Improve email deliverability to your customers by adjusting your DKIM and SPF records at your Domain and hosting providers. The tech secret of email deliverability is that a few settings can dramatically improve your chances of your email landing into your customer’s inbox.
2024 update: Google’s Gmail will require your business have DMARC (not just DKIM and SPF) in place to deliver email to your customer’s inboxes who have gmail addresses. This is huge!
Two (fairly simple but slightly scary for beginners) settings can dramtically improve the deliverability of your emails!
Let’s break it down. The DKIM and SPF settings are part of a larger protocol called DMARC. These settings (more on each in a moment) in a nutshell tell the internet mail handlers that your business is who you say it is, and that you’re not a spammer.
Do you really need to do this? Well if your mail is sending from firstname.lastname@example.org but you’re sending from MailChimp’s servers or Constant Contact’s servers, you are really telling your recipent’s server that it’s from mailchimp or constantcontact (from a server standpoint, not an email addresss.) Having these verified records shows the internet mail systems that your business is who you say it is, and they’re more likely to reward priority inbox and deliverability increases.
What do you need to do to fix these records? You’re going to need your web developer on this task, as it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ll be editing the DNS settings at your web hosting provider (not your domain name provider unless you also host with them.) You’ll be adding two CNAME and a TXT record to your DNS records, and you’ll need different settings for each of these email services.
For Hubspot, you’ll get two CNAME and one TXT record (all customized by the Hubspot app) for you to enter. For Constant Contact there is one, a TXT record and two CNAME that is customized for you that you will enter into your DNS records. For MailChimp there are two CNAME records to enter and a TXT record to complete all three (including DMARC)
Once complete, each of these systems will allow a verification process, and it may take a day or two to fully propagate before you can resume sending bulk emails from these systems. Once you’ve completed and verified they are working fully, you should test your email sends again and note deliverability increases or changes to ensure that the results you’re looking for are, in fact, working.
Improving email deliverability is the first step to getting your e-mail marketing program working for you. List building, and content strategy are two other important things that you’ll want to focus on next.
If you want to know more, there is a great article from WPForms – a tool many of our clients use on their WordPress sites (we have a Pro license we deploy for a number of clients) on this.
DMARC: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance
DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail
SPF: Sender Policy Framework
Which service does a better job? We profile two popular ones, Hubspot CRM and Constant Contact email marketing.
Do you need help with these things? In under an hour, I can have all three settings complete for your business: drop me a note here or call me at 517 402 8500.