Clients of SmartBug Media are now able to use HubSpot products in line with HIPAA regulations. Learn more.

Skip to content
Supercharge Your Pipeline
Two coworkers look at a computer screen and analyze data together.

How to Improve Your Email Deliverability and Avoid the Spam Folder

Download: Email Marketing Templates for E-Commerce

July 18, 2023

By Kelsey Chapman

You’ve got an amazing email campaign, but is your target audience actually getting and reading your email? Email campaigns can be an incredibly effective marketing strategy, but your email deliverability—your ability to skip the spam folder and see an optimal inbox placement (keyword: inbox, not promotions folder)—matters.

If you’ve been struggling to get your campaigns out of the spam or promotions folder, fear not. There are ways to climb out of that dreaded territory, get back into the main inbox, and increase your overall email deliverability. 

New InLine CTA: Email Marketing Templates for E-Commerce

Soon, you’ll receive three simple steps to get your email to your customers. First, let’s talk about why your email may be missing them in the first place.

Why Is My Email Landing in the Spam or Promotions Folder?

Though this might be happening for any number of reasons, here are a few common problems we encounter with emails missing inboxes.

Your email list is smaller than you think it is.

Although you have a large email list, some subscribers might have blocked your content or chosen to unsubscribe. Your email service provider (ESP) suppresses these emails and keeps them from ever really leaving your inbox.

Your emails are bouncing.

Even with subscribers who do consent to receiving your emails, some bounce back. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as an invalid email address (known as a hard bounce) or a full email inbox (known as a soft bounce). Klaviyo recommends adding basic validation to your sign-up form for a hard bounce, plus being consistent with your emailing volume and careful about your email content for soft bounces.

Your emails are being flagged as spam.

If a user has marked your emails as spam or your subject line or content is viewed as spam by the server, you’ve got a problem. 

Your emails remain unopened.

Even if your email gets to the sender, it’s not a guarantee they will open and engage with your content.

It’s important to note that positive email engagement leads to higher deliverability; negative email engagement leads to lower deliverability. So, what’s a business owner to do? 

3 Steps to Improve Email Deliverability

Although these issues can make it disheartening for your email campaigns, know that you can take practical steps to increase your engagement. Here are three ways to improve your marketing strategy and get your emails read.

1. Work from targeted segments.

If you notice that your email deliverability might be in questionable territory, a place to start would be thoughtful segmentation. You might notice that your open rates are low (i.e., below 20 percent), which means you could be placing poorly in people’s inboxes. 

Choose a simple focus: Narrow in and pare down to your most trusted audience only. But what about my full list? Or people who have engaged in the last year or six months? You can build back up to include these people, but to get a better return on investment, it’s critical to go for the people who already love what you offer.

Jigs Reodica of Growth Gurus emphasizes the importance of catering to your target audience: “This channel’s power lies in personalization and creating beneficial relationships between the brand and the customers. Thus, it involves creating new connections and nurturing them. At the same time, keep in touch with your current customers through carefully thought-out campaigns.”

Start sending to an engaged 30-day segment. These are people who have engaged with your brand in the last 30 days. “Engaged” could include:

  • People who have opened or clicked an email
  • People who have viewed a product or been active on site
  • People who have started checkout or placed an order

Consider them your home team. If they’re buying your product or clicking into your newsletter, they like what you have to offer and want to hear from you! As your open rates creep up, you can start opening your campaign to those in the 60-, 90-, and 120-day windows.

Remember that positive email engagement leads to higher deliverability, so let your people do that positive work for you!

2. Choose inboxes to exclude.

In the same way that positive engagement leads to higher deliverability, negative engagement leads to lower deliverability. Assuming you're working with targeted segments, look at inboxes you might need to exclude. 

Emails on this list include anyone who has unsubscribed, marked an email as spam, or never opens your emails. You can find these inboxes by opening a recently sent campaign, toggling to the deliverability tab, and reviewing inbox providers with the lowest open rates. 

You'll then create a specialized segment to use on your next 10 campaigns as detailed below. For example, if Gmail has a low delivery rate, create a segment identical to the example below. This sends to all inboxes that have engaged in 120 days but only sends to Gmail inboxes of subscribers who have engaged in the last seven days.

Klaviyo Segmentation for improving email deliverability

Try sending to this segment for five campaigns. At that point, you should see your open rate start to rise specifically for Gmail users, which is the example we are working off of in this case. Again, you’re focusing on clients who love you and want to hear from you.

Two additional segments you could exclude would be those who have bounced in the past and those who have marked your email as spam.

Klaviyo Segmentation for improving email deliverability

Klaviyo Segmentation for improving email deliverability

3. If you can’t beat the inbox, consider your own dedicated DNS.

If you’ve implemented the methods above, and you’re really not seeing the needle move with your open rates and what you assume to be inbox placement, it might be time to look into a dedicated sending domain (domain name system, or DNS). 

This allows your email to move from a shared network to a network that’s solely dedicated to you and your brand. Working from a dedicated DNS gives you an opportunity to increase inbox placement, click rates, and overall email deliverability.

If you’re struggling with your email campaigns, do not lose heart. These simple steps should help you see your campaigns grow. If you need more assistance, we’d love to support you on your email marketing journey.


A Guide to Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck from Automated Email Flows

Email Marketing Templates for E-Commerce: Revenue-Driving Email Flows

Check It Out
Topics: Email Marketing, Klaviyo, E-Commerce Marketing