Email Deliverability

One of the biggest problems a website or business owner can encounter are issues with Email Deliverability. For some, it’s the inability to consistently reach their client list. For others, the problem arises when their website is trying to send information to a new sign up or customer. In either case, you do not want your mail delayed, dumped in your customer’s spam folder, or just never delivered. There are a number of things you can do to greatly increase your rates of delivery.

There are three main areas to focus on when working to improve your deliverability:

SPF, DKIM, FBL, DNS, What The?
As with most things, there are a lot of fun new acronyms to learn. I’ll be covering these all in depth, but in general these are all things that you can setup on your end to let other servers know that they can trust the emails they just received that are claiming to be from you.

Befriend the Postmasters and the SpamCop
Most large scale email account providers (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc) provide a Postmaster website. This site contains information on what they expect from those emailing their users, tips on overcoming any issues, and tools to help diagnose problems you may be encountering. Some also provide message boards for discussing issues. I will discuss the major ones and I will also be covering the various Spam blocking lists and how to verify you are not on them, and what to do if you are.

Paid Services
In addition, it can be greatly beneficial to simply outsource your email services. The main players in this market offer pretty robust services for a pretty reasonable monthly fee. There are two main areas of focus here:

  • Email lists
  • Programmatic/Transactional email notifications

Most people are simply looking for help with mailing their user and customer lists. There are a lot of options out there to help with this including well known companies like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, MailChimp, and Aweber. The second area of focus sounds complex, but isn’t. Programmatic and transactional email notifications are simply emails your website sends out on an individual basis. Most commonly this occurs when people sign up for an account or submit an order. You are not looking to send continual mailings to that user, you simply want to notify them of an action that has occurred.

I’m going to start at the top, beginning with SPF records (and no, you won’t be getting a tan working on them) and Reverse DNS, because it is perhaps the most important area you can cover. It provides a solid base for the rest of the topics. Look for those articles to be up in the next day or two.

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