Why aren’t my emails getting delivered?

Email deliverability
James T FletcherJames T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


Email deliverability may not be the most talked about subject in digital marketing, but it’s a lot more important than you think.

If you’re using a marketing automation solution like Marketo, you’re clearly serious about email marketing. And, given all the time and resources that go into creating, designing and targeting your campaigns, you’re not going to be happy about emails that fail to be delivered.

Many large enterprises target an email delivery rate of 95%+

If yours is below this – especially if you’re a small to medium-sized business – there are a range of factors that could be preventing delivery. We all know salespeople who aren’t as diligent as they could be when capturing prospects’ email addresses. Potential customers can also make mistakes when completing online forms. And we’ve all experienced data quality issues when we’ve tried to target a new market by buying or renting a list.

But beyond this, the nature of email delivery systems means there are a host of other technical issues you may not even be aware of, that can significantly impact your email marketing if you don’t take them into account.

Look behind your numbers

Let’s say for example that 10-20% of your emails aren’t getting through. Half of these might be due to the kinds of issues above, which mean your internet service provider (ISP) doesn’t know how to deliver them, creating a ‘hard bounce’.

The other half though could be because your emails have something about them that the receiving system doesn’t like, with the result that they end up in your target’s spam filter (a ‘soft bounce’). Among the reasons for this could be that you’ve unwittingly:

  • Used words or phrases (like ‘financial investment’) that are commonly associated with spam emails.
  • Included links to a third party that’s been blacklisted or is otherwise associated with sending high volumes of emails.
  • Used an out-of-date template that’s incompatible with current email clients, browsers or mobile devices.

The problem is that when any of these issues happen, you won’t just have missed the opportunity to target a potential customer, frustrating though that might be. The failed recipient could just as easily be one of your existing customers who want to receive your emails and continue to buy from you, but may not even realise they’ve missed your latest news.

And, if you repeatedly send undeliverable emails or receive spam complaints, this could dent your reputation as an email sender or even get you blacklisted – which can take lots of time and effort to fix.

How to get it sorted?

Fortunately, there are basic steps you can take to manage and improve your email deliverability, which we’ll talk about in the next blog in this series – How can I find and fix what’s happening to my emails?

In the meantime, if you need help with or have any questions about email deliverability, hit the Book a Meeting button or Contact Us to get started.