A banner image for a blog about email deliverability and how to ensure emails make it to the inbox.

Email deliverability is an ever-changing process. If you’re sending emails through a CRM or Marketing Automation system, it may seem like your email deliverability is random, some days ending up in Spam and some days making it to the inbox.

Luckily, there is a science to it. In this blog post, we will break down our top tips to ensure that your emails make it to the inbox.

Staying on Top of Trends

When we say that email deliverability is ever changing, we’re not kidding. Just last month, Google joined Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. and  implemented DMARC, meaning that anyone sending a mass email with an @gmail.com address will end up in Spam (Learn More Here).

It’s important to stay on top of spam changes like these. To do so, you can set up news alerts for keywords such as “spam” or “email deliverability.” Alternatively, you can simply subscribe to our blog in the right nav. We’ll have you covered.

Email Subject Line

Subject lines are crucial, both in engaging with your audience and in deliverability. 

Most of the time, subject lines are strictly thought of in terms of opens, but have you ever thought about email deliverability when crafting your subject lines?

Certain keywords such as “free” can tangle you in Spam filters. We’ve taken HubSpot’s Ultimate List of Spam Trigger Words to avoid in subject lines, and narrowed down those relevant to the real estate industry:

Home basedWork from homeHome employmentOpportunity Potential Earnings
$$$ Affordable Bargain Big bucks Earn
Easy terms Compare rates Fast cash Credit Investment

Incredible deals Mortgage Mortgage rates Profits
Refinance Subject to credit Why pay more? Save $ Quote
Investment decision Financially independent Lower interest rate Lower monthly payment Lower your mortgage rate
Pre-approved Refinance home Your income Freedom Home
Lifetime Satisfaction Success Click Will not believe your eyes
Join millions Join millions of Americans Million One hundred percent guaranteed Thousands
Call Financial freedom Gift certificate Giving away Guarantee
Important information regarding Mail in order form Message contains No obligation No strings attached
Offer Prize Prizes Vacation Weekend getaway
What are you waiting for? See for yourself Free Free gift All new
Amazing Fantastic deal Act now Apply now Do it today
Don’t hesitate Great offer Info you requested Information you requested Limited time
Once in a lifetime Special promotion

Time limited Take action now Urgent

Yes, this is an exhaustive list, but it does get you to think about why these words in particular are Spam triggers. Does it mean you should never use these words? Absolutely not, but it does make a good point to avoid particular words, such as “free” or “urgent.”

Email Content

The content within your email is also extremely important.

Make sure you’re also careful of including certain spam keywords in headers and your email body (although not as careful as you have to be with subject lines).

You also need to worry about email length (not too short, not too long), formatting (HTML vs Plain Text – plain text has better deliverability but HTML gives you more formatting options, we recommend mixing it up) and even images within your emails.

Email Reputation

Reputation is important, not only in how you do business, but in how your emails are received as well. 

Email reputation is a real thing, and it’s not whether or not your recipients trust and recommend your email: It all comes down to what their server thinks. 

Each sender has a score, and this score differs by server. For example, Outlook in general has more strict guidelines than Yahoo or Gmail. This score is determined by email engagement (opens and clicks), and spam complaints. We recommend checking on your engagement and spam complaints regularly.

Most systems offer a dashboard, here is the one for LionDesk:

A screenshot of LionDesk's feature to review email reporting including a reputation score and other email analytics.

Now, there’s a big difference between email unsubscribes (that link at the bottom of an email where you ask to no longer receive marketing) and a spam report (which is done on the email server side, not through the email). Unsubscribes are not ideal, but they are fine and don’t ding your reputation too much. What can be critical to your reputation is too many Spam complaints. If you have 1% or more spam complaints consistently, you can really damage your score, meaning that even if 1 of 100 of your leads complains, this can harm your reputation. 

The best way to avoid this is to have a clear way to unsubscribe, that way if leads don’t want to hear from you, they can easily opt out without damaging your server.

Here’s an example of an unsubscribe from a LionDesk email:

An example of how a user can unsubscribe from LionDesk user's email.

Another good way to increase your engagement and avoid spam complaints is by having a good email list.

Your Email List

Your email list is as crucial to email deliverability as it is for your email. If you obtain your email list illegally (buying leads, scraping the internet or LinkedIn, etc.) you will not only be at risk of heavy fines, but you will also damage your email deliverability. 

Ask yourself: Did these people opt in to emails from me? Do they know who I am? Do they expect to hear from me?

If the answer is no to any of these, chances are you could be harming your email deliverability in the long term. Not only that, but you may put off people that could have been viable leads in the future. No one likes receiving mass marketing emails they did not ask for, don’t be that marketer. 

Adding Value

Finally, and this is not only a tip strictly for email deliverability, but for your marketing overall, ask yourself if your emails are adding value. Think about your target audience when you write an email: Are you serving them? Is this information that is relevant and valuable to them?

If you put your audience’s needs first, and segment rather than sending the same sales-focused email to everyone, you will see better email deliverability and engagement overall.

Good luck, and happy emailing!