How Hard is it to Deliver an Email?
There is nothing complicated about sending a message. But when it comes to making sure that the message is delivered and processed correctly...oh, boy.
The processes behind mail transfer are incredibly complex - and for a good reason. One can’t be too careful with so many ill-intentioned people willing to exploit and abuse any system they come across.
Since email marketing is the opposite of dying (the number of email senders is expected to go beyond 4 billion users in the near future), spammers and phishers keep coming up with new ways to steal precious private and financial data from unsuspecting users. Email service providers fight back - and the intricate path to the recipient’s mailbox is the result of all the safety measures, all the identity checks necessary to keep inboxes and user data safe.
The only way not to get lost on your way to your recipient’s mailbox is to play by the rules - and we’re here to explain these rules, one by one.
Control Your Reputation
What is Sender Reputation? It’s a score that is based on your behavior and approach to sending emails and interacting with other users. This score defines the probability of your email getting delivered and shows how welcome you are in your recipient’s inboxes. Internet service providers measure sender reputation by analyzing a whole multitude of factors, from IP address to the way recipient servers respond to receiving mail from you.
A sender reputation combines your domain health and your IP reputation. Domain health depends on such factors as:
- Number of times it has been whitelisted by mail services and users;
- Number of messages caught by spam traps;
- Implemented safety protocols and properly structured DNS records.
In turn, your IP reputation consists of the following behavioral patterns:
- Number of times you have been blacklisted;
- Number of abuse reports sent by users;
- Number of emails sent to unknown recipients;
- Respecting the sending limits established by an email service provider;
- Activities of users you share the IP address with (whether a spammer uses the same address, etc.).
There is one thing a large majority of email senders get wrong about their sender reputation: They believe they’re not in control. Nothing really matters - email service providers just keep raising the bar and tweaking spam filter settings. There is no point in choosing a new strategy or looking for hidden domain issues: Gmail, Outlook, AOL and other ESPs are in charge. You only have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.
This is exactly how things don’t work with email marketing. Your sender reputation starts with you. It’s about how seriously you approach your domain health, whether you know who you share your IP address with (or whether you invested in a separate IP address just for yourself).
It’s not static - it changes in sync with your behavior and the activity you display. Email service providers and spam filters don’t get their data out of thin air - they only work with the information that you and your recipients provide them with. Therefore, before you start overcoming specific deliverability challenges, you must challenge yourself and all your beliefs regarding spam filters, email service providers, and the system that stands between you and your recipients.
Everything you do makes a difference from the ESPs’ point of view. You are in control of your deliverability. You’re the only one responsible for your success. If you don’t manage your sender reputation than nobody else will.
Everything you do makes a difference from the ESPs’ point of view.
Respect Sending Limits
Few users know that each created domain needs to be introduced to internet service providers. This ends with them launching tremendous cold email campaigns...and seeing them tremendously crash and burn, together with their sender reputation.
But you won’t end up there because know you know that:
- Every email service provider has its limits. Literally. You can send only so many emails per month, day, hour or minute. Knowing the exact number of messages you’re allowed to send lets you plan your campaigns smoothly.
- This limit can be increased, but not by buying additional account or any paid feature, but by a warmup campaign.
- Within such a campaign, you create consistency by regularly sending a number of emails within the sending limit. Only after internet service providers see that your domain displays steady activity and builds engagement.
- You must launch warm-up campaigns for every new domain, subdomain, and mailbox you add to your outreach. Don’t expect the reputation of your core domain to cover you up: It’s a constant dynamic process that soaks in all your mistakes and good guesses.
- You should send warm-up campaigns to active and responsive recipients who are guaranteed to interact with your messages and testify that you’re a reliable sender.