Today, statistics are a big part of many marketing professionals’ duties, and it’s understandable that you want them to be as accurate as possible to guide your decisions. When recipients aren’t receiving your emails, it can easily affect those statistics in a negative way. Perhaps even worse, it can be just as frustrating and concerning for your recipients.
Even when everything in your email content is correctly set up, such as having valid FreeMarker syntax, correctly coded external anchor links or an unsubscribe option added, there are many reasons why some marketing list members may not receive your email. For example, when members’ email addresses are excluded
because they are blocked or they previously unsubscribed. Those exclusions act as a gatekeeper and take place within CRM before an email makes its way to the email server, so we’re only sending emails to people who should be receiving them. If you’re a ClickDimensions customer, that automatic process occurs as part of our service protection feature to ensure that our customers maintain high email deliverability.
So, what about the other marketing list members that are sent an email from our server, but it isn’t received? Whenever email deliverability is in question, ask yourself:
- Do I have my SPF record set up properly and is it currently valid?
- Are the emails being delivered or are they bouncing?
- What type
of recipients are they?
Do I have my SPF record set up properly and is it currently valid?
Having your SPF record set up properly will improve deliverability of your emails, especially when sending through an Email Service Provider such as ClickDimensions. When a recipient’s server sees the email, it will check for this SPF record, and if correctly set up, will let the receiving server know it is permitted to allow the email coming from ClickDimensions. Checking your SPF record is pretty simple by using online SPF validation tools referenced in a couple of our blog posts here and here. Using these tools, you can easily enter your sending domain to see if your SPF record is properly set up and currently valid, meaning that you have our ClickDimensions Include Statement in your SPF record and there are no permanent errors. That will result in an increased email deliverability where bounces should decrease and deliveries should increase.
If you’re not sure what your sending domain is, you will need to pay attention to the email address value being used in an email send’s From Email field. The domain in that email address is your sending domain.
For example, if the address in the From Email field is email@example.com , then the sending domain is “tomatogardens.org.” You will then use that domain when looking up an SPF record in an online tool.
Are the emails being delivered or are they bouncing?
There are different areas in ClickDimensions where you can check to see if your emails to recipients are being delivered or bouncing. Depending on whether you are reviewing statistics from an email you sent to a marketing list recently or you have word from a recipient that they didn’t receive last week’s newsletter, the places you start to check can differ.
If you are in the specific sent email send record, you can check the related email events or sent emails to see the records generated for every recipient. Email events
of a sent email send will show all the email events created from each recipient, so that is where you can see all the deliveries or bounces that occurred. Sent emails will show you a record of the email being sent to each recipient, where you can quickly see the result of that email in the different columns like deliveries or bounces columns. In both views of email events or sent emails, you can filter on the different columns by clicking the column name to group the records for easier viewing.
If you need to figure out why a specific recipient didn’t receive a recent email, you can check their contact/lead/account record. From their record, you can check the related email events or sent emails like you can for a sent email send, but this time those records are just for the specific person. You can see what the most recent email event or sent email record was and from which email send that derived.
From there, once you have narrowed down if a Deliver or Bounce email event occurred for the recipient, the next thing to check will be different depending on what type of recipient it is.
What type of recipients are they?
The type of email event and the type of recipient can provide insight into why your emails are not being received. The combination of those also means there are different things that can be done on the recipient’s end to ensure email deliverability increases moving forward. So, depending on the type of email event (Delivery or Bounce) and the type of recipient (internal/external and B2B/B2C), a recipient would need to either add your email address to their safe sender’s list or whitelist our IP addresses.
The type of email addresses you are sending to tells you what type of recipients they are. There are three types of recipients that we want to look at:
- B2B recipients – external
- B2B recipients – internal
- B2C recipients – external
There are a variety of possibilities for why your B2B marketing list members are not receiving your emails. When noticing bounces or deliveries to these type of email addresses, it is important to check the SPF record of the sending domain being used and to remember that a company’s spam filter policy settings play a huge role in determining which emails get through, which could cause a bounce or could even quarantine the email. If the email is quarantined, it might even give a false positive: A Deliver email event may be recorded, though the recipient never actually received the email. Keep in mind that the email events you see in your CRM are just being recorded from what the recipient’s receiving server sent back to our email server.
If you are seeing Bounce type email events for these recipients, this indicates the email did not make it through the receiving server, so it was bounced. To learn more about why emails bounce, take a look at our blog post here.
If you are seeing Deliver type email events for these recipients, this means the email was delivered and the receiving server has sent back acknowledgement of that delivery. That does not necessarily mean the recipient actually received the email in their inbox and there can be several reasons why. There could be a delay in their email client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) processing the email and getting it to their inbox, it could be held for moderation (quarantined) or it may have gone into their spam/junk folder. Any point after a delivery is reported and a Delivery email event resides in CRM for the recipient, the matter of whether the email was actually delivered or if it’s being held is caused by an occurrence on the recipient’s end that they will have to look into. If you would like to understand deliveries in more detail, we recommend this article.
External B2B recipients are the business addresses on your list that are not associated with your company. These are email addresses that end with their own company domains, such as clickdimensions.com and typically would not include @yahoo.com or @gmail.com. If your sending domain’s SPF record checks out and these external members have expressed that they’re not receiving your emails consistently, they can white-list your sending domain internally so their receiving server will accept them. So, if you’re sending domain is “tomatogardens.org,” that is what they can whitelist.
Internal B2B recipients are the business recipients within your own organization. If members of your organization are not receiving your ClickDimensions emails and the sending domain’s SPF record is properly set up, having our ClickDimensions Email Server IP Addresses whitelisted in your own organization’s server will be required to increase your deliverability of ClickDimensions emails to your internal colleagues.
If your company has whitelisted the IP addresses and you are still having inconsistencies in receiving your emails due to your company’s strict spam filter policy, you can also whitelist our bulk service sending domain “clickdimensions.com.”
Quarantine is an area on a server where incoming messages are stored if they are suspected of being spam messages. This differs from the junk folder in your email client. If you see that an email has been delivered, but your recipient hasn’t received the email in their email client (including the junk/spam folder), the email may have been stored in quarantine. If you suspect that an incoming message has been quarantined, have the recipient reach out to their system administrator to search the quarantine area of their incoming mail server. Please note: Quarantined messages are only held temporarily. If they are not reviewed and/or released within a certain time, they will be automatically deleted. This is not reversible and will be permanently deleted.
For the B2C recipients that sign up with their personal Gmail, Yahoo, etc. email addresses, there are additional factors from the ones mentioned above that may prevent your emails from arriving or at least to not arrive. For example, it may simply be in a different folder or tab, such as Gmail’s Social and Promotions tabs.
With large ISPs, there are many known occurrences where the ISP will fail to send back Email Events for hours or even days, which will leave you wondering what happened to the email you sent.
The best way to combat external factors is to have your recipients add your email address to their safe senders list. That process will vary depending on the email client service. If you are experiencing a situation where your recipients are not receiving your emails, you should give serious consideration to adding a section on your emails that will remind them to add your email to their safe senders list.
As additional resources for sending and receiving ClickDimensions emails, you may want to check out these blog posts below regarding email deliverability as well:
Common Email Send Problems