Email behind the scenes

Deliverability Podcasts

Many creators know the ins and outs of authentication, spam traps, BIMI, and listbombing.

And if you’ve been creating for a while, you probably understand best practices for email strategy and creative tips for encouraging engagement. But what about the basics? Do you really understand what happens to your email after clicking “send”? Most creators don’t, and there’s a strong case for shifting that statistic.

When a tool helps you earn a living, it’s important to have a general understanding of how that tool works from a technical standpoint. Email is no different. The inner workings of email are complex and understanding those complexities helps you improve your strategy, ask better deliverability questions, and stay calm when unexpected issues arise. So if you think technical know-how is irrelevant and only for the computer programmers of our world, think again.

In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss technical complexities behind clicking “send”, how inbox providers determine where your email lands, what ESPs like ConvertKit really can control, and why understanding email basics sets you up for deliverability success.

Key Takeaways

  • [03:22] – Knowledge is power, and when you’re a creator depending on email for your livelihood, having a technical understanding of email can only help you.
  • [03:57] – There are many steps between when an email is “sent” and when the email reaches the inbox of your subscriber. This back-and-forth conversation between the sender and the recipient is complicated but only lasts several seconds.
  • [06:34] – Once a message is sent, there are still things on the recipient’s end that can cause deliverability issues. Once sent, an email is either accepted (delivered) or rejected (bounced).
  • [10:32] – Once delivered, the mailbox provider has to consider several factors before determining where your email will land.
  • [18:48] – Once a message is delivered, you can track how subscribers react to that message through open tracking, although it’s important to look at open rate trends over time versus day-to-day open data.
  • [24:47] – Spam complaints are another great data point for senders searching for feedback.


[26:48] – “Being able to break down every step of email in general will help highlight how it all works together because it’s definitely not a to and from, easy send, one-sided piece of mail. Even with the post office, when you take a letter to the post office, it’s not just being magically delivered instantaneously to that person, it’s going through a lot of work to get there.” ~ @mel_lambert_

[27:34] – “I think one of the best outcomes from this episode is at least maybe you have a better understanding of how complex email is and whenever you do have a subscriber bounce or someone says their message went to the spam folder, it will feel a little more like, ‘Ok, I get that there’s a lot of moving pieces going in here, let’s take a look, let’s not panic.’” ~ @alyssa_dulin

[28:13] – “Our whole goal at ConvertKit is that you’re earning a living from your emails, from your products that you’re selling, etc. So when something is the cornerstone to your business, you should have a general understanding of how it works.” ~ @alyssa_dulin


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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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