Email Deliverability Checklist To Ensure Inbox Placement Of Your Emails

Email Deliverability Parameters

Author : Sandeep Saxena

Most common mistake in email marketing and why is it important to follow all email deliverability best practices

Many times we are approached by clients who are up for a big product launch or a big event. They parked email marketing as something to be picked in final stage. Now when the big day is only a few weeks away they quickly sign up for an email marketing service and start testing out their campaigns, only to realise its not working and emails go to spam even for very small volume.

I always recommend my clients to keep their email marketing running continuously through out the year so that it can be easily scaled when required. Maintaining a healthy email platform, a healthy IP and domain reputation and an engaged audience is a continuous journey.

What is an email deliverability checklist

We have developed an email deliverability checklist which after studying and researching all email deliverability best practices in detail. The checklist is very through and covers every check you need to run on your test campaigns to ensure there are no issues in the campaign which can impact your inboxing.

Many of the technical checks are built-in to most of the ESP (email service provider) platforms now a days but you will still need to ensure you comply with all data management, content and design checks.

What is email deliverability and how is it different from email delivery : Email delivery and email deliverability are two different concepts. Email delivery is only about delivering the emails to the recipients weather inbox, spam or any other tab, while email deliverability is defined as percentage of your emails which are meaningfully delivered to the inbox of your recipients.

For any questions please feel free to approach us any time.

Email Deliverability Checklist | Email Looks (design, content, header, footer):

  • My subject line does not have any pushy words and no words like lottery, prize, fortune, etc
  • My email content does not have any spammy words (Reference)
  • I made sure correct image / text ratio in email
  • All images have ALT text.
  • Campaign has all valid links and does not use any URL which has been flagged as fraudulent
  • I have not used an URL shortener for the links. You can find the most abused URL shorteners at
  • My campaign has an unsubscribe link in the email footer.
  • My campaign has a physical address in the email footer.
  • I included links to my social media and privacy policy in the footer of my emails
  • My email has list-unsubscribe header in it
  • I have checked my content for total number of links and its within recommended range
  • From name, subject line and body content added to the campaign
  • Campaign has a plain text version
  • Campaign has same version in HTML and plain text
  • HTML is not broken
  • Email size is preferably between 15kb to 100 kb (recommended)
  • Campaign does not have any unsafe or binary attachments
  • Campaign is not image only
  • Email design is responsive on all devices
  • Campaign HTML does not have any unsupported tag
  • Campaign has minimal JavaScript
  • I made sure campaign does not have any iframe (instead use link to the content you want to embed)
  • I have not used any flash in my email and alternatively used only GIFs
  • I have not embedded any forms in my email which need java script to submit the information
  • I have not used any rich media content (HTML5) in my campaign
  • I have checked my grammar and spellings (reference)
  • My email is well written and does not give impression of a phishing email (reference)
  • I have not used big fonts and flashy colours and a lot of Exclamations !!!!! and $$$$$$
  • I have not used phishing phrases
  • I have made sure my reply-to and from email address are correct

Email Deliverability Checklist | Domain Reputation:

  • My domain’s reputation is good in google postmaster and domain is not blacklisted anywhere
  • My email list is not purchased.
  • I have my feedback loop processing in place
  • I have hard bounce processing in place
  • I do not have too high number of abandoned emails in my list
  • I do not have spam traps in my email list
  • I do not use free email addresses as a From email address
  • My sending domain has a valid website or at-least it has a simple landing page or redirected to parent domain
  • I maintain a consistent email volume
  • My SPF , DKIM, DMARC, rDNS are properly set and pass/align as required
  • I am not sending my campaigns using ‘via domain’ as provided by few ESPs
  • My domain is not very new and I have not purchased a dropped domain
  • I am not sending very high volume on a new domain
  • I do not change email sending domains too frequently
  • My domain’s whois record is public
  • My domain’s website has a privacy policy
  • My social media handles links given on my website and my social media has some traction
  • My domain was never used for any phishing attacks
  • My website is being indexed by Google and Bing
  • My domain has some authority/trust level on internet with active back-links

Email Deliverability Checklist | Engagement:

  • I have cleaned my email list and list quality is good
  • My email list is opted-in (preferably double opted-in)
  • I checked my subject lines for best practices (length, urgency, special characters, no all CAPS etc)
  • I occassionaly ask users to add/mark my email address in address book/safe sender list.
  • My email lists are segmented (does not send all emails to all subscribers).
  • I send campaigns at the right time (time zone + likeness to open at a particular time).

Email Deliverability Checklist | Mailboxes:

  • My domain has required email boxes (abuse@ postmaster@ fbl@) and a valid mail exchanger (MX) record for domain
  • I have mailboxes for my From, Reply-To, Return-Path email addresses
  • I have (preferably) same From and Reply-To email address

Do you know what is an email deliverability audit?

Read here

Email Deliverability Checklist | IP/Infrastructure Reputation:

  • I have analyzed my email volume and accordingly selected dedicated/shared IPs
  • I don’t change IPs frequently
  • I have warmed up my IP addresses
  • I have checked IPs and Servers are properly configured
  • My sending IPs are not blacklisted
  • My sending IPs are TLS authenticated
  • My IPs are sending consistent email volume
  • My IPs are never used for phishing attacks


Sandeep Saxena is CEO at Postbox Consultancy Services. He is working as an email marketing and deliverability consultant for last 5 years. Before venturing in to Postbox Consultancy Services, Sandeep worked in to IT industry for close to 10 years as a DevOps consultant. Sandeep is based in Bhopal, India and when not working he is often seen reading a book or doing meditation.