Frequently asked questions about deliverability

Deliverability Podcasts
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In episode 15 of the Deliverability Defined podcast, Melissa and I answer the most common questions we are asked about deliverability:

Frequently asked questions about deliverability

Deliverability FAQs

As you’ve no doubt discovered, email deliverability is a complex topic. There are a number of factors that affect deliverability for senders, and it’s easy to get lost in all of the information when something goes wrong. Here are some of the most common questions we get asked in the deliverability world and how we answer them.

Why are emails going to spam?

This is probably the most asked question we get on the deliverability team. If you've been listening to our podcast you probably could answer this question on your own right now. As a refresher though, emails can go to spam for many many reasons.

We usually start by sending a test email to see where the email is placed (inbox or spam). Here are the top few reasons emails go to the spam folder.

  • Damaged sender reputation: This happens when the sender has done something that made mailbox providers believe they’re sending unwanted mail. Whether it was purchasing a list, sending to cold subs, or sending too much and receiving complaints, there are many things that are up to the sender to watch out for!
  • Failing DMARC: For more information on DMARC, check out our episode on authentication.
  • Listbombing: If you have unprotected forms, bots might get added to your list resulting in an elevated complaint rate. Learn more by listening to our episode on listbombing.

Why do subscribers bounce?

Subscribers can bounce for hundreds of reasons. There are soft (temporary) and hard (permanent) bounces. If you are using an email service like ConvertKit, we take care of bounces for you by removing the hard bounced subscribers from your active subscriber list. This helps protect your sender reputation.

A soft bounce typically means the subscriber is still able to receive future messages, so these subscribers will stay active in your account. Bounces aren't necessarily a bad thing–they can be sort of like the old “busy” tone you'd get when you'd call someone on a landline and they were on the other line.

If you notice your bounce rate is 5% or more, then there might be another underlying issue to dig into.

What do I need to do to my DNS settings when using an email marketing platform?

Every email service provider is different. With ConvertKit, you typically don’t need to make any DNS changes to start sending with success!

However, if you have a DMARC record on your domain, you’ll want to set up a verified sending domain, which requires two CNAME records to be added to your DNS.

How often should I send emails to my list?

This is going to vary greatly depending on the kind of content you send. The most important things to keep in mind are:

  • Listen to your subscribers: If you send daily emails and a large chunk of your list is cold, take that as a sign to send emails less frequently. If you send daily emails and your list is extremely engaged, then daily emails probably work really well for your content.
  • Stay consistent: Avoid irregularities in your sending habits. Try to send emails at a regular cadence and avoid taking long stretches of time off of sending. Send an email at least every other week to keep your sender reputation established.

Why am I sending on a blocklisted IP?

If you’ve used an inbox placement test tool you might have seen a warning that you’re sending from a blocklisted IP. These warnings might look really scary, but oftentimes the blocklist isn’t actually impacting any of your emails.

Listen to our episode on blocklists to learn more about how to know when a blocklist is impacting your deliverability.

A subscriber reached out to me because they aren't receiving my emails. What can I do?

A great first step is to see if the subscriber’s email bounced. If so, your ESP should be able to give you a reason why and potentially offer you some ideas for a fix. If there are no bounces the next step would be to ask your subscriber to add your sending email to their contact list or safe senders list. This almost always helps and lets mailbox providers know the subscriber wants to see your emails in their inbox.
Frequently asked questions about deliverability


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Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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