Many emails I see have this little line:
To ensure delivery – add us to your address book
I know that many Email Service Providers and Internet Service Providers recommend doing this. What I really want to know is, does it help or guarantee delivery to the inbox and not the junk email or spam folder?
I’ve had my own suspicions over the years but what I really wanted to know was….
Does adding an email address to your Outlook or Gmail address book guarantee delivery to the inbox and not the spam or junk folder?
The short answer is no. There are no guarantees in life other than death and taxes.
When it comes to delivering your email marketing messages to the inbox here is what I learned.
You need to have a proper sending authentication by publishing the following records:
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication method designed to detect forging sender addresses during the delivery of the email. SPF alone, though, is limited only to detect a forged sender claimed in the envelope of the email which is used when the mail gets bounced. Only in combination with DMARC can it be used to detect the forging of the visible sender in emails (email spoofing), a technique often used in phishing and email spam.*
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an email authentication method designed to detect forged sender addresses in emails (email spoofing), a technique often used in phishing and email spam.*
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) is an email authentication protocol. It is designed to give email domain owners the ability to protect their domain from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. The purpose and primary outcome of implementing DMARC is to protect a domain from being used in business email compromise attacks, phishing emails, email scams and other cyber threat activities.*
*The following definitions are from https://en.wikipedia.org/
But this alone is not good enough. I have always known that.
Thus, my question….
“Does adding an email address to your Outlook or Gmail address book guarantee delivery to the inbox and not the spam or junk folder?”
Again, the short answer is NO.
Content is King and the more you can engage your subscribers to open, click and reply to your message will increase the likelihood of your message hitting the inbox.
There is also the aspect of White-listing or Adding to The Safe Senders List in many programs like:
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It certainly helps to have them In Your address book. No DMARC does not guarantee deliverability. But I do advocate it’s usage. I really hate especially when talking about security or deliverability solutions when a product is over hyped. You can have great deliverability without DMARC and awful deliverability with DMARC. It’s an authentication method and not in itself going to be the factor in whether your mail is spam or not. Spammers can sign with DMARC too.
Email Deliverability/Postmaster/Compliance engineer
There are no guarantees in email. There are only best practices and “behaviors”. For instance in Gmail you may have a group of 100 people receiving you emails and 99 of them, open and click every single email you send… but that other person, doesn’t read (or even reports one/some as spam). The perfect settings and feedback and reputation, but at some point in time, any message you send to him/her will be considered spam!
Joi (Tamber) Brooks
Campaign Manager at InboxArmy
If you are passionate about the brand that is sending you email marketing messages, it doesn’t hurt to add them to your address book. But the content of the messages (including images, copy and the HTML code) weighs heavy in the mind of your inbox provider, as well as how others sharing that provider behave when they get the same email. The smart email marketing specialist will keep message content short and sweet, focus on delivery and deliverability, open, click and unsub metrics and watch web traffic on days of deployment.
Owner at Word to the Wise and Deliverability Consultant Co-Founder and Board member at Women Of Email
Nothing is a guarantee. But, having an email address in your address book will override filtering decisions by the free mailbox providers almost all of the time. It will never hurt. It will always help. In very, very rare cases (like, your SMTP server has been compromised and you’re sending out viruses or malware) it won’t help enough.
Postmaster of Email
It doesn’t hurt. Now consider this. Replying to an email usually will put the reply-to address into your addy book automatically, if the reply-to and from are different and you send again? it probably won’t be as helpful in the future. My 2 cents? keep your from/repy-to address exact same. Make sense or did I add confusion?
Email Nerd, Product Guy, Public Speaker, Actor
100% inbox is never guaranteed on any of the big providers. We take signals (positive and negative) to decide what our users should be seeing in their inbox. You as a sender can provide a whole bunch of positive signals. Setting up the technical parts (DMARC!) is good. You can also ensure that you send stuff our users actually want — we will take those signals (engagement) as well. And yes, receivers can add you to the address book — and that will be another positive signal. But it’s not black or white. ie: If somebody manages to get receivers to add a sender to their contact list but they still send crap, it won’t help them.
Author, deliverability expert, marketing & privacy advocate, public speaker, and EmailGeek
Adding to address book greatly increases the probability of going to the inbox in the future, however I don’t think there is ever a 💯 percent inbox guarantee. I will say thought it’s been proven that the more you engage with a message (open, click, reply) the greater the potential for future inboxing.
Thanks to all the other eMail Marketing Ninjas who added to the conversation. Your input was greatly appreciated.
There are a few here:
1) You will not be able to deliver you emails without the proper authentication including
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance)
2) Engagement is key. Get people opening, clicking and replying to your marketing emails. In my not so humble opinion. NEVER USE A DO NOT REPLY ADDRESS
3) Getting people to add your address to their address book is great. Getting them to add you to their safe sender’s list is even better.
Here is what I have done to our emails. Subscribe here to see a sample.
Hope this is helpful. Let me know what you do with your emails.