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Email Marketing - Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated, 2021-09-07 email-delivery email-spam

Here’s a tutorial from our email experts team, which answers most of the frequently asked questions about email marketing.

IP reputation

  1. What are the things I should be careful about while using a dedicated IP address?
    - Set up a valid reverse DNS record (rDNS) on the IP address to the envelope/sender domain.
    - Don't start sending bulk emails from a new IP address. Follow a strict warmup before scaling your emails.
    - The IP address should not be listed on any of the global blocklist databases.
  2. Should I choose a shared IP or dedicated IP address for sending emails?
    The reputation of an IP address is one of the important factors to make more of your emails land into an inbox. Shared IP and dedicated IP addresses both have their pros and cons. If your email volume is under 10k per day, there is no real need to move to a dedicated IP; otherwise, you can choose to go for a dedicated IP. Read more
  3. How to know whether my IP address is blocked or listed with any global DNSBLs?
    Each of the global blocklist services offers some tool or method to check an IP for a blocklist. However, there are over 100 global blocklists, so manually checking each may not be feasible. You can use the blocklist checker tool to know the blocklist status of your IP address across multiple DNSBLs and RBLs.
  4. Can I send both transactional and marketing emails using the same IP address?
    Yes, that’s the recommended best practice. You should be sending all emails using the same IP address. However, if you must send from multiple IP addresses, then go with different IP addresses for sending different types of emails. For example, you can use one IP to send marketing emails and another for transactional emails like signup or purchase confirmation. Using multiple IP addresses is only recommended when your emails are not hyper-personalised or the contact list is not double opt-in.
  5. What should I do if my dedicated IP address gets blacklisted?
    IP blacklisting is not normal, especially if it's consistent. Each listing tells a story that the sender is not following the email best practices. In case of an IP getting into the blacklist, don't take the easy way out by changing the IP address. Instead, try to identify the root cause and fix it. You might want to consult an email expert to review your email programs: they could have issues like list quality, content relevancy, authentication failures, and so on. If the issues are not fixed, they will lead to your IP getting blacklisted time and again.  Such instances will keep further deteriorating your sender reputation.
  6. Who should buy a dedicated IP address?
    If your daily email volume is upwards of 10k/day, you can opt for a dedicated IP address. This type of volume will help you to get recognized by any MSP (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and others) to build a reputation and access any of their postmaster's insights.

Domain reputation

  1. What is domain reputation?
    Domain reputation is the health of your sender domain as determined by various mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo and AOL. It reflects how good and engaging your email programs were in the past. Various factors like engagement rate, bounce rates, spam complaint rates and spam trap hits are used in the calculation of domain reputation.
  2. Why is domain reputation important?
    Domain reputation allows you to maintain the reputation of your email without worrying about the IP address used for sending emails. This means, changing your email service provider, or the delivery IP address won't reset your reputation and delivery rates.
  3. How do I check my domain reputation?
    You can use Google Postmaster and email reputation checker to know the health of your domain.
  4. How can I improve my domain reputation?
    Send highly targeted and relevant emails.
    The only way to improve your domain reputation is to create micro-segments and target each with highly relevant content. Sending the right content to the right set of people will actually increase your email open, click and forward rate. Read more
  5. What affects domain reputation?
    Domain reputation is the karma of your past email activities using a sender domain. The higher the positive user engagement like open, click, forward will be, the higher will be the domain reputation. High bounces, spam complaints, unsubscribe and email deletes results in lowering down your domain reputation.

Subject Line

  1. What kind of subject lines get opened?
    Fear of Loosing or Missing.
    Subjects lines that have elements that invoke time sensitivity - like "Alert', "Expiring" or  "Closing" are proven to generate high email open rates. Example: Your credits points are expiring in the next 2 days. There are other elements like emotion, Read more
  2. How do you test a subject line?
    You can use a subject line tester to test the effectiveness of your subject line. It shares recommendations on how to enhance your subject lines to drive beṭter open rates.
  3. What is the best practice for the length of an email subject line?
    Keep your subject lines short - that is what this mobile dominant world prefer.
    Email best practice recommends using no more than 9 words and 60 characters (including emojis and spaces).
  4. How to test subject lines across various mobile devices?
    You can use GradeMyEmail subject line tester to test your subject line preview across the top 7 email clients and with different mobile resolutions.

Sender Address

  1. Should I use no-reply in the sender email address?
    It is not a recommended practice to use a no-reply email address.
    Using a no-reply tells your customer that you don't really care about their voice. It makes your email one-way and you will be missing out on the opportunity to collect feedback from your customer. A no-reply email address decreases your email delivery rate and increases spam complaints.
  2. What email address should I use for email marketing?
    Never use a no-reply or a free email address from Yahoo, AOL, Gmail or Outlook.
    To get the best engagement rates, always use an email address that belongs to your organisation's domain and is enabled to received incoming replies from your customers.
  3. What are the Do's and Don'ts of selecting a from email address?
    -
    Make sure From address matches your organisation's domain. You can either use the main organisation domain or any of its sub-domain.
    - From domain must be getting redirected to your main business website.
    - Create different “From” email addresses for different streams of emails like [email protected] (For Marketing Communication) and [email protected] for transactional communications.
  4. How to check whether my From email address is blocked?
    You can use an email blocklist checker to check the blocklist status of your From Domain across 100+ global blocklist databases. Email Blocklist Checker - GradeMyEmail also shares recommendations on how to get your domain delisted from any of the global blocklists.

Email Content

  1. How to Write Good Email Content?
    -
    Understand the need of your customers and see if you have something really interesting to offer. Sending random emails without knowing the need is an indication of spam.
    - Keep it short. Use simple language to communicate.
    - Align your email subject line and body content.
    - Hyper-personalize your emails.
    - Write in the second person's tone.
    - Educate and don't jump into selling.
  2. How to test email content for spam?
    Use an email tester to check your email content for spam. An email tester can highlight potential problems with your email content that can trigger a spam filter to flag your emails as spam. It is a recommended practice to pre-test your emails to ensure that everything works - no broken links, no blocklists and no spammy keywords.

  3. What is the standard width for an email newsletter?
    Recommended width of an email newsletter is 500-600 pixels.
    Increasing the width beyond this limit will have device compatibility issues. As an industry recommended practice your newsletter should be horizontally restricted and should be more vertically-oriented with a length of 900 pixels or more.
  4. What is one-click unsubscribe?
    1 Click Unsubscribe is a popular service offered by Gmail, which allows your email recipients to unsubscribe from your list with a simple click.
    To use Gmail's one-click unsubscribe feature, add one or both of the headers listed below in your mails.
    List-Unsubscribe-Post: List-Unsubscribe=One-Click
    List-Unsubscribe: <https://pepipost.com/unsubscribe/example>

    If both headers are present, Gmail will use the first one.
    Gmail will send a POST request when a receiver unsubscribes using one-click:
    "POST /unsubscribe/example HTTP/1.1
    Host: pepipost.com
    Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
    Content-Length: 26
    List-Unsubscribe=One-Click"
  5. What are unsubscribe best practices?
    Allow subscribers to unsubscribe.
    Always include an option for recipients to unsubscribe from your emails. Make it simple to unsubscribe. Allowing recipients to opt-out of your messages can help you increase message open rates, click-through rates, and send efficiency.

    Here are some suggestions for unsubscribing:
    - Include a visible link in the message that leads to a page where recipients can unsubscribe. 
    - Allow subscribers to review the mailing lists to which they have subscribed.
    - Allow people to unsubscribe from specific lists or all of them at once. 
    - Those who have received several bounced communications should be auto-unsubscribed.
    - Send a confirmation message to recipients regularly to ensure that they still wish to receive your emails.
  6. What is an email preheader?
    The email preheader might appear in the inbox preview as well as in the body of the email or only in the preview pane. Preheaders provide your subject line context and can increase your open rate. Keep it short and to the point (40-70 characters). Use this section to explain why your email is valuable. The subject line and the preheader text must complement each other.
  7. What are the best practices for selects fonts in email?
    When it comes to email marketing, it's a recommended practice to use web-fonts whenever possible. However, keep in mind that not all email programmes support web fonts universally.
    To include other fonts in your email, use @import + @fontface. The @import technique is currently not supported in AOL with IE11 and Android 2.3.
  8. Can I use a video inside my email?
    It's a common misconception that when you use video in email, the video will automatically play within the email. That would have been lovely, but many mailbox providers, including Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird, and others, don't meet the technical requirements required to play video inside an email.

    However, because HTML5 is supported by more than half of email clients, you can easily embed video in your email. Alternatively, you can use a static image or an animated GIF with a play button that connects to the hosted version of the video. 
  9. What are the email design best practices?
    Email Design Best Practices:
    - Use subject lines that are personalized and appealing.
    - The Preheader text should be brief and concise.
    - Use audience information to personalize different email components.
    - Make use of web fonts. Set up fallbacks that are compatible with the web. For optimal email width, use best practices.
    - Choose images that are relevant and gives the right messaging.
    - Add a video or animated GIF to your email.
    - Make a template that is mobile-friendly with a lot of white spaces.
    - Create clear CTAs.
    - Don't forget to include a footer with the sender address and unsubscribe link.
  10. Should I add emoji in my email subject lines?
    To many marketers, emojis might appear to be an unprofessional addition to an email. But, that's incorrect in many scenarios.
    Indeed, including emojis in your subject line can boost email open rates. However, make sure you understand the meaning and connotation of the emoji's you're using.
  11. Can I use CSS in email templates?
    In HTML email templates, CSS works but with limitations. The general recommendation is to use simple CSS properties to avoid any rendering issues.
    Use inline CSS because most web email applications, like Gmail, remove the <head> tags by default. Always use inline CSS with minimum properties like font colour, size and face.

Email Delivery

  1. Why my subscribers aren't receiving my email campaigns?
    Mostly when your subscribers complain that they are not receiving your email campaigns, then it's mostly because your emails have landed into spam. So, as a first step, you should investigate whether your emails are landing in spam? If emails are not in spam, then go with the following steps to debug the non-delivery issue:
    - Check the detailed delivery logs with your email service provider. If the status there is delivered successful, then you should first see if there are some internal firewall or spam filter ruleset at the recipient's end. Checking this will ensure that your content/sender credentials are not getting filtered at the recipient's mailbox.
    - Do a test email to the recipient. If that's delivered, then this issue can be most likely with throttling where the emails are delivered with a delay of about 24 hrs.

    If it's more than 24 hrs and the recipient has still not received your email, then you should check the blocklist status of your domain and IP address on the email blocklist checker.
  2. What is BIMI?
    BIMI is an open framework built to provide a brand with the ability to control which logos are displayed with their email messages. It is important to note that BIMI usage is not limited to just email, instead, the opportunities are endless where a validated logo could be used. Read more
  3. How to implement BIMI?
    Here are the 3 broader level steps required for implementing BIMI:
    - Implement SPF and DKIM
    - Implement DMARC with the enforcement policy
    - Publish a BIMI record. Read more
  4. How does Gmail’s BIMI rollout impacts email marketers?
    BIMI (Brand Indicators for Messaging and Identification) is anticipated to propel the entire email landscape for the good. Well, what does that mean?
    - "BIMI will allow consumers to connect faster with the brands”
    - “BIMI will help email marketers protect their users”
    - “BIMI will improve User Interface and brand experience”
    - “BIMI allows brands to convey trust to the recipients”
    The jury is still out on whether or not utilizing BIMI-certified logos affects email deliverability. However, there is a significant link between engagement and deliverability. Read experts view on the advantages of BIMI beyond branding and security or how it impacts email marketers.
  5. Why I am getting Gmail spam error saying "Why is this message in spam? It is similar to messages that were identified as spam in the past."
    If you are getting this spam error, then potential problems with links, sender domain and more importantly the source of the target list. It is hard to find the exact problem, but you can use tools to debug the potential issues and see if fixing them helps get your emails unflagged from spam. Read more.
  6. What are the cons of using a shared IP address?
    A shared IP address is an IP address that multiple email senders share. If you send mail from a shared IP address, the reputation of any other sender has an impact on yours. A bad reputation may impact your delivery rate too.
  7. What does this IP error mean: 550-5.7.1: Message does not meet IPv6 sending guidelines regarding PTR records and authentication?
    An IPv6 authorization problem could indicate that the sender server's PTR record isn't using IPv6 standards. You must check that your email service provider is using an IPv6 PTR record.
  8. What are the best practices for increasing the email sending volume?
    Rapidly increasing the sending volume can lead to email delivery issues. Here are best practices for increasing the email sending volume:
    - The more email you send, the slower you should increase the volume of emails you send.
    - Sending emails daily instead of weekly allows you to raise your sending volume more quickly.
    - Make sure you only send to people who have signed up for your emails, and you provide them with the choice to unsubscribe.
    After every increase in volume, use Google Postmaster Tools to monitor the performance consistently.
  9. What does the Spam rate mean?
    The spam rate is the ratio of emails flagged as spam by users to emails delivered to inboxes. A low spam rate does not necessarily mean that everything is good. There can be a scenario where most of your emails are already landing in spam, which is why users don't think of a need to mark emails as spam again.
  10. What is IP reputation?
    IP reputation is the health of your delivery IP as determined by various mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo and AOL. It reflects using a particular IP address how good and engaging emails were sent in the past. 
    A higher IP reputation means that emails sent from the IP are more likely to reach the inbox of the intended recipient rather than spam. If you send a large volume of emails and a higher number of users marks the email as spam, then your IP reputation is bound to suffer.
  11. Does anyone know if a BIMI needs to be at the primary domain/TLD level, or can it be only at the sending subdomain level?
    As per BIMI standard recommendation, your BIMI records need to be published at the organization level, i.e., at the primary domain.
    While most mailbox providers will be going with the standard recommendation, few might choose to implement it at a sub-domain level. e.g. BIMI records can be at the organizational or on subdomains to display at Verizon. Therefore, you should refer to the policy documents of top mailbox providers too. 
  12. What is the minimum level of DMARC implementation required for enabling BIMI?
    BIMI requires enforcement, so p=quarantine is the minimum level required. 
  13. Can one implement both DMARC and BIMI at the sub-domain level?
    Technically, yes, this can be implemented. However, keep in mind that the BIMI specification requires DMARC to be at the organization level, i.e., your primary domain. 
    So, the standard recommended practice is to have a compulsory strict DMARC (p=quarantine or p=reject) and BIMI at the primary domain level. You may choose to have dual DMARC. One can be on a subdomain and the other on the organization domain. But, as mentioned, it is compulsory to enforce DMARC policy with at least p=quarantine at the primary organization domain. You can have a DMARC policy like the following too:
    - example.com p=quarantine
    - subdomain.example.com p=reject
  14. I have published the BIMI record, but it's still not visible with the mailbox providers. What can be the reason?
    Currently, BIMI is live and in production for everyone using Yahoo (both Yahoo WebMail and Mobile App). 
    Suppose your BIMI record shows PASS in the BIMI Validator, and still, the logo is not appearing with Yahoo, then please refer to the following policy guidelines published by Verizon (Yahoo):
    - A BIMI record exists which points to a valid logo in SVG format.
    - A DMARC policy of "quarantine" or "reject" is in place
    - The mailing is sent to a large number of recipients (bulk mail; we don't display brand logos for personal emails)
    - Yahoo/Verizon Media sees sufficient reputation and engagement for the sending email address.

    For more details, refer to Verizon Media developer documentation.
    On the other hand, if you're facing this problem with Gmail, please wait because Gmail is currently doing a closed BIMI pilot with selected domains only. So unless you have received a communication or invite from Gmail, you won't be able to test BIMI during this beta phase.
  15. By when Gmail will make BIMI available for everyone?
    There is no official announcement from Gmail on the exact release date for BIMI. However, experts around the globe are anticipating the most awaited Gmail BIMI support to goes into general availability by summer 2021. 
  16. Can I have an animated logo for BIMI?
    Animation is not possible with BIMI.
  17. Gmail BIMI support is still in beta, then how come few brands are still able to show their logos in the preview pane?
    Currently, you can get your logo in Gmail using Google Profile & Gmail Annotations. Both have an option to show your company logo. Note: you need to have a google profile/account on the sender domain.
  18. Can I use any custom selector, or does it have to be "default", as mentioned in BIMI specs?
    The selector should be default._bimi.domain.com. Currently, mailbox providers are not supporting custom selectors like ourselector._bimi.domain.com.
  19. Does BIMI use the DKIM (d=; i=) or the SPF domain?
    By default, the receiving mail server will attempt to fetch the BIMI record for the domain identified by DMARC alignment for the RFC5322.From domain. However, in the case of DKIM alignment, the recipient server will fetch the record from the domain identified in the DKIM "d=" value.
  20. Does my BIMI domain and the SVG hosting domain has to be the same?
    You can have any secure URL referenced in the "l=" value of your BIMI record. It does not need to match your primary domain on which you have added the BIMI record.
    e.g. you can have BIMI on mydomain.com, and the image can be on myimagehost.com, like the following:

    v=BIMI1; l=https://myimagehost.com/bimi/brandlogo.svg;
    a=https://vncprovider.com/bimi/vmccertifcate.pem
  21. Should my DMARC policy be set to pct=100 for enabling BIMI?
    If you have a DMARC policy with p=quarantine or p=reject with some percentage tag defined, then the value of the percentage tag pct must be set to 100. Else the full DMARC enforcement won't be in place to meet the BIMI requirements.
  22. What are the specifications for the BIMI logo?
    BIMI supports only SVG Tiny Portable/Secure (SVG Tiny PS) format logo files. 
    SVG Portable/Secure (SVG P/S) is a profile of the SVG Tiny 1.2 format standardized by the W3C. 
    The SVG P/S profile is more secure than SVG Tiny 1.2, meaning an SVG Tiny 1.2 image will require specific modifications to be compliant with BIMI. 
  23. How to get a VMC certificate which is required for BIMI?
    VMC is currently a mandate only for domains that are invited to participate in the BIMI pilot by Google. So, you should not be bothering much to get a VMC till Google make BIMI available for all.
    As of Jun'2021, Yahoo/Version Media do not require VMCs to be set up for BIMI logos to appear. However, you should keep an eye on any updates coming in this regard.
  24. What are the different types of delivery errors with Gmail?
    There can be scenarios other than usual bounces when your emails are failed to get delivered to the recipient's mailbox. You can use Google Postmaster Tool to see the reasons for such failures. 
    Types of delivery error:
    - Rate limit exceeded: This error means that Gmail has temporarily added a rate limit because the domain or IP is delivering traffic at an unusually high rate.
    - Suspected spam: This error means that Gmail's system suspect that the traffic is spam.
    - The email content is possibly spammy: This error means that Gmail's system suspect that the traffic is spam mostly because of the content.
    - Bad or unsupported attachment: This error means Gmail is receiving traffic with attachments that are not supported by the internal system.
    - DMARC policy of the sender domain: Emails are undelivered for this reason only when a DMARC rejection policy has been set up for the sender domain.
    - Sending IP has a low reputation: This error means Gmail is not accepting the emails because the reputation of the delivery IP address is low.
    - Sending domain has a low reputation: This error means Gmail is not accepting the emails because the reputation of the sending domain is low.
    - IP is in one or more public RBLs: Emails are rejected for this reason when the sending IP address is listed with global DNSBLs/RBLs. You can use the blocklist checker tool to know the listing status of your IP address.
    - The domain is in one or more public RBLs: Emails are rejected for this reason when the sending domain is listed with global DNSBLs/RBLs. You can use the blocklist checker tool to know the listing status of your IP address.
    - Bad or missing PTR record: Emails are rejected for this reason when the sending IP address is missing a PTR record.
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