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5 Best Practices For Email Deliverability - Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Want your Marketing Cloud emails to go to the SPAM folder??

I’m guessing you probably said NO to that question…. Hopefully…

It’s a valuable question because if you don’t do the right things when it comes to email deliverability, the SPAM box is likely where your emails could end up.

If that happens, you can just kiss your money goodbye.

In a good scenario, you want your emails to go directly to people’s inboxes so as soon as they open their email, they see your email messages.

But a lot of people aren’t doing what it takes to hit the inbox.

Could you be one of those people? Let’s find out together!

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the following:

  • What Email Deliverability is, and why it’s important

  • How do you make sure your emails get delivered to your subscribers’s inbox?

  • How to prepare for the MC Email Specialist Exam with this new knowledge.

So let’s jump into it!

At this point, You may be asking…. Kaelan…. What is Email Deliverability, and why does it even matter?

So Let’s answer that before we talk about anything else…

What is Email Deliverability?

Email Deliverability = The ability of your emails to get into people’s inboxes.

Bad Email Deliverability is kinda like sending a letter in the mail and having it get stopped or lost at the post office.

It’s a waste of money and a waste of paper…

Only difference is that we’re not sending paper envelopes in the mail, we’re sending digital mail to someone.

Instead of mail arriving in a mailbox, it’s arriving in an email inbox.

Same rules, just a different playing field.

So we need to make sure there isn’t anything along the way from our mailbox to the other person’s mailbox that is going to stop the mail from arriving.

If you don’t take the right steps to make sure your sending reputation is solid, then you could have a lot of mail that doesn’t get delivered to customers.

And that could cost you a lot of money because just like every time you send a letter in the mail and it costs you something… Well so does sending an email from an email service provider like Marketing Cloud.

So you want to make sure you’re not wasting the company’s money…

This is why email deliverability is so important.

Now that we know what Email Deliverability is and why it’s important, let’s figure out how to set ourselves up for Email Deliverability success!

First, we'll make a list of the steps you need to take to make sure you have a healthy email deliverability rate, and then we'll talk about each email deliverability step.

5 Steps To A Healthy Email Deliverability Rate

  1. Set up a Sender Authentication Package - (SAP)

  2. Warm your email IP address - (IP Warming)

  3. Scrub your email lists regularly - (List Hygiene)

  4. Properly design your emails - (Email Message Design)

  5. Consistently email-message your subscribers - (Email Sending Frequency)

Let's dive into each email deliverability step now!

Step 1: Sender Authentication Package

Sender authentication package (SAP) is the one-stop shop for virtually everything related to your email-sending reputation.

Sender Authentication Package (SAP) has 5 parts to it:

  1. Account Branding

  2. Private Domain for Email Sending

  3. Custom Domain for Cloud Pages

  4. Dedicated IP Address

  5. Reply Mail Management

SAP is the first thing you want to set up when you get a Marketing Cloud account. This lets email providers know you’re legit.

Don’t skip this step. SAP affects everything else you do in Marketing Cloud.


Step 2: IP Warming

Back in the 90's & early 2000's, scammers would send people mass amounts of emails.

These scammers would send thousands of emails just to get people to click the email.

At that time, there was nothing stopping them from creating a new email domain and sending all those emails in just a matter of days.

These scammers would buy a domain name and just start spamming thousands of people out of nowhere.

Then people started complaining, and the email companies changed the rules.

So now you have to warm up your email domain.

Which means you have to send messages little by little over time to warm your reputation up.

IP Warming is kinda like dating… You can’t just marry someone as soon as you meet them. You have to go on dates and get to know them.

Email Service Providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, need to get warmed up to the fact that you’ll be sending to the people that use their services.

Usually, the IP Warming process takes 1 to 3 months to build your reputation up.

You can look at the official documentation on IP Warming in the “Resources” links at the bottom of this post.


List Hygiene

The 3rd, and often most overlooked part of making sure your emails get delivered is through List Hygiene…

List Hygiene is kinda like brushing your teeth… You don’t want your teeth to get dirty so you clean them every morning and night… Hopefully…

Well, the same is true for the email subscribers you send messages to.

If you keep sending emails to people that aren’t opening your messages, then you’re wasting money.

You need to go through your lists and see who ISN’T opening your messages.

Once you find the people who aren’t interacting with you, you need to put them into a separate list and either send them different types of messages to get them to engage with you more, or you need to stop sending to them.

If you don’t stop sending to them, they’ll mess your deliverability percentages up.

Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo will look at the fact that these people aren’t interested and won’t give you as high of a rating…

Which will lead to your messages being deemed as “NOT IMPORTANT”

We don’t want that happening, so the best practice is to scrub your lists at least one time per month to make sure you separate the non engaged people from the engaged people who are opening and interacting with you.

You’ll do this by checking how many emails “Bounced” or looking to see how many people didn’t “Open” your emails.

This is all done really easy by checking bounce rates and open rates through data views and reports in Marketing Cloud.


Spammy Looking Messages

The 4th step to great email deliverability is making sure your email messages don’t look SPAMMY.

This means you don’t want your messages to look fake.

You might be thinking, Kaelan…. How can an email “Look Fake”??

So back in the day, spammers would put a ton of images in their emails and try to get people enticed to just click something on the email.

Once Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc, saw this, they made sure that emails with too many images were pushed to the spam box.

So you want to make sure you have more text in the email than images.

A good rule of thumb is 20% images and 80% text.

But even your text needs to sound legit.

You don’t want things like “FREE”, “SPECIAL TIME OFFER”, “CLAIM YOUR PRIZE NOW”

All those things scream SCAM to the email inbox algorithms, so make sure that your messages sound legit and have a normal conversational flow.

Write like you would if you were just talking to a normal person and you’ll be good.


Consistently Messaging Subscribers

And last but not least, make sure you’re consistently sending messages to your subscribers.

You don’t want to message your email subscribers every once in a while because they’re going to forget about you.

You want to stay top of mind for them.

That means you want to consistently send them messages.

It’s kinda like texting someone or talking to a friend.

When you first meet someone, you could text them, but if you don’t text them for a long time, they may forget how they met you or how you got their phone number.

You don’t want that happening because people won’t open your emails and you if people stop opening your emails, then your deliverability rating will slowly decline, which will ultimately lead to you not reaching their inboxes.

So what you need to do is let your subscribers know when you’re going to be messaging them… And then keep that promise!

If a subscriber fills out a form on your website and they enter into a journey in Marketing Cloud, you need to let them know in that first email how often you’ll be messaging them… And then you need to keep that promise!

So if you tell your subscribers that they’ll be receiving messages from you twice a week, then make sure to message them twice a week.

As always, make sure to provide value in those messages and to keep your subject lines juicy so people want to open the emails.


The best way to make sure you’re doing the right things when it comes to your email campaigns is to check your reports.

Marketing Cloud comes with a lot of tools that let you check how your subscribers are interacting with your messages.

You have:

All these tools are at your disposal so you can check how your email messages are doing.

You also have tools in Marketing Cloud that allow you to exclude certain subscribers from email messages that you send:

These tools are designed to keep certain people off of your lists so that you don’t send to them.

When it comes to the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Exam, or any other Marketing Cloud exam for that matter, you’ll be expected to know what these tools are designed to do.

I highly suggest you click the links to each one of these tools mentioned above and read what they are and why they’re valuable in Marketing Cloud.

Remember, Salesforce exams are designed to test your knowledge to choose the best solution for a real-world scenario.

I’ve given you 5 ways to increase your email deliverability.

Now it’s time for you to study and learn the tools that are available to you in Marketing Cloud so you can make sure you’re doing everything in your power to have the best email deliverability rates possible.

Here’s a list of all the most important tools you need to know when it comes to email deliverability in Marketing Cloud for the Email Specialist Exam and for any other Marketing Cloud exam you take.

Some parting words of wisdom.

Email Deliverability is a constant work in progress. You can have everything on point and working properly, but you always want to make sure to keep the system flowing smoothly.

Your job is never finished when it comes to email deliverability.

It’s kinda like having a nice car. You still want to keep the oil changed and do regular maintenance checks to keep it running smooth.

Marketing Cloud email deliverability is the same way.

Best of luck as you study for your next Marketing Cloud exam and good luck with your email deliverability!

PS - If you want to prep for Marketing Cloud Exams and want to learn more about Marketing Cloud overall, join the Marketing Cloud Career Development Program!


Kaelan Moss - The MinuteAdmin


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