What to Do About Low Email Delivery Rates

“Twenty percent of email in the United States and Canada is still not making it to the inbox while 3% of email goes to the “junk” or “bulk” folder and another 16% goes missing.” – Return Path (2010)

That’s a scary statement for email marketers. And the stats are similar worldwide:

In Asia, 3% hits the junk folder while 10% goes missing. In Europe, 3.6% gets junked, 11% disappears.”

And this is legitimate email, sent to those who’ve opted in. So, yes, this can (and probably sometimes does) happen to your email.

Let’s talk about how to prevent that, shall we?

Here, I’ll Demonstrate

This is my trash folder. These are emails from marketers I’ve opened from before. I’ve clicked a few of their links. I never added them to my contact list, though, just to see what happens.

So. You see what happens?

Here’s What You Can Do About It

Learn the Nuts and Bolts

Yes, AWeber handles the technical side of deliverability for our customers. But to make sure you’re doing everything you can do yourself, you may want to get familiar with the back end of things.
Get Started Here

Aim To Be a Priority With Your Readers

Major email providers now offer ways to sort email as you get it – for example, Gmail’s Priority Inbox. Bad news for spammers, but it could be good news for you…
Find Out How

Protect Against Malicious Sign Ups

You’d never intentionally spam someone. But malicious sites crop up. And they would use your web form to sign people up for unwanted mail. So make sure you’re protecting against them.
Use This Technique

Prevent Spam Complaints

You can be doing everything right, and some people will still click the “spam” button. But don’t think there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. We have 5 solutions for you to try.
See Them

Don’t Purchase a List

For goodness sakes. Do you want emails from random brands you’ve never heard of? Of course not. Neither do the people on that list. And as for what it’ll do to your reputation…
Well, Find Out

Stick With One “From” Address

Switch the address your email is “from,” and subscribers may be surprised (especially when they have to re-opt to open your images and re-add you to their address books. If you MUST switch, at least follow this example…
See the Example

Get Whitelisted

If your readers say you’re okay, their email providers will believe them. So ask them to put in a good word for you.
3 Ways to Ask

Choose Confirmed Opt-In

We know, we know. You want as many subscribers as possible, and some of them aren’t going to bother to confirm their interest. But that may actually be a good thing.
Find Out Why

Use an Unsubscribe Header

If you’re an AWeber customer, we handle this for you. If not, you may want to check into this – it’s a good solution for subscribers who don’t trust standard links to unsubscribe.
Read More

One Last Thing About Deliverability

It’s dynamic.

Technology changes, subscribers get more savvy and the email industry evolves. And this effects your delivery rates.

So if you don’t already get updates for the AWeber blog, you may want to sign up for them now. You’ll get emails twice a week with tips for creating emails that get delivered – and get results.


  1. Tikyd

    6/13/2011 9:20 am

    Being white listed is something that seems to be easy to ask for. Concerning being marked as a priority, I don’t know if as a subscriber of other marketers’ lists, I would do that for every one of them.

  2. Steve

    6/14/2011 3:18 am

    Most email delivery rates are massively inaccurate, IMO – the best way to check is to send to seed lists to see if your creative is making it through. Stripping down your creative to the bare minimum in order to get ther chance to whitelist often helps considerably.

  3. Haroun Kola

    6/14/2011 2:19 pm

    Great tips many of which I need to implement to get above my meagre 20% open rate.
    Thanks for this exhaustive article.

  4. Richard Hill

    8/7/2011 6:10 am

    We put the Unsusbscribe right there at the top and it really does help. I hate having to find the Unsub link – in too many cases it’s a game of hide and seek!

  5. Michelle

    8/19/2011 10:40 am

    “That’s a scary statement for email marketers.” – very well said. In addition… We put the Unsubscribe right there at the top and it really does help.

  6. James

    7/15/2012 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the tips we are looking at improving our open rates, so many people just seem happy with the open rate they have and try to grow their list. If we increased our open rate 10% we might not even need to grow our list.

  7. Phil

    12/13/2012 6:25 am

    I have found in the past i have had the above issues. Getting whitelisted helped dramatically.

  8. brighton

    6/19/2013 10:39 am

    Bad news for email campaigns really, software has to deal with spam somehow otherwise we’d be flooded