7 Things That Affect Your Email Deliverability, CTR And Other Metrics

We all have had a bad campaign. Sometimes things just don’t work out. But if failing email campaigns are becoming the norm for you, something’s wrong.

Think back to it. Is your product good? Is your writing style good? Are you using smart drip email campaigns? If you’ve answered yes to at least some of these, the problem might be in the tech side of your campaigns.

These unwritten rules and invisible algorithms of emailing are the pitfalls of many a marketer. Most believe that constant change of technology has long thrown them off balance, but the truth is the technical cornerstones haven’t changed much in the last 10 years.

Keep in mind these 7 preventable mistakes for high email deliverability, open and click-through rates.

1. Incorrect personalization

What it affects: open rate, CTR, conversion rate

Automated personalization via email marketing platforms and tools is one of the greatest marketing inventions, for sure. When used right, it can grow your rates through the roof. Problems can start in two cases.

Wrong personalization tags. The most common mistake with personalization tags is the use of [square brackets] instead of {curly brackets}. In practice, when you use [NAME] instead of {NAME}, personalization won’t work and everyone on your list will receive an email with this tag written in the subject line unchanged. It’s not a good look.

No replacement text. If you don’t have a name for your subscriber, or they didn’t leave a valid one, and your personalization tag is located in the beginning of the subject line, they will receive an email with a subject line that looks like this:

no replacement text

, we’d love to see you at our webinar!” does not exactly seem like a good first impression. This is a minor mistake that seriously harms your open rate and CTR. Make sure you’ve set up a replacement text for when the necessary personalization data is missing, even a simple Hey, Hi, or Hello will suffice.

2. Symbols or emojis in your subject line

What it affects: email campaign deliverability, open rate

symbols and emojis

We all love to stand out, but using emojis to make your email more noticeable in the recipient’s inbox can backfire.

First, emojis are rendered differently by every browser, email client and operational system. Make sure you know exactly what emoji you’re sending using this Unicode emoji encyclopedia.

Secondly, emojis will be analyzed for spam by security filters. If the filters notice irregularities in your subject line, they might flag you. Make sure you don’t use too many.

Thirdly, emojis aren’t perceived that well by certain audiences. Avoid using them in serious business communication and with audiences over 50. Make sure you A/B test your audience before sending mass campaigns with emojis in the subject line.

3. More than 1 link in your email copy

What it affects: email deliverability, CTR

Putting too many links in your email body is bad for 2 reasons.

First of all, it distracts your recipient from the main call-to-action. The best example of this problem is when the one main link leading to your campaign’s goal, is overshadowed by links leading to your recent article, webinar registration, social channels and more.

The second reason is a technical one – emails with multiple links in the body are more suspicious to spam filters.

If you want to keep your email deliverability and rates high, we suggest using no more than 1, or maximum 2 links per copy. Use more than 1 link only if it is absolutely necessary and you don’t have any other options.

4. You are using email attachments

What it affects: deliverability, email reputation

spam traps

Replacing links with attachments to avoid using multiple links may seem like a good idea, but it’s not. Using attachments in your email campaigns, no matter if it’s a bulk or small cold campaign, will result in a high complaint rate. That is if your email gets to the recipient through the spam filters. Heavy attachments are likely to trigger spam filters, especially images.

The only scenario where you can use email attachments is when you are sending a personal letter with a highly personalized attachment to a single recipient (a custom report, a certificate, a document). To find out more about how attachments affect your campaigns, read this article from our team.

5. You are using too much formatting

What it affects: deliverability

There is nothing wrong with making your email messages look beautiful. This is especially effective when sending campaigns to your existing users.

However, do not oversaturate your email templates with scripts – using too much formatting and hidden code will harm your delivery rates by triggering spam filters.

When sending bulk campaigns or drip campaigns to cold leads, using HTML will trigger spam filtering mechanisms and most of your messages will land in the spam folder.

So use HTML and light templates for existing users and subscribers, and no HTML or scripts when sending campaigns to cold email lists.

6. You have bad domain reputation

What it affects: email campaign deliverability

Have you sent too many bulk mailing campaigns to non-subscribers or cold leads? Well, unfortunately, this has affected your domain reputation.

Spam filters and email service providers analyze billions of email messages and log all the from-addresses and domain names associated with low score or spammy email addresses.

Even if you used a from-name that has a different domain in it, but used a link to your main website within the email, it was still tracked by spam filtering mechanisms. Which is why it’s a good idea to have multiple domains in rotation, in case you need to use secondary domains for bulk or cold mailings.

7. Spam words in your subject line or email copy

What it affects: deliverability

One of the easiest ways to end up in the spam folder is to load your email with spam words that most email service providers filter out.

These are not some elaborate words, they are simple words and word combinations aimed at catching the recipient’s attention. In fact, you could be using them right now. Here are just a few examples of these spam words: Free Sample, Free Offer, Get It Now, Great Offer, Earn Per Week, Fantastic Deal, No Questions Asked, Insurance, Limited Time Only etc.

As you can see, many of these have long been the go-to words for many marketers and sales representatives. Be creative in your wording and use spam word checkers before sending your campaigns.


There are many obstacles on the way to a successful email campaign, one of them being getting into your recipient’s inbox. Deliverability issues can be solved by following these simple rules. When deliverability is not a problem, make sure your open rates are high by perfecting personalization and keep it simple for high CTR.

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