Email Delivery v.s. Email Deliverability?

Is Your Email Marketing Going To Spam?

Many marketers and laymen use the terms “Email Deliverability and Email Delivery” interchangeably.

They don’t realize “Delivery” and “Deliverability” are distinctly different aspects of  email marketing. Most marketers are really referring to “Email Deliverability” when talking about either aspect.

To make it easy to understand what the differences are you can think of each in this way:

Email Delivery: Is generally based on technical aspects of emailing.

Email Deliverability: Is generally based on the content of the email, including the underlining formatting / code (html)

Email Delivery:

  • Did the recipients email provider accept your email (this comes way before “inboxing”)
  • Did your email go straight to a “black-hole” (email is deleted, unseen by any human – the sender is not informed the email did not reach the intended recipient. Most email automation programs will mark this as “Delivered”, giving the sender false data)
  • Email authentication: SPF / DKIM / DMARC – The first 2 are mandatory that they are done correctly. The last one, DMARC is new, but is likely to become mandatory in the near future as well
  • Sender Reputation / Sender score  – As you might suspect, there are a lots of algorithms to determine whether or not you are ranked as a “good” or “bad” sender
  • IP Address – shared or dedicated – how that is looked at by automated software
  • Your sending domain name – how that is looked at by automated software
  • Sending email address – how that is looked at by automated software
  • Are you Black listed


Email Deliverability:

You’ve made it past the first phase, “Delivery” … how is your “deliverability”….

  • Inboxing – did your email make it to the users inbox or was it sent to spam
  • Spam words – using spam phrases / language and spam words will increase the likelihood your email is sent to the spam folder
  • CAN Spam Compliance – is your email compliant with regulations
  • Clean sending list – does your list contain spam traps and honeypots, bounces
  • Plain Text And HTML Formatting – make sure it’s perfect formatting – you will be penalized for improper html and formatting
  • Is your message being throttled- when a message is actually received by the user can be vastly different then when you scheduled it to be sent/received
  • Subject line – being inboxed is meaningless unless your subject line gets people to read the full email
  • Personalized to recipients
  • Using single opt-in or double opt-in – it matters – there are benefits and drawbacks to each method
  • Easy to unsubscribe – it should always be clear how to unsubscribe and easy to do
  • Content / copy – is your copy quality and relevant to the recipient – it should be – keep your content light when possible, heavier email are scrutinized more
  • Stylizing the copy – avoid: multiple colors, bold, underline, italics, bullet list, ALL CAPS – try to write in a natural style, not as the “sham-wow” guy. Keep in mind that sales copy does work, but it doesnt work if you’re not inboxed – find a nice balance that get’s you inboxed and leads to whatever CTA (call-to-action) you desire
  • Tracking – tracking every aspect of your email campaigns will provide valuable insight into deliverability issues


Is There A Way to Get 100% Delivery & Deliverability?

There Is! But Not With Email!

Email is here to stay. You should always have an active email marketing strategy.

That said, you should be able to reach your prospects and customers whenever you need to, without all the hurdles and headaches email gives you.

The platforms everybody should be looking at to utilize are:

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • SMS
  • Push Notifications
  • Web Push Notifications



  • Everybody has a personal email account & for the vast majority it stays the same
  • Ability to send any length message and formatted they way you want it
  • Affordable even for small businesses
  • Relatively good tracking of your campaigns (with an email automation service / increased cost)
  • Personalization (with an email automation service / increased cost)
  • Segmentation (with an email automation service / increased cost)
  • Easy to share emails
  • CAN-SPAM Act Compliance


  • With the vast majority of email traffic being spam, even the best run email marketing will encounter Email Delivery and Deliverability issues
  • Most people won’t even bother to open your email or even notice your subject line in their inbox. If you get a 1 in 8 open rate, you’re doing great!
  • Email marketing require a lot work to keep your list and sending address clean
  • Timely messages are often missed as many people do not check their email throughout the day, or even open their email client daily
  • Getting subscribers to sign up is not easy, most people are reluctant to give their email address to a website
  • Mildly interested people are reluctant to do any work to get onto your list. Think of it like a TV commercial, people don’t search channels to watch the commercials, do they? No. But they will watch a show, and when an interesting commercial comes on, they make take action on it, such as buy a product. With email, most people are reluctant to fill out your forms. That’s why shorter forms get more subscribers.

Social Media


  • Little Delivery & Deliverability Issues
  • Increased SEO
  • More traffic to your website
  • Customer feedback
  • Networking opportunities


  • You need to be on all the major platforms
  • You need content daily (increased cost)
  • You need to engage in conversions throughout the day  (increased cost)
  • Risk of being trolled and having to deal with bad actors (increased cost)
  • Negative feedback



  • High open rates
  • Most people have their phones close by
  • Short are read! (this is also a con, as sometimes 160 characters are just not enough)


  • Cost $$$, SMS is costly! – It is generally reserved for customers and not prospects
  • Sending images in your messages are even more costly
  • Limited to 160 characters (this is not always a con if your message if effective in short format)
  • You need to capture the users phone number on a form – this is harder than getting their email!

App Push Notifications


  • Inexpensive (after the expense of building and app)
  • Sending images cost are practically none
  • Unlike email, push notifications are seen, because they simply popup in front of a user
  • Push Notifications get at least 4 times more reads than email


  • Requires the user to download and install an app (that requires the user to work)
  • Requires the development and maintenance of an application
  • Short messages (can be a pro too)
  • Mostly mobile devices only
  • App store compliance

Web Push Notifications


  • Very inexpensive (less than $30 a month)
  • SaaS based – no application to build or maintain
  • Send messages out from any device
  • Nothing for your subscribers to download and install
  • Just a Click to subscribe! (unlike email where you need to have the user enter their address, SMS where you need to get the user to enter their phone number and app push notifications, where users have to download and install your app, Web Push Notification only require the user to click a button! (this is still “work”, but it’s second nature to all of us, as the average user makes 2.9 million clicks a year!)
  • Unlike App Push Notifications, Web Push Notifications work on most devices: mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop
  • No compliance rules and regulations – the connection is between you and your customers & prospects
  • No Spam Folder!  – the connection is between you and your customers & prospects


  • Short messages (can be a pro too)