Email deliverability is the percentage of emails that reach their intended recipients. If you have a high deliverability rate, your emails are reaching the inboxes of your subscribers. If you have a low deliverability rate, your subscribers are seeing messages in their junk mail folders or missing them altogether.
Why is email deliverability important? Because it determines how many people see your email and act on it!
Key Factors that Influence Email Deliverability
Of all the people you know, you probably think of yourself as a pretty good email sender. You’re polite, you don’t use too many exclamation points, and your subject lines are always clear and concise.
Emails are the most widely used marketing channel. They’re also one of the most effective—and that’s why they’re so heavily regulated. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the standard-setting body responsible for managing email standards and protocols, such as those used by Gmail to filter spam.
But what if your emails are getting caught in the spam filter? Or worse: landing in the trash bin before they’re even read? There’s a lot more to writing an effective email than just being polite.
In fact, there are 5 key factors that influence whether or not your emails land in your recipient’s inbox or get filtered out as spam. In this article, we’ll take a look at each one in detail so that you can avoid these common pitfalls.
- Sender Reputation: Sender reputation refers to how well-known an email address is as a source of spam or legitimate communication. If your company has a poor sender reputation with the recipient’s email provider, they may decide not to accept any future messages from you at all (or block them outright). This is especially true if there are multiple reports of abuse coming from that address in the past.
- Content Quality: If your content is good, it’ll be easier for your emails to reach the inbox. Make sure that all of your subject lines are relevant and accurate, and avoid using words like “free,” “sale,” or “coupon” in the body of your email unless you’re actually offering something for free, on sale, or with a coupon code attached.
- Authentication Protocols: Authentication protocols are used by ISPs to verify whether or not an email address is valid before it reaches its intended recipient. If you’re using a bulk email service provider (BESP), they should be able to help you implement authentication protocols so that ISPs don’t mark your emails as spam.
- List Hygiene: Your list hygiene should always be top-notch because this is what determines whether or not an ISP will accept an email from you. There are several ways to keep your lists clean; one example would be removing any duplicate addresses from your database before sending out new campaigns.
- User Engagement: User engagement is a key component that needs to be considered while deciding on a strategy for improving email deliverability. User engagement is directly proportional to how credible your email appears in your user’s inbox. The more engaged your users are with your emails, the better your email’s deliverability rates get! To increase user engagement, sending messages that are timely with relevant and interesting subject lines, and a well-formulated body can entice users to click and go through it.
Leveraging DMARC, SPF, and DKIM to Improve Email Engagement and Protection
If you’re like most businesses, your inbox is filled with junk emails. These can be a nuisance, but they can also be dangerous. Spam and phishing emails are responsible for more than $20 billion in losses each year.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from spam, phishing attacks, and other malicious emails. The first thing you need to do is set up a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance – DMARC policy. DMARC tells ISPs how to handle your messages—whether they should be rejected as spam or delivered as legitimate emails.
As a prerequisite, you need to also set up an SPF record so that spammers can’t spoof your domain name by faking the sender address in their email headers. And finally, make sure that DKIM signatures are being added to your outgoing messages by using DKIM keys on your domain’s DNS settings page.
Let’s explore them in more detail:
1. DMARC authentication
DMARC is an email validation method that allows domains to set policies to verify if an email is legitimate or not.
DMARC allows you to specify policies for your domains and how they should respond if someone tries to send an email on their behalf. For example, you can set up DMARC so that if someone tries to send an email from your domain with a From address that doesn’t match the one in your records, you can reject the message or redirect it back to the sender.
To make DMARC implementation and management easier, organizations resort to configuring a DMARC analyzer that helps them catapult and automate the process of setting up their protocol, as well as facilitates advanced monitoring options on a cloud platform.
2. Sender Policy Framework
SPF is another verification method that allows domains to set policies on what IP addresses are allowed to send email on behalf of their domain name. This helps prevent unauthorized users from sending emails on behalf of your business.
3. DKIM Key Configuration
Using DKIM means that you can prove who sent an email and make sure that it wasn’t changed in transit. This makes it easier to build trust with your customers because they know that you are taking care of their emails and keeping them safe from phishing attacks. You can also use DKIM to help protect against malicious scripts or attachments in your emails, like those used in ransomware attacks.
Organizations often leverage hosted DKIM solutions that allow them to easily and effortlessly manage DKIM selectors and signatures from multiple domains and emails.
Tracking Security Incidents and Deliverability Issues with DMARC Reporting
If you’ve set up a DMARC record for your company’s domain, the rua and ruf reports will help you identify possible threats from phishing attacks or other fraudulent activity.
We’ll also go over how to use these reports to check on your email delivery rates for each domain that you own or manage, which can be useful in working with ISPs and inbox providers to resolve delivery issues before they become too serious.
RUA DMARC Reports
Provided by the DMARC email authentication protocol, the DMARC RUA (Reporting URI Aggregate) reports are a vitally important component. They deliver consolidated data about the authentication successes of emails transmitted to domain owners.
Among the details relayed are the sending servers’ IP addresses, the consequences of checking SPF and DKIM, the email totals for each outcome, and the timelines of email receipt. Where these reports are sent is specified by domain owners via a Reporting URI in their DMARC DNS record.
Organizations are aided in monitoring the effectiveness of their email authentication and identifying unauthorized use of their domain in phishing or spoofing attempts by the periodically generated reports.
RUF DMARC Reports
DMARC failure or forensic reports (RUF) enable domain owners to actively monitor your email channels to provide valuable information about individual messages that fail DMARC authentication.
RUF reports often contain sensitive information like your message headers and content helping you perform an in-depth analysis of any ongoing malicious activity or inconsistency in your emailing system. This may include spoofing and phishing attempts, domain name impersonation, and email fraud.
DMARC Report Analysis: Manual vs. Automated
Reporting organizations send DMARC reports in XML file formats when you have DMARC enabled. These can be complicated to read, unorganized, and even difficult to understand and analyze.
This is why organizations lay their trust in DMARC report analyzer tools that parse these reports into a human-readable format that can be easily read and analyzed. This tool extracts the data from DMARC rua and ruf reports to rearrange them into tables and charts along with aggregated and summarized information on email authentication results, alignment, and deliverability failures.
Email is one of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal. It’s an easy way to reach your customers, give them updates about their orders, and remind them about upcoming sales. If you don’t have good email deliverability, your messages won’t get through at all—or they’ll get there late, which means they might be ignored by recipients who have moved on to other things in their inboxes.
But, as with all things, email isn’t perfect. Email deliverability can be unpredictable and difficult to measure—and that’s why it’s so important to make sure your emails are being delivered when you want them to be.