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Email deliverability content tips
Last updated on: January 20, 2023

Your email delivery rate — the percentage of email messages that reach your contacts’ inboxes — is important to monitor due to its direct impact on your marketing ROI. When contacts don’t receive your emails, they can’t open them, click on your links or purchase your products or services.

While Ontraport protects its sender reputation by implementing email standards to maintain stellar delivery rates, there are specific steps you can take in your emails, or by using additional services and managing your contacts, can that maximize your email marketing results.

Check out this Ontraport University lesson on email deliverability tips:

How to write copy for good delivery

The content in your emails impacts whether or not your message will be delivered. When you create new emails, follow these copywriting best practices.

Copy plain text HTML

Always include a plain text version of your email. Spam blockers often prevent the delivery of emails where the plain text and designed versions of the message do not match each other. Providing both copies, and making sure that they match, will improve your email deliverability.

As a best practice, you should click the “Copy from HTML” button after designing a new message or simply adding some copy.

No raw URLs

Make sure that every link in your message is either hyperlinked or connected to a button. Placing entire URLs into the body of your message can set off spam triggers. The reason for this is scammers will sometimes add deceptive URLs in their messages that actually link to a different page than where the link appears to go. For example, the email message might show, but actually be hyperlinked to

Only repeat links up to two times in the same message

If an email contains the same link three or more times, ISPs are likely to filter your message into spam.

Keep formatting consistent

It is best to avoid switching between bold, underlined and normal text frequently because ISPs view inconsistent text style as a sign that the message may be spam.

Don’t use swipe copy 

When spammers use swipe copy — sample copy for advertising and sales letters that spammers often copy and paste word-for-word — they ruin the reputation of that copy. Including this copy in your emails will likely decrease your delivery rate.

Don’t use URL shorteners

Although useful for social media, URL shorteners do more damage than good in email messages. Spammers will use shared domain link shorteners to send people to malware and viruses, which ultimately lands them in the spam folder. If you use the same link shortener as a spammer, your reputation will be lumped in with theirs. As it is a best practice not to include raw urls in messages, there is no advantage to using shortened URLs in your message.

Image-to-text ratio

Make sure that you have a good ratio between images and message (20% images and 80% text). Spammers often hide links in images within their messages hoping to get unintentional clicks. As a result, spam filters block image-only emails.

Character count

Your emails should contain at least 500 characters of text. A spam email often only has one to three sentences with a single link, so any email with fewer than 500 characters will likely be caught in the spam filter. On the other hand, an overly long email may not keep your contacts’ attention, so we suggest that you limit your emails to no more than five or six paragraphs.

Test your email before sending

Once you have drafted your message and implemented best practices, it’s a good idea to test the message before sending it. You can use the “Send Test Email” button on your message editor, or create a contact to manually send yourself the email

“From” name and address

Your “From” name and address are the first things your contacts see in their inbox before opening your email. If your contacts don’t know who they’re getting mail from, they are more likely to delete your message.

When selecting your “from” name and address, it is important to:

  • Keep your “from” information consistent across all communications
  • Clarify who you are by including the name of your company or organization in your “from” name
  • If possible, use an email address that’s from your own domain
  • Don’t include any special characters

“Reply to” address

Your reply address should be an active mailbox where you can receive replies. It is best if your “reply to” address is clearly related to your business to make sure your subscribers don’t mark your messages as spam because they don’t recognize your address.

Receiving and responding to messages sent to your “reply to” address is an opportunity to build connections with your list. The more messages you have between you and your subscribers, the more likely their inbox is to automatically add you to an allowlist, so it’s a win-win for both you and your contacts.

Subject lines and header titles

When writing your email subject lines and preheaders, try to avoid spam-trigger words whenever possible. Some are obvious, like “Make Millions Now,” or “$$$,” but even some of the more seemingly harmless words like “Call now” and “Amazing” can catch the spam filter.

If you need to use some of those words, you aren’t completely out of luck — just remember that context is what matters. As spam filters have become more sophisticated, they can now analyze the context in which you use words.

Engaging call to action

One of the best ways to get your message into inboxes is to start a conversation with your readers through an engaging CTA. You can encourage readers to comment on your blog or Facebook page or to simply reply to your message. A compelling CTA is a great way to boost click-through rates, make your email more engaging and improve delivery rates.

Include allowlisting instructions

One of the best things you can do to boost engagement is to encourage your contacts to add your address to an allowlist. It is best to include step-by-step instructions on how to add your address in your welcome email to contacts who just subscribed.

  • The setup is different for every inbox, so it’s best to give your subscribers instructions for several popular email services. These directions show your subscribers how to mark your email as a safe sender — here’s how Ontraport does it.
Related university lessons
Email + SMS broadcasts
Learn how to send mass email or text messages to your contacts — also called “broadcasts” — in three simple steps.
Email deliverability tips
There are five things that determine which emails get trashed and which make it into the inbox. Learn how your email content, sender address, IP address and more can influence where your emails end up.
How to not be a spammer
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to send messages to only the people who want to get them.
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 Pro tips

Tip #1: The OntraMail and Raw HTML Email Editor show you why your message was given a specific spam score.
To access this information:

  1. Go to your Messages collection and click on the message you would like to check.
  2. In OntraMail, click Settings then click the tool tip next to spam score.
  3. In the Raw HTML Email Editor, click the tool tip next to your spam score under the “Stats” section on the left side of the editor.
Note, this functionality is not available for Simple or Quick Mail.
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