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3 Things You Need to Know About Email Deliverability

Email marketing plays a key role in any travel business plan. It’s how you connect with potential leads, build your client base, and show clients that you have a well-established brand. However, email campaigns can only be successful if they actually make it to your subscribers’ inboxes. To make the most of your travel business’s email marketing strategy, you’ll want to be aware of what email deliverability is and the three ways it is determined.

What is email deliverability and how is it determined?

Put into the simplest terms possible, email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to a subscriber’s inbox. It depends upon the relationship between your email content, your IP/domain reputation score, and the subscriber’s email service provider. Emails with deliverability failure are either redirected to the client’s spam or junk folder or blocked entirely by the Internet Service Provider.

Though there are many elements factored into your domain’s reputation score, three of the most influential in determining email deliverability are subscriber engagement, negative metrics, and message content.

3 Things You Need to Know About Email Deliverability

1. Subscriber Engagement

The way your subscribers interact with the emails you send has a big impact on your domain reputation. Inbox Service Providers like Gmail analyze past and existing trends among subscribers who receive your emails to determine the messages’ deliverability.

If your ISP notices many of your sent emails are being deleted without being opened, marked as spam, or ignored altogether, your future emails may simply be routed to the client’s spam folder instead of the main inbox.

Conversely, if your emails are being consistently opened and links are being clicked, this signals that your email content is providing quality content to your subscribers, and future messages will be delivered straight to the inbox. Therefore, to keep your IP/domain reputation score high and maintain consistent email deliverability, seek to provide valuable content that connects with your subscribers in a meaningful way.

2. Limiting Negative Metrics

Related to subscriber engagement are negative metrics, which increase when subscribers flag email content as spam as well as when there are spikes in hard bounces.

If your spam complaints exceed 0.3%, your Inbox Service Provider may assume that your content is unsolicited and thereby in violation of certain regulations. This can very negatively impact your emails’ inbox placements.

Hard bounces occur when there is a permanent reason for an email not being deliverable. These reasons can include nonexistent email addresses, nonexistent domains, and being blocked permanently by an email server. Hard bounces imply that you may be working from faulty or farmed subscriber lists, which are frequently used by spammers. This can lead ISPs to lower your reputation score.

3. Content

If you subscribe to any big name brand email lists, you’ve probably seen email landing pages with tons of complex HTML that’s nearly indistinguishable from the brand’s website. While these emails may feature beautiful photos and rich text, they are also more likely to be filtered as promotional messages by an Inbox Service Provider. The best way to ensure your content is optimized to reach your subscriber’s main inbox tab is by keeping it simple. Use plain text emails to improve their deliverability.

The greatest calls-to-action or most beautifully-designed email landing pages won’t accomplish much if they aren’t reaching the subscriber’s inbox. To ensure your email deliverability is on track, stay on top of your subscriber engagement, try limiting your negative metrics, and keep your email content compelling yet simple

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Sandra McLemore is a digital marketing & business growth expert who got her start in the travel business over 20 years ago as a retail travel agent for STA Travel in a busy campus store front. She then worked her way into VP level in marketing, media and PR roles for the world's biggest cruise lines and travel brands.


Sandra is now the owner of TRAVEL MARKETING & MEDIA (formerly Village Girl Marketing), a marketing agency for travel brands specializing in content creation, design and media.




Each service and program helps travel agents to get a consistent flow of new clients through smart marketing strategies.


Over 12,000 travel agents have taken Sandra's online training, and signed up for her digital marketing solutions.

Sandra lives in Los Angeles and hosts a number of travel programs on cruise line and airline TV and can be seen on network news programs as a leading travel industry expert.  Heading off to the best travel trade conferences? You'll most likely catch her on stage there too!

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