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The Surprising Things That Impact Your Email Deliverability
Episode 23529th May 2024 • The Email Marketing Show • Email Marketing Heroes
00:00:00 00:27:08

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How do you improve your email deliverability? What can damage your sender's reputation? How can you make sure your emails land in your subscribers' inboxes?

We're Kennedy and Carrie, and we're here to share the truth about all the surprising things that affect your email deliverability so you can have better results.



(0:33) Want to carry on with the conversation? Join our FREE Facebook group

(2:21) What is 'email deliverability'? 

(5:06) The technical things that impact your email deliverability. 

(7:40) Using too many images. 

(9:49) More reasons for not using too many images in your emails. 

(13:55) Having little or no engagement with your emails. 

(16:26) Using 'spammy' words. 

(21:00) What can you do to improve your email deliverability? 

(23:03) Keep your list clean.

(24:57) Subject line of the week.

Useful Episode Resources

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Stop Landing In The Spam Folder & Immediately Skyrocket Your Email Deliverability – With Brian Minick.

Master Your Metrics – Unleashing The Power Of Email Marketing Analytics.

How To Create THE Most Successful Re-Engagement Email Campaign (And Smash Your Sales Targets).

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Unknown 0:15

Hey and welcome to today's episode. Today we're talking about the surprising things that are affecting email deliverability. So you won't want to miss this. Stay tuned for the whole thing.

Unknown 0:27

real heroes. This is email marketing shows with Kennedy and Kerry. tune in each week and learn the email campaign strategy and what's working right now to make more sales from that email list of yours.

Unknown 0:42

This week, show everything about talk about I'm sure it's going to have your brain buzzing. It's a little more technical this week. So you're gonna have some questions. You probably be wondering how do I apply this to my email system, the way that I do my email marketing, all that sort of stuff. So come and ask those questions. Have those discussions inside of our free Facebook group? Just go to Facebook and search for the Email Marketing Show community that you were wanting to accompany. Join us it's totally free. Hey,

Unknown 1:04

line marketing since the late:

Unknown 1:23

Kennedy from email marketing heroes and I've just actually got one of those walking paths to stand at my desk and get the steps and yeah, I want to get the steps and you know, continue with my weight loss journey as they call it these days. We used to call it a diet but sort of weight loss journey now. I meet somebody here in Newcastle in the Northeast of England. Carrie, I think we had a review.

Unknown 1:38

We do have our view. Okay, so this is actually one of my favourite reviews ever says I could listen to Kerry and Kennedy talk all day. And now I finally can and that's from Aiden, who's on staff and email marketing heroes. So he's paid he wasn't paid for the review, but he is paid nonetheless. Full disclosure. You're welcome agents throughout.

Unknown 1:53

So it's not a real review. What we're saying is please leave us a real review. So we don't have to keep getting members of the staff to say nice things about us. That's kinda what we're saying back to work. Aiden, Aiden, doing different voices.

Unknown 2:04

Different thoughts. Okay, so let's get into it. What's What are the things that affect our deliverability? First thing? I'm going to start with SAS today. Do I have permission to start with SAS today rather than building up to it? You

Unknown 2:16

never need permission for anything, do you? So let's go. Okay, here we go. So

Unknown 2:18

the first thing that's affecting your deliverability is that you're not sending the darn things. You're not writing it. you're researching. You're listening to podcasts. You're in the Facebook group, but you're not reading the darn email. So guess who's getting it? No one is getting the thing if you don't send it. So first of all, push the send button and then we can worry about all the rest. All right, sorry. Coaching moment.

Unknown 2:34

Yep. Yeah, I love it. And of course, when we talked about deliverability we're talking about your ability to get your emails in people's primary inbox so they can actually see them, right. That's what we're talking about here. Because you can write a great email you can agonise or put off writing emails and eventually get around to write emails. And then put all that effort in write that email with a really good subject line, hit send and you've already put a lot of effort into the only people in the first place. And then after all of that effort, it's an absolute cry and shame when people don't see your emails because they go into spam or we go somewhere else or we get blocked or whatever. So want to make sure that your email deliverability is kept in touch. But also remember, this does not have to take over your life. This is the kind of stuff that you just build into your everyday email practice. Whenever you send an email when you're setting up automation or you set things up. Just make sure this is taken care of and it naturally is baked in to what you're doing anyway. So the first thing I want to say is I'm going to assume that everything that we're going to talk about, but the people on your email list, they have chosen to be there. You haven't kidnapped them and you're not holding them hostage is what I'm saying. Like you haven't gone on the internet and scrape people's email addresses or you haven't bought an email list or any of those things, which you can do in a varying degree of illegitimate to kind of have a little bit great ad. We're going to assume that's not the case. The kind of email marketing we do we know about and we like to do and get great results from is what we call opt in permission based marketing. That's where someone's seen a good reason on the internet or maybe offline to join your email list. So it's not you went to the local networking event, or swiped everyone's business cards and sat and entered the manual. It's not that. I mean, I'm assuming that's not the case for all of us. So oh, I think all beyond that. I want to just say it goes without saying you're supposed to do is have permission. But if you saw sending emails and people started going Who the hell's day, so hitting the spam button, you're going to very very quickly affect your deliverability score. And that doesn't just affect the deliverability scalability reported your spam or people are not engaging and effective. Everybody's got to get your emails received by anyone, even the people who do want to receive your emails. So we're going to assume that after that, the next piece of that is really the technical stuff. So one of the things that definitely does need to be set up now more than ever because of fairly recent changes from Gmail, Google, they're also a catching up with this is the technical things. We're not going to go into technical things, particularly there, I'll tell you what the three things that you need to have set up and then you can go and find some YouTube videos about them. You need to have three things set up regardless of how big your list is, regardless of what your niche is. And regardless of how new or old you are in this business, you need to have something called SPF set up. I don't know what it stands for. It's nothing to do with some green but it's SPF anyhow that set up you need to have a thing called V Chem set up as the Ki M that needs to be set up and D Mark D ma RC da RC they need to be set up they are going to verify that when you send an email through your email marketing platform we use keeping our business but your whatever you're using. What do you send an email that you actually are verify that you actually own that domain name you own that website? I remember back in the dingy old days of email marketing, you could get an email account probably not from keeper from some other companies. And you could have pretended to be sending emails from the flippin bank if you want it to be and it'd be like last hunky dory do what you like. We were all a bit like that's a bit weird. Of course, the tighten the restrictions around that. But it's very much I believe should have done years ago. It's now pretty much tighter a lot more tight and you now need to verify all that stuff. That's what SPF DKIM and DMARC do is they are different ways to validate and verify you are legitimately sending emails on behalf of your website. Also things other people can't pretend to be from your website as well. So it's that protect people. So that's the technical stuff isn't really interesting, but it's a couple

Unknown 5:45

some rappers that Brahma the:

Unknown 6:12

you. So it's simple like you have to decide why you're doing it. You just follow the instructions and that's all I did. Yeah, exactly. It's

Unknown 6:17

like the internet like we don't really know why it works or how it works. We're not Al Gore for Pete's sake, but we didn't invent it but we just know how to leverage it. So okay, let's talk about something that people think affects their deliverability that might be bashing their head and about texts versus graphics. Do I need adjusted alt text? Do I need to have text that looks like graphics when you have graphics that appear as text? Tell me how that affects my deliverability Yeah, it's

Unknown 6:37

interesting, isn't it? Because really the way that I think about email deliverability and I've got friends who are like the leading authority on my deliverability in the world, like I'm very lucky to be able to spend time with these people and grill them over non alcoholic cocktails of an evening and stuff like that, which is great. And really the way I think about deliverability is like a scoring system. So if you get one thing wrong, but you're doing everything else, right? You're gonna be fine. If you do one thing wrong occasionally, everything else right? Most of the time, you're gonna be fine. They're not gonna just slam you and blacklist you and put you in Gmail jail if that's a thing, because you'd want the wrong ones. So if you want to sometimes put graphics put images or animated GIFs in your email, sometimes do it. If you're showing that you're getting good engagement and all the other things in this episode, do it. The reason I would say don't put lots of images in your emails is one if you've got massive images which you are not sending properly, if you're not uploading to your email marketing platform, and it's compressing them and make them nice and lean. So the emails are actually huge, which is easier done than you might think because I just go with the other week, then yeah, this person's gonna go this is where there's a massive file attached to them about you insert an image or a GIF into an email. That's actually got it as an attachment. That's actually how it was. It's part of that email that the bulk of how big that email is, but for the most part, you really want to have mostly just text and links and the reason for that is not just email deliverability. The main reason is, because that's what emails that people send to people look like. Businesses send to people, graphic, heavy, beautiful layout, doesn't it look gorgeous newsletters, whereas we want to have like a personal relationship. We want them to focus on what we mean by the words. We say in the emails, not the actual images. And there's a couple other reasons not to use loads of images and use them as well. One of them is you don't want to disconnect somebody from your emails because of the image you use in that and example what was used is if you ever talk about the fact that oh my god, my mum just bought this awful new chair for her living room, and that's one of your stories and you put a photo of that awful chair in there. And yeah, and some somebody else's, like, I've got my channel I like that, but they don't have it the language, you're suddenly going, you've got this problem whereas if you just say she's got this god awful chair, everyone in their own mind couldn't decide what an awful chair looks like. I mean, partway through Harry Potter and the hallowed whatever it was that JK Rowling wrote, she didn't go on just quickly. Stick a picture in no shame and boy, because the words the words themselves are paid and the pictures that's one of the other final reason not to use loads of images in your emails is especially people who are like in E commerce or visual businesses, whether like when I sell art, or I teach people how to illustrate or something like this, like surely I need to put graphical stuff on my emails. Well, here's the thing. What the job of your email is, is to get people to click, get people to click is a really good indicator to Gmail, that people are engaged with your emails. So if you just give them everything in the email, there's no reason to click whereas if you make handmade jewellery, and in your email you describe how you found this beautiful stone and you've turned it into a beautiful piece of jewellery and it means this to you, it was inspired by I was looking at the ocean, which was like right next to this beautiful tree. And you say in fact to check out a photo of a piece of jewellery click here. They gotta go click and guess when they go and click what what's next to the image is a big orange button that says hey, you want to buy this? So we got to remember what our job here is in the email. So text versus graphics, I would say almost always lean towards text. The exceptions that are using are emails that were used by campaigns when we write stuff with clients will sometimes put a preview image of a video in an email so they can see where they're gonna go. And of course, in that preview image, There's something curious like a thumbnail that's got a title on it or something curious enough thumbnail or an animated GIF. I'll show you how to post it what to do in the first email of the welcome sequence or getting to know you sequence to show how to post it but it's not taken away from driving the click. So I would say mostly lean towards text. Sometimes I will stick like a photo of because I'm not selling toys for cats. If I've got a story about one of my kids, I'll put a photo of one the kittens, but I can't remember last time I did that. Really the images that I'm using in our previous video. Yeah,


I think the primary productivity reason to not use a lot of images is because often it becomes a noble obstacle. Something that we have to spend time on go down a rabbit hole, the perfect image, the perfect gift. How do I do this? How do I size this? How do I blah blah blah, when I'm a big believer in imperfect messy action and also reducing friction wherever you can. And I remember back in the blog heyday, people would say, Oh, I can't manage to get my blog post done because it takes me so long to find the right image or it takes me so long. These are noble obstacles that we create in order to prevent us from doing the big scary thing which is sending out the email. So I would say less images is better, because you just need to get the darn thing out. So do that first and then maybe go back to your sequences and add a fun guest or add a picture of you or add a picture of the product. But first Least Resistance is best, especially for all


your day to day week to week emails. Like don't be thinking that I'm telling you email every single day. I'm not gonna extend that with the kitchen bench in the morning where my tea is brewing and be like No, I'm gonna find an image that's gonna ruin my flow. Like, just tell the damn story. Tell them what it's about and let the sales page take over from that. I think he did right and creating less friction. Like every single thing you put in the way is a little bump in the road that's slowing you down. You want to smooth that road out and we don't need more reasons to not do anything in our businesses. Right? Any of the things including email something I think a dead right you're dead, right. The next thing that really affects email deliverability. And again, it really surprised me was the actual engagement of your emails. Are people paying attention? Are they open your emails? Are they clicking the links in your emails? Or they're replying to your emails in terms of like, what's the most attractive to Google? Open is okay, like it's the least attractive but it'll do it showing that people are alive, clicks pretty good. Like that's a good proof of life, our email list. So if people are clicking the links and the emails you send, that's showing Google and everybody else, people are really receiving them. You must have a clickable link. So that means it must be good stuff. The next best thing is that people reply to your emails and then if you reply to them by showing a really good level of human engagement, the best thing the thing that gets Google the most excited and therefore it's also the most difficult to do is when people forward your email, someone forwards your email or somebody else that's really sad to Google. This is so valuable. People are sharing this bloody email from this sender and this person sending really, really good stuff.


Yeah, and I love how you do that. With email marketing heroes. You guys do that? Even the team do that for at the bottom in the Super signature. It's one of the things you've created and it's really kind of sneaky. It's kind of tricky. It's, hey, if someone forwarded this to you, make sure you also get the next one, which plants the seed in the readers mind that oh, hey, I can forward this to somebody else if I found this valuable. So I love that you and the team do that. I think it's super smart. Back in the day, let me get up my cane. Back in the day. That was one of the things that we did to grow our initial list is we always told people what to do next. If you find this valuable, please forward it to three friends that are also in this space of blah, blah, blah, or three friends that might be Baba Baba. We didn't bribe them there. was no fancy software, it was just a planning to see because I think inherently people do want to share and they don't know that that's helpful for you. So I think that's a great thing on engagement. One more thing that I think shows engagement is that you can't register engagement if you're not emailing consistently or frequently enough. So if you just show up out of the blue, only when you want something or need something, that's a problem. And that's going to work against you not to say don't overthink it and don't send because you haven't sent in a while jump right back in and do it but just know that the best way to show engagement is opens clicks replies forwards. Yeah, for sure. All right. Let's talk about this. I think I'm really showing my my internet age here. used to before we send an email, we all ran our copy through a spam checker and to get what our spam score was going to be. We didn't use the word free. We spelled things with asterisks. And we hid things with hashtags, which we didn't call hashtags. Then we call them the pound sign, but that's a whole episode for another day. But let's talk about what are our trigger words what do we need to avoid? What's the spam or a glossary? Where do we find that so we know what not to say? Yeah,


I think a lot of email platforms will still automatically do a spam check. Like I know when I send an email through keep, it's still gonna say hey, you're using these words and somebody usual words in that dictionary. Netflix is one of the words that's in that dictionary. So it's not just Russian ladies, you know, nymphomaniacs or whatever it is. It's not just those kinds of naughty words. Basically, if the systems if Gmail and people who are receiving a lot of email start to notice that a lot of spam reports are coming from emails, which have particular phrases in them, then or words, then we're going to start listing them. But again, it goes back to that idea of it's all a scoring system. It's a point system. So if you've got really good engagement, if you've got a really clean list if you've got all the things we're talking about in today's episode, all right. And you occasion I've used the word free in subject lines a lot and don't really seem to have a problem with getting opens clicks and sales from those emails. But it's because I'm not doing that a lot. I've got a very low spam score. I've got a very good deliverability score with every single other thing now. I'm not going to try and send an email tomorrow. That's hot Nymphomaniac Russian ladies, I'm not gonna click here now. Yeah, click click here. Now they're waiting for you. I'm probably probably not going to send that email. I'm tempted to see if it gets through. Like I don't know how I would knock this off. The list. I'm not going to do it yet. But it will be interesting to know like, how far can you take that? I don't know. I think it's probably a point at which your email platform itself will just go. I'm not sending that. Yeah.


And apparently, some of those are still getting through because people are still sending them. That's


interesting. Weirdly, last, maybe the beginning of this week, I got my first spam email into my primary inbox. I was like, That's really interesting. And it was one of those Russian girls are waiting for you type send me a pic or you know what, you know, whatever that those things you got that I forwarded that I'm glad that deliverability scores high if you forwarded it so one of them got through so as you say, they wouldn't keep doing it if it wasn't achieving. I don't really understand what's


so silly. The fact that we do our heritage and we're doing ethical business and doing good things. And yet, we spent all this time chasing our tails like a chihuahua on speed, worried worried worried, I don't want to send it because I don't want somebody to say something wrong or do something wrong or whatever. So I think let's just take it to a different level and say it really is relationship. So if you're in a friendship, if you're in a dating relationship, if you are companions with somebody, you're not expected to be perfect all the time. It's all the good that you deposit that counteracts the one negative blip here and there which we all make and I want you to think of your email that way too. There are humans on the other end, there are humans that are receiving and so I believe if we just that brass tacks, if we stopped thinking of this as email lists, and data and if we go back to saying these are humans in my audience that are listening or that have raised their hand at one point said I want to listen, I think we would get a little less worked up about all the other things. And then when we build relationship, I've had people on my email list since 1998 people 1998 And so I think when you build that emotional capital, that relationship capital, then it's recognised by the bots and by the other servers and yeah, I get marked as spam occasionally here and there from somebody bless their heart that doesn't understand me or know me, or remember subscribing, and it's okay, and I don't get worked up about it. I just keep serving the people that are in the queue, right, serving the people that showed up to people. That's what that's all we can do. And so I don't want you spending too much about it. But that being said, how do we improve those relationships? Kennedy, how do we improve our deliverability score? What are some things we can do to get those extra brownie points?


I think the big thing to do is show up more often. Because if you don't it's a bit like your credit score. If you've never had credit and your credit score is not good. It's like that brace to go, I don't know how this person is gonna react. So you want to make sure that when you send an email, Gmail has got a track record for you. And I keep saying Gmail because of the biggest email client recipient of emails in the world still and I miles and that means when they receive an email from you, they're looking at what your past reputations been. And if you don't have one, you're like that new person you've just met. You want to be open arms and be like this person is probably a good person. At the same time, you're not going to hand them your bank card and let them in your house while you're out the house. Gmail is the same Gmail is like, I believe this person is probably great based on some conditions that we set up and setting up the account, but I'm just gonna keep an eye on them. So if you don't have a great amount of emails that you're sending, you're not giving enough evidence to Gmail and all the other platforms to say, look when I send an email, people bloody like them, because they make great they click they reply, they forward. And that's good. And they don't complain.


Yeah, I also like to say don't be that guy at the family reunion that only calls you when he needs something or that only reaches out when they have a favour or when to be introduced to somebody and if you're that person in their inbox that they're like, Oh, I see Frank popping into my inbox. He must be about to launch or Oh, I see. You know, we can make a hit list of people right now in the industry that we only see them on social media, and we only see them in our inbox when they're in launch. And don't be that human. And again, that goes back to relationship I'm more likely to reach back when somebody is showing up consistently and pouring into my life like I want to be pouring into their lives. So at the very core, we want to base this on human behaviour and human benefiting. Yeah,


for sure. And the final bit on this and this is huge, is you want to keep your list clean. Right? We could go on to interface for a whole other episode we probably will in the future. And I know all of you who are in email hero blueprint, you have our entire blueprint for keeping your list clean automatically. You said once it's running for you want to do anything, but the whole point is with keeping it clean, but people who aren't repeatedly not engaging with your email list. You need to give them a bit of a warning because a chance to reengage or resuscitate but then remove them take them out because if you've got a list of 1000 people, but 700 of them, never open your emails, never click anything. So every time you send an email 70% of the people who sell emails to are not even interested. That's going to tell Gmail, your emails are not very good and you're not really good at list hygiene and it cares. They care about list hygiene. And they actually will set up little traps on old email addresses. Like if you keep emailing them without subscribing them. They're gonna know you're not cleaning up your email address. That's what they do. With old expired, not use email addresses. They do it all the time. So that's when they're gonna start dropping people, reducing your sender reputation. So make sure that somebody hasn't engaged with your emails in 60 days, they haven't clicked a single link or whatever, that you're gonna just give them a chance to re engage check us a bit of proof of life they click a link link link and then just remove them unsubscribe them, because that's gonna mean you can for all the people who are sending emails to your sending reputation is better and you get to continue getting delivered to them. Like I said, all of these things to do all of these things and keep that email to really high are all inside for all of you who are already members and customers that email you a blueprint. If you're not an accelerant. You might want to check out go check out all the details. There's a fancy video we're not really fancy. There's a really simple video at the very top of that page over an email hero where you can go and check that out. Wow, that was a really just a discussion. I know people really care about that. I want to talk about this week's


subject line of the week.


What I've got for you this week is low power kicks. Low Power kicks. It was quite a while ago I sent that one buddy got a really good click through rate and a same click through rate just so you know when I do a split test of a subject line. I'm not basing the winner on open rates I'm basing it on click through rate because we can trick anybody to open an email. What we want to do is make sure we are teeing up the collect to go check out the offer. Low Power case was really about the fact I've been training in my time for about 18 months now in martial art where you get to punch and kick and elbow and knee people it's it's fairly intense. I don't want to do any fighting with it. I just want to you know, I just I just enjoy the workout part of it. But the whole story in that email was about the fact you don't always wanna be kicking really hard, but you don't want to end your business either. Right? So an important lesson here is take a metaphor of something you're doing in your life and use it as a metaphor in your emails and in your subject lines. Because one, it's much more interesting to learn through metaphor and this sort of things do But secondly, if it's about stuff in your life, people get to learn about you. So now by listening to show you and I've talked about it, you now know that I'm studying martial law and I'm learning to do that. What does that do? It builds much more of a three dimensional picture of me being a real human being who's out there doing stuff. So that's a low power kicks. Yeah,


and incidentally, your training regimen sounds super similar to parenting teenagers, so I may use that also, alright, so thank you guys. Thanks so much for listening to the whole show today. What you want to do is be sure to hit subscribe and today I want you to think of who are two or three mates chaps friends, colleagues that you have that you know would love listening to this, send them the link recommend that they listen in, and we will see you next week.


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