Marketing emails are inherently unsolicited in nature and therefore has a very high tendency to be marked as a promotion by email clients and sometimes even marked as SPAM. If you send a large number of marketing/promotional emails to your customers or leads that you have acquired, you will see your open rates go down in single digits slowly and even the spam rates could also slowly go high. Note that you can get these numbers from your marketing solutions provider e.g. Mailchimp, Sendgrid, etc. Now, let’s talk about ways to improve the situation.
Use a Separate Domain
First of all, we believe that marketing/promotional emails should be sent from a separate domain that is used primarily for this purpose. For example at LetsVenture, we send marketing emails to startups from email@example.com domain instead of the regular letsventure.com domain. This approach ensures that the domain reputation of your primary domain doesn’t get adversely impacted. Otherwise, in the worst case, even regular emails from your main domain could get marked as spam or promotion by Gmail which is not a nice situation to be in. So, while we send our promotional emails from the letsventure.co.in domain, transactional emails (e.g password resets, order details, etc) are sent from letsventure.com domain only.
Add SPF and DKIM Settings
Next thing you need to do is add SPF and DKIM settings to your MailChimp or SendGrid account (or whatever tool you use). Note that these settings need to be done in your G suite admin account as well (or whatever email provider you use for your domain).
What is SPF?
SPF is a security setting that ensures that only email servers approved by you are able to send emails on behalf of your domain. Note that SPF setting is added using the DNS records. For example for letsventure.com domain, we allow only AWS, Mandrill and MailChimp to send emails using letsventure.com domain email address. Any other server trying to send email from letsventure.com email address will fail the SPF test and therefore likely to be caught by the email clients.
What is DKIM?
DKIM, on the other hand, is a cryptographic authentication mechanism which ensures that the email content has not tampered with en-route to the customer’s inbox.
How to check your SPF/DKIM settings?
To check your SPF/DKIM setting, you can use G Suite toolbox Check MX. Enter your domain and it will check all your settings. If you find any issue, please fix it.
Use a Dedicated IP Address
It is also a good idea to have a dedicated IP address for sending emails in MailChimp/Sendgrid. Otherwise, your emails are sent from shared servers (therefore shared IP) and therefore may suffer from poor reputation of these IP addresses. Having your dedicated IP ensures that you are only as good or as bad as your own emails that you send.
Remove Invalid Emails
Now, the most important thing is to also ensure that your email addresses are clean. If there are emails in your list that are either bouncing, it will cause a bad reputation to your domain. So, ensure that you remove such invalid emails from your list before you start sending large campaigns.
Check your Domain Reputation
After you have done all of the above and your email open rates are still not improving, do check the reputation of your domain using Sender Score tool. Not only it tells you the reputation of your main domain and its IPs but also any related subdomains that you use to send emails.
Add DMARC Setting
Last of the things you should set is DMARC for your domain. The DMARC setting instructs the email providers on how to handle emails that fail SPF and/or DKIM authentication. For example, you could set your DMARC setting such that any email failing the SPF/DKIM checks are quarantined (moved to the spam folder) by the email providers. For example, PayPal has set its DMARC setting such that 100% of the emails failing SPF/DKIM check will be quarantined (moved to the spam folder).
Have any questions, feel free to post your questions here and we could try to address them for you.