Email Marketing & Email Marketing Automation

Why Aren’t Your Emails Making It To The Inbox?

Some of the companies that we meet with send all of their email, including system messages, from their internal servers. Many of them don’t have the means to even see if the emails are getting to their destination… and many of them aren’t. Do not assume that because you sent an email it actually made it to the inbox.

This is why there is an entire industry of email providers. An email is a formidable tool – often resulting in the highest returns than any other online medium. If your company isn’t experiencing that, your email may be going out – but not actually being read or opened.

  • No Sender Reputation – Every email is sent from an IP address. Some are corporate servers, most bulk emails are sent from email service providers (ESPs). Regardless, the email is coming from a specific server. ISPs monitor these IP addresses and store whether or not the emails received are generating activity or being reported as SPAM. If you’re sending on a new IP address with no reputation, it’s essential that you warm the IP address to build that initial reputation.
  • Industry Blacklists – Most internet service providers (ISP) subscribe to industry blacklists. Spamhaus is a well-known blacklist service. Organizations like Spamhaus monitor the volume of complaints that a business gets and the thresholds are fairly low. If your company finds itself on a blacklist (DNSBL), each ISP may be blocking all emails from your IP address.

Check To See If Your IP Is Blacklisted

  • ISP Blacklists – Major ISPs also maintain their own blacklists. There are several things you can do to ensure high deliverability rates, including getting your company whitelisted with them. If you’re sending emails from your own system, be sure to challenge your IT teams to put the necessary precautions in place.
  • Email AuthenticationEmail authentication includes a couple of technologies that ISPs use to validate the domain that you’re sending for is authorized to send from the IP Address you’re sending from. If you’ve not set up email authentication, the ISPs may assume that your email is a phishing email and they’ll route it to the SPAM folder.
  • Hard Bounces – If an email address is no longer valid, the provider will often reject the email with a specific code. If your system doesn’t do anything with that information and you continue sending it to the address, you’re going to get in trouble. Resending messages to bad email addresses is an easy way to get on the bad side of an Internet Service Provider. They’ll begin dumping all of your emails into the SPAM folder. For large senders, we often cleanse their email addresses and remove any known hard bounces to avoid a poor sender reputation.
  • Soft Bounces – sometimes inboxes are full so the host or provider doesn’t accept the email. They send a bounce message back. This is called a soft bounce. If your system doesn’t have any means of handling a soft bounce, you won’t send another email when the user finally cleans up their inbox. This is called bounce management and it’s quite complex. To maximize deliverability rates, email service providers will attempt to resend emails dozens of times if necessary.
  • ContentEmail subject lines and content may contain some words that trigger SPAM filters. Unbeknownst to you, your email is sent directly to the junk folder and your recipient never reads it. Most email service providers (and some external tools) have content analysis filters. It’s a great idea to validate your message to improve the chances of it making it to the inbox.

There’s no need to break the bank on these tools, either. While signing up with an Email Service Provider may cost thousands of dollars, you can also just opt into some email tool services to monitor your deliverability.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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One Comment

  1. The content filtering goes deeper than just subject line, too. If you use excessive all-caps, bold, or even a density of hyperlinks in the body copy that exceeds norm, you can get relegated to the junk box.

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