Why Email Testing is So Vital for Email Marketing

Why Email Testing is So Vital for Email Marketing

Would you spend hours working on a project only to throw it away? Of course not. No one likes to see hard work go to waste. The fact of the matter is, however, that if you are sending emails without spam score and authentication testing, you may be doing this already. Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s take a closer look at how these tools work to make sure your emails make it to the inbox.

How Spam Score Testing Works

Mail servers use spam filters to find and filter out spam from your inbox. Whether you use Gmail, Zoho, or Outlook, the process is the same. Spam filters search for certain criteria to determine whether or not the incoming mail is valid.

These criteria include: if the email is in HTML format or not, if it contains unnecessary code, and if there are any embedded images with coding errors. Spam filters also check the email to identify typical spam phrases, such as, “This is not spam”, “free”, references to money, as well as the sender’s information, to make sure that they have a valid email address and none of their earlier emails had been labeled as spam.

How GlockApps Tests Spam Score

When you do an email spam test in GlockApps, we run your email content through common spam filters such as Google Spam Filter, Barracuda, SpamAssassin, and Mimecast and return to you an itemized feedback that often points on each specific content issue. Specifically, these platforms check your email’s content against their list of criteria to determine if a message is spam before you press send. A hit on any one of the criteria is given a score, which is then used to determine a total score. This is called the email’s spam score.

Why Email Testing is So Vital for Email Marketing

An email’s spam score is based on the elements in your mail where spam has been identified. A high score is bad, it means you have a lot of content containing spam. Conversely, a low score is ideal.

A high score means your email has a high probability of ending up in the junk folder, not the inbox. If your content’s spam score is above 5, it means there are a lot of issues and your email is almost certain to be flagged as spam. Ideally, your spam score should be 0, however, this is very difficult to obtain and a score of 0.2 or lower is quite desirable.

How GlockApps Tests Email Placement

A high spam score doesn’t always mean that the email will go to the spam folder in the user’s mailbox. Email testing also includes testing of the message placement in the mailbox. At GlockApps, we provide you with the test list of email addresses set up with different mailbox providers including Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo and many others. You are required to send the message to the test list using your SMTP server or email service provider.

GlockApps logs in each test mailbox and sees where the message was placed by the ISP: Inbox, Spam, Promotions, Newsletters etc. Everything happens in the real time. The report that is generated when the test completes allows you to get an understanding of your sender reputation and Inbox rate that you can achieve with your real email list. To help you improve deliverability, GlockApps creates the action steps you can take to fix delivery issues.

Why Email Testing is So Vital for Email Marketing

How Email Authentication Testing works

Email authentication is a technical way to show that an email is not forged. It provides verification that the email is sent from who claimed to have sent it and prevents harmful use of email, like spam and phishing.

Technically, “email authentication” refers to the standards used to make verification possible, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. There are several different ways to achieve authentication but basically, the process goes something like this:

  1. A business or organization that sends email creates a policy defining the rules by which email from its domain name can be authenticated.
  2. The email sender sets up their mail servers to implement these new rules.
  3. A receiving mail server email authenticates it by checking it against the rules of the domain owner.
  4. The receiving mail server acts upon the authentication to accept, flag, or reject the email.

As is shown by these steps both the sender and the receiver must be involved in the process for it to work. This is why standards for email authentication are so important, they define the rules for email authentication which any business or organization can implement.

Email sender authentication gives the recipients of an email the certainty that it actually came from the represented source. This creates both trust and confidence in recipients, which is why knowing how to authenticate email is so crucial to the success of a business.

Email Authentication Standards

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are standards that enable different aspects of email authentication. They each deal with specific issues.

  • SPF allows the sender to define which IP addresses may send mail for a specific domain.
  • DKIM provides an encryption key and digital signature that verifies that an email message was not faked or corrupted.
  • DMARC unifies SPF and DKIM authentication into a common framework and allows the owners of the domain to specify how to deal with email from that domain if it fails an authentication test.

These standards help to create the well-known domain name system (DNS). The DNS could be compared to a phone book for the internet, in that it determines a domain’s legitimacy through a process of analysis and verification. Businesses and organizations use email authentication to ensure both security and deliverability.

How GlockApps Tests Email Authentication

GlockApps performs a check of the SPF and DKIM email authentication records, providing the user with insight into which issues should be corrected for better deliverability.

To get complete visibility into how your emails are authenticated, you can use the DMARC Analytics tool at GlockApps. You will discover exactly who and what organizations are sending emails using your domain and if they are authorized senders or not. GlockApps provides valuable analytics about your email traffic and alerts you when it detects:

  • a significant drop in your DMARC compliance rate;
  • a sudden growth of email traffic from your domain;
  • changes in the DKIM or SPF DNS records;
  • an increase of DKIM or SPF authentication failures in traffic from your legitimate sources.

The picture below demonstrates an email phishing attack detected by GlockApps DMARC Analytics. With a norm 8 000 – 10 000 messages per day, the email volume increased to 114 000 one day where almost all the messages failed DMARC evaluation. Thanks to the Quarantine DMARC policy set by the domain’s owner, phishing emails didn’t reach the recipients’ inboxes and the domain reputation wasn’t affected.

Why Email Testing is So Vital for Email Marketing

Problems of Sending without Testing

As you may know, when writing emails, even the most attentive marketer can make mistakes, so to ensure deliverability, it is advisable to obtain a spam score and deliverability level before sending the real campaign. We’ve all heard horror stories from friends and colleagues who didn’t understand the importance of testing and tried to send emails for their business on their own, only to later realize that their clients never received their email at all!

Email testing is a must-have for modern email marketing, and it has to be used when you:

  • change an email template;
  • change an email service provider or SMTP server;
  • get a new domain or IP;
  • see a drop in your email open rate.

No need to worry however, because with GlockApps spam testing and itemized review, you will be able to immediately identify those elements in your content and sending infrastructure which could be generating spam placements.

If you are responsible for email marketing for your business but haven’t yet implemented testing in your campaigns, you are severely limiting both your visibility and deliverability. Let GlockApps help you turn your campaigns into clients. Click here to register and get started today!



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