Remember This: When you send Bulk Email to your opt-in / confirmed(double) opt-in email lists, then it is Email Marketing.
ISP’s LIKE the legit email senders and encourage them for better results.
– When you send Bulk Email to your purchased list or not opt-in list or someone else’s email list then it is technically Spamming.
ISP’s HATE Spammers. They punish & block the platforms which support or enable Spamming.
For the sake of convenience, I’ll stick with the word Email Marketing irrespective of whatever objective you want to achieve.
So in Email Marketing the most important thing that matters is EMAIL DELIVERABILITY.
Being on the ESP side and also on the Lead Gen side, I understand both sides of the coin.
I can give you some important things you should keep in mind while dealing with Email Deliverability.
Email Deliverability is the ability to send emails to recipients inbox.
The success of your Email Marketing campaigns completely depends on the Email Deliverability.
If your emails are NOT landing in Inbox, it means:
– all your effort is wasted
– all your money is wasted
According to me, here are the 2 major categories for the Email Marketing strategy:
- 1. Infrastructure
- 2. Content
Let me make this point super clear.
If your infra is not properly set up, your content does not matter.
Do not forget:
Infra First, Content Second.
Let’s see what all things fall under the infra part.
Normally this part is taken care of by the ESP [Email Service Provider].
But that does not mean you are free and exempt from your responsibilities.
Let me jot down some really important points that you should not miss at any cost.
Simply put, SPF [Sender Policy Framework] is an email authentication mechanism to identify authenticity of the emails that are being sent from authorized IP Addresses for that particular domain.
Email senders have to include the authorised IP Addresses that are allowed to send emails on its behalf.
Consider it as your outbound emails whitelist.
Only the whitelisted IP addresses are allowed to send emails for the main domain.
If the sending IP address is not included in the SPF whitelist then it triggers the red flag at the recipient’s ISP which can be a decisive factor to mark the email as Spam.
DKIM [DomainKeys Identified Mail] is an email authentication mechanism that prevents the hackers to conduct the MITM [Man In The Middle] attack in an email’s journey from point A [source] to point B [destination]
DKIM helps to protect the sender and recipient both from the phishing and spoofing attacks.
Always make sure to sign the email with DKIM signature in order to secure and encrypt the email.
DMARC [Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance] is an email authentication, policy & reporting protocol.
It is built on top of SPF and DKIM protocols.
Simply put it gives control back to the Domain owner about how the ISP should look at the emails sent from the respective domain. Whether the ISP’s should Accept, Quarantine or Block the emails coming from the domain.
This makes sure that no one else is sending the emails from that respective domain for conducting the email phishing attacks by impersonating the domain’s identity.
BIMI [Brand Indicators for Message Identification] makes it easier to get your logo displayed next to your email in the inbox. Not only will this help your visibility, but BIMI is designed to prevent fraudulent emails and help to make the deliverability better.
BIMI works alongside with the email authentication protocols SPF, DKIM & DMARC. It helps the ISP’s to decide whether the email sender is the real you [brand], the legit one and not any impersonator or fraudster.
FBL [Feedback Loop] is basically the mechanism used by the ISP’s to inform the ESP’s about anyone reporting Spam or raising any complaints for the emails sent from their infrastructure.
Make sure to check the reputation of the IP address of the smtp server that will be used to send emails.
You can check the reputation at Cisco Talos, SenderScore, Barracuda Central, McAfee TrustedSource, Microsoft SNDS, Google Postmaster, etc
- Make sure to check the reputation of the Domain/s used for sending emails.
- Sender Email Address Domain
- From Email Address Domain
- Reply-To Email Address Domain
You can check the reputation at Cisco Talos, Barracuda Central, McAfee TrustedSource, Microsoft SNDS, Google Postmaster, etc
DNSBL / RBL Check:
DNSBL [Domain Name System Blacklist] or RBL [Real-time Blackhole List] is a service where the recipient Mail/SMTP servers can check the blacklist status of the sending IP address.
The re query DNS query mail servers can check whether a sending IP address is on a blacklist of IP addresses reputed to send email spam.
- Email Infra
Right now with Email Service providers coming in the market most of the infra part is already in place. So now I am talking about things you should do on the infra part while you use Email Service providers like Mailchimp, Aweber, Convertkit etc. So lets see the most important things.
Use only one domain name for sending emails, use the same domain name inside the email body and header.
Set SPF, means you authorizing your email service provider to send emails on my behalf. By doing this gmail understands that email coming from a email service provider is really coming from you.
Get your DKIM done, DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an email security standard designed to make sure messages aren’t altered in transit between the sending and recipient servers.
DMARC Records – Ensure to setup DMARC Records.
IP Reputation: Ipreputation is very important to check your ip reputation go to www.mxtoolbox.com and enter your domain name to see your ip reputation.
Why the infra part is very important because within micro seconds Algorithm decides if this email should go into junk or inbox.
Email Content part
Which type of content will make it to inbox once your infra part is fixed.
From name is very important, ensure your from name is generally a name of a human being. Like Ramesh , Rajeev, Abdul, Sravani etc. because we don’t like to open emails coming from a company with a contact name.
Having an appealing subject line, but don’t create creepy subject lines which may trigger spam filters.
Try to send text only emails which get delivered better.
Your from email address and reply to email addresses should have the same email addresses.
Use the right call to action, I mean ensure you are sending the people to the same domain name which you have used to send email.
Don’t just spray and pray, don’t do email blasts especially if you are using cold emailing strategy. If you are using cold emails use only 15-20 contacts to start with so that you don’t risk getting your domain blocked.
Email Marketing is a goldmine use it carefully and it can turn into gold.
By the way experiment don’t worry about the result, try out because many times what happened is what i thought will work did not work and what I thought will not work has worked. So keep experimenting and be a Fearless Email Marketer but do things by knowing the rules of the game.
Zakir Shaikh is the founder – StopSpoof.com and Akinzin.com. He also handled the Email Deliverability completely and built the smtp/email platform from scratch to handle 100s of millions of marketing emails. Other than proper ESP’s, Zakir have worked extensively with Lead Gen & Affiliate Marketing companies.