Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eight Steps to Optimize Email Deliverability Using JangoMail

Email deliverability is a key concern for most email marketers, and at JangoMail, we think we do a pretty good job of ensuring the highest possible inbox placement of our clients' emails. JangoMail is a highly customizable platform, from sending speeds, to email headers, to SMTP protocol level customizations. Taking advantage of certain settings and features can help ensure high email deliverability.

Some of these steps involve separating yourself from other JangoMail clients. It's not that JangoMail accepts spammers, but JangoMail does accept different levels of opt-in email marketing. For example, some customers use single opt-in, while other customers use confirmed opt-in. Generally, customers using confirmed opt-in experience higher deliverability. Therefore, different JangoMail clients have different reputations with ISPs, so if two clients are both using a From Address for example, they both can impact the reputation of the domain

The Eight Steps:

Following the below steps will solve most email delivery issues to major consumer ISPs, like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and AOL.

  1. Use your own domain name in the FROM address. Brand your messages using your own domain name in the FROM address. This requires using an SPF record (see #5 below) that includes If you use, the delivery of your messages is mixed in with everyone else using as their FROM address. All JangoMail accounts come with the option to use as the FROM address on email campaigns, but that's meant to help smaller volume users to get started, and is provided as a convenience to our clients. If you have your own domain name, use it - it only helps.

    a. In order to separate your reputation from other clients using as their FROM address, use an actual company (or based on your domain name/website) email address, such as

    b. You can also send using a subdomain within your company, using an address such as And, if you want JangoMail to handle reply management for that subdomain (our branded subdomain feature), let us know via a support ticket. Replies to your messages can be forwarded to an address of your choosing (replies normally go to the FROM address you used in your message). For instructions, see the PDF Setting up a Branded Sub-Domain.

    Who should do this? The technical person who manages your domain's DNS settings.
  2. Use a custom tracking domain based on your domain name. The tracking domain is the domain referenced in the URLs for our open-tracking mechanism, click tracking, the unsubscribe link used in your CAN-SPAM footer, the forward-to-friend link, the view-as-a-web-page link, and other links that offer tracking in your email messages. By default, every JangoMail account is assigned a system tracking domain that is shared amongst multiple clients. Example names are and By setting up your own tracking domain, you can isolate yourself from the activities of our other clients. Create a CNAME record in your DNS that points to (that's "jango" without the "a"). Then, go to Settings --> Tracking --> Tracking Domain and enter your tracking domain name. If your domain is, then setting up makes for the perfect tracking domain. A URL that looks more like you than us helps with your branding. See our blog article for more information.

    Who should do this? The technical person who manages your domain's DNS settings.
  3. Use a Domain Key based on the domain name you use in your FROM address. Yahoo and other email providers look for DKIM signatures in the headers of email messages. The presence of a DKIM signature fosters a sense of trust that the email was sent by who was purported to send the email. To set up a domain key in JangoMail, see our PDF entitled Setting up DomainKeys/DKIM with JangoMail. Note: Yahoo requires that you have a "postmaster" address at your domain.

    Who should do this? The technical person who manages your domain's DNS settings.
  4. After creating a DomainKeys/DKIM record, click the link in the confirmation email sent from Yahoo to postmaster@yourdomain. Whe you enable a new domain key in your accoutnt, we upload it to Yahoo so that they can process complaints properly and report them back to JangoMail via a "Feedback Loop." Yahoo has a special process where they send a confirmation email to postmaster@yourdomain, and that email message contains a link that must be clicked by you in order to activate the Feedback Loop. If you do not do this, complaints will not be properly reported, and your delivery to Yahoo email address may be negatively impacted by recipients that complain over and over and aren't added to your unsubscribe list.

    Who should do this? The person who has access to the postmaster@domain account for your domain. Usually this is your organization's system administrator.
  5. Add or edit the SPF record for your domain. An SPF record authorizes someone else (JangoMail, in this case) to send on behalf of your domain. This marks the "smtp.mail" header information with your domain, not ours, and messages sent to a gmail address, as an example, won't display "your_domain_name via" Instructions can be found in the PDF How to Publish SPF Records in JangoMail.

    Who should do this? The technical person who manages your domain's DNS settings.
  6. If you're sending HTML email, make sure you include a corresponding plain text message. Spam filters tend to add a point or so to messages that do not include a plain text component. This is as easy as setting the Plain Text Message to "auto-generate" (see the screenshot below.)  This will cause a plain text message to be generated (based on your HTML message) at the time of email sending. If the auto-generated message isn't good enough, you can also edit the plain text or simply create your own.

    Who should do this? The person using JangoMail.
  7. Enroll in the Sender Score Certified program. In order to be accepted, you must have a complaint rate of 0 to 0.1%, plus meet some other requirements. Once enrolled, your emails are sent from IP addresses that are certified. Hotmail virtually guarantees inbox placement for emails sent from certified IPs, and Yahoo prioritizes emails sent from certified IPs.

    Who should do this? The person using JangoMail.
  8. If using click-tracking, anchor text should be phrases, not URLs. Some spam filters look closely at how you use links to determine whether the link is legitimate or fraudulent. They do this to prevent phishing scams--a type of scam where an email pretends to be a request from a legitimate company in order to get the login credentials of that company's user, or take you to some other completely unrelated site. For more information on phishing, see the Wikipedia article on phishing. The best way to explain good links versus bad links is with an example:

    Good Link: <a href="">Visit our web site.</a>

    Bad Link - the visible link is to browniekitchen, but the actual link is to somewhere else: <a href=""></a>

    What makes the bad link bad is that the anchor text is a URL, and that domain in that URL does not match the domain in the link destination. Phishing filters look for this domain mismatch. In the good example, however, the anchor text is not a URL to begin with, so the phishing filter will accept it as legitimate.

    Who should do this? The person designing your email campaigns.
Further Reading
For more information on general JangoMail deliverability practices, see our Deliverability page on our web site.

Additionally, there are simple steps that any email marketer can take with the content of messages to ensure high deliverability. The content-related issues are covered in the PDF document Optimizing Email Deliverability.