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How to combat email deliverability issues

This article dives into some detail about combatting regular email deliverability issues.

Technical Level: 5 out of 5
Read time: 5 mins
Who should read this?: Any Keap user responsible for optimising Keap mailing list quality, and in particular IT members / sub-contractors.

Two common issues

Here are two common issues that stem from your domain having an uncertain email reputation.

Emails are occasionally bounced automatically

Some email services are renowned for employing over-sensitive spam filters. Bigpond and Hotmail are two email services that come to mind.

These spam filters can reject some emails from being delivered entirely, if they are unsure about your email reputation. This is obviously far worse than placing emails into spam folders.

Firstly, the recipient will never see your email – not even in their spam / junk folder.

Second, the recipient’s email address status will now be set to ‘Bounced’ in Keap – permanently – until you reactivate it.

Subscribers are occasionally unsubscribed automatically

To comply with legal requirements, all email marketing services like Keap include unsubscribe links in the footer of each message.

Some email service spam filters click all links in a message to check that the links do not contain malware, if they are not sure about your email reputation.

On occasions, spam filters even click the unsubscribe link in messages. As a result, contacts are sometimes unsubscribed without their knowledge.


How to monitor unsubscribes and bounces

Read our how to proactively manage email status issues article and watch the video. This details an important process to follow regularly, to try and catch any accidental unsubscribes or bounces from contacts.

It is a difficult process as there is no foolproof way of knowing which unsubscribes and bounces are valid and which ones are errors. Typically, review each long-time client or contact who unsubscribes.


What to do to help maximise your email reputation

The sad news is there is no fool-proof way to maximise your email reputation and avoid accidental unsubscribes or temporary bounces. But there are ways to reduce those issues.

  • Optimise your email content
  • Configure an Email Preference Centre
  • Configure DKIM, SPF and DMARC
  • Ask your recipients to whitelist you

Optimise your email content

First, optimise your email content to maximise deliverability and open rates. Read our top 10 tips to maximise open rates.

Configure an Email Preference Centre

En email preference centre is essentially a web form or landing page that allows your contacts to opt in, or out of, certain types of email content you are sending. Links to the email preference centre should be included in every email broadcast you send.

Even if contacts opt out of all content options, that very action of clicking in to update their email preferences is an ‘engagement’ with your emails, which aids your email reputation.

We can help you configure an email preference centre and detail how to share it to all recipients.

Configure DKIM, SPF and DMARC

There are technical actions to undertake. DKIM, SPF and DMARC are essentially records added to your domain that increases the security of your domain and increases your email reputation in many recipient email servers. This means spam filters are less likely to need to click all links to test them.

Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)

The security mechanism Keap uses is DKIM, an email authentication technique that allows the receiver to check that an email was indeed sent and authorised by the owner of that domain. 

This is set correctly and your Keap APP is authenticated when we configure it for you.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

An SPF record is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. The purpose of an SPF record is to prevent spammers from sending messages with forged From addresses at your domain.

Although not mandatory, and in many ways outdated now that the more reliable DKIM approach is implemented, SPF can still improve email reputation and therefore deliverability.

We will help you review and where necessary, configure a SPF record.

Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC is used to authenticate an email by aligning SPF and DKIM mechanisms. By having DMARC in place, you can fight business email compromise, phishing and spoofing.

DMARC may not necessarily be a guarantee for improved email deliverability. However, DMARC allows all your emails from email addresses on your domain to be easily identified by recipient spam filters. DMARC technically tells email receivers to reject fake emails sent from your email addresses (spoofing), if they exist. But equally, it gives email receivers confidence to accept your legitimate emails.

Another way of looking at DMARC is that it replaces the “filter out bad mails” security model with a “filter in good emails” model. So in theory, it can improve your email deliverability.

A DMARC record is a text entry within your domain’s DNS record that tells the world your email domain’s policy after checking SPF and / or DKIM status.

We will help you review and where necessary, configure a DMARC record.

Ask subscribers to whitelist / allowlist you

Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions for your contacts to whitelist your sender email address, in the most common email clients and providers. 

Yes, this is difficult to get your mailing subscribers to do. But it greatly helps if they do.

We recommend each recipient performs their own search on how to add safe senders on their email client/email host service. However, the below can provide a guide for them.

Apple iPhone / iPad

  1. Open the email.
  2. Tap the sender’s name in the From line.
  3. On the next screen, tap Create New Contact.
  4. Tap Done.

Microsoft Outlook 2013

  1. Right-click on the email that you would like to add to your safe sender list
  2. Hover over Junk and then click the option Never Block Sender.

Microsoft Outlook Express

  1. In Outlook, go to the Tools menu.
  2. Click “Address Book”.
  3. Click New > New Contact from the drop-down menu.
  4. Type in email address and include any details you want.
  5. Click OK.

Android

  1. Tap to open the email.
  2. Tap the icon next to the email address.
  3. Tap OK.

Apple Mail

  1. Right-click on the sender’s email address.
  2. Select Add to Contacts or Add to VIPs.

Gmail

  1. Click and drag the email into the Primary tab. Or find an email in the spam folder and mark as Not Spam
  2. Click Yes to confirm

Outlook.com / Hotmail

  1. Open the email.
  2. Click the Add to contacts link

Yahoo! Mail

  1. Right-click the email.
  2. Select Add Sender to Contacts.
  3. Click Save.

Bigpond

  1. Login to Bigpond mail in your browser
  2. On the left, right under SETTINGS, click on “Mail” and then click on “Safe Senders”.
  3. On the Safe Senders sub-menu, please write @<yourdomain> in the blank square next to Add email address, and click on the (+) Add button.

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