6 fundamental tools for better email results

Deliverability is a lot of small pieces that fit together into a strategy. From knowing which authentications to prioritize, to which emails to avoid send messages to, the deliverability puzzle is much easier to solve when you use smart tools. Wondering where to start? We’ve got you covered.



Even in today’s futuristic AI marketplace, email remains a powerful means for businesses to connect with their audiences. And at the core of email communications lies email deliverability – the ability to send your emails directly to the inbox. Without it, senders are just pushing messages into the void, missing out on all the benefits of the channel.

Unfortunately, email deliverability is both an art and a science, and there isn’t a “set it and forget it” solution for email deliverability. To ensure the highest email ROI, you have to understand each facet of deliverability, the circumstances that impact it, and the tools that can help you control and maximize the success of your sending.

In this blog post, we’ll recap five challenges of modern-day deliverability and show you the tools that make it easier to conquer them.

Why is it important to use the right tools to monitor your email deliverability?

Senders like email because it is relatively cheap to send it and has a huge return on investment –  somewhere in the ballpark of a $40 return on every $1 spent.

But it isn’t as straightforward as just “pressing Send”. Sending more email doesn’t automatically mean making more money. In fact, sending a lot may end up hurting your bottom line.

Optimizing how much you send, when you send, and who you send to is all part of deliverability, but there’s really only one rule you need to keep in mind: It doesn’t matter that email is a low-cost investment; if no one is receiving or reading your messages, your ROI is zero.

This becomes even more important during peak sending seasons. Homing in on the individual pieces of your deliverability strategy ahead of the holiday season without losing site of the big picture is critical to ensure email is driving ROI and supporting your customer experience.

Over the past few months, we’ve been diving into each aspect of deliverability with our in-house experts. Now, it’s time to look at the features and tools that can help you address each challenge and make deliverability easy.

Learn more: Explore how optimizing your email deliverability directly influences your ROI. Learn strategies from our VP of Deliverability, Kate Nowrouzi in part one of our deliverability series: How email deliverability impacts ROI.

Let’s get started.

The 6 best tools to improve email deliverability

There are many email deliverability tools to choose from to support your email program. We’re going to go over the top types of tools you need in your arsenal, what they do, and highlight the features and differentiators that make Mailgun Optimize’s solution best-in-class. We understand that every email program and deliverability strategy is different so all the tools we cover are ESP agnostic, meaning you don’t have to subscribe to everything to use the one tool you need now.

Email validation to keep your email list clean

Without a clean email list, you’ll never have a clean sender reputation. Fortunately, validating emails is a simple way to keep your sender reputation healthy.

Maintaining your email list means growing it correctly in the first place. Practices like double opt-in help to verify emails when they are first captured, while email engagement strategies like sunset policies help manage addresses through various levels of engagement, telling you which subscribers to target, who needs re-engagement, and when it’s time to retire certain users so they don’t pull down your program.

But email validation tools add an extra layer of protection to your list management strategy, allowing you to filter out incorrect email addresses, spam traps, and other potentially harmful address that can impact your deliverability.

Mailgun single verification

Email validations with Mailgun Validate

Sinch Mailgun offers one of the most robust email validation tools in the industry, Mailgun Validate. Validate uses real cached send data to validate lists with unrivaled speed and accuracy, which helps brands maintain healthy subscriber lists that lead to a strong sender reputation.

Here are our top three reasons to use a tool like Mailgun Validate to manage your email lists.

With­ Mail­gun Vali­date

With­out an emai­l vali­dations tool­

With­ Mail­gun Vali­date

Vali­date your­ emai­l list­ agai­nst bill­ions of real­ addr­esses, and agai­nst synt­ax rule­s for the top ISPs­ and mail­box prov­iders.

Manu­ally comb­ thro­ugh your­ emai­l list­ to remo­ve inco­rrect addr­esses.

With­out an emai­l vali­dations tool­

Remo­ve bad emai­l addr­esses that­ caus­e hard­ boun­ces and impa­ct your­ send­er repu­tation.

Take­ a deep­ dive­ into­ your­ boun­ce metr­ics to iden­tify indi­vidual bad addr­esses to remo­ve.

Iden­tify role­-based addr­esses that­ are like­ly used­ for dist­ribution list­s and may resu­lt in high­er spam­ comp­laint rate­s.

Sear­ch for role­-based addr­esses afte­r your­ comp­laint-rate has incr­eased and you beco­me awar­e they­ are impa­cting your­ send­er repu­tation.

Learn more: Dive into the finer points of email list management in part two of our series: The dirty truth about email lists and how to scrub them with email list cleaning.

Inbox placement testing to measure deliverability

Without strong inbox placement, your messages may be skipped over.

Users open the messages they can easily see, meaning messages that land in the primary inbox have a stronger likelihood of being read than messages that land in the social or promotions tabs. Unless users are hunting for a very specific message, usually a shipping confirmation or other transactional email, you can be sure they won’t read anything that lands in the spam folder.

Inbox placement testing tools allow you to see where your email will land and test for deliverability weaknesses. They also ensure best practices like authentication that help achieve optimal inbox placement.

Inbox Placement Testing by Mailgun Optimize

Inbox placement testing allows you to proactively test which folder or tab your emails will land in across all major mailbox providers. The tool also helps check your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC status as well as provide SpamAssassin score to gauge the spamminess of your email content.

Here are the three ways Mailgun Optimize’s Inbox Placement Testing works to increase the likelihood of your messages being read.

With­ Inbo­x Plac­ement Test­ing

With­out a tool­

With­ Inbo­x Plac­ement Test­ing

Test­ wher­e your­ emai­ls will­ land­ betw­een the spam­ fold­er, prim­ary inbo­x, or prom­otions tab.­

Gain­ no insi­ght into­ wher­e your­ mess­ages fall­ unle­ss you see the spam­ fold­er refl­ected in your­ metr­ics.

With­out a tool­

Unde­rstand why­ your­ emai­ls are land­ing in spac­e with­ diag­nostic tool­s that­ help­ you iden­tify spec­ific deli­verability issu­es.

Rese­arch and addr­ess deli­verability issu­es with­out the adva­ntage of anal­ytical tool­s to help­ iden­tify gaps­ or prob­lems.

Ensu­re you have­ corr­ectly conf­igured auth­entication prot­ocols like­ DKIM­, SPF,­ and DMAR­C.

Iden­tify issu­es afte­r send­ing by look­ing the pass­/fail stat­us rate­ of your­ mess­ages.

Learn more: Inbox placement is similar to deliverability. It requires a lot of moving parts to work. Learn more, and how to calculate it in part three of our series: What is inbox placement and how is it calculated?

Inbox preview testing to ensure correct email rendering

If you don’t preview your messages, you won’t know if they break across different devices and operating systems.

Not all clients and device types have the same standard of processing when it comes to rendering messages in the inbox. Especially if you are creating highly engaging visual emails, dynamic AMP emails, or messages with interactive elements, it’s smart to test how these messages will look across different operating systems, and on different devices like phones, tablets, and. desktops with different screen sizes and rendering.

Inbox previewing tools allow you to do just that, guaranteeing a better experience for the recipient and improved engagement rates.

An email from Vidaloka that is personalized

Email Preview by Mailgun Optimize

Email Preview tests your messages on different displays across 100 device types and clients. Mailgun Optimize’s email previewing tool allows senders to reduce errors and ensure their messages show up as intended in the inbox, regardless of your recipient’s environment.

With Email Previews, users can test the body of their message, sender name, subject lines, and preheader text so they can adjust wordcount or tweak their message as needed for your audience.

If you need convincing, here are the top three obstacles that Mailgun Optimize’s Inbox Previews test for:

With­ Emai­l Prev­iew

With­out a tool­

With­ Emai­l Prev­iew

Test­ mess­ages acro­ss a larg­e numb­er of emai­l clie­nts for web,­ mobi­le, and desk­top.

Send­ with­out assu­rance that­ your­ mess­age will­ rend­er corr­ectly acro­ss clie­nts.

With­out a tool­

Prev­iew and test­ your­ subj­ect line­s, send­er name­s, and pre-­header text­.

Send­ with­out know­ing if your­ most­ eye-­catching text­ will­ appe­ar comp­letely or be cut off or impa­cted by devi­ce type­ or clie­nt stan­dards.

Opti­mize your­ elem­ents. Abo­ut 82% of reci­pients util­ize dark­ mode­ in some­ form­. Test­ your­ elem­ents to make­ sure­ they­ are visi­ble in diff­erent envi­ronments.

Send­ emai­ls that­ aren­’t test­ed or opti­mized for diff­erent user­ sett­ings or pref­erences.

Learn more: Inbox Preview is a testing tool that confirms each aspect of your message renders and you intended, which helps with engagement. Learn how to optimize in part four: How to leverage email inbox preview testing for seamless rendering and increased engagement.

Blocklist and spam trap monitoring tools to protect your sender reputation

If you don’t monitor your sending, you won’t catch major reputation issues before they impact your engagement.

It’s easier to end up on a blocklist than you might think, especially if you aren’t keeping a watchful eye on your email list... or if you are buying or renting lists to quickly scale your reach.

Spam traps are simply email addresses used by blocklist operators and ISPs to identify spammers or senders not using best practices. Even if you’re a well-meaning sender learning the ins and outs of deliverability, its highly likely you’ll wind up suffering the same consequences if you’re not careful about the emails you collect and send to.

Hitting a spam trap is the most common way of landing on a blocklist, something that can have severe consequences on your email deliverability. Blocklist monitoring tools notify you if your domain or IP lands on a blocklist. The very best tools, like Mailgun Optimize, will also help you get off the blocklist fast to mitigate potential consequences.

Spam trap monitoring dashboard

Blocklist Monitoring by Mailgun Optimize

Monitoring your domains and IP addresses let’s you act quickly if you find your addresses are unexpectedly added to a blocklist.

Mailgun Optimize’s Blocklist Monitoring scans the most impactful industry blocklists and sends notifications to users if their domains land on one of these list. Spam Trap Monitoring takes this a step further by allowing users to get insight into how frequently they send to pristine, recycled, or typo spam traps that are often the trigger for ending up on a blocklist.

Here are the top three ways Blocklist Monitoring and Spam Trap Monitoring protect you:

With­ Bloc­klist Moni­toring

With­out a tool­

With­ Bloc­klist Moni­toring

Rece­ive aler­ts if your­ IP or doma­in is disc­overed on top indu­stry bloc­klists.

With­ bloc­klists, the fast­er you can get off of them­, the less­ dama­ge they­ do. No aler­ts mean­s risk­ing your­ emai­l prog­ram.

With­out a tool­

Get acce­ss to our serv­ices to help­ you get off bloc­klists quic­kly.

Reac­h out to bloc­klists indi­vidually to peti­tion remo­val.

Inco­rporate addi­tional moni­toring for spam­ trap­s to help­ iden­tify addr­esses to remo­ve that­ coul­d othe­rwise land­ you on a bloc­klist.

Plan­ for addi­tional manu­al list­ clea­ning to cons­tantly moni­tor your­ list­ for pote­ntial spam­ trap­s.

Learn more: There’s nothing worse than working hard to promote businesses and build a community through email, only to find that your reputation has tanked overnight. Get the insider’s knowledge of blocklists and how to stay off of them in part five: How to avoid landing in an email blocklist: Best practices

Spam rate monitoring integrations to keep an eye on your spam rate

Spam rates are becoming a more important metric for senders to keep an eye on as mailbox providers look for more and more ways to protect recipient inboxes. Beginning early 2024, Gmail and Yahoo will both be enforcing more restrictive standards for senders and maintaining a minimum spam complaint percentage will be critical.

Since these changes are specific to each mailbox provider, senders who integrate mailbox-specific monitoring like Google Postmaster Tools will have the advantage of more accurate metrics to keep their spam rates in check.

Mailgun Optimize’s Google Postmaster Tools and Microsoft SNDS integrations to keep spam rates under control

Mailboxes are constantly updating their protocols and elevating standards to protect their users from spam. So, using monitoring tools specifically made for certain mailbox providers can be really beneficial for senders.

Mailgun Optimize makes this easy by integrating with Microsoft SNDS and Google Postmaster Tools. These integrations allow senders tomonitor metrics and analyze log data for several reputation impacting factors like spam complaints, send voluem, bounce rate, user engagement, and email authentication. Direct integrations with tools like Microsoft SNDS and Google Postmaster Tools make it less likely that important fluctuations will fall through the cracks.

With­ Mail­gun Opti­mize

With­out a tool­

With­ Mail­gun Opti­mize

Gain­ insi­ght into­ mail­box spec­ific stat­s for Micr­osoft mail­boxes and Gmai­l via our dire­ct inte­grations with­ Micr­osoft SNDS­ and Goog­le Post­master Tool­s. Get gran­ular with­ your­ deli­very metr­ics to catc­h and corr­ect issu­es earl­y on from­ with­in a sing­le acco­unt.

Crea­te mult­iple acco­unts with­ mail­ox spec­ific tool­s and risk­ over­sights in moni­toring with­ unce­ntralized metr­ics.

Deliverability servicesto get additional expert support

Without deliverability services you increase your incident response time, decrease your ROI, and miss strategic opportunities.

If deliverability were simple, everyone would land in the inbox. The truth is, there are many layers to being a good sender. The meaning of deliverability is also constantly expanding to include evolving policies governing user data, new standards of authentication, and strategies to stand out in the inbox through authenticated branding like BIMI.

And while smaller companies might find tools enough to keep their deliverability under control, higher volume senders often need to enlist specialists to support them with the process. Getting help from the pros can benefit senders of any size, but when it comes to managing your email program in a responsible way, here’s our rule: The higher your send volume, the higher the likelihood that you’ll benefit from deliverability pros to help you develop your unique email program.

Expert deliverability services include more than just strategy and support you in the day-to-day running of your email communications. The larger your scale, the greater the chance that you’ll run into deliverability incidents that are difficult to understand and resolve – that's where deliverability specialists come in and help.

Deliverability Services by Mailgun Optimize

It’s easy to say “optimize your email strategy”, but deciding what that actually means changes from sender to sender. Knowing the deliverability basics is key but sometimes implementing them takes a village.

Mailgun Optimize’s Deliverability Services adapt to individual email programs and support businesses improve their email ROI. In fact, a Forrester’s Total Economic Impact (TEI) study commissioned by Mailgun to evaluate our platform and services in 2023 showed that utilizing deliverability services reduced the time and costs to mitigate deliverability issues by 50% which gives organizations time back to focus on other strategies.

With­ Deli­verability Serv­ices

With­out a tool­

With­ Deli­verability Serv­ices

Get acce­ss to prof­essionals to help­ craf­t an indi­vidual deli­verability stra­tegy base­d on your­ send­ing habi­ts and goal­s.

Lear­n abou­t deli­verability and stra­tegies and impl­ement plan­s in-h­ouse.

With­out a tool­

Get supp­ort duri­ng inci­dents and save­ time­ in issu­e reso­lution.

Inde­pendently iden­tify and reso­lve inci­dents like­ unex­pected incr­eases in boun­ce rate­, decr­eases in enga­gement, or issu­es with­ auth­entication.

Get cont­inuous supp­ort as mail­box prot­ocols upda­te and deli­verability prac­tices evol­ve.

Stay­ tune­d-in to the rapi­dly evo­lving prot­ocols and stan­dards of the emai­l worl­d, such­ as data­ priv­acy upda­tes and cha­nges to majo­r mail­box prov­iders.

Learn more: When tools aren’t enough, you need real human support. Get tips from our TAMs and deliverability experts in the final post of our series: Deliverability services: Decoding deliverability with the experts.

Wrapping up

We say it time and time again, but it doesn’t make it less true: Email deliverability is hard and, without the right tools and expertise, it can severely compromise your ability to drive ROI and build meaningful connections via email.

These six tools each play an important part in your overall deliverability How you utilize them will impact the effectiveness of your email program, and your ability to gain insight into how to improve your strategy over time whether you start with all six tools at once, or only add the few that you need.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive deliverability solution, check out Mailgun Optimize and see first-hand how we can improve your sending and increase the value of your messages.

Unmatched email deliverability

Mailgun Optimize Deliverability Suite

Land your emails in the inbox and connect with real people – your customers. Mailgun Optimize deliverability apps and services give you the data and the resources you need to build a winning email program.

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