Believe it or not, there are many people who are uncomfortable with using emails for marketing. There are many reasons for that concern.
- Spam stigma. Early 2000s made sure that unsolicited emails are associated with spam, malicious and irrelevant content. Once mailboxes became a thing, their users got assaulted with a barrage of poorly designed ads, sales offers, messages carrying spyware and other content. Even though algorithms got much better at intercepting such emails and there are many regulations that all credible senders must follow, recipients still treat incoming emails with caution or even open animosity.
- Content issues. Not all senders are aware of the latest email writing guidelines while working on their first cold outreach campaign. For example, they don’t have much knowledge about spam trigger words adding files or signatures. Also, they have issues with preserving the right text/image ratio or choosing the right tone and style. Small details like this make a lot of difference when it comes to getting results.
- Complex outreach mechanics. When beginners try their hand at outreach, they often encounter first challenges such as high bounce rate, low open rate or even penalties from Gmail, AOL and Yahoo! After this, they give up on that channel, believing it to be too complicated and not worth the risk.
However, if everybody let the fear of complications take over, no progress would have been made whatsoever. When you need a cost-effective tool for promoting your products and services, building connections and maintaining visibility, you should look no further than in your mailbox.
So, if you feel that you won’t be able to reach your target audience on Facebook and Instagram but still want to build a brand and use the magic of digital marketing, have no fear. With this Folderly guide for outbound marketing, you’ll get rid of your top outbound outreach concerns and be able to focus on your main priorities.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to:
- register a new domain;
- fine tune your domain for outbound;
- build a credible sender profile;
- warm up your domain;
- launch outbound campaigns the right way.
Register a new domain
If your outbound campaigns are targeted towards cold prospects, not your loyal customers, then using your established company domain is not the best idea. Your domain reputation is affected with every unsolicited email you send — and all cold outreach campaigns require some A/B testing before you find the right template and the right pace. There is no need for risking your current domain health.
We recommend creating and warming up a new subdomain or mirror domain for every sales channel you’re trying out. The more segmented your sales process is, the easier it is for you to monitor results, locate areas for improvement and fix emerging issues.
You don’t have to overthink it. For example, there is no need in trying to come up with a new name for a new domain. Quite the opposite, it should be consistent with your primary domain name. After all, you’ll be sending business/brand emails. If your recipients see a weird name in the email address, how would they know that these messages are from you?
The process of adding a new domain depends on your hosting plan. Many hosting plans allow adding several domain names at once. For example, many business owners prefer to get Google domains because they can choose from a wide range of endings (.com, .office, .cafe) and have access to an option that allows adding multiple domains.
Make sure to keep your domains in the following domain zones i.e internet top-level domains:
- .io .org
- .gov (just FYI)
For a local outreach, you can use secondary domain zones or country zones. There are hundreds of them:
There are also ICANN-era generic top-level domains. Created for a generic purpose (hence the name), generic top-level domains aren’t tied to a country or any particular geographic location. Unrestricted generic domains can be registered by anyone and for any purpose. Due to this, they have less credibility than internet top-level domains.
Fine-tune your domain for outbound
Building brand image covers much more than your website, ad campaigns or corporate design. It is also associated with your email domain. In fact, if you’re planning to start your marketing with cost-effective tactics, starting with your mailbox is an absolute must. Even though you don’t need many financial resources to launch an email marketing campaign, you must do a lot of work in order to make sure your campaigns are going smoothly and there is nothing in your way.
In order to make it happen, you must understand the infrastructure behind your outreach. There are many things to take into account, so let’s start with your DNS settings.
DNS stands short for Domain Name System, a place that connects domain names with their respective IP addresses. Thanks to this system, you don’t have to enter a string of numbers to the address bar every time you want to find a website. Instead, you enter domain names. Each domain name is tied to a domain server — it’s like looking for a house located on a certain street.
A domain name and the IP address assigned to it is called a domain record. This is where you can manage or check your settings.
That’s our stop.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re familiar with web hosting or not. Managing DNS goes hand in hand with a multitude of problems that you must identify and tackle as soon as possible. However, you cannot always instantly locate the faults, and solving them may take a lot of time. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to scout around and investigate.
What kind of DNS issues are you most likely to encounter?
Let’s start with the most common errors that can affect your DNS settings. In general, you’ll have to deal with your DNS server not responding. Your team can’t access it, your users can’t access it, it all leads to chaos. This problem can be caused by the following issues:
- Expired domain registration. If you don’t renew your registration on time, it may result in your performance getting disrupted with your team running into all kinds of problems and failing to progress with their email campaigns. Therefore, keep in mind when you need to update your domain registration and pay your fees on time. It’s a very little thing, but that’s what makes it so easy to slip from one’s mind.
- Incorrect nameservers. This issue pops up whenever you change your hosting company. Sometimes, the system fails to find your nameservers, resulting in the “DNS server not responding” error as well as such problems as:
- Domain is displayed as available for registration. If you see that your domain is shown as unregistered, then there is an issue with your nameserver.
- Your domain values aren’t displayed correctly. That can happen due to you using a rare domain extension.
To make sure you won’t stumble upon this issue, you’ll have to correct your nameservers manually.
- The quickest way to check your current nameservers is to use a WHOIS lookup tool. For example, with this tool, you can paste your domain name into the search box and view your current domain details.
- Access the admin dashboard at your hosting server. In general, all dashboards are similar. In your dashboard’s menu, you’ll find the Accounts section. Click it and find a section named Details. You’ll instantly see all nameservers alongside with IP addresses.
- Once you get data from your admin dashboard and your WHOIS lookup tool, you can view and compare your nameservers. If the details are the same, then there is no issue with them. If the details don’t match, you return to your admin dashboard, copy your nameserver from your domain registrar and enter it properly.
Other DNS settings to check
- A record. A record is the most basic data that is responsible for matching your domain with your IP address. In order to check your A record, you can use MXToolbox Tool and view all your domain records or use the nslookup command.
- CNAME. CNAME is a record that connects domain names between each other. To be more precise, it maps an alias to a canonical domain name. A CNAME record always points out to a domain name, never an IP address. Therefore, if you make a domain alias, you must make sure that your CNAME record maps to your primary domain, which is, in turn, tied to your IP address.
You can imagine that many things can go wrong with a CNAME record, so you must be able to check it from time to time. You can either use a MToolbox or go through the following steps.
How to check your CNAME record?
- Go to your domain host’s website and sign it.
- Find your DNS records in your dashboard.
- Find your CNAME record and see whether it points to a hostname properly.
- To add a CNAME record, enter the target domain to the Value field and click Add Record.
MX. An MX (Mail Exchange) record is a record that handles directing emails from your domain to the host server. If this record isn’t indicated correctly, your users may have problems with responding to your emails or sending messages to your email addresses. Your MX records are available in your user profile at your domain host’s website.
How to check your MX record?
It’s worth remembering that all MX records need a Server name and an A record that includes IP addresses tied to your mail server. In order to add a new MX record, go to your domain host’s website, sign in to your profile and click Add Record. You’ll be offered to choose a type of a DNS record that you want to add. Choose MX, enter the name and the mail server.
Check your DNS infrastructure and safety settings
It was inevitable that such a simple thing as message exchange would be abused and exploited by scammers, phishers and marketers with poor work ethics. The first email users have seen it all, from stalker ads to financial data theft. This is why nowadays there are many safeguards designed to protect the privacy of our correspondence and prevent business data from being stolen. In order to come off as a credible and trustworthy sender, you must be closely familiar with these security mechanisms and have them performing properly.
Sender Policy Framework - SPF
Sender Policy Framework or SPF defines what addresses are allowed to send emails from your domain, preventing scammers or phishers from registering on your domain and delivering unsolicited emails or malware. Nowadays, it’s pretty much a must for all email senders to have an SPF record. In case your SPF record is not set properly, DNS servers will block your emails from reaching your recipients. It’s like trying to enter an establishment without having an ID or papers certifying that you’re officially allowed to visit the premises.
What kind of SPF issues can you run into?
- Absence of an SPF record. It’s impossible for the recipient to verify whether the SPF record is visible or has been published. Sometimes, if there is an error in your SPF record, it’s not displayed properly and you may remain unaware of it.
- Exceeded amount of lookups. The SPF record contains too many DNS-querying mechanisms (over 10) and is unable to function properly. In order to avoid the “too many lookups” issue, we suggest using subdomains because each new subdomain allows for 10 new max lookups.
- Server IP not listed within SPF record. If the IP of your server is not mentioned in your SPF record, it won’t work for your server. It’s a minor detail, but many users can forget about it.