Deliverability Best Practices

Intro

Email messages from any source have the potential to be filtered by their recipients. Almost anyone who receives email is using some sort of spam filter.

Spam filtering is a complex topic. Many mail services use a variety of technologies to detect and filter spam, and data from a number of sources to inform their filtering. Because of this, Mixmax, just like any other service, cannot guarantee that your messages will not be filtered. But there are steps you can take to maximize the chance that your messages are received and opened by the people who you want to read them.

Settings for custom domains

If you use Google Workspace and have your own email domain, you should make sure that common email security settings are configured for your domain, as well make sure you are able to get information about your domain’s email reputation. These are settings that are partially or completely external to Mixmax and are outlined in the sections below. You should make sure these are in place before you start sending Mixmax messages or sequences.  

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are tools for authenticating email messages. They ensure that email messages are sent from an authorized server and have a digital signature that validates the sending server. Having these setup ensures your recipients that your domain is actually sending these messages, and will make anything you send significantly less likely to be filtered as spam.

You can check the Email Diagnostic page in the Mixmax dashboard to see if SPF, DKIM, and DMARC have already been configured for your domain. If they have not been, you should work with your IT team, DNS administrator, or hosting provider to add the appropriate DNS records and Google Workspace settings. These DNS records are maintained by you or your hosting provider, not Mixmax, and cannot be modified in the Mixmax product. You can find additional information for how to set these up for your Google Workspace domain in these documents:

SPF

Ensure mail delivery & prevent spoofing (SPF)

DKIM

Enhance security for outgoing email (DKIM)

DMARC

Enhance security for forged spam (DMARC)

Custom Domains in Mixmax 

Mixmax allows you to use your own domain for Mixmax open and link tracking, and for Calendar links. Using a custom domain for tracking ensures that you send your recipients links that look like they come from you directly. This improves your deliverability in two ways: messages with links to the same domain as the sender help affirm your identity and are less likely to be filtered; and messages with links to your domain will not appear to be similar to messages sent by other Mixmax users, which prevents your messages from being associated with other senders.

Setting up custom domains requires additional DNS entries to be configured in your domain, and you may need assistance from your IT team, DNS administrator, or hosting provider. See our document Custom Domains For Tracking And Calendars for the necessary steps.

Google Postmaster Tools

Google’s Postmaster Tools allow you to see additional data about your domain’s email traffic, reputation, and spam rates. We recommend configuring this service for your domain. If you send only a small amount of traffic, these statistics may not be available initially, but setting the service up will allow you to see once you have sent a sufficient volume of email. You should monitor these statistics and consider making changes to your outbound email strategy if you start to see negative changes. In particular, if you see a User Reported Spam Rate above 0.5%, you should make changes to your email content, as users manually reporting spam at that rate will significantly affect your deliverability. 

See Google’s document Getting Started With Postmaster Tools to learn more about setting this up.

Settings for all users

These settings are internal to Mixmax and apply whether you have a gmail.com email address or have your own email domain.

Daily Send Limits

The Daily Send Limit feature limits the number of sequence messages that users in your workspace can send per day. Recipients treat senders which send large amounts of email over short periods of time as more likely to be spammers. Limiting your daily sequence message volume will and help to prevent this. Consider setting your Daily Send Limit to 300 or less, especially if your domain does not have a history of sending large amounts of email. See our Daily Send Limit article for information on how to configure this.

Unsubscribe Links

Unsubscribe links allow your recipients to tell you they don’t want to hear from you anymore; once they click the unsubscribe link they will automatically be removed from any active sequences and cannot be added to future sequences. Including an unsubscribe link is a best practice both because it is polite to your recipients and because spam filters consider automated messages sent without unsubscribe links to be more likely to be spam. You should configure your roles in Mixmax to have unsubscribe links in sequence messages. See our article Add an ‘Unsubscribe’ Link To Your Sequences for details.

General Best Practices

These are additional steps you can take to improve your message deliverability.

  • Keep your message sending volume consistent. Sudden increases in message volume can be seen as a sign of spamming. If you need to increase your sending volume, ramp it up slowly.
  • Make sure your messages don’t look automated. Use sequence variables to personalize messages, and keep the text similar to a hand-written message. If your message reads like it was sent automatically, spam filters are more likely to treat it as spam.
  • Avoid terms and phrases that suggest your message is an attempt to sell a product, conduct a contest, or other explicitly commercial purpose. These messages are more likely to be filtered, and more likely to be manually marked as spam by recipients.
  • Limit use of HTML, images, and links. Large amounts of these in a message will trigger some filters.
  • Relatedly, consider disabling tracking if deliverability is your primary concern. Open, click, and download tracking all rely on images or links in your message to function, and can slightly increase the chance your message is filtered.
  • Send messages to known good email addresses; ideally those you have collected yourself from interested recipients. Messages which bounce and which are marked as spam by recipients hurt your email reputation and increase the likelihood of future messages being filtered.
  • Avoid purchasing email lists. Large commercial lists often contain bad and unused addresses and sending to them can hurt your domain reputation.
  • If your sequence metrics start decreasing, you should make changes to your sequence content. Mail systems treat messages with identical text to previous messages as more likely to be spam. Additionally, if recipients mark a message as spam, future similar messages are likely to be filtered automatically. Changing your content can avoid this.

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