Updated: Oct 18, 2022
What’s happening with your email?
Ever notice getting emails with an ‘unverified’ tag? Are others receiving emails from you that are ‘unverified’?
As you can probably guess, this is not good as it will impact your deliverability. This ‘unverified’ dilemma can be terrible for your delivery of email to customers and prospects. Furthermore, this also means you have unresolved issues that may leave you vulnerable to cybercrime activity.
‘Unverified’ email means that your email is bouncing or going into the junk or spam folder. This can be an especially bigger problem if you are a startup business trying to gain new customers, an architect wanting to promote your firm, or a dental office/medical practice trying to keep in touch with patients. If your email is not getting to the Inbox, then your marketing dollars are being wasted.
Many of us use a mass email platform for marketing to prospects and customers. While your email platform may report that you are getting a high ‘email delivery rate’, it’s important to understand that ‘email deliverability’ is different as it ensures your email gets received in the Inbox as intended.
It’s entirely possible that you could have a great email delivery rate, but most are going to the spam folder because your email domain has not been verified by ISPs that transmit your emails.
To be clear, the Email Delivery Rate is the percentage of emails that get received by subscriber, even if it goes to a spam folder. Email Deliverability is the ability to get emails to your recipients’ “Inbox”, which is what counts the most.
There are several important elements that impact your email deliverability such as quality of email list, email frequency, and email sender’s reputation to name a few. In this blog, we’re going to focus on one of the most common issues that impact your email deliverability.
Key Steps to Verify Email Domain:
Fortunately, there is a quick and simple adjustment that only requires adding several TXT records to your DNS hosting provider. These include the SPF, DKIM and DMARC records.
So, what are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records and what do they mean?
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication protocol that verifies the mail server. If the mail server IP address isn’t listed in the SPF record, the message will fail SPF authentication and will more likely get sent to spam folder.
Establishing this SPF record will also deter bad actors from forging emails and impersonating your email account, which is referred to as ‘spoofing’. It will also prevent your own email domain from being blacklisted by spam filters or ISPs.
SPF records are very important to block spammers and phishers (the bad guys) from emailing your recipients and pretending to be you. These forged emails will more likely be blocked from reaching your subscribers’ inboxes, ending up in the spam folder instead.
In terms of email deliverability, an SPF-protected domain is less likely to be forged, and therefore less likely to be blacklisted by spam filters. It also means that domains with an SPF record will be more likely to reach recipient’s inboxes.
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a protocol that allows an organization to take responsibility for transmitting a message in a way that can be verified by the mailbox providers. This verification is made possible through cryptographic authentication.
Having an established DKIM record will result in emails that are more trusted by the recipients and make blacklists and whitelists more effective. Phishing attacks are also easier to detect when the DKIM record is established.
As with SPF records, establishing DKIM records means spammers/phishers are less likely to forge mail from your company. Your domain will be more trusted and will have a lower chance of being blacklisted, and a higher chance of your emails going direct to recipients’ Inbox.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) is an email authentication protocol. This protocol protects your domain from being spoofed and used for phishing, email scams, and business email compromise attacks.
Establishing a DMARC record allows a sender's domain to indicate that their email messages are protected by SPF and/or DKIM and what to do if neither of those authentication methods passes – such as to reject the message or quarantine it.
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Email deliverability is important to almost everyone as it ensures your emails are getting delivered to the Inbox, and not the Spam or Junk mail folders. Mitigating this is a fairly simple process and has a big impact. Contact RIATA today and we’ll be glad to review your DNS and make adjustments to ensure your emails get delivered.
About the Author: Tommy Wald is CEO of RIATA Technologies, a full-service IT provider located in Austin, TX. He can be reached at TWald@RiataTechnologies.com.