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Email Delivery: Why it Matters to the Emails You are Sending

When you are launching your next email campaign, you’re working on getting the right content, tone of voice, and a perfect style. To reach the people on your email list, you need to make sure that the email delivery rate is high. Sending out great emails takes a lot of work. You have to write content that performs well and use subject lines that enthuse your target audience to click your email. But even before you send out an email, there are a lot of essential factors to take into account to ensure you are getting the best results. Your email delivery rate is one of the critical elements that influence your success rate. Email delivery is a part of your email marketing campaigns that most people overlook. 

Within email delivery, it’s all about making sure that you look at the settings. You can change these in the back-end of your email client or the email marketing software. It will help to ensure that your audience will receive your emails. 

What is email delivery?

email delivery

Gaining access to the recipient's inbox is the key to getting your emails seen. After creating your email campaign, you want to make sure that your recipients will see the email in their inbox and click on the subject line. Before the email even reaches the mailbox, several factors ensure that the emails will arrive:

  • Can your recipients receive your email?

  • Could you have been blacklisted?

  • Is your IP reputation good enough?

And many others.

You can spend hours crafting the perfect email so you can turn your audience into customers. But if there’s anything wrong with the IP address you’re sending your emails from or the quality of the list of recipients, you can run into trouble. The condition of the individual addresses on your email list affects your delivery rate. When pushing forward your marketing campaign and targeting your audience with well-constructed emails, it’s important to make sure the recipients in your list have opted-in to receive the emails you are sending out. Do not download any free lists of email addresses.

Failure in complying to follow industry standards could have your emails bumped, decreasing your delivery rate and damaging your campaigns’ statistics. It can be as simple as an IP address issue. Your IP address can be blocked due to numerous reasons. The most common reason for lack of delivery is that emails sent from your IP address have been flagged as ‘spam’ by multiple recipients. This causes any emails sent from your IP address to be blacklisted. 

Doing this is going to damage your delivery rate and will result in your campaigns getting limited results. It’s wise to take these aspects into account before sending off numerous emails for your marketing campaign. This guarantees access to your recipient's email service provider. 

Reasons why your email might be not delivered

To avoid a low delivery rate among your recipients, there are some external factors to explore that could jeopardize the initial delivery:

  1. Email addresses on your list no longer exist

  2. The IP of the recipient no longer exists

  3. The recipient has blocked your email address

  4. The recipient has blocked your IP address

  5. Your email address or IP address is blacklisted

The email address no longer exists

If you have a long list of email addresses within your marketing campaign, it might be wise to stop and think about the quality of these recipients. Are the email addresses still being used? Perhaps the receivers have updated their details and are no longer receiving those emails that you spent hours on. It is essential to keep a freshly updated list of recipients with certified email addresses to assure a reasonable email delivery rate. 

Just because an email arrives at an email address, doesn’t necessarily mean the person you have targeted on the other end is seeing the email. You can avoid sending emails to non-existing email addresses by running your list through an email verifier such as Anyleads’ Email Verifier. It checks every single email address on your list so you can ensure that you are mailing active email addresses. 

The IP of the recipient no longer exists

Alongside the verification of acquired email addresses, it is wise to look at the validity of the IP address of the recipients within your marketing campaign. The IP addresses of your recipients can change throughout the years, making it difficult to reach those inboxes and engage with your audience. 

Companies are not fixated in their ways when it comes to chasing goals. It is the same when it comes to strategy within the IT tools such as the servers that they use. If a company or specific recipient changes email service provider (ESP) or host then this could affect the delivery of your emails. 

The recipient has blocked your email address

Having your email address blocked by the receiver is never a good sign. When you are trying to deliver quality content and increase traffic for your campaign, this will hurt your results. Several reasons result in getting your email address blocked. 

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) will block incoming emails from a particular email address for spammy looking content. Another easy mistake could be the use of specific links within your email that the receivers ISP will block because the domain within this URL is blacklisted. It will certainly stop any email from reaching a server, let alone making its way into the inboxes of your audience.

The receiver blocks your IP address

While having your email address blocked by a receiver might sound bad, having your IP address blocked by the receiver is much worse. Coming back from such a setback can be difficult. For an IP address to be blocked by the recipient, they will have had to receive numerous “spam” emails, causing their ESP to flag your IP address. At this point, even changing your email service provider is not going to change anything. Any emails sent from your IP address will be blocked. Take this into account when increasing the volume of your campaign across multiple ESP’s and decrease the chances of losing valuable audience members.

what is email delivery

Your email address is blacklisted

Another critical factor for your delivery rate is the blacklisting of email addresses. The notorious “blacklist” of email is the worst place for a marketer to be found. It will be impossible to get into your audiences’ inbox. 

An email sender’s address can be blocked/blacklisted by both the email receiver as a user and the servers they are on. Once this has happened, it can prove challenging to get the email address removed from these lists. Not sure if you’re on a blacklist? Here are some of the most common blacklist sites to check out: Spamhaus, Invaluement, and Spamcop.


How it helps


Allows you to check whether a limited number of ESP’s have blocked your domain or IP address.


Provides a 7-day free trial to understand how your IP address and domain are treated around the web.


A free-to-use blacklist checker that provides insights into the reputation of your IP address and domain. 

Spam and email delivery

email delivery

Spamming from your email address is going to hurt the delivery rate of your emails. When recipients are flagging your emails as spam, it is happening on two different levels. Flagging occurs both externally and internally, the first meaning that the receiver has clicked the “Mark as spam” button within their ESP. Internal flagging occurs when a recipient has chosen to opt-out through the “unsubscribe” button and continues to mark the email as spam. 

After a receiver has flagged incoming emails from a specific email address enough times, that particular address will be eventually blocked. Continuing to send emails that are being flagged as spam through multiple email service providers can also lead to the blockage of your ISP. 

In both cases, the sender is risking being put on that blacklist that no marketer wants to be on. It is fair to say that a critical outlook on the emails sent to your audience is crucial when trying to maintain a dominant position within your audiences’ inbox. In doing so, you minimize the chance of being blacklisted and can no longer withhold a positive rate of email delivery. 

Some technical information about email delivery

Your email address checks out, as does your IP address and everything on the recipients’ end seems legitimate. At this point, you might think you’re ready to fire off those well thought out emails within your email marketing strategy. However, there are a few technical aspects to take into account before making your way into the recipients’ inbox. There are a couple of set protocols that allow email traffic to pass through security checkpoints, adding identity verification and proving sources to be trusted by the recipient. 

The three factors at play here are:

  1. Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

  2. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) 

  3. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) 

Each factor plays its part in verifying your emails at different levels. These terms prove that you are indeed who you say you are when sending emails:

Method of authentication

Primary function


Allows domain owners to identify the mail servers used by the sender, verifying the email and therefore avoiding the spam box.


Adds an encrypted signature to your emails, verifying that the message has derived from a trusted source and has not been compromised along the way.


Validates your emails, checking that the emails you have sent pass authentication and alignment with the previous two terms.

Why should you care about email delivery?

The main reason to care about email delivery is simple: some factors may result in nobody seeing your emails. And when you’re sending out an email campaign, you want to be seen. Below we will describe some of the primary reasons regarding the importance of getting a reasonable email delivery rate:

  • Why it will improve brand awareness

  • How it will stop you from getting blacklisted

  • Why it’s crucial for your company

  • How it increases your success rate

It will improve brand awareness

You’re doing everything in your power to create great content and engage your audience with a successful marketing campaign. Brand awareness depends on your target audience, receiving the content you have thought long and hard over, without losing emails at the gates of their ESP’s. If your list of recipients isn’t receiving your content, they are not getting the chance to engage, and you are losing valuable brand awareness. It’s important to remember not to solely focus on writing the best email campaign, but rather to increase your chances.

Why it will stop you from getting blacklisted

Abiding by a few simple rules and regulations will get you over that crucial threshold and one step closer to the recipients’ inbox. Though checking up on the status and quality of your mailing list may seem tedious and time-consuming, it is a practice that will pay off in the long run. It's essential to do frequent scans of the quality of email addresses in your list. 

The blacklist is undoubtedly one to avoid. By taking a few precautions, you can save your marketing campaign from being unnecessarily sabotaged before you have even reached your audience's inbox. Landing on a blacklist will result in:

  1. Fewer emails reaching the inbox

  2. Your campaign results decreasing significantly

  3. Providing difficulty getting off the blacklist anytime soon

Why it’s essential for your business

Your business depends on engagement with your audience. If the delivery rate of emails within marketing campaigns is being compromised, you run the risk of losing potential customers and quickly increase the difficulty of bouncing back. A well thought out email marketing campaign starts with a strong foundation, built on a high email delivery rate to get you through the front door. 

what is email delivery

Alongside the apparent necessity to have your emails received by the target audience, delivery rate plays another critical role within your business. ‘Knowledge is power,’ and in keeping track of the bounce rate during email campaigns, you automatically increase your ability to improve the results. Your company can profit from vital data, utilize it, and gain an advantage in creating more exposure among the target audience. Driving target-engaging content to the right email address is the first step to being seen and heard. 

How it increases your success rate

Is your audience listening? Being seen counts, and this is where the focus on email delivery plays a crucial role in your company’s success. 

By increasing the delivery rate of your emails, you are expanding the reach of your message. It also influences the amount of engagement with your audience. Because you are not the only one trying to get engagement in your target audience's inbox, it’s essential to set the correct course from the start. 

Your sender reputation plays a big part in these campaigns, as the receiver’s ISP is going to determine whether or not your email is fit for delivery. Maintaining a constant level of quality within each email of your campaigns will increase the probability of your messages reaching your audience. By focusing on a strong delivery, you put your company’s email address in a better position, gaining the trust of the recipient’s ESP and driving your success rate forward throughout the campaign.

Tips to improve your email delivery

email delivery

To optimize your email delivery, you want to pay attention to several factors that influence the delivery rate. Below, we will cover the following aspects:

  • Using graphics in your email

  • Periodically checking your list

  • Keeping your emails relevant

  • Why you shouldn’t send SPAM emails

  • Using X-rated content in your emails

  • Using shorter emails

  • Providing ways to unsubscribe

Do not use any graphics in your email

Email clients generally disable images automatically when the email is coming from someone that is not in your recipient’s contact list. It is therefore wise not to use images. You can use images in your email signature like a profile picture, but these are hidden as well. Here’s an overview of what email clients may or may not show when recipients get an email from someone who is not on their contact list.

Type of media

Will it be shown?

Images of your logo in your email’s header

No, often regular images will not be shown until the user accepts to let the client show images

A colored header from at the top of the email

Yes, small banners will be displayed as long as they are coded with HTML

Images within your email signature

No, email clients will also block images from loading when they’re not accepted by the email recipient yet

Buttons to your social media accounts

Yes, as long as these buttons are created using HTML, the email client will show the buttons. 

Make sure to check your list 

You must regularly update your contact list. You want to check the quality of the email addresses and their status. This will let you know if the recipients are receiving your emails and whether or not these emails are being flagged down by the receiver’s ESP. Not only the email addresses are worth keeping an eye on, but also the IP addresses that your audiences’ email clients are hosted on. If these have changed recently, you need to be aware of it to maintain your sender reputation.

Check the relevance of your email

Is your email relevant to the receiver? Not everybody needs to be a customer. When it comes down to maintaining a trustworthy position within the boundaries of ESP’s, it is more important to target your emails accordingly. This will ensure that you can increase the delivery rate. The target audience wants to receive relevant emails. Along with that, you want to make sure they open the emails. Having acquired this position within your recipients’ inbox, you should have an easier job in maintaining your reputation rather than having a hard time getting into the inbox.

 Do not SPAM, at all

Spam will kill your integrity and any positive reputation you may have with your target audience. Nowadays, it is easier than ever to have your emails regarded as spam by both receiver and email service provider. By avoiding spam-like headlines and questionable content within your campaign, you dramatically increase your email delivery rate and boost engagement with your audience. Spam within your email campaign is a one-way ticket to being added to the blacklist. Once there, you will have a hard time bouncing back, so it’s best to avoid anything that might come across as spam altogether. 

Avoid X-rated content in your emails

While some companies operate within the confines of X-rated material, such as gambling-related markets, there are correct ways for such content to make it through the security of a recipient’s inbox. If, for example, a company has casino/betting related content within its email campaign, it is essential to remember that email clients will often filter out such content. 

It isn’t uncommon for email clients to filter out emails containing words like ‘casino’ or ‘gambling’ to flag incoming traffic and redirect it to the spam folder. To tackle the issue of having your emails flagged as spam, you should consider using synonyms for those specific words. This increases the integrity of your email’s content, and helps avoid strict filter regulations, carried out by algorithms within email clients.

Keep it short and simple

While aiming to provide your audience as much information as possible, it is easy to forget that short headlines work better than long ones. This applies not only to HTML emails but to all emails. 

Try to keep your subject under 50 characters. You also need to focus on the integrity of your subject line. Make sure it’s honest and that you don’t overpromise, risking a lack of truth upon opening and jeopardizing your reputation. It will also significantly impact the average open rate of your email marketing campaigns.

Unsubscribe? Over here!

While it might seem counterintuitive at first, making it easy for the recipient to unsubscribe boosts subscriber engagement and helps to keep your mailing list clean. It’s important not to hide your unsubscribe button and instead use it as an incentive to get in touch with your company and provide a platform for feedback. 

If a recipient decides to open an email and opt-out through your unsubscribe button, it means their email client hasn’t done this for them and eliminates any chance of a penalty. If an email client flags your email, you increase the likelihood of being blocked altogether.



Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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