Diagnosing Delivery Issues with Your Own Data

Diagnosing Delivery Issues with Your Own Data

When it comes to email marketing, one of the first things you need to understand is that it’s far more complicated than just sending a letter from point A to point B. Your email will encounter a seemingly endless number of obstacles, from firewalls to spam and authentication filters, in order to land in your client’s mailbox.

According to the Email Deliverability Benchmark in 2019, one out of every six messages did not reach the recipient’s inbox.

That all being said, it’s not impossible to make sure your clients receive your expertly crafted email marketing. You just need to first understand how your data works, where to look for the right metrics, and how to boost your deliverability using your ESP dashboards, postmaster tools, and online resources.

What is Email Deliverability?

Basically, email deliverability is the ratio of emails that land in your client’s inbox versus the overall amount of emails sent. While some of your messages may bounce, end up in the spam folder or be blocked by the email provider, your goal is to have as many messages reach their destination as possible; therefore raising your deliverability rate.

How to Diagnose Spam Problems

Just because your email campaign has been delivered, doesn’t guarantee that your message will have arrived in your clients inbox waiting to be read. But don’t feel too stressed, you just need to understand what it takes to maintain a healthy deliverability rate by reading, analyzing and using your own data.

What is a Spam Email?

A spam email, also known as junk email, is an unwanted message sent in bulk from a generally suspicious source.

What is a Spam Trap?

A spam trap is an email address that was not created for communication, but for the goal of drawing in spam emails.

5 Reasons Why Emails End up in Spam

  • IP reputation

  • How can my IP be spam tagged if I have never sent a spam email? If you use an email marketing service that other marketers are using to send spam, your campaigns are automatically in danger of being marked as spam.

  • Mailing list hygiene

  • Look at the engagement rate of your mailing list;when was the last time each person actually opened your email? If your client hasn’t been opening your emails for more than three months, it’s usually because the email address has been abandoned.By sending messages to a number of abandoned accounts sends a signal to the email provider that you may be sending spam emails. Ensure that you are not purchasing email lists as these techniques can lead you straight into a spam trap.

  • Sending messages without permission

  • It’s common knowledge that anytime someone receives an unwanted message from an unknown sender, they mark it as spam without even opening it, no questions asked. Avoid this at all costs.

  • Poorly written email/Misleading subject line

  • If your email is filled with grammar mistakes, spam filters may take note of that and block it. While no one is perfect, for the sake of your email campaign, be sure to use an online proofreading tool if you are not confident about your grammar level. With the headlines, however, the rules get a bit more strict. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, by using a misleading subject line to make people open your email, you’re breaking the law.

  • No ‘unsubscribe’ option

  • Apart from following the law, having an unsubscribe button located at the bottom of your email demonstrates to your clients that your content is of the highest quality and brings value to its readers.

How to Avoid Emails from Being Listed as Spam

  • Check your IP reputation

  • There are a variety of online tools you can use to check your IP reputation including Sender Score, Barracuda Central and SORBS. If you don’t know what IP you’re sending messages from, simply go to your ESP and send a message from that service to your personal email;you will find the IP in the message header.

  • Keep your email lists tidy and clean

  • Constantly update your opt-in lists, make sure you’re not sending emails to outdated addresses, and don’t buy email lists to avoid spam traps. Understand that it is much more effective and secure to grow an email list organically and authentically.

  • Always ask for permission to send email

  • If a client provides you with information and agrees to receive emails from you it means that they are interested in what you have to offer. But if a random person receives an unknown email from a sender they are not aware of, not only your message will end up in the spam folder, but it also is a bad use of company time and resources.

  • Email to your subscribers regularly

  • Don’t let your clients forget who you are, otherwise they may either unsubscribe from your mailing list or mark your emails as spam. Develop an email marketing schedule and keep your clients regularly informed.

  • Run email spam test

Never guess if your email will make it into your client’s inbox again, run an email spam test and save a ton of time and budget in the long run.

Diagnosing Delivery Issues with Your Own Data

A Better Way of Handling Spam

Consider using an app that takes care of every step when it comes to maintaining your IP reputation and keeping your messages out of the spam folder. GlockApps provides a Domain Checker for your convenience that is fast, easy to use, and informative. With our app you will always know:

  • If someone is using your domain for spamming
  • If your emails being marked as spam or not delivered at all
  • If your domain is protected from spoofing
  • That your customers are protected from receiving unwanted spam messages

Read more: Sender Reputation: How to Avoid Spam Folder Placement

How to Diagnose Bounce Rate Problems

What Does Bounce Mean?

When an email “bounces,” that means that the recipient’s server is rejecting the email and returning it back to the original sender; the “bounce rate” is the percentage of rejected emails received in a campaign. This can be due to a misspelling in the receiver’s email, a frozen email account or a lack of email server storage. The goal is to keep the bounce rate as low as possible to maintain a healthy mailing list.

To give you an overall understanding, here is an Average Email Campaign Stats provided by MailChimp. As you can see, industries differ, as well as company sizes, but rates usually don’t go higher than 2%.

Now let’s look at the most common high bounce rate reasons:

  • Old mailing list
  • No confirmation opt-in
  • Inconsistent emailing
  • Unauthenticated emails
  • Purchased mailing lists
  • Poorly crafted email

How to Avoid High Bounce Rates

  • Clean emailing list

  • Maintaining a clean email list is a forever ongoing process, but it’s very important to maintaining a health list of active and engaged customers with a low bounce rate.

  • Use confirmed opt-in

  • Asking people to activate their subscription via confirmation email is a very effective way to get rid of inactive or false email addresses.

  • Be a consistent sender

  • Inconsistent email campaigns not only affect spam, but can also increase your bounce rate. There is no magic number of emails that should be sent each month, but if you only contact your clients couple of times a year your bounce rates can skyrocket. It is much better to send emails with great content more often so that the number of inactive emails per email campaign will be minimal.

  • Use email authentication

This strategy is a must in a 21st-century email marketing strategy. Your email will not get to the inbox if the recipient’s server thinks it is not legitimate.

A Better Way of Handling Bounce Rates

To boost your bounce rate analysis and receive comprehensible data without investing extra time and effort, consider using the Glock Apps Bounce tracker; it is the best way to improve your mailing list health and eliminate inactive recipients and users who file complaints about your campaigns. The detailed Bounce Tracker report provides you with information about the reasons for delivery failure, the sender’s email, and the sender’s domain.

Diagnosing Delivery Issues with Your Own Data

Read more: Bounce Email Handling Essential Guide

How to Diagnose Blacklist Problem

What does it mean to be blacklisted?

A Blacklist is a real-time database that collects IP addresses that send spam and it can be a scary word for email marketers. To find out if your IP was blacklisted, you can visit the most popular blacklists (like SpamCop, SURBL, SORBS, Spamhaus or Invaluement) and type in your IP address to see if you are on the list. If you’re already there, you will need to follow these instructions on how to remove an IP address from a blacklist.

Why Am I Being Blacklisted?

  • Emailing to unsubscribed recipients
  • Buying mailing lists
  • The recipient didn’t opt-in to the list
  • There was no unsubscribe option
  • Irrelevant content

If you find out that you are being blacklisted, it’s important to go back and really get into analyzing your data. Narrow down the reasons for getting blacklisted and understand how to go back and fix your sending reputation.

How to Avoid Being Blacklisted

  • Grow your mailing list organically
  • Keep your mailing list clean and active
  • Add an unsubscribe option
  • Provide relevant content
  • Monitor your spam and blacklist stats

There are hundreds of blacklists and of course, there is a possibility that your IP address may appear on one of them. There’s no need to panic, however, just follow all our tips about keeping your mailing list clean and healthy and your sending reputation will follow.

A Better Way of Handling Blacklists

The easiest way to deal with blacklists and save you tons of time is to use GlockApps’ IP Uptime Monitor where you can run IP address checks. It will provide everything you need to know about the blacklists you are on, info about your listing, and what you should do next to de-list the IP.

Read more: IP Blacklist Check and Removal: Ultimate Guide to Blacklist

Bonus Tips

#1 Why you should stop looking at overall metrics

After sending a well-crafted email to your clients, the first thing that is generally checked is the delivery rate. The dashboard shows the delivery rate was 93% and it seems like everything went well, but there is a pitfall you might not be aware of. Be sure to look at each domain’s delivery rate specifically because you may notice a big gap between the delivery rates for different domains. For example, if Gmail is showing a delivery rate of 95% and Hotmail is only showing 10%, this could be an indication that Hotmail servers have your IP address listed as a spam account and would require your attention.

#2 Why you should stop looking at the word ‘delivered’

Just because your campaign was delivered, doesn’t mean that your email made it into your clients inbox to be read. There are many reasons why this might happen: misleading subject lines, spam traps, IP blacklists, etc. To resolve this, it’s important to constantly check your sender reputation by using the GlockApps Inbox placement tests.

#3 Why you should start looking at your delivery time

Another not very obvious factor that you should really look into is the delivery time of your emails. Try to monitor the time it takes your email to arrive in your recipients inbox. Knowing this information will help you identify potential problems because if you have an increase in time from sending the message to it being received on the other end, you might be rate limited.

An absolute must-have

Knowing how to gather your data, how to analyze it, and how to pinpoint issues is essential, but there is one more tool that you absolutely must implement if you haven’t yet: DMARC Analytics by GlockApps. This program will help you protect your delivery rate and protect your clients by putting an end to spoofing and phishing.

Diagnosing Delivery Issues with Your Own Data

… And one more step to take

You can use your data, your analytics and the dashboard information provided by your ESP to keep track of what is happening to your email campaigns.

  • Take care of spam, blacklisting, and bounce rates
  • Look at the metrics very specifically, not overall information and keep your reputation high
  • Clean your mailing lists, etc.

But keep in mind that it will take you a little more than that to get excessive knowledge about your deliverability. Best practice shows that it is much more convenient, easy and efficient to have all the checkers, trackers, insights and in-depth analytics in one place, using third party deliverability tools.

At GlockApps we provide you with valuable tools to help you reach your clients’ mailboxes, take care of any technical issues you might have, and increase your ROI.



Julia Gulevich is an email marketing expert and customer support professional at GlockSoft LLC with more than 15 years of experience. Author of numerous blog posts, publications, and articles about email marketing and deliverability.