A summary of deliverability and why It matters

By Michael Foster

It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but “deliverability” is a crucial word for email marketers. 

It’s also a very specific, technical word with a specific meaning. Mailchimp defines it as “a way to measure the success at which an email marketer gets a campaign into subscribers’ inboxes. It involves anything that touches email delivery, like ISPs, MTAs, throttling, bounces, bulking and spam issues. Senders affect their own deliverability, too – so if you create good content and maintain a clean list, your campaigns will be more likely to reach your subscribers.” In other words, it is a way of measuring just how likely an email is  to end up in your audience’s mailbox.

Services like Mailchimp promise a high rate of deliverability, and Mailchimp in particular has been infamously successful at getting emails through, which is why many small marketers rely on it. But deliverability is much more than choosing the right email delivery platform.  

To ensure top deliverability of emails, marketers also need to be aware of the new and evolving standards and, most crucially for content creators, how spam filters are continually looking out for tell-tale signs of unwanted email. Deliverability also relies on the cooperation of ISPs, email clients and email providers allowing emails to pass through  gateways — and these gatekeepers are not always pleased with what they see. That’s why marketers need to keep up with the changing standards of the industry.  

Deliverability is often a frustrating and confusing issue because it is so technical and involves a game whose rulebook keeps changing. Many email marketers throw their hands up, give up and trust the Mailchimps of the world to take care of delivering their emails for them. But to take email marketing one step further, it’s important to understand the evolving landscape of email deliverability so that marketing best practices can actually take effect.  

At this year’s Email Evolution, an entire session on deliverability is offered to field questions and explain this convoluted science. In "All You Ever Wanted To Know About Deliverability  (But Were Afraid to Ask)” Friday, April 1 at 10:50 a.m., deliverability experts Nancy Harris of Salesfusion and Chris Arrendale of Inbox Pros are joined by Industry Relations VP Len Shneyder of Message Systems and Dennis Dayman, privacy and security oOfficer at Return Path, to discuss how and why emails are delivered and why they aren’t.

The panel will field questions and try to answer any and all technical, logistical and practical issues relating to email deliverability and how and why it is an important issue for email marketers. 

This article is brought to you by the DMA. Click here to register for Email Evolution Conference, March 30 – Apr. 1, 2016, in New Orleans.