When signing up to an email marketing service, you eliminate a lot of the technical side of sending your emails to your subscribers. No matter what service you sign up to, they cannot guarantee 100% email delivery. Because so many variables exist both on the technical and sender sides, 100% delivery is almost impossible. So a big question that is asked almost all the time is, how can I improve my email delivery?

Email delivery is a difficult process and takes a lot of checking and testing on the sender’s end. When you sign up to a service like Benchmark Email, or similar services, the service themselves take care of some of the technical aspects of sending. Things like sender score, authentication, feedback loops and more. There are many things on the sender’s end that can help improve email delivery.

Checking your sending score is important. I know I mentioned earlier that services check this for you and that remains true. Basic services will provide you with IP addresses that may be shared with other users of the same level of service, and the score is managed by the service. That can vary in different ways from service to service. Dedicated IP addresses, or senders using their own technology, should check this regularly. You can check your sender score with Return Path who measure the scores by your email history. How well your email performs is crucial to your sending score and that leads us to our next topic, which is your list.

Your contact list is the most important resource in email marketing. It’s not just the amount of contacts you have, but it’s also the engagement of your contacts that really matter. We know that your sender score depends on your emails performing well, so it makes sense to start with your subscribers. Having contacts that constantly bounce and just plain not open your emails is like cancer to your list. They bring your sender score down until you get rid of them, or at the very least stop sending regularly to them. Once you clean those out those contacts, you’ll then want to start filtering incoming contacts that just end up sitting there. Double opt-in methods for signup forms are highly recommended as it weeds out those contacts who are just in it for the contest or prize. You should then also send regularly to your contacts, never more, never less. So segmenting your contacts by daily, weekly or monthly subscribers is important. Speaking of segmenting, you should also segment by whatever information you have on your contacts.

For those power users that l have a good idea of what they are doing and purchase dedicated IP addresses, or even use their own in-house technology to send their emails, this tip is for you. That is when you buy a new IP address or start off new, it is important to warm up your IP address and slowly ramp up sending. This is an important step because new IP addresses do not have a reputation. Just like racing, you’ll need to have some practice sessions before the real lap. Throttle your emails and slowly send to your contacts to build your reputation. Once you’ve built your reputation you can then try sending at full speed. If you start getting bounces that are “deferred,” you may want to slow down as servers are rejecting your emails because they are too fast. This can be seen in bounce logs.

Last, but not least, is utilizing the Sender Policy Framework, or also phrased as publishing an SPF Record. Simply put, what an SPF Record does states that this email server or IP address is going to be sending emails for this domain. This is very helpful if you are using a service to send your emails. For some services, they may not mention it and some services they may require it. It’s difficult to complete because it does involve your website and the DNS server. By doing this, it authorizes your service’s email servers, to send on behalf of your domain, or whatever domain your from email address is. If you have difficulty on how to publish an SPF record, talk to your webmaster or your website hosting service like GoDaddy.