Email Deliverability Unveiled: CEO of GlockApps Shares Expert Roadmap

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Email deliverability stands as a paramount concern within the realm of email marketing, bearing significant weight in the pursuit of successful campaigns. It is a topic that often proves to be both crucial and intricate, presenting challenges that require adept navigation.

During webinar Masters of Email Marketing from Smaily, GlockApps’ CEO, Alex Arnaut, illuminated this pivotal subject matter, offering invaluable guidance.

The key insights derived from the presentation:

The key insights derived from the presentation:

  1. Mandatory Authentication: Authentication is an indispensable element in the realm of email deliverability.
  2. Maintain Pristine Email Lists: The cleanliness of your email list is of utmost importance.
  3. Sub-Domain Separation: Categorizing different types of emails under distinct sub-domains is a tactical approach.
  4. Understanding Recipient Email Providers: Being well-acquainted with the email providers of your recipients is invaluable.
  5. Prioritize Opt-In Subscribers: A foundational practice in email marketing is the exclusivity of sending emails to individuals who have explicitly opted to receive them.
  6. Consistency in Sending: Adhering to a consistent email sending schedule not only creates predictability for your subscribers but also establishes a positive reputation with email service providers.
  7. Pre-Send Testing: Precaution is key.

Complete webinar experience:

Alex Arnault | Masters of Email Marketing – Aututumn 2023

Review the transcript:

What is “good email deliverability”?

What does ‘GOOD EMAIL DELIVERABILITY’ truly entail? This has been a lingering question on my mind, one that often takes on a somewhat philosophical dimension. You know the kind of query that sparks intriguing discussions with friends over a few bottles of beer.

Then, quite serendipitously, I stumbled upon the following post on Reddit:

What are we observing here? This is a post on Reddit that dates back nine years. In this post, we encounter an individual who appears both frustrated and, perhaps, somewhat desperate. This person shares their persistent effort to flag dozens of emails as “Spam” daily, all in the hope of never receiving such emails again. Despite their ongoing efforts, their mailbox provider system continued to place these emails directly into the “inbox.”

Interestingly, over time, their curiosity got the better of them, and they ended up opening one of these emails. This curiosity led them to an investigation that eventually revealed the startup responsible for these emails. Subsequently, they made the decision to share this experience on Reddit.

Upon reflection, I came to the realization that this might be an exemplary illustration of what constitutes “GOOD EMAIL DELIVERABILITY.”

Nine years ago, during a time when we were actively developing the EasyMail7 software, an ambitious startup crossed our path. This client not only held our product in high regard but also had a profound interest in outreach campaigns.

One day, during a conversation with our support representative, the client expressed his concerns. He shared the challenges faced by his email marketing team as they grappled with the ongoing decrease in their lead generation ratio. It was during this dialogue that he casually remarked, “Sigh, It would be cool if I could test how many recipients are getting my emails.

To this, our CTO and founder promptly responded, “Roger That.” Within just a month, we rolled out a rudimentary version of GlockApps, embedded within EasyMail7, exclusively for him to explore.

The results, as showcased on the previous slide, speak volumes.

Here’s an interesting twist to the story:

Fun-Fact #1: The startup’s approach was anchored in deliverability as the primary KPI. Their emphasis on lists and segmentation was minimal, with nearly zero focus on content. It was all about pure, mass outreach.

Fun-Fact #2: I happened to be a part of this very startup, and this is how my journey with Glocksoft Company commenced.

(By the way, it’s worth noting that EasyMail7, despite its age, continues to thrive and impress. It’s a testament to its status as one of the best email marketing platforms, even though it remains an old Windows application.)

Before we proceed, allow me to provide some context. I’d like to suggest that we view Email as a subject with two distinct facets: the Content Side and the Technical Side.

The “Content Side” essentially encompasses what we create, such as text and images, and what our recipients perceive when they open their email inbox.

On the other hand, the “Technical Side” pertains to what the recipient’s email server observes. The server performs a comprehensive analysis, delving into a multitude of data that often exceeds what the email’s end recipient can see. In essence, it possesses a holistic view of the entire email landscape.

For those who are curious, it’s even possible to download the RAW message from your email application to inspect the exact disparities. By the way, there exists another message that isn’t readily accessible for manual review, but the server, operating in the background, receives, processes, and ultimately determines whether to advance the raw message to the next stage or not.

Hence, the fate of your email’s delivery, its likelihood of being marked as spam, and the specific inbox folder it ultimately resides in are all contingent upon the Email Server of your recipient. This pivotal decision-making process hinges on the server’s comprehensive analysis of the complete message, encompassing both the Technical Side and Content Side in unison.

Principles and Pitfalls of Email Deliverability

It has been a bit of a challenge for me to prepare for this webinar, as I understand that many of you may already be well-versed in deliverability, given the abundance of content available on the internet.

However, I’ve chosen to collaborate with our team, including the founders of GlockApps, our dedicated sales and support professionals, as well as our esteemed partners and friends like MailSoar, to compile what I’ve referred to as the “7 Laws and 7 Sins of Email Deliverability“.

I’ve meticulously reviewed all the insights they’ve shared and organized them into seven essential laws, which I will now discuss one by one. I recommend treating these as a roadmap for your journey ahead.

Authentication is a Must

Authentication is a fundamental pillar of email deliverability, and its significance cannot be overstated. It is imperative to establish your authentication records before embarking on any email campaigns. This step plays a pivotal role in building trust and credibility, essential for optimal deliverability.

In essence, authentication is the email server’s method of verifying the identity of the sender to confirm their legitimacy. It’s akin to presenting your identity documents to establish your citizenship. In the email realm, having the appropriate authentication in place validates your credibility and ensures your rights to deliver emails.

There are several types of authentication processes, and one of the primary ones is the HELO/EHLO Authentication. This initial step is performed by the receiving server, and it holds a significant bearing on whether your message progresses or is rejected. If your sending server lacks a PTR (Pointer) record associated with your domain name, it raises a red flag. In such cases, your message is at risk of not reaching its intended destination.

The other authentication processes encompass a series of checks and validations, which we’ll explore in the following slides.

If, when running tests with GlockApps, you come across accounts marked as “MISSING,” it signifies that our system couldn’t locate your email there. In many instances, this is due to an unsuccessful EHLO check, as the receiving server did not clear this initial authentication hurdle.

Now, let’s delve into DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance). Imagine it as a set of rules for a postman handling your mail. You’re sending out invitations to a party and want your friends to be certain these invitations are genuinely from you. You affix a special sticker on them that only you possess, resembling DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). Additionally, you inform your friends that you’ll be sending invitations only from your own house or address, similar to SPF (Sender Policy Framework).

DMARC serves as the rulebook for the postman, instructing them to check the received invitation. If it lacks your special sticker or wasn’t sent from your house, it’s not considered legitimate. Furthermore, if they encounter an invitation pretending to be from you without the proper sticker or originating from an unauthorized address, they are instructed not to deliver it. Importantly, DMARC also allows you to receive reports if someone tries to send invitations in your name without the necessary credentials. This not only protects your identity but also helps you identify any unauthorized attempts.

As a valuable bonus, DMARC opens the door for you to apply for a BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) record, which can significantly enhance your email deliverability.

Keep Your Email List Clean

Maintaining a clean email list is paramount to achieving robust email deliverability. Let’s delve into this imperative:

  1. Avoid Hard Bounces: The first rule of thumb is to steer clear of hard bounces at all costs. When you encounter a hard bounce, promptly remove the associated email address from your list. A hard bounce signifies that the email failed to reach its intended destination. This can occur, for instance, when an email address no longer exists. Continuously sending emails to addresses that hard bounce can adversely affect your sender reputation, eventually leading to the unwanted label of a spammer. This is a scenario we unequivocally want to avert.
  2. Remove Inactive Subscribers: Inactive subscribers are individuals who display no engagement with your emails. Prolonged, fruitless attempts to rekindle their interest can similarly damage your sender reputation. The outcome may involve your emails hard bouncing. It is, therefore, critical to recognize and eliminate inactive subscribers.
  3. Automate the Process: The significance of automation cannot be overstated. Automating the process of removing inactive users is a prudent step. In fact, it is advisable to implement this automated procedure even before constructing your contact list. This proactive approach serves as a preventive measure against hard bounces.

The automation of these processes is particularly noteworthy, as it ensures that your email list remains efficient and responsive. By doing so, you not only maintain a high level of sender reputation but also contribute to a more positive recipient experience.

Split Different Email Types by Separated Sub-Domains

Using a single root domain for all your email communications is akin to placing all your eggs in one basket, a practice fraught with potential pitfalls.

This is a common oversight, and it’s often the reason individuals discover the value of tools like GlockApps. At some point, they notice that critical, transactional emails, such as “Password Change” notifications, inexplicably end up in spam folders. The consequences of such misplacements can be severe.

For many email service providers, the reputation is associated not with the root domain, but with the entire domain. To illustrate, Google assigns an internal Sender Reputation score contingent on recipient engagement. The more engaged your recipients are with your emails, the higher your domain’s reputation soars.

In essence, sub-domains offer a strategic means of diversifying your reputation across various email types. By segmenting your email traffic using sub-domains, you effectively mitigate the risk of one type of email negatively impacting the deliverability of others. This practice plays a crucial role in preserving your sender reputation, ultimately contributing to the overall success of your email campaigns.

Know Your Recipient Email Provider

Segmenting your email list based on the recipient’s email provider can be a savvy strategy when aiming to enhance deliverability. Each email provider employs distinct algorithms that can significantly influence your email’s journey to the inbox. Consequently, you may discover that different approaches are required to ensure successful inbox placement for each provider.

Therefore, I recommend avoiding the practice of sending emails to both B2C (Business-to-Consumer) and B2B (Business-to-Business) recipients simultaneously. Instead, it’s advisable to run two separate and distinct campaigns, each tailored to the specific requirements and preferences of the email providers in question. This segmentation ensures that your email marketing strategies align optimally with the unique characteristics of each recipient group, thus bolstering your overall deliverability rates.

Only Send to Subscribers Who Opted In

This point is particularly intriguing, as it may not always align with conventional marketing wisdom, but it carries significant weight in the realm of deliverability. Sending emails exclusively to individuals who have willingly opted to receive them holds substantial advantages. These subscribers are more likely to engage with your emails, translating into a higher probability of success.

However, it’s essential to underscore that, even when emailing a receptive audience, you must afford them the unequivocal ability to unsubscribe. Providing an easy and clear path to unsubscribe respects their autonomy and reinforces a positive sender-recipient relationship. This practice not only aligns with best deliverability practices but also reflects your commitment to ethical and responsible email marketing.

Ensure a Consistent Sending Schedule

The concept of maintaining a consistent sending schedule is a noteworthy one, and its impact may run counter to initial assumptions. While the intuitive notion might be that sending emails more frequently could compromise your sender reputation, the reality is quite the opposite. Consistency holds a key to making a positive impression on email provider algorithms, subsequently enhancing your sender score.

It is, therefore, advisable to establish a well-structured and timely schedule for your newsletters and other routine emails. By doing so, you not only foster predictability for your recipients but also demonstrate a commitment to responsible and reliable email communication. This commitment, in turn, contributes to a healthier sender reputation, ultimately benefiting the deliverability of your emails.

Test Deliverability Regularly

The importance of regular deliverability testing cannot be overstated, especially when you consider that blacklists are being updated every six hours. Fortunately, a plethora of deliverability testing tools are readily available, including many free versions like the one on our website. Neglecting these resources is a missed opportunity.

By conducting regular deliverability tests, you ensure that your emails are not inadvertently landing in spam folders or facing other deliverability issues. It’s a proactive approach that empowers you to identify and rectify potential problems before they impact your email campaigns. Embracing these testing tools is a prudent and strategic move in the pursuit of email marketing success.

Benefits of Using GlockApps Email Inbox Checker

  • Utilize our Email Inbox Checker for comprehensive and accurate insights into your email placement. This tool empowers you to promptly identify and resolve potential issues that could divert your emails to recipients’ spam folders.
  • Our advanced analysis considers critical factors including email content, sender reputation, and recipient preferences, enabling us to precisely determine the destination of your emails.
  • In addition to real-time placement data, our inbox checker offers actionable recommendations to enhance your email deliverability, guaranteeing improved inbox visibility.
Test Your Email Deliverability

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Julia Gulevich is an email marketing expert and customer support professional at Geminds LLC with more than 15 years of experience. Author of numerous blog posts, publications, and articles about email marketing and deliverability.