Cold email deliverability doesn’t have to be the stuff that great sagas are made of. In fact, you can narrow the basics down to just a couple of key ideas. It’s true that there are many nuances of email deliverability and people who devote their entire business to the subject, but for basic understanding, all you need to know is three core points. Forget the epic tomes of email deliverability and stick with some simple rules for success:

Content is King

The more people actively engage with your message, the greater your deliverability will be. Engagement should always be your end goal, meaning that you need to make sure your content is stuff that people actually want to interact with. With anything you send, ask yourself “Does this say more than what people can already find on my website?” Make your messages contain more than just standard information and take it to the next level with intelligent content.

There should be a reason behind everything you put out there, either to meet a need, to inform, to collaborate, and so on. The better your content is, the more people will be motivated to engage, and the better off you’ll be from a deliverability standpoint.

Monitor the Metrics That Matter

What exactly does matter when it comes to email deliverability? Sender reputation and open rates. Keep those two metrics front and center when creating cold emails and you’ll be good. Here’s why: sender reputation is the measure of how wanted your mail is. Another way to think of it is how someone determines the engagement level of your message. Your sender reputation varies by Email Service Provider (ESP) and by who your prospects are. ESPs want to see activity from their users, so the more engaging your content is, the better reputation you’ll have (unless they click report spam).

Open rate is the best metric to give you a pulse on how you’re doing, deliverability wise. If your open rate isn’t so hot, maybe your sender reputation needs more work. These two metrics are closely tied to each other, with both as important indicators of how well you’re inboxing.

A Tight List is the Right List

Your emails may be cold, but your list needs to be hot. By this, we mean hot leads and a list that’s warmed up and ready to go. You don’t want a list of dead leads that can seriously harm your deliverability. Here’s how it works: You run into problems when you send emails to old, out of service email addresses, or even entire domains that are not in business anymore. Spam lists will buy up these domains and use them to blacklist your email campaigns, meaning your emails will head straight to the spam filter without ever seeing the light of day. The only crime you’re committing is not staying on top of your list. Keep your list up to date, make sure your recipients are all still valid, and trim it down so it’s tight and concise. Leads are all about quality over quantity, so aim for a great list of fewer prospects instead of a massive collection that’s outdated and harmful to your deliverability.


That’s deliverability, in a nutshell. There are plenty of resources available if you want an expert to dig deep into your deliverability woes, but if you’re taking your cold email matters into your own hands, make sure to keep these three points in mind for any messages you send, and you’ll be well on your way to deliverability success.