- What is email deliverability?
- What impacts deliverability most
- Audit Your Email and Domain
- Where are your emails landing?
- What is your email score?
- Is your domain blacklisted?
- Technical Email Setup
- How to Fix DMARC Compliance
- How to Fix SPF Alignment
- How to Fix SPF Authenticated
- How to Fix DKIM Alignment
- How to Fix DKIM Authenticated
- Email Warm-up
- What is email warm-up?
- Launching Email Warm-up
- Data Clean-up
- What are spam traps?
- What are bounced emails?
- Cleaning your Email Data
- Optimizing Email Text
- Linking in emails
- Removing Spam Keywords
- Spintax - Changing up email copy
- All Referenced Tools
Hey, thanks for checking out this guide! I’m by no means an email expert but spent some time trying to figure it out myself and thought I’d share my learnings. This article is a work in progress - I will add insights as I learn of them. Here we go!
What is email deliverability?
Hundreds of emails are sent each day - many of which are total spam.
Email service providers (ESPs) like Gmail & Outlook want to protect their users’ inboxes so they filter out spam emails based on a number of factors. Many use additional spam blockers to keep their inboxes clear.
Email deliverability refers to getting your emails into users’ primary inboxes to maximize open rates. If you’re in sales or marketing, you know how important this is.
What impacts deliverability most
There are countless factors, but here are the most important ones:
- Domain health
- Email health
- Bounce rates
- Response rates
- Open rates
Audit Your Email and Domain
Where are your emails landing?
ESPs offer various folders including spam, promotions, social, etc. Getting into the primary folder is best. To see where your emails are currently landing, follow these instructions:
super-embed: <iframe src="https://scribehow.com/embed/Where_are_your_emails_landing__ZDV1XLqCTwGp6eNHb4bwZw?skipIntro=true" width="100%" height="640" allowfullscreen frameborder="0"></iframe>
What is your email score?
Your email score is a bit more arbitrary; different tools will measure your email score based on their own parameters. Running this test will give good insight into what you’re doing well and what needs to be fixed.
super-embed: <iframe src="https://scribehow.com/embed/Checking_Your_Spam_Score__0_UqKPoIS_O8Nl1m103FuA?skipIntro=true" width="100%" height="640" allowfullscreen frameborder="0"></iframe>
Is your domain blacklisted?
Sending tons of emails (or a handful of low-quality emails) will impact your domain - sometimes it’ll get blacklisted. Before diving in, make sure your domain is in good health.
super-embed: <iframe src="https://scribehow.com/embed/Check_if_your_domain_is_blacklisted__5u_I_xQkT6qah7J9YUNRQA?skipIntro=true" width="100%" height="640" allowfullscreen frameborder="0"></iframe>
Technical Email Setup
This section will cover these major technical edits to increase deliverability.
Let’s first run an audit to see what’s working properly. Here’s the step by step guide:
super-embed: <iframe src="https://scribehow.com/embed/Analyze_Headers__fgVa7m8eRFKjXlgB5PRaUA?skipIntro=true" width="100%" height="640" allowfullscreen frameborder="0"></iframe>
- Then you’ll see these 5 important things - make sure each is green before you start sending emails from your account!
How to Fix DMARC Compliance
- To Fix DMARC Compliance you need to add the DMARC to your domain’s DNS records.
- When you get to the DNS records add the following values (insert your own values wherever there is red):
"v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; rua=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org; pct=90; sp=none"
- Check that your DMARC is good to go by plugging your domain into this link.
How to Fix SPF Alignment
You need to add an SPF record to your DNS Record.
How to Fix SPF Authenticated
This is usually in check, not sure how to troubleshoot.
How to Fix DKIM Alignment
*This guide is specifically for Google Domains.
super-embed: <iframe src="https://scribehow.com/embed/DKIM_Alignment__e4N4FCTlTvGKkg53G03aIA?skipIntro=true" width="100%" height="640" allowfullscreen frameborder="0"></iframe>
Paste this from Google Admin. Navigate to DKIM Authentication, to the gray box on the right, and copy all the text underneath “TXT record value:”
How to Fix DKIM Authenticated
This is something I’m a bit less familiar with. Ensure that wherever you are sending your emails from (Outreach, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc), you are sending from your own domain.
If you’re using open tracking, you need to set up a CNAME in your DNS records. The email tool you’re using should provide you with the record.
What is email warm-up?
Response rates are super important for telling ESPs that your emails are legit. Email warm-up is a tactic used to automatically send emails & replies from your account.
You’ll want to spend 2 weeks warming up your account before using it for higher volume email.
Launching Email Warm-up
super-embed: <iframe src="https://scribehow.com/embed/Email_Warm-up_Setup__O4vcKWEhQhOJZNrdO13M0g?skipIntro=true" width="100%" height="640" allowfullscreen frameborder="0"></iframe>
What are spam traps?
Spam traps are email accounts that are meant to attract spam - not to actually communicate. These traps are used to pinpoint email accounts that are worth being blacklisted.
What are bounced emails?
Sending emails to addresses that don’t exist will result in a bounce. Higher bounce rates are terrible for deliverability. For this reason, it’s crucial to clean up your email lists before sending.
Cleaning your Email Data
The tool I use to clean up my data is debounce.io
- Export original list as CSV
- Upload to Debounce
- Download only deliverable emails.
- Upload back to my email tool
Optimizing Email Text
Linking in emails
Redirects are often used for phishing, so never use redirect links in your emails.
Removing Spam Keywords
“Get Paid $1,000 Today!”
Sound like spam? Probably is.
ESPs use keywords to find spammy emails. It’s imperative to check if your emails have these keywords - try using mailmeteor.com to check your emails.
Spintax - Changing up email copy
Sending loads of the same email will impact your deliverability.
Spintax (spin + syntax) is a tactic used to change up the copy of your emails automatically. Here’s an example:
- Hey, How’s your day going? -Joe Kattan
- (Hey|Hello|Hi) How’s (your day|it) going? -(Joe|Joe Kattan)
Spintax will choose a random word within the parentheses each time, creating tons of variations.
What to do if you can’t use spintax
My email tool doesn’t offer spintax, so I add around 4 variations to my emails to change them up and minimize the amount of the same emails are sent from my account.
All Referenced Tools
Most are free/very cheap.
- Warmbox.ai for email warmup
- mailmeteor.com for spam keyword checker
- Debounce.io to clean up your data
- Mailgenius.com to check your email score
- gmass.co to see which folders your emails are landing in
- mxtoolbox.com to audit email headers and check blacklists
super-embed: <div class="badge-base LI-profile-badge" data-locale="en_US" data-size="large" data-theme="dark" data-type="HORIZONTAL" data-vanity="joe-kattan" data-version="v1"><a class="badge-base__link LI-simple-link" href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-kattan?trk=profile-badge">Joe Kattan</a></div>