How to perform a self-led deliverability audit

Deliverability Podcasts
In this Article

In episode 18 of the Deliverability Defined podcast, Alyssa and I help you learn how to run a self-led deliverability audit.

DIY deliverability audit

We want to empower you to take as much control of your email marketing as possible and that includes addressing deliverability issues. A deliverability audit is a great place to start if you want to assess the health of your email marketing efforts. This self-led audit can help pinpoint issues where you can work to improve your sending.

Here are some common reasons a sender might want to run a self-led audit:

  1. They want to improve their very low open rates.
  2. Their opens suddenly dropped and they want to know why to fix the issue.
  3. Some subscribers have mentioned their emails go to spam but otherwise, metrics look okay.
  4. Metrics have been fine and consistent, but they're just curious about their deliverability and want to learn how they could improve.

We also recommend running your findings by a deliverability specialist if you need further assistance analyzing what you find!

Self-Led Deliverability Audit

Deliverability audit steps you can take on your own

1. Start by sending test emails to a test address

We recommend using an email address different from the one you normally send with. See where the test email lands, spam, promotions (gmail), junk, primary, etc.

2. Dive into your complained subscribers to look for trends and red flags

Look to see when the subscriber complained. Did they complain immediately after they signed up to your form? If so, you could be experiencing listbombing. Did they complain after the 4th or 5th email? If this is the case, you might be causing subscriber burnout and want to re-evaluate your marketing strategy.

3. Run your list through an email validation tool

There are plenty of list validation tools out there that you can use on your own. Sometimes they can be a bit pricey but helpful to find invalid or risky addresses, especially in large lists. ConvertKit uses a service called Kickbox.

4. Analyze the volume and frequency of your sends

This can be a step many senders underestimate. Have you changed anything recently about your sending habits? Did you have a big sale where you began sending more emails or did you take a hiatus due to personal reasons? If your answer is yes, it’s possible your sender reputation has changed and causing emails to be placed in a different folder.

5. Check the authentication of your email by pulling the message headers

This can be one of the easiest steps and can solve a spam problem fairly quickly in terms of deliverability. If your emails are not authenticating correctly, you may need to adjust a DNS setting with your domain host. A DMARC record can send your emails to spam or block them altogether. When you are using ConvertKit you will need to set up a Verified Sending Domain to pass DMARC and authenticate your messages.

6. Look through your form signups for signs of listbombing

Listbombing can be pretty harmful to a sender’s reputation. Be sure to use a double opt-in on your forms and recaptcha to be certain your forms are safe and ensure legitimate subscribers are signing up.


A self-led deliverability audit can assist in finding deliverability issues and help a sender take control of their own list health. Taking the time to analyze your account data can help pinpoint issues before they get out of hand.

If you’ve been struggling with your open rates or deliverability, these strategies for conducting a deliverability audit will help set you on the path to identifying and fixing your deliverability issues.


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Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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