As a marketer, you would agree that the success of even the finest email marketing program hinges on two things: getting delivered to the inbox and being opened by the recipients.
No one can truly claim to have cracked the precise requirements of 100% inbox delivery; or the kind of subject line that gets 100% open rates. However, some proven email practices can give your marketing emails the best fighting chance.
We bring you seven such practices that include covering the critical reputation data points, monitoring blocklists, correctly configuring the email authentication, getting the subject lines right, and more.
Here is the lowdown on how to review your email reputation and understand what parameters impact the performance of your email programs.
1. Blocklist checks
If your domain or IP address gets included in some of the email blocklists (commonly called DNSBLs or RBLs), it will immediately affect your email deliverability. Every blocklist has its unique criteria for listing a domain or IP address in its records. The most common reasons include sending unsolicited emails to spam traps, receiving complaints from email recipients, or a technical configuration problem that exhibits spam-like behavior.
2. Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI)
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) enables brands to provide a logo that a mailbox provider should display as their avatar within the emails. BIMI comprises a set of DNS-based instructions that contain the logo and a validation certificate. Yahoo!, AOL, Netscape, Fastmail, and Gmail are the mailbox providers currently supporting BIMI in their email clients. Note that each mailbox provider may have different rules to determine if they should display the logo.
3. Mail Exchange (MX) records
An MX record is an entry in the DNS zone file that specifies the mail server responsible for handling a domain’s email. The MX record dictates the route that the email messages should take as per the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the standard protocol for all emails. Following the best email practices, it is recommended that the sender use a “from” address with a valid mailbox to capture the replies from the recipients.
4. Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a set of technical standards that prevent anyone from spoofing messages on behalf of your domain. SPF publishes a list of approved IPs that are allowed to send emails using a specific domain. You can enable SPF-based authentication by adding a TXT record in the domain’s DNS. Domains looking to send emails should implement SPF to adequately disclose the mail servers and service providers approved to send emails on their behalf.
5. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a content verification mechanism for email. It detects if a message has been modified after being sent. DKIM prevents forged sender addresses in emails (the “from” line) by validating whether an email claiming to come from a domain is genuine – in terms of authorization by the said domain. DKIM appraises whether or not recipients should trust a message and protects them from phishing. Moreover, ISPs use DKIM to ascertain and build a reputation on the domains.
6. Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is a sender-published policy for email messages, which targets messages with an authentication failure. It works to prevent spoofing, in which a perpetrator impersonates your organization to send viruses, malware, or scam recipients. Within DMARC, you can publish a policy that tells the recipient mail server how to handle the unauthorized use of your sender identity.
7. Subject line effectiveness
Subject lines influence whether the email open rates will be higher, lower, or even nil. Based on the subject line, recipients instantly form opinions about the value of the information contained in the email. Being relevant, concise, timely, and meaningful are the four essential criteria of a good subject line that encourages the recipients to open the email. Data analytics, A/B testing, and subject line optimization are some of the best practices that facilitate maximum opens.
In conclusion: find out where the health of your email marketing stands
In case you are wondering how to quickly and easily evaluate the above parameters, visit Grademyemail. Powered by a proprietary AI-based algorithm, it captures over 100 publicly available email metrics. Grademyemail features a suite of free online tools that check your domain and give actionable insights in real-time: you can immediately start working on things that need improvement. You might also want to sign up for a weekly health report of your domain that comes at no cost.
If you would like to dive deeper into the grading of your emails, or need help with deliverability, please send us a mail.