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The Three Keys To Email Deliverability

Level 2 - Champion Alumni
Level 2 - Champion Alumni

No one wants to waste time on email bounce backs or find out hours of hard work went straight to Spam. That's why email deliverability is the pillar of all email marketing campaigns. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the most crucial elements that impact your deliverability including email acquisition, email process maintenance, and email reporting, to ensure you are able to optimize your campaigns on Marketo right from the start.

Email Acquisition

Naturally, the first step for any email campaign is email acquisition, which sets the tone for your email deliverability program from the very beginning. When it comes to creating lists for campaigns, determining the quality of each email address is essential, but only made possible after an email has been sent. Creating an email validation page for acquisition is one of the leading ways to avoid this problem, turning cold leads into warm leads with more trackable Person Sources (AKA lead sources) with the click of a mouse. But either way, initially, you will need to monitor and map out which of these Person Sources generate the highest hard and soft bounces. At this point, you can create Smart Lists to determine the number of invalid emails coming in from each source - just add a business intelligence layer to group Invalid emails by Person Source,  and make or adjust campaign strategies accordingly.


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You can even filter by Category to use the Email Bounced filter and see which emails bounce by Email Program, Source, and how recently. You can learn more about Smart List functionality in this blog here.


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Email Process Maintenance 

Once you’ve created your lists, the next step is managing the email process. Marketo is outfitted with multiple filters to automate different types of email deliverability management tasks and make things run smoother by putting bounced emails into categories such as:


  • Category 1 Hard Email Bounces - Resulting in Marketo Persons Email Suspension 
    • AKA when emails are sent directly to spam
  • Category 2 Hard Email Bounces - Resulting in Marketo Persons Email Invalidation 
    • AKA when emails bounce because they’re simply unable to be delivered

Thanks to Triggered Smart Campaigns and Tokens, there are even more ways to further categorize your email deliverability program.


Smart Campaigns (accessed by the Smart List Tab) allow you to track based on:

  • the last type of bounce
  • the last email sent when the bounce was experienced
  • the category of the email bounce so you can determine whether or not to keep them on as valid leads

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This will also allow you to create “First Touch” (FT) and “Last Touch”  (LT) fields and stamp them from the moment you create them. If the FT field is empty, you can simply set it to match the value of the LT field (resulting in the email acquisition from a signup form or something similar) or nothing will happen. This way you can determine which Acquisition Programs were connected to the most email bounces, and make email category and program changes accordingly. 


You can also deduct points for specific hard and soft bounces — and run Smart Campaigns that allows you to first filter the bounces and then curate lists of leads that no longer result in bounces, removing the problem emails in the process.


Email Reporting

The final and most important aspect of Email Deliverability is Email Reporting. Email reporting helps you track your reputation and its input. This is done by calculating the volume of the following:

  • Emails sent
  • Recipients who unsubscribe
  • Spam complaints sent to ISPs
  • Other complaints sent to ISPs
  • Email engagement
  • Bounces/Non-Delivery Reports

The best way to help you manage your email reporting (and your reputation) is to sign up for one of the following free tools to help you see how your reputation is measured by each platform’s ISP’s:

  • Google Postmaster Tools
  • Microsoft Smart Network Data Services
  • Verizon Media Postmaster Tools

Marketo also offers reporting functionality for their 250ok partners for additional deep reputation management insights. On top of this, you should also regularly check blocklists to see if your IP Address of Domain has been collected somewhere along the way. This can save you both time and a headache. Some ways to track this are by using tools such as: 

  • Spamhaus
  • Spamcop
  • Barracuda
  • Composite Blocking List
  • Sender Score

DNS issues can cause intermittent and/or chronic email deliverability issues. Some important variables to track include: 

  • PTR record
  • Mail Server name
  • Sender domains

Now that you have a handle on the importance of Email Deliverability, take a few minutes to learn about Maintaining a Directory of Leads Bouncing Emails.  With these tools in your toolbelt, your Marketo campaigns are sure to be optimized for even better results moving forward.

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