Shopify Ecosystem

The #1 Hack to Amazing Email Deliverability


Email deliverability is top of mind for every email marketer. And it should be! Strong deliverability is the key to making sure your emails hit subscribers’ inboxes, and serves as the foundation for an email strategy that will drive you revenue.

So what if we told you there was a simple hack that would guarantee you strong deliverability from the get go? And all you’d need to do is implement a simple welcome automation with a twist?

It’s simple: include a contest in your welcome email where subscribers enter by replying to the email.

Sounds too simple to be true right? Let’s break down why this is the ultimate hack to deliverability:

What is deliverability, really?

Before we dive into why welcome automations and email replies are a killer deliverability combo, let’s have a quick refresher on deliverability.

Deliverability is based on your sender reputation–you get good deliverability and inbox placement if you’re seen as a trusted sender.  Your sender reputation is essentially the score ISPs give you, where they assess whether your subscribers want to receive your emails. ISPs look for whether your emails are getting opened and clicked regularly, and decide based on engagement whether your emails should continue to land in the inbox. To them, the ideal sender is one that sends a consistent volume of emails with high engagement, on a frequent basis.

You get good deliverability and inbox placement if you’re seen as a trusted sender.

ISPs consider the following types of engagement from subscribers  “good”, which helps build your sender reputation:

  • Opening your emails
  • Clicking your emails
  • Replying to your emails
  • Forwarding your emails
  • Marking your emails as ‘Not Spam’
  • Moving your emails to a folder
  • Adding your sender domain to their address book

The more of these positive engagements you continuously get from subscribers, the stronger your sender reputation becomes.

Related: Hive’s Ultimate Guide to Email Deliverability

Why a welcome automation?

A welcome campaign is the first email or series of emails a new subscriber gets, triggered upon signup. They’re the first thing a new subscriber will receive from you, making them the first thing ISPs  judge when deciding your sender relationship with that new subscriber. Remember, the first thing ISPs try to gauge is “does this new subscriber want to hear from your brand?”.

This makes welcome emails, specifically welcome automations, a crucial piece of any email strategy. You want to make sure you’re automating them right on signup so that they send based each subscriber’s action – in this case, right when they sign up.

Plus, welcome emails are a win-win all around. They’re proven to be the most engaging promotional email with a whopping 91% average open rate. And with 74% of consumers expecting a welcome email when they subscribe, they are literally your best chance at signaling to ISPs that you’re trustworthy sender.

Most welcome emails are opened, as the stat above proves. In some cases, smart marketers include a ‘Confirm Your Subscription’ CTA prompting a click. But ISPs weigh these engagements differently, so an open or a click may just be ‘ok’ compared to an email reply.

That’s why incentivizing subscribers to reply to your welcome email is the #1 hack to good deliverability. You’re starting your sender relationship with subscribers off on the right foot, with one of the best types of email engagements ISPs look for.

You’re starting your sender relationship with subscribers off on the right foot, with one of the best types of email engagements ISPs look for.

What’s the best way to get subscribers to reply to your welcome email? Include a contest in your welcome series, where subscribers enter the contest through email replies. Having a contest incentivizes subscribers to reply – especially if the contest is aligned with your brand offerings. You can ask subscribers to respond to a question in order to submit a valid contest entry.

Like the example email template below, your welcome email contest can be as simple as a gift card giveaway, where subscribers reply to the email with what products they’d buy if they won. A gift card is a great incentive, as subscribers likely signed up for your email list to hear about promotions or product releases from your brand.

Welcome email with contest for good email deliverability

Wrap Up

Whether you decide to implement this #1 hack to email deliverability and create a welcome email with a contest or you take away key learnings about building a strong sender reputation, you’re basically an email deliverability pro! Remember, deliverability is based on having an email strategy that subscribers engage with.

Interested in learning how to set up the perfect welcome series? Check out Hive’s 2020 Ultimate Guide to Automations:

Hive's Ultimate Guide to Email Automation

This article was originally published by our friends at

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