If you’re running an email marketing campaign, you’ll know how frustrating it can be for your emails to end up in spam folders. After all, you’ve spent hours and hours conducting research, planning strategy, and designing messages—you want all of that work to actually be seen by your customers!

As well as this, emails being marked as spam can have negative effects on a business’s brand and reputation. Rather than being the sign of a trustworthy and friendly company, spam messages can often suggest that a business is unreliable or dangerous.

Your emails ending up in spam folders isn’t the only issue that you’ll have to face. Often, your email messages might not even reach their intended target and instead bounce back immediately after they’ve been sent. 

Email deliverability is a problem that all online companies have to overcome if they want to have a truly effective email marketing strategy. It is possible that your messages are being blocked by your router having a high bounce rate. Though if your router has a clean bill of health then you will have to look for another solution. Fortunately, there are three ways in which you can ensure that your emails are actually delivered to their audiences: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.


What are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? 

Creating a personal connection with your customers is an important part of marketing. While this can be done when communicating by phone through hosted VoIP systems, most companies rely on email communications. For these email messages to be successfully delivered, it is vital that you use SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

There can be many reasons why your email ends up in spam, but not having the correct email validation is one of the biggest problems. SPF and DKIM are two of the best methods for digital verification.

As well as SPF and DKIM, you should use DMARC. This is a security protocol that allows for detailed reporting when your emails are rejected or sent to the spam folder. 

Using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC together will give you the best chance to have 100% email deliverability while also ensuring that any issues that you do have will be reported in detail. But how can you implement these strategies in your email marketing campaign? 



Free to use image sourced from Unsplash


1. SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is the name for the records that are stored on your domain that describe which servers are authorized to send emails from your domain name. 

This essentially allows you to ensure that only emails that are actually sent by you are attributed to your domain. Without SPF, you risk allowing malicious actors such as scammers to send fake emails that are sent under your domain name. 

To make sure that your emails are delivered and aren’t rejected by the recipient’s email provider, SPF prompts the recipient’s account to check your domain registry. If the details of the sender’s account match your domain’s registry, the email won’t be rejected. 

In order to set up SPF for your domain name, you’ll need to list all of the servers and domains that you want to authorize. You’ll need to think about all of the accounts, in-house servers, and third-party servers that you use to send email messages. Then, you should compile this list into a TXT document and add it to your domain’s DNS. 

Each domain can only have one SPF record, but you can edit existing SPF records if you want to add new servers to your authorized list. SPF records can also be stored on the cloud so that they can follow your business cloud migration strategy.

Setting up SPF will mean that fraudulent emails that use your domain name will be far less effective. It will also make sure that recipient accounts will have less reason to reject your emails or send them to the spam folder, as they’ll be able to verify that they were really sent by your company.


SPF record

Free to use image sourced from Unsplash


2. DKIM 

Another way to improve email deliverability is through using DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). Like SPF, DKIM allows you to verify that emails were actually sent from the email domain that they say they are sent from.

DKIM differs from SPF in how it verifies the relationship between an email and the domain that it claims to be sent from. Rather than using a list of verified servers, DKIM relies on a unique email security key in the metadata of every email.

Email senders that use DKIM will ensure that all of their sent emails will prompt a check. Recipient accounts will make sure that the message’s DKIM signature matches the signature in the domain’s DNS records. 

Establishing DKIM on your email domain is less straightforward than setting up SPF, but every business that wants to achieve better email deliverability should implement it. Just as if you wanted to check number portability, it’s important to recognize the specific requirements of your communications provider. 

Each email provider has a different way of ensuring that DKIM checks take place. Some providers, such as Gmail, automatically include some of the steps in their email package. However, some email providers will require you to manually set up DKIM.

If this is the case, you’ll have to install DKIM software onto your domain’s server before using an online tool to create a pair of DKIM key codes. These steps will allow you to store these codes and then check with your email provider as to how you can use them to verify DKIM.


DKIM check

Free to use image sourced from Unsplash


SPF and DKIM are vital tools if you want to improve email deliverability and reduce the number of emails that end up in recipient’s spam folders—creating a more effective email campaign. However, issues are likely to continue; DMARC is a way of knowing all of the relevant information about these issues so that you can solve them.

Basically, DMARC is a reporting tool that will send a failure report to your domain once an email is either rejected or sent to a recipient’s spam folder. If you can’t act on all of these individual reports, DMARC also sends aggregate reports that will allow you to spot trends and wider issues with your email deliverability. 

Many email providers can automatically produce DMARC reports for domains once you have created a DMARC record for your domain. You can then receive these reports and use an analyzer tool to simplify the often complex DMARC reports. 

Receiving regular DMARC reports will allow you to take actions that will improve email deliverability as well as protect your domain from malicious actors in the future, such as by instructing your server to reject certain senders.


SPF, DKIM, and DMARC—the path to better email deliverability 

All three tools that we have examined can be useful for anyone trying to improve email deliverability. You should try to implement them all in your email strategy and use staff-wide communication to train all employees to effectively use them.

SPF and DKIM are both great ways to make sure that all of the emails linked to your domain name are actually sent by your servers. This can stop emails from bouncing and will mean that it is far less likely that your emails will be quarantined in a spam folder. 

As well as this, DMARC is the best way to keep on top of the deliverability of your emails and the overall health of your email domain. Using all three of these tools together will ensure that most of your emails bouncing will become a thing of the past. 



John Allen – Director, SEO, 8×8

John Allen is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This