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What Major ESPs are Doing That Could Prevent Your Emails From Being Delivered

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Email deliverability is the pillar of email marketing. If emails aren’t being delivered as expected, well then email marketing isn’t effective, is it? The technicalities surrounding why emails aren’t getting delivered are tricky, and many questions can be answered in an earlier post I wrote about New Email Features to Boost Email Deliverability. One question addressed in that post is “What about setting the from address of my emails to Gmail or Yahoo, or other ESP’s?” In this post, I’ll detail why you should avoid this at all cost.

Chances are you haven’t heard of DMARC. DMARC stands for “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance.” I highly encourage you to read about DMARC because it will affect email deliverability if this message here is not heeded.

We take email deliverability seriously and do whatever we can to ensure your messages are delivered to the intended recipients as you would expect. There are a few measures that you need to take though, to safeguard yourself against potential deliverability issues. DMARC plays a huge role in why emails are not delivered to your intended recipients, and it lies largely in the hands of the 'Reply To' / 'From' address of your emails.

We cannot stress enough to not use an @yahoo, @gmail or any other major ESP email address to send your business correspondence in LeadOutcome or any other email marketing platform. Instead, set up a business email account with your DNS provider (the provider who manages your website servers). Not only does it look more professional, but it ensures that your emails get delivered when sending emails through a third party platform, whether it’s LeadOutcome or any other email marketing / marketing automation platform.

If you send a message in LeadOutcome using an @yahoo or @gmail email address (this includes any other ESP that adheres to DMARC authentication), the following message will be sent back to our servers, alongside a failed response: ‘Error “554 5.7.9: Message not accepted for policy reasons” when sending email to Yahoo.’ This error, 544 5.7.9, is answered in Yahoo! Help and ties back to DMARC (and includes SPF and DKIM) authentication. These bounced messages are lost, and permanently fail. Just as LeadOutcome would recommend, Yahoo recommends switching to sending mail from your own domain. And not only does using your own business email address look more professional, it also ties back to brand recognition and helps offline SEO (which can never hurt in the end).

Yahoo, Gmail, et al. have embraced DMARC largely as a security measure to help reduce potential address spoofing of their mail domains and curb harmful phishing attempts. All marketers need to be aware of this policy. While it’s been around for almost 1 year, it is becoming more common and more stringent amongst ESP’s.

Getting your marketing emails delivered is getting harder; learn what you need to do to ensure deliverability

So, how does having my own business email address help ensure my emails get delivered? 

Since a business email address (or non-business email address not hosted through a major ESP) would be set up using MX records with a hosting provider of your choice (including Gmail’s business applications suite which provides business emails hosted through their Gmail service), the ‘from’ address in the email header would not be what appears in the email headers of your messages; instead, what would appear is your business email address. DMARC adherents prevent emails coming from their own domain, where the message originates from a non-approved Yahoo/Gmail/et al. mail domain server/service (i.e., they prevent 3rd party messages originating from email marketing providers with the From email address set to be from their own domain or non-approved mail domain services). So, simply stated, having your own business email address will ensure that your emails get delivered, because your sender address is not set to a standard ESP.

Those of who you have spoken with me know I love simplicity. And this is really that simple. The technicalities behind it can be found with a simple internet search if you’re really interested, but just know that if you use a major ESP in your From address when sending emails, your emails run the risk of not getting delivered. So, in short, get a business email address. It will only serve to help maintain brand awareness, improve offline SEO, and drastically improve your email deliverability.


photo Steffany Winkelmann
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