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3 Email Deliverability Mistakes to Avoid at Any Cost During Holiday Season

With all the hours and effort that went into designing and developing emails, finding out that our email messages failed to reach our subscribers can be heartbreaking. After all, if the emails do not reach the inbox, all the effort and planning that go into campaign strategy, email template design, email copy creation and other related tasks are in vein. Email delivery to the inbox is one of the most misunderstood aspects of email marketing that marketers more often are baffled between the differences of email delivery and email deliverability. Though these two marketing terms are commonly used in terms of delivery of emails, but they mean differently. Let us see how…

The differences between email deliverability vs. email delivery

The differences between email delivery and email deliverability can be better understood by with definitions of both:

Email delivery implies to the status that indicates that your recipients have received your mail or not. This delivery notification arises before finding out if the folder is recipient’s inbox or the spam folder where the email has landed, whether the email can be accepted.

Email deliverability, also known as the Inbox Placement, is defined by the location where that email has reached after it has been accepted by the recipient’s ISP. Therefore, the email deliverability helps us identify whether the email has reached the inbox, spam folder or any other folder. 

Therefore, email deliverability can be divided into three sections, which are:


This is the part that refers to the set of protocols which establishes the sender’s identity when they are sending emails and these protocols include Domain-Based Message Authentication, DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Conformance (DMARC), and Reporting. These protocols work like license or passport that performs background check your sender’s identity while you attempt sending emails. 


The next part is the sender’s reputation which refers to the reputation score. This reputation score indicates the trustworthiness of the sender. Different internet service providers (ISP) assign different reputation scores to email senders based on positive subscriber behavior, how engaging their emails are, and if they are being marked as trustworthy senders. Email marketers need to take account of these factors to ensure their senders’ reputation is high and reliable in order to ensure deliverability of their emails. Hence, they should always practice sending only personalized, useful and relevant emails to targeted audience. 


Speaking of relevant emails, marketers must make it a top priority to ensure that 

email messages are personalized to their subscribers. Not only to subscribers’ first names, but the entire message including elements, information, offers and links being shared via messages. At the same time, marketers need to avoid email spam trigger words such as, “100% free” or “100% satisfied”, “Best Price”, “Free consultation”, “Lowest price” and similar to these phrases and words. 

Apart from these, marketers should also check on using too many exclamation marks, shortened URLs, odd email formatting etc. which will raise suspicion and impede email deliverability. Always think from your subscribers’ perspective and optimize email messages to what target audiences will mostly care about and need from your email messages. 

Now that you have learned the differences between email delivery and deliverability as well as factors that make or mar your email deliverability, you need to be aware and be careful of is to guard your holiday email marketing campaigns from these most common mistakes marketers make that hit email deliverability during holidays. 

Three most common mistakes to email deliverability avoid during the holidays

Escalating overnight email sent volume 

One of the most common mistakes is to mounting from a niche, small and targeted list of active subscribers who have signed up, also opened emails and clicked on the links in emails earlier to sending emails to every contact in the email list. Such practices to sudden targeting of large volume of contacts overnight, without following any planned and gradual targeting strategies can negatively impact an email sender’s reputation. The internet service providers or ISPs of recipients can assume this rampant increase in email volume suspicious and start marking emails as spam. ISPs perceive these mass-targeting email practices as spamming behavior and start redirecting emails from inbox to spam folders and blocks. 

Instead of overnight upscaling of email targeting, marketers can adopt a strategic increase in email volume day by day and the volume should not exceed 25% from the volume targeted in the past two weeks. With this compounding volume increase, marketers can achieve a wider range of targeting without affecting their sender’s reputation during the holidays.

Targeting inactive or sleepy subscribers who have not engaged for a long time

Another terrible holiday email delivery mistake to strictly avoid is when marketers start sending holiday email campaigns to inactive contacts who have not opened or engaged with email messages for around last six months or probably from last holiday season. Targeting inactive subscribers can cause mounting hard bounce rates as well as email spam trap hits when email addresses of inactive subscribers especially when they were not contacted. Both the incidences of spam traps and prolific hard bounce rates can lead to email deliverability issues. Targeting inactive subscribers also leads to lower email opens, click rates, subscriber engagement and increased unsubscribe rate and subscribers’ complaints. And all these culminate into email deliverability issues and spam reporting that damage the sender’s score.

Remember that the highest share of revenue is generated from the highly engaging and active recipients. And the best and probably the only route to increase ROI from holiday email marketing campaigns is making sure that all your emails are reaching your recipients’ inbox. 

Rapid Increase of email frequency that subscribers face “inbox noise”

This is another common email marketing mistake that marketers need to steer clear of during the holiday season. Many organizations target customers and prospects with weekly sales newsletters, that they often increase up to 3 newsletters per week or even worse daily to achieve their holiday sales target. Subscribers who have not expressed interest in receiving such frequent newsletters and email communications are likely to be exasperated with the heightened flow of emails and start unsubscribing or marking emails as spam which will prevent future emails from reaching inboxes thus, decreasing the rate of email opens, clickthrough rates, engagement rate and eventually conversion rates. Therefore, the attempt of attaining sales goals by amplifying the email frequency can backfire marketers by increasing unsubscribes and lessening the email deliverability during the holiday season.      

However, one trick to increase proportionately email frequency rates is by providing targeted audience with useful product or service updates, solutions, lucrative offers and valuable content that they have engaged in the last six months or they have specified in the email subscription management centers or email preference centers. 

Hence, marketers need to focus on relevant, attention-grabbing and valuable content to attract and engage their customer segments during the holiday season instead of hitting subscribers with more emails – the main focus should be quality over quantity to augment the prospects of getting their emails delivered, seen, opened, engaged or used as intended to increase conversion rates during the holiday season.