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CakeMail – Top 10 Things That Hurt Your Email Delivery

CakeMail – Top 10 Things That Hurt Your Email Delivery

By: CakeMail


Emails are sent using a Mail Transport Agent (we call it an MTA), which is essentially a piece of software that connects one computer to another to send email. In order for everybody to understand each other, a standard was established called RFC (Request For Comments) and every email in the world must be RFC-Compliant in order for the message to be delivered successfully. It doesn’t matter if the message is in English, French or Chinese, a successful transfer must include the following:

HELO/EHLO (introduction)
DATA (body of the message)
QUIT (end of the message)
221 Goodbye

As is the case with most ESPs, sending multiple copies of the same message can be achieved within the same connection thus allowing you to send to multiple recipients at once. This is done by repeating the RCPT TO command several times within the same connection, but there are limitations. For example, some ISPs limit the number of recipients and can also limit the number of connections per IP within a certain timeframe, this process is called “throttling”.

Luckily you don’t have to worry about this, we have a trained group of individuals who are looking after this for you. Leave this part up to us!

Take away: If my computer doesn’t say the right things to your computer, there is little hope that you will accept my email.


If your recipients are marking your email as ‘spam’, your delivery is going to be in trouble. Spam reports are a direct reflection of how your email is received and what a lot of people don’t understand is CAN SPAM and Bill C-28 aren’t the gatekeepers; the ISP is, and the ISP listens to their users (your recipients).

If you want your email to get delivered, you cannot generate complaints. It’s as simple as that. Here are a few ways to avoid user complaints:

  • Make sure every person on your list knows who you are and is expecting your email
  • Send a confirmation email to all new signups (if you are not doing this, you are in the dark ages of email marketing.. seriously)
  • Have the common courtesy to ask people if they want to be on your mailing list, DO NOT sign them up automatically
  • Make your signup process crystal clear, explaining what someone is signing up for, when they will start receiving emails, and how often they can expect to hear from you

For a more complete list, check out our Guide to Understanding Email Deliverability here.

Take Away: If people don’t want to receive your email or never wanted to receive it in the first place, they are going to complain.


A ‘hard’ bounce is generated when you try to send an email to an address that does not exist. Sending to these invalid addresses repeatedly (whether knowingly or not) will seriously damage your delivery. You must ensure they are removed and stay removed.

If you haven’t used the list in a while (3-6 months) or you are thinking of reviving an old list, you need to be very careful. ISPs monitor the number of hard bounces you generate very closely and too many will affect your delivery and cause blocks.

  • Confirm the address exists on signup by sending a confirmation email
  • Ensure you are processing hard bounces correctly
  • Send on a regular basis

Take Away: If you aren’t removing the bad eggs from your hen house, it’s going to get pretty stinky.

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  • Profile:  Jeff Ginsberg has 17+ years’ experience and is an industry known authority on email marketing who gets in the trenches with clients and helps them fulfill their marketing objectives, increase revenue and brand engagement. Clients rely on him and his team at The eMail Company to provide them with expertise from strategy to technology and from campaign management to channel integration. Jeff has worked with clients across all spectrums in the financial, automotive, retail and consumer packaged goods space. His experience covers both B2B and B2C markets. He has a strong background in educating and training agencies and clients about email best practices and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to marketing tools and vendor selection. While Jeff’s team may be small, they know how to solve BIG email marketing problems. Looking for help with your next campaign? Don’t be afraid to give him a call – Jeff and his team ready to help you today. Give me a call: Toll Free: 877-We-eMail (877-933-6245) Local: 416-225-7711 eMail: jeff@theemailcompany.com
  • Website:  http://www.theemailguide.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/theemailguide
  • LinkedIn:   http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chiefemailofficer
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