Email Marketing Deliverability: The Devil Is in the Details

Plenty of companies play loose and fast with email marketing best practices – they either just don’t pay attention to protocols or simply don’t know better. And they motor along not really thinking about it until their email campaigns inexplicably tank without warning, notification or explanation. How can companies avoid getting flagged as a spammer and landing in the junk folder?  The devil lies in these six details:

Sender Authentication

To avoid triggering the spam filter, companies must clearly identify themselves as the sender – and it should be obvious as soon as the recipient opens the message. Messages appear particularly suspicious when the name of the sender and the source email address don’t match.  For instance, if ABC Office Supply identifies itself as the sender and the source email address reads, the spam flag will shoot up in a flash.

Physical Address

Lots of organizations fall down on including a physical address in the email message. Typically, email platforms provide an option to edit the template to include the physical address in the footer. It’s a relatively simple but critically important exercise.

Subject Lines

In addition sender authentication and including a physical address, the subject line should reflect the content of the message. For instance, “20% Off In-Store and Online” clearly communicates the purpose of the message – essentially, recipients immediately know not only who sent the message but also the gist of the offer. By contrast, subject lines like “Act Now to Claim Your Free Gift!” cause trouble because the offer is nebulous and the language is inflammatory.

Unsubscribe Option

When email recipients scan through an email offer and decide that they no longer want to receive messages from a sender, they must be able to click on an unsubscribe option at the bottom of the message. Failure to include this option in each and every message constitutes a CAN-SPAM violation that can compromise email deliverability.

Opt-Out Compliance

If a subscriber has submitted an “unsubscribe” request, it’s the company’s obligation to comply with that request and to do it immediately.  If the request is ignored entirely or languishes for a period of time where the former subscriber continues to receive unwanted messages, the recipient can report the sender as a spammer. The best way to stay on top of “unsubscribes” is to automate the process.  If a company is handling it manually, there’s a high likelihood that instances will fall through the cracks.


If a company is outsourcing its email marketing to an agency, that company is beholden to the agency’s best practices – or lack thereof. Some companies fall prey to bargain outsourced options that aren’t following CAN-SPAM compliancy requirements, and the ensuing deliverability issues become far more costly than the initial savings achieved. This is why it’s critically important to select a reputable outsourced agency that follows CAN-SPAM compliant email marketing practices.

Deliverability rates make or break a company’s email marketing program, and by following these best practices companies can keep their email marketing programs on-track.

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Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing