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Email deliverability: how to prepare your inbox & build a lead list

Email deliverability explained

Email deliverability is simply the rate in which an outgoing email is delivered to the recipient's primary inbox of their email address. An important factor of email deliverability is the domain's reputation. A bad reputation can drastically affect a user's email deliverability and send those outgoing messages straight to the recipient's spam folder.

Email deliverability is extremely important for email marketers who use cold email to generate sales. A high email deliverability rate means that their cold email outreach campaigns are successfully delivering to their target customers. A low email deliverability rate means that those cold emails are being sent to recipients, but ending up in the spam folder. If an outgoing cold email lands in the recipient's spam folder, the email reputation, open rate, CTR, and engagement rates all go down.

How to prepare your inbox for email deliverability

Preparing your inbox for good email deliverability can be a daunting task. To make the process as easy as possible, we are going to break down the steps for you. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when preparing your inbox for email deliverability.

Warm up your domain for email deliverability

How inbox warming works:

The process of warming up a domain is when a network of inboxes communicate with each other automatically using high quality content in the emails. The emails sent and received are replied to, favorited, and moved to folders to show positive email engagement on the domain. Warming up a domain can greatly benefit a user who plans to engage in cold email outreach campaigns.

When a domain is consistently warmed up, the internet service providers and email service providers recognize that domain as healthy, active, and in good standing. By preparing your inbox for email deliverability by warming up the domain, users are avoiding being marked as spam, becoming deactivated, or worse, ending up on a blacklist.

Using an email regularly is expected by ISPs and ESPs, so adding an extra layer of reputation can be beneficial to your domain. As the domain ages, high deliverability metrics can be hard to maintain. The health of domains can slowly decline when there is a lack of consistent positive engagement.

By utilizing Warmup Inbox, users can find their email deliverability rates and domain reputation increasing, while their likelihood of being marked as spam or landing on a blacklist significantly decreases.

Set Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for email deliverability

Setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your domain can significantly increase email deliverability. This will show ISPs and ESPs that your domain is authentic and free from any spammers attempting to send emails from your domain (otherwise known as spoofing). Spoofing has become popular among spammers, so setting up the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records are very important.

  • SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. SPF is a layer of protection in terms of authentication and can prevent spammers from sending malicious emails from your domain.

  • DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. DKIM is another layer of protection in terms of authentication where mail servers are allowed to verify that the specific message in question was sent from a related email address.

  • DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. DMARC is a protocol that determines how authentic incoming and outgoing emails are from a domain.

Maintain good reputations for email deliverability

Having a good reputation is like hitting the jackpot when it comes to how ISPs and ESPs view your domain. Making one wrong decision during an email outreach campaign can significantly harm your reputation, not to mention the campaign itself. There are four important reputations you'll need to protect at all times in order to prepare your inbox for email deliverability: IP reputation, domain reputation, content reputation, and inbox reputation.

IP reputation


Simply put, IP reputation is the most important factor for deliverability under a domain. The IP history is heavily reviewed when an ESP is trying to determine if the message is safe or not.

How to maintain

Maintain your IP reputation by building highly targeted lead lists with good quality recipients. Your message should relevant to those who receive it.

How to avoid a bad IP reputation

Avoid email bounces at all costs. Be sure you are sending your email to the right contact and that there aren't any typos before hitting send. When an email bounces, your IP Reputation is significantly impacted.

Always verify email addresses before sending to ensure inboxes are active and open to receive messages.

Domain reputation


Domain reputation is the score that ESPs give a specific domain, not the IP Address. The score is on a scale of zero to one hundred, with one hundred being the goal. The better your domain reputation, the more trustworthy you appear to ESPs.

How to maintain

Domain reputation can be impacted by a number of factors after you've sent a cold email outreach campaign. To maintain a high domain reputation, work on the quality of your email message and who you are sending to. Having a high open rate, reply rate, and read rate can all significantly increase your domain reputation. That is why it's so important to narrow down a great lead list before firing off any outreach efforts.

How to avoid a bad domain reputation

Avoid a bad domain reputation by checking the recipients before sending. Hard bounces can plummet your domain reputation, so make sure the email you are attempting to reach is typed in correctly and active. Another way to damage your domain reputation is being marked as spam. Again, make sure you are only contacting those who want to read what you're sending.

Content reputation


Content reputation is the score given after ESPs and ISPs scan your message and determine if you are malicious or not. Always remember, the contents of a message matter. ESPs and ISPs look at the type of language used, whether there are links or attachments, and the amount of characters in an email message.

How to maintain

Only include one link if possible. The more links, the more problems when it comes to spam filters. Also, watch your content length. Always stick to 500 characters or less to slide through the spam filters with no problems.

How to avoid a bad content reputation

Be sure to avoid using spammy words that could trigger a spam filter to throw your message into spam. A few examples of spammy words are "free", "Act now", "Password", and "Direct Funds", "$$$". You can find a much longer list here.

Inbox reputation


Inbox reputation evaluates who a user is reaching out to, the reputation of that email domain, the sending volume, the contents of the message, and the level of engagement.

How to maintain

Maintain your inbox reputation by only performing cold email outreach on quality email addresses. When doing so, be sure to include quality content that the recipient will want to read. Another way to maintain your Inbox Reputation is to regularly use your email address to maintain positive engagement levels.

How to avoid a bad inbox reputation

Avoid sending cold emails to unfit buyers who may mark your message as spam as this can be detrimental to your inbox reputation. Also avoid coming off as spam at all times. Be sure to watch for the amount of spam-like words that may be in your message.

Set up an avatar for email deliverability

Adding authenticity to your cold email outreach campaigns is crucial in today's world. With social media's popularity, many people are used to matching a face to a name. As a result, setting up an avatar is a great way to authenticate yourself with the recipient and create a sense of familiarity.

Another way to create authenticity for good deliverability is to set up an email signature to tell your recipients who you are. An example of an email signature is:

Elbert Alias
Founder of Wappalyzer

How to build a lead list for email deliverability

Lead lists are lengthy documents that include detailed information about potential customers who may be interested in the product, service, or topic you are attempting to promote. The quality of your lead list is crucial for a successful cold email campaign and good email deliverability. When building a lead list, the first step is to identify your target customer.

Luckily, building a lead list for email deliverability is easy with a lead generation company like Wappalyzer. It will find your future prospects by examining the technologies used to drive their business. When using Wappalyzer, you can target:

  • The industries you'd like to research
  • The software and services your audience uses
  • The location of your target customer
  • Websites by traffic

Wappalyzer indexes company websites, contact information, and social media profiles to uncover a trove of information. You'll be able to export a list of quality buyers who will be waiting for your cold email outreach. Producing a lead list from Wappalyzer can be a great way to reach customers you have not even thought of in the past.

How to verify an email for email deliverability

As we've mentioned before, preventing emails from bouncing is crucial for good email deliverability. A good solution to this problem is using an email verification service. Running your email list through Wappalyzer's email verification tool can prevent your email messages from bouncing or being reported as spam.

The options are verifying one email at a time or you can upload an entire list, saving you time and energy. The tool will check mail server connectivity and whether or not the inbox is available to receive mail before you even send a single message. Using this tool will remove uncertainty and risk from your cold email outreach campaign.


Sure, preparing your inbox takes a good amount of time to accomplish, but once you accomplish that, you are off to the races. Properly warming up your domain is crucial to email deliverability. This is a step that cannot be overlooked, or there will be many issues in the future. Follow the steps above for preparing your inbox so that when your lead list is generated and your emails are verified, you are ready to begin your most successful cold email outreach campaign yet!

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