may alert an ESP of your emails. If you’re just starting out, gradually increase the volume of emails you send over time, as shown in the graphic below, so as to appear like a legitimate business:

Finally, use the authentication protocols. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) verifies the IP address of the sender while DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) checks the ownership of the email in transit. These protocols are easy to set up, even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy.

Check out this quick guide on how to prove your identity and secure your email account in just a few clicks.

Summing Up

You should only use emails to build your brand if you know your newsletters are being delivered properly and efficiently. To improve the deliverability of your ecommerce newsletters, create emails that are worth opening. Stay consistent in your strategy and personalize as you go. Follow in Benjamin Franklin’s footsteps when making a great newsletter, and you are sure to succeed!


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About the author

Head of Marketing at Hunter and Founder at ONSAAS, Irina works on product marketing strategies and growing SaaS companies with inbound marketing.

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