The average email delivers an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent. While the average varies across industries, there’s a ballooning problem—your marketing emails are not getting delivered to your customer’s inbox. With the average email deliverability rate nearing 89% with stricter regulations, it is only getting tougher.
In today’s blog, we’ll be covering 13 ways to improve your eCommerce email delivery rate with a detailed overview.
1. Build authentication with SPF
Sender Policy Framework(SPF) is a standard authentication method protecting your email from spoofing(identity theft). It prevents your email from ending up in spam. Adding your SPF record to the DNS lets you provide a public list of senders that are approved to send emails from your domain.
The receiving servers then verify if these emails are legitimate and originate from a server authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain.
Learn to create an SPF record in 5 easy steps:
a) Make a list of mail servers
Start making a list of all mail servers and IP addresses you can use to send emails from your domain. Start with web servers, ESP mail servers, in-office mail servers, mail servers of subscribers’ mailbox providers, and third-party mail servers sending emails on your behalf. Reach out to your ESP for any queries regarding this.
b) Proof your sending and non-sending domains
While it might seem a no brainer to not add your non-sending domains to the SPF record, cybercriminals might try to impersonate them and send phishing emails. Hence, add both—sending and non-sending domains to your SPF to protect them from spoofing.
c) Build an SPF record
At this stage, the SPF validates your sender’s identity by comparing the sending mail server’s IP address with the list of approved IP addresses. This is found in the DNS record.
Your DNS record maps the URLs to the numerical IP addresses. The next steps involve a bit of work. Refer to the guide for help.
d) Publish SPF to DNS
Once you have your SPF record, publish it to your DNS by logging into your DNS manager. Please note that your DNS lookups are limited to 10(including nested lookups). Finally, verify your DNS using an SPF record checker.
2. Build authority with DKIM
Domain Keys Identified Mail(DKIM) uses a digital signature conveying a receiver an email knowing that it is sent by an authorized domain. It proves that the email hasn’t been altered and is legitimate. Before setting your DKIM record, you will need—a list of domains and third-party applications, a DKIM package for the server, a DKIM key wizard, and a DNS manager.
You can go ahead and create a DKIM record by:
a) Install a DKIM package
You will be needing a DKIM package to install on your email server. Before you select a DKIM package, run through the email server’s OS. The installation process varies according to different DKIM packages and OS.
b) Generate DKIM key pairs(public and private)
Generate your public and private key pairs using a DKIM key wizard. Mention the selector names for your key pairs. These selector pairs inform receiving email servers where to find public keys for each domain.
Next, you need to publish your public key by creating a TXT record to the DNS. As for your private key, it will be hidden by your DKIM package.
c) Configure your email server
You will need to work with your ESP and hosting provider to configure your email server. The last step is to use a DKIM record checker to confirm if receiving servers can locate your public key. The reason? This is done to authenticate that your email came from a genuine domain, concluding the testing of your DKIM setup.
3. Protect yourself against cyber attacks with DMARC
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance(DMARC) ensures your recipients that the email is not a spam or phishing attack. It also helps outgoing emails that didn’t make it through SPF and DKIM servers, decide the next course of action.
Follow these steps to set up your DMARC record:
a) Login to your DNS hosting provider
In your DNS hosting provider, you’ll find a prompt to create the DMARC record or find the TXT section to edit. Depending on the interface, you will find three fields namely Host/Name, Record Type, and Value. Select TXT from the dropdown list as the record type.
b) Add host value and value information
Type your host value under the format _dmarc.mydomain.com and insert this code under the value information field:
v=DMARC1; p=none; rua=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
c) Save and validate your decorate
Save your DMARC record and validate the same using a DMARC check tool
4. Use a BIMI logo
Brand Indicators for Message Identification(BIMI) is an email specification requiring brands to display their logos next to the email messages. Together with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, BIMI helps in email deliverability. Let’s create a BIMI record:
- Create a SVG format for your logo
- Login to your DNS manager and create a new record
- Paste the following v=BIMI1; l=logoURL; in the TXT record—the logo URL will be of the SVG image
- Test using BIMI record checker
5. Prep your IP for success
Prepare your IP with a warm up to signal the ISP that your emails are relevant and build a good IP reputation. Here’s how you can do it:
a) Use a dedicated IP
A dedicated IP is exclusive for sending your emails. It isn’t shared by other users, giving you more control over the sender reputation. This helps brands with a high percentage of active users where high-volume emails are the norm.
b) Start sending warm up emails
Send your warm up emails according to this schedule:
- Day 1-5: Send 5 emails daily without images or links(A plain email will spark more attention)
- Day 6-14: Increase the limit and send 10-15 emails per day till you reach 100 users
- Day 15-25: Increase the number to 50 emails per day(Respond to emails and analyze the bounce rate)
- Day 25-45: Increase the number to 80 emails per day and around day 45, your domain would be warming up well
Before you go ahead, we recommend you check the daily limit set by the email host.
c) Avoid spammy words
Spammy words that make promises too good to be true, create unnecessary pressure, or are unethical must be avoided. As per Mailmodo, here's a list of spammy words and symbols that will severely hurt your email deliverability—
- 0% risk
- 100% free
- 50% off
- 100% more
- 100% satisfied
- Apply Online
- Access now
- Act now
- Access right away
- Act immediately
- Apply NOW
- Action required
- Access for free
There’s a long list of spammy words, before you send your emails, test your email with an email spam checker to write spam-free emails.
6. Create emails that users want to click
The average open rate for retail is 27.24%. To ensure you meet this baseline, create emails that users click instantly. Start by:
a) Including the sender name
Add a sender name followed by the name of the brand to evoke trust. 42% of customers say the sender name is the first thing they look at before clicking emails.
b) Write subject lines that grab attention
34% of users open emails after reading the subject lines. It is also known to improve clicks and conversions. Create curiosity gaps in the subject lines, personalize beyond first name, feature relevant topics such as trends, etc.
c) Send trigger emails
Trigger emails are activated when a user completes a specific action like subscribing to a newsletter or signup. The best part is that these emails boast an open rate and CTR of 38.03% and 6.76% respectively.
Want to know what kinds of trigger emails should you be sending?
You can send:
- Birthday emails offering an coupon code
- Post-purchase emails asking customers to review recently purchased items
- Back-in-stock emails informing customers that a product is back in sale
7. Talk about the benefit
Write your emails by factoring ‘What’s in it for me?’. Customers will find your emails useful if it offers tangible value. Use these tips to make your email valuable:
a) Make a compelling offer
b) Keep it conversational
Use contractions and write as if you’re writing a fifth grader. Keep sentences short. Use exclamations and an active voice to keep it engaging. Here’s an example of a good email that is conversational and engaging.
While a bad example for a marketing email would look like this—robotic and salesy and lack of full stop.
Remember, you must keep it simple so even a third grader must be able to understand easily.
c) Offer a solution to a problem
Make lives easier by offering a solution to a problem. Define the problem, agitate(describe how the problem is causing trouble), and next explain how your problem is the ideal solution.
Here's a real-life example of an email written using the approach.
8. Refine Email lists every 3 months
Cleaning your email lists every 3 months will improve your sender reputation. You will want to follow these steps to clean your emails:
a) Identify hard bounce
Hard bounce refers to emails that can’t be delivered due to permanent reasons such as invalidity or strict spam filters. Filtering these emails will improve your sender score(scale of 1-100) so your emails are delivered to more recipients.
b) Zero down inactive subscribers
Find all inactive subscribers and work on re-engaging them. While the norm is to delete them, sending re-engaging emails will reduce the list of inactive users, unlocking new opportunities for sale. You can send a dollar-off discount, give them access to new arrivals, offer membership benefits, or join anniversary emails.
Here’s a brilliant example of a re-engaging email selling the exclusivity behind signing up for a membership program.
A signing-up anniversary email is another captivating way to re-engage your customers.
9. Ask customers to confirm twice (double opt-in)
In the era of tougher cyber laws, it's best to ask your customers to confirm using the double opt-in. This will allow you to maintain a quality subscriber list as the consent is communicated clearly.
Ask users to confirm in the email once they sign up so you build a steady email list. A practice that will help you achieve deliverability over time.
Pangaia uses the double opt-in method for users to confirm their email addresses. It also declares their consent to subscribe to marketing emails.
Before you start sending out double opt-in emails, you might want to factor these elements:
- Specify the subject in the headline to grab attention—Please confirm your subscription
- Add a CTA button asking users to confirm their consent—Yes, subscribe me to this list
- Include instructions for users who haven’t subscribed with a message to ignore it
- Add a contact email for users to reach out to in case of any queries
10. Create emails that read well on mobile
Designing mobile responsive emails can increase your mobile CTR by 15%. To create emails that translate well on mobile, here’s what you can do:
a) Stick to single column layout
A single-column layout(600-640 px) helps to scroll and the information doesn’t break apart on mobile.
The text is easily visible, making the user experience smooth. It’s scalable since it is built in HTML that easily adapts to any device. Not to forget it is compatible across all email service providers.
b) Design for best width
The ideal width size for mobile is 320 px which avoids disturbance while scrolling. This provides a better viewing experience in landscape orientation.
c) Live texts to communicate messages
Live texts are present in the HTML code which immediately activates when your images fail to load. This way the user can understand the message with the text.
11. Don’t hide your Unsubscribe option
Always include an unsubscribe link in the footer of your emails so customers can easily opt-out. This will improve your clickthrough rates, improve sender score, thereby improving email deliverability.
We recommend you to familiarize yourself with the laws of the geography you operate. The CAN-SPAM Act of the USA mandates all commercial and marketing emails to include an unsubscribe link, with clear instructions on how to do it.
Further, it states that any request to opt out must be fulfilled within 10 days.
12. Do your homework on international laws
As long as you follow the international laws on emails, you are going to do just fine. In the context of the USA, here are 2 federal Acts, you would want to note down:
The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act specifies 7 laws to abide by:
- Maintain transparency by sharing the accurate header information—the From, To, and Reply To information along with the original domain and organization name
- Refrain from using subject lines that don’t reflect the email content
- Explicitly mention the email is an ad
- Include your postal address—street address, post office box number registered with US Postal Service or a private mailbox registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations
- Have an opt-out system in place, that allows opt-out requests to be processed at least 30 days after you send your emails
- A user’s opt-out request must be carried out within 10 working days
- Businesses are strictly prohibited from asking for details apart from email address or visiting an unsubscribe page
- In case a brand has outsourced email marketing to another firm, due diligence must be undertaken to comply with the laws(Both parties will be held responsible in case of discrepancies)
As per the GDPR law, eCommerce brands are required to:
- Collect user consent by specifying a GDPR checkbox(unchecked) including the GDPR declaration
- Your GDPR declaration must include the types of data you collect, methods of processing information, reasons for collecting, etc
- If your users don’t opt for marketing emails, you can only send them transactional emails
- Allow users to unsubscribe within 30 business days and make it easier for them to do so
- Clean email lists regularly and allow users to double opt-in to maintain the sender reputation
- You should be accountable and maintain a record of the proof of consent, data processing methods, all the third parties involved, and related information
While this might be overwhelming, an email marketing tool that can help you with compliance can make things easier.
13. Know which tool is right for you
While email marketing tools are plenty, there are a couple of factors you should consider before investing in one.
Evaluate your selection based on:
- Is it simple and intuitive?
- What kind of insights will it provide on KPIs such as bounce rate, complaints, opens, clicks, and unsubscribe rate?
- How will I be notified of deliverability issues?
- Does it have customizable templates?
- Is it affordable?
- Does it help you test small batches of email?
- Does it help in assessing the email health score for higher response rates?
- Does it allow you to send emails from multiple accounts to improve deliverability?
- Can it pause the campaigns in case of a hard bounce?
- Can it help you identify duplicate email addresses and remove them?
- Does it have the ability to flag high-risk keywords and suspicious top-level domains?
- Does it provide insights on improving areas like link quality, image optimization, and HTML integrity?
In the end, choose the email automation tool that ticks all the boxes.
With these tips, your email delivery rate will eventually increase, but there’s a problem.
98% of visitors who visit an eCommerce site—drop off without buying anything.
Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.
And this is the problem Convertcart solves.
We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.
How we can help you:
Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions.