deliverability

Troubleshooting Email Deliverability

At some point in their email marketing experience, many organizations will run into deliverability challenges. If you’re seeing a steep drop in engagement or find your campaigns in the spam folder, you may be experiencing low deliverability. In this article, we’ll cover basic deliverability troubleshooting for email marketers.

What is Deliverability?

In layman’s terms, deliverability describes the likelihood your emails will end up in spam

Emails with high deliverability are likely to make it to the inbox, while emails with low deliverability (or deliverability issues) are likely to get flagged as spam. Deliverability is influenced by several factors, which can make it challenging to identify a singular reason emails start going to spam.

However, there are a few common culprits an email marketer can look for in their domains, account setup, audience, and campaign creation practices.

Why Emails Go to Spam

There are a few common reasons emails end up in spam, including:

  1. Lack of domain authentication
  2. Misconfigured DMARC, SPF, or DKIM Records
  3. Blacklisted domain
  4. Invalid addresses or spamtraps in the audience
  5. Spam reports from recipients
  6. Irregular send frequency
  7. Spammy email content
  8. Large file sizes in emails

In the following sections, we’ll cover reasons why emails commonly end up in spam, as well as a few other tips & tricks to address deliverability.

Authenticate Domain Through Your ESP

Most ESPs (Mailchimp, Klaviyo, etc.) provide a tool to authenticate your domain. Authenticating your domain means adding a handful of records to your DNS in order to prove that you have ownership of the domain and are legitimately sending email through the ESP.

Authenticate your domain in Mailchimp: Log into both Mailchimp and your domain host (Google Domains, Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc.). In Mailchimp, click on your profile picture, choose “Account & Billing,” then choose “Domains.” Mailchimp provides step-by-step instructions on how to add the appropriate records to your DNS.

Authenticate your domain in Klaviyo: Log into both Klaviyo and your domain host (Google Domains, Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc.). In Klaviyo, click on your company name on the lower right corner of the page, then choose “Settings.” Go to the “Email” tab and click “Sending Domains.” Input your sending domain, and Klaviyo will provide prompts to walk you through the process.

Configure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

Even if you’ve authenticated your domain through an ESP, you may still run into domain configuration issues. The key DNS records for email deliverability are:

  • SPF: Lists the IP addresses permitted to send emails using your domain.
  • DKIM: Verifies emails as legitimate using encrypted hash codes. Emails received are checked against what was originally sent to rule out tampering. Here’s how it works.
  • DMARC: Builds on SPF & DKIM to define how email receivers should respond to non-compliant mail. Learn more on DMARC.org.

How do you know if there’s an issue with your SPF, DKIM, or DMARC records? We recommend a tool like MXToolbox or Dmarcly. Google and Yahoo launched new sender requirements in 2024, so it may be worth double-checking if you haven’t recently.

If there are severe problems with your DNS record configuration, a generalized email marketing expert may be unable to resolve them. Consider working with a DNS specialist who can analyze and correct your records.

Check the Blacklists

Some emails land in spam because the sending domain has been blacklisted. This means the sender’s IP address or domain has been added to a list of known spammers. While being blacklisted can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to spell the end for your email marketing program.

To remove your email from a blacklist, you’ll have to take the following steps:

  1. Use a blacklist checker to identify which list you’ve been added to
  2. Notify the blacklist database and receive their report
  3. Clear up any problems or suspected issues
  4. Wait for your email to be removed from the list

Some blacklists are harder to escape than others. Check out this guide from Mailchimp for more information on how blacklisting works and why some blacklists (like SenderScore) are stricter than others.

As a first step, you can pull up a blacklist report for your domain using any of the blacklist databases below:

Clean Up Your List

Once you’ve crossed domain & blacklist issues off of your checklist, take a close look at your audience list. Where are most of your subscribers signing up? When you look through your contacts, do you see suspicious emails? Keep an eye out for the following red flags:

  • Contacts with gibberish first and/or last names
  • Sudden influxes in subscribers from one source
  • Contacts with invalid domains
  • Foreign email addresses from markets you do not serve

If you see some odd-looking contacts in your list or have a large audience segment that hasn’t opened any emails in 3+ months, consider using a list cleaner. We like Zerobounce, but many list cleaners are available at various price points.

Once you sign up for a list cleaner, you can take the following steps to check your list hygiene:

  1. Export contacts from your ESP
  2. Import them into the cleaner 
  3. Wait for processing
  4. Download your contacts sorted by validity and activity

List cleaners vary, but generally, the contacts to avoid will be marked as invalid, spamtrap, or do-not-mail.

Managing and Avoiding Spam Reports

How you grow your list can matter just as much as what kind of contacts are on it. Make sure all subscribers have actively opted in for your emails. Always include an unsubscribe link in your email footer.

You never want contacts to be surprised they’re getting your emails. When contacts receive emails they did not sign up for, they’re more likely to report you as spam. Over time, spam reports can tank your email deliverability.

Additionally, avoid sending more than 3-4 emails a week and be mindful of aggressive sales tactics like all-caps, repeated exclamation points, and deceptive deals. Sometimes, even unappealing graphic design is enough to get you reported by particularly trigger-happy subscribers.

Send Frequency & Sudden Changes

Can sending too many emails get you sent to spam? Yes. How many is too many? It varies.

As frustrating as that can be, senders may find solace in the fact that deliverability changes are more often caused by a sudden change in send frequency, rather than a specific volume of emails sent. For example, if you leave your email marketing program on pause for 2 years, and then immediately start sending 3 emails a day to 5000 people, your deliverability will likely take a blow.

When it comes to send frequency, try to make gradual, strategic changes. Use segmentation & automation to send emails to the right people at the right times. Remember: When it comes to email, more is not always better!

Optimizing File Size for Email Deliverability

Emails with a very large combined file size are likely to be flagged as spam. When adding images to an email, make sure they are below 500kb each. Check out our guide to email image sizes for more info.

Here are some tools our team at Pure Firefly uses to compress and optimize images:

  1. Tiny PNG
  2. EZ Gif
  3. Optimizilla

Senders should also be wary of large attachments. When sending a free download or .PDF, make sure the file size is below 5MB.

Other Tips and Tricks

If you’ve taken the steps above and still aren’t seeing the results you were looking for, there are a few steps you can take to make a small (but positive) impact on your sender reputation.

  1. Personalize your “To” field: By including a contact’s first name, you indicate a more complete (and thus, more legitimate) record of your audience.
  2. Use live text: Never send an email with only images. This can be hard for people to read and may get you caught in spam filters.
  3. Reply to your emails: When contacts reply to your emails, they indicate an interest in your content. This active engagement can help you stay out of spam.
  4. Add to address book: If subscribers add you to their saved contacts or address book, they are less likely to miss your emails.
  5. Never embed videos: Most ESPs won’t even let you do this, because videos don’t usually render in the inbox. Resist the temptation to install any plugins that allow you to embed video – They are likely to damage your sender reputation.

BONUS: What about Machine Clicks?

Seeing contacts click every single link in your email? They may be extremely engaged, or they may be machine clicks. Some spam filters & inbox providers use automated clicks to check suspicious emails. This can even lead to accidental unsubscribes if the machine clicks on the unsubscribe link in your footer.

How do you spot machine clicks? Look for contacts that have clicked on every single link in an email in a very short time. Some ESPs (like Klaviyo) can show you on a click report if the engagement came from a bot or a human. You can also keep an eye out for trends in machine clicks coming from a particular domain.

If you do see machine clicks on several emails, it’s time for an email deliverability review. Unfortunately, there’s no way to 100% prevent automated clicks on your messages, but keeping a strong sender reputation can help limit them.

Escape Spam with Pure Firefly

Pure Firefly is a full-service email marketing agency. Our team has a combined 10+ years of experience, and we pride ourselves on providing cost-effective email solutions for small businesses, nonprofits, and schools. For help with deliverability, contact us any time!subscribe to our newsletter for mailchimp tips, tutorials, and news

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The Beginner’s Guide to Yahoo & Google’s New Sender Requirements

As an email marketer, following Yahoo & Google’s new sender requirements is the first step to getting emails into the inbox and engaging with your subscribers. When Yahoo and Google rolled out their new protocol on Feb 1st, the entire email marketing universe rushed to become compliant. The two webmail providers collectively cater to 2 billion users, an audience that no marketer can ignore. 

Why have Google and Yahoo launched these new requirements?

The goal is to protect consumers’ inboxes from spam, unwanted, and phishing emails and make permission marketing the norm. Along with the benefit to users, these requirements prevent spammers from impersonating your brand and damaging your reputation. 

Who gets affected by Yahoo & Google’s new sender requirements? 

The new policy is particularly meant for bulk senders (who send more than 5000 emails within 24 hours). If you’re a small sender or a sender who only sends transactional emails, you might not feel the impact yet. 

But given the current move of making best practices into must-follow rules, experts predict that it’s only a matter of time before Google and Yahoo make these rules mandatory for all senders. 

How do you become compliant with 2024 sender requirements?

Here are the top 5 things you should do immediately

  • Verify ownership of your domain: Whether you’re a business, a freelancer, or a solopreneur, you must own and create sender emails from your domain.
  • Don’t send from a free email address: If you’ve been using a generic email provided by webmail providers like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook, it’s time to change. Use free email addresses  for one-on-one communication, not bulk emails. Such emails (like example@gmail.com) hide the true identity of the sender, and ISPs reject bulk emails from these addresses for this reason.
  • Authenticate your emails: Email authentication is a way to reassure webmail providers that you are who you say you are. Not only does it prevent spam emails from entering the inbox, but it also prevents scammers from impersonating your brand. Most large email marketing platforms provide domain authentication to maximize deliverability.
  • Keep spam complaints below 0.3%: According to the new requirements, Gmail requires that spam complaints stay below 0.3% to land in the inbox. To monitor spam complaints, register your domain for Google Postmaster Tools. It also monitors your IP and domain reputation and helps you take steps when any of these plummet.
  • Make it easy for users to unsubscribe: The Unsubscribe button just moved to the top! You’ve likely been adding it to your footer. It will now also appear next to the From address at the top of your email. Yahoo and Google have mandated 1-click unsubscribes that are honored  within 2 days.

And that’s about it, these are the top 5 steps to optimize your deliverability.

BONUS: Authentication for Google sender protocols

3 authentication protocols are essential for your brand: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. 

  • SPF: Short for ‘Sender Policy Framework’, an SPF record confirms to the ISP that the IP the email is coming from is allowed to send emails on your behalf. If your emails don’t have SPF set up, find out how to set up SPF records here
  • DKIM: Short for ‘DomainKeys Identified Mail’, a DKIM prevents your emails from being impersonated by spammers by attaching a private digital signature to each email going out.  Email servers verify this signature and only allow the email into inboxes if there’s a match. For more information on DKIM, check out this helpful article by Google.
  • DMARC: Short for ‘Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance’, a DMARC record serves as a failsafe and informs the ISP of the steps to be taken if any authentication fails. So even with a valid DMARC record, if an SPF or DKIM fails, a DMARC would fail as well. This provides additional security for your emails. Set up your DMARC record with this help article.

Failing to complete all 3 authentication protocols can stop you from reaching your subscriber’s inbox directly. If you’re a Mailchimp user, a high number of cleaned addresses in your audience may be a sign you should review the protocols above to maintain your deliverability.

Go Beyond Compliance with Pure Firefly

If you have questions on any of Yahoo & Google’s new sender requirements, reach out to contactus@purefirefly.com for personalized support. We offer various deliverability services, including one-on-one training to keep you up-to-date on the latest best practices! Just contact us any time for a quote or intro call.

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10 Signs You Should Work with an Email Marketing Agency

For small businesses, the decision to move from “do it yourself” to “do it for me” email marketing can be a major one. Working with an email marketing expert can help unlock hidden potential in your current audience and grow your business by reaching more contacts. How do you know when you’re ready to make the switch to working with an email marketing agency? Here are 10 signs you may be ready to reach out for a helping hand.

1. You’re Planning a Major Product Launch

Are you gearing up for a big product or service launch? Email marketing can be a powerful tool to create buzz and excitement among your audience. Try building up to the launch with scheduled campaigns that highlight the best features of your new product. Be strategic about your send frequency and be sure to announce the launch on your other marketing channels as well. An email marketing agency, like Pure Firefly, can help you craft product launch campaigns that drive engagement and encourage purchases.

2. Your Small Business is Growing

As small businesses expand, their email marketing strategies often become increasingly complex. To make the most of your growth, work with an email marketing agency to handle the burden of routine sending, automations, and segmentation. An email marketer can also provide the expertise you need to strategically scale your marketing with your growing audience.

3. This Year’s Big Sale is Coming Up

When an important sale or promotion is on the horizon, you want your email marketing efforts to be on point. An agency specializing in email marketing can help you strategize and execute high-impact campaigns that drive traffic and sales during your sales events. Many small businesses will work with an email marketer for their Black Friday promotions in order to maximize sales.

4. Your Campaigns Have Low Engagement

If your email campaigns are consistently met with low open and click rates, it’s time to reevaluate your approach. Email marketing agencies like Pure Firefly can analyze your current strategy, make necessary adjustments, and create content that resonates with your audience. Wondering how to assess your engagement? Check out our blog post on campaign analytics for more info!

5. Email Marketing Efforts are Not Converting to Revenue

It can be frustrating to spend hours on email marketing, only to find that your emails are not improving sales. Even engaging campaigns that generate lots of clicks may fail to lead subscribers to purchase. An email marketing agency can help optimize your strategy with tools like automation, segmentation, and personalized emails. Perfecting your email marketing strategy will give you the best shot at converting subscribers to happy customers.

6. Your Emails are Going to Spam

When your emails end up in the spam folder, you stand little chance of reaching engagement or revenue goals. There are many factors that can land you in spam, including problems with domain authentication, overuse of images, a lack of opt-in, or failure to follow CAN-SPAM & GDPR regulations. Resources online can list the common reasons genuine email marketing ends up in spam, but only an email marketing expert can take a look at your account and determine the individual factors that may impact your sender reputation.

7. You’re Spending Too Much Time on Emails

Many small business owners are surprised to find out how time-consuming email marketing can be. If you find yourself taking time away from critical tasks to focus on email marketing, it may be time to reach out for a helping hand. Email marketing agencies like Pure Firefly can assess your current marketing set-up and step in to strategize, design, and send your campaigns. If you don’t want to hand over the wheel entirely, an email marketer can set up automations to generate sales in the background while you focus on the day-to-day tasks of managing your business.

8. You Haven’t Been Using Automations

Email marketing automation can save you time and increase the relevance of your messages. If you haven’t implemented automation in your email strategy, an agency can help you set up and optimize automated email series. Some of the most popular automations for email marketing include:

  • Welcome emails
  • Re-engagement campaigns
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Transactional emails
  • Review requests
  • Targeted automations

9. You Aren’t Segmenting Your Audience

Segmenting your email list allows you to send relevant content to different categories of subscribers. Many marketing platforms offer simple tools to make segmentation accessible. Mailchimp, for example, offers tags, groups, segments, and fields for segmentation. If you haven’t been segmenting your audience, you aren’t making the most of your contact list. An email marketing agency can guide you in segmenting your audience and targeting segments with relevant email campaigns.

10. You Haven’t Started Email Marketing Yet

If you’re a small business with any kind of online presence, email marketing should be a tool in your toolbox. According to Campaign Monitor, more than 64% of small businesses are already using email marketing to stay in touch with their consumers and maximize their revenue. There are many platforms offering beginner-friendly email marketing tools. To make sure you get started on the right foot, try booking a one-on-one consultation with a marketing agency like Pure Firefly.

Small Businesses Maximize their Marketing with Pure Firefly

As a small business, Pure Firefly understands the unique challenges and opportunities small businesses face. We offer various email marketing services, including template design, campaign strategy, audience clean-up, and Mailchimp audits. Whether you’re a marketing pro looking to reach the next level, or a beginner ready to dip into your customers’ inboxes, we would be delighted to work with you. Contact us today for a free intro call, or book a one-on-one session with our specialists starting at $89.

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What is an Email Bounce?

Newbies to email marketing often wonder what it means when an email bounces. If you’re among these new marketers, don’t worry. Bounces are a common occurrence every email marketer must learn to manage. In this blog post, we’ll explain what a bounce is and delve into the key distinctions between “hard bounces” and “soft bounces.”

What is an Email Bounce?

Emails bounce when they are unable to be delivered to a specific address and are returned to the sender. This can happen for various reasons depending on the situation and type of bounce. Typically, bounces are divided into “soft” and “hard” bounces. Understanding the difference can make a major impact on your email marketing strategy.

What is a Hard Bounce?

A “hard bounce” is a type of email bounce that occurs when an email cannot be delivered to the recipient and is permanently rejected. Hard bounces typically result from issues that are unlikely to be resolved, such as:

  • Invalid Email Addresses: This is the most common reason for a hard bounce. If the recipient’s email address is incorrect or doesn’t exist (e.g., typos in the domain or username), the email cannot be delivered.
  • Blocked Emails: Sometimes, an email address may be blocked by the recipient’s email server, often due to spam or security reasons.
  • Domain Does Not Exist: If the domain part of the email address (e.g. gmal.com) doesn’t exist, it results in a hard bounce.

What is a Soft Bounce?

Unlike hard bounces, soft bounces are the result of a temporary issue that prevents an email’s delivery. Common causes include:

  • Mailbox Full: Similar to a hard bounce, if a recipient’s mailbox is temporarily over its storage limit, it can result in a soft bounce. This issue can be resolved when the recipient clears space in their mailbox.
  • Server Is Down: If the recipient’s email server is temporarily unavailable, you may be unable to send to it. This can happen due to server maintenance or technical issues. It typically resolves when the server comes back online.
  • Message Size Exceeds Limit: If your email message is too large to be delivered to the recipient’s mailbox, it may bounce. Use file-sharing links or optimize your image sizes to resolve this issue.
  • Recipient Server Timeout: Sometimes, the recipient’s email server may take too long to respond due to server congestion or slow network connections.

Why Email Bounces Matter

Understanding the difference between hard and soft bounces is crucial for several reasons:

  • List Maintenance: By identifying and removing email addresses that result in hard bounces, you can keep your email list clean and up to date, improving your email deliverability.
  • Reputation Management: High bounce rates, especially hard bounces, can negatively impact your sender reputation. Maintaining a positive sender reputation is essential for avoiding the spam folder.
  • Customer Engagement: Bounced emails fail to reach the intended recipient. Over time, this can lead to lower engagement rates and diminished campaign success.

How to Handle Email Bounces

Dealing with email bounces effectively can boost your list health and improve the success of future campaigns. Here are some steps to start with:

  • Identify Bounced Emails: Use an email marketing platform that tracks bounces and categorizes them as hard or soft bounces. This will help you understand the severity of the issue.
  • Remove Hard Bounces: For hard bounces, promptly remove the email addresses from your list. Continuing to send emails to addresses that hard bounce can harm your sender reputation. Try using a list cleaner like Zerobounce to root out any additional invalid addresses in your audience.
  • Retry Soft Bounces: For soft bounces, consider retrying the delivery after some time. Soft bounces may resolve themselves, especially if the issue is temporary.
  • Update Contact Information: Routinely encourage subscribers to update their contact info. This can help clear out invalid email addresses.
  • Monitor & Repeat: Keep a close eye on your bounce rates as you continue to email your audience. Promptly addressing any sudden spikes can prevent further deliverability issues.

Bounce Back with Pure Firefly

Email bounces are a common occurrence in digital marketing, and understanding the difference between hard and soft bounces is essential. To take your knowledge to the next level, consider booking a strategy session with the email marketing experts at Pure Firefly. We can take a close look at your campaign analytics and provide you with actionable steps to improve deliverability, maximize engagement, and help you convert subscribers into happy customers.

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Mailchimp Campaign Analytics: Matching Metrics to Your Goals

Wondering how to measure your Mailchimp campaign performance? Start with analytics! For every email sent, Mailchimp provides in-depth analytics, including open rates, click rates, revenue, and more. This post will help you leverage campaign analytics in order to match Mailchimp’s Metrics with your goals.

Understanding Mailchimp Campaign Analytics

Mailchimp is a leader in email marketing analytics. As such, their campaign reports equip marketers with plenty of metrics to guide strategic marketing decisions. Here are some of the most valuable metrics Mailchimp provides to analyze your campaigns:

  • Open Rate: The % of recipients who opened your email
  • Click Rate: The % of recipients who clicked on any link in your email
  • Clicks Per Unique Opens: The % of openers who clicked on any link in your email
  • Bounces: The number of campaigns that were unable to deliver
  • Unsubscribers: The number of recipients who unsubscribed
  • Revenue: The total value of purchases made using links in your campaign

Each of the analytics above can reflect successes and failures in your strategy, leading to smarter marketing decisions.

 

How to Match Metrics to Campaign Objectives

Different campaigns have distinct objectives and thus require different metrics for evaluation. In order to make the best use of Mailchimp’s campaign analytics, begin by setting a clear goal. For example, you may want to boost sales on a particular product or win back subscribers who have become disengaged. 

When you start with a goal in mind, it is easier to see what metric will most clearly reflect your success. Then, you can combine this primary metric with other campaign analytics in order to gain a more well-rounded view of your email’s performance.

 

Examples of Goal Alignment with Mailchimp Analytics

Wondering where to start with Mailchimp’s analytics? Here are some common campaign types, the goals they tend to target, and the metrics that will be most useful for measuring their success.

  • Welcome Email: Most welcome emails are intended to build a strong relationship with subscribers, and may direct recipients to an organization’s website. Focus on open rates, click rates, and unsubscribes.
  • Black Friday Promo: This promotion is aimed at boosting sales, so you can measure success with revenue.
  • Event Promotions: When your goal is gathering registrations for an event, connecting Mailchimp to your event platform is key. Not sure how to set it up? Consider working with an email marketing agency like Pure Firefly to develop an API integration.
  • Blog Update/General Newsletters: Many educational emails are intended to drive traffic to a particular website or article. On the Mailchimp side, that means tracking clicks is the way to go!

 

Maximize Your Metrics with Pure Firefly

Reaching your marketing goals is made even easier when you have a trusted partner in email marketing. Pure Firefly offers 1-on-1 training sessions on the nuances of Mailchimp strategy, template design, and campaign analytics. Or, contact us to kick off ongoing marketing work including account set-up, Mailchimp audits, template creation, and more.

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How to Use Zerobounce for Email List Cleaning

Maintaining a clean contact list is crucial for email marketers. Thankfully, several tools and services offer you a clean list in an instant. Zerobounce is one of the most reliable among these options. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to using Zerobounce, from uploading your audience file to interpreting the results. For more list-cleaning tips, book a training with one of Pure Firefly’s email experts!

What is Zerobounce?

Zerobounce is an email validation platform designed to improve the quality of your email lists. Basically, you upload the email addresses, and Zerobounce tells you which are worth contacting! Their software uses advanced algorithms and an extensive database to root out invalid email addresses, spam traps, and other low-quality contacts. After getting a full analysis of your list from Zerobounce, you can remove risky contacts to boost both engagement and deliverability.

Why is List Cleaning Important?

List cleaning is vital for maintaining a healthy sender reputation. Sender reputation is based on a variety of factors, including spam reports, active opt-in, and the presence of spam traps in your audience. By maintaining a healthy sender reputation, you can maximize overall deliverability. This means more contacts will actually receive your emails in their inbox.

By regularly cleaning your email list with a service like Zerobounce, you can continuously remove invalid and inactive contacts, which reduces your bounce rates, and minimizes the risk of being flagged as spam.

Upload Your File to Zerobounce

To clean your email list with Zerobounce, you’ll first need to upload your audience file. The process is simple:

  1. Create an account or log in
  2. Click on “Validate New List”
  3. Drag and drop your file, or import from cloud storage
  4. Match the columns in your file to the labels in Zerobounce
  5. Mark whether or not the first row contains column headers
  6. Confirm if Zerobounce can remove duplicate emails
  7. Hit Validate!

Once you’ve uploaded your file, Zerobounce may take up to an hour or more to complete the validation process. Zerobounce list cleaning supports CSV, XLS, XLSX, and TXT files of any size.

How to Interpret Your Zerobounce Results

After the validation process is complete, Zerobounce will provide you with a detailed report on the quality of your email list. Emails will be divided into the following statuses:

  • Valid: These contacts have a bounce rate under 2% and are the safest to email.

  • Invalid: Invalid emails either do not exist, contain a syntax error, or have a full inbox. As a general rule, these contacts should be deleted.

  • Catch-All: These addresses are set up on a unique kind of domain that always returns a valid response – even if there’s no one on the other end. If you want to keep these addresses, try making a segment of catch-all contacts and observing their response to a campaign.

  • Spamtrap: These emails are fake addresses set up by ISPs & blacklist providers in order to catch spammers. Sending to a spam trap can have an immense impact on your sender reputation, so definitely delete any that Zerobounce finds! Check out Mailchimp’s article on spam traps to understand how these addresses work.
  • Abuse: These contacts are typically real people that are known to report even innocent emails as spam. Avoid sending to these contacts, as even an inaccurate spam report can damage your deliverability.

  • Do Not Mail: These are most often role-based or company emails (like “sales@purefirefly.com”). While these addresses are valid, they’re typically poor contacts for most email marketing. Take a closer look at these addresses to determine whether or not you’d like to continue sending to them.

  • Unknown: As you might predict, Zerobounce can’t determine the validity of unknown contacts. Try re-importing them at no cost, or remove them from your audience. 80% of unknowns are invalid addresses.

Along with these statuses, Zerobounce also provides sub-statuses explaining why a contact may have landed in a particular status. They also provide additional predicted information about your contacts, including name, gender, and general location. 

What’s Next?

After you’ve cleaned your list using Zerobounce, you can choose how to make the most of the information provided! One great option is to archive any of the invalid, spam trap, and abuse contacts in your audience. You can even archive your full contact list and re-import the valid addresses.

You may also use your Zerobounce list cleaning results for segmentation. For example, you can use Zerobounce’s gender predictions to send targeted marketing based on gender. Or, you can create a tag for catch-all addresses and send a targeted campaign requesting that they re-confirm their subscription. 

However you choose to use your Zerobounce results, make sure you clear out those spam traps and send to your most valid addresses!

Get a Cleaner List with Pure Firefly

Ready to put your cleaner list into action? Pure Firefly, a trusted partner in email marketing, offers list-cleaning services and comprehensive training to help you optimize your campaigns. Our team of email specialists have over 10 years of experience in marketing, design, and IT. 

Contact us today for a free quote on any email marketing service! We look forward to working with you soon.

*Note: This post may include affiliate links. If you sign up for Zerobounce list cleaning using links in this post, Pure Firefly will receive a small commission. We never promote services we do not use ourselves, and all opinions expressed are our own.

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Optimizing Image Size for Email

Many email designers start out with questions about image size: What size should email images be? Is landscape or portrait better for emails? How can I ensure my email’s use of images doesn’t land me in the spam folder? These questions are great to consider when creating a new email template

What Size Should Email Images Be?

In email design, images should ideally be as small as possible without sacrificing image quality. This is because large images can lead to slower load times, which may also negatively impact engagement rates. 

For emails with multiple images, aim to keep each image at or below 250 kb. Emails with one large image (such as a header image) and some text may include an image up to 450 kb in size. Any image over 1MB urgently needs to be reduced in size.

Image Dimensions vs. File Size

While image files should be kept at or below 250 kb in size, the ideal image dimensions may vary depending on an email’s design. 600px has commonly been regarded as the ideal width for email banners. However, newer devices can process larger image dimensions. This is why the Mailchimp template builder caps image width at 1200px.

Even though 600px is no longer a strict rule, keeping images under 900px in either direction is still ideal to ensure fast load times. If your organization includes a signature or logo in every email, aim to keep this image below 250px in either direction.

Deliverability & Images in Email

Deliverability has a critical influence on any email’s success. To maximize deliverability and engagement, design your emails with only relevant images which add value to your content.

It’s important to remember that some email clients may block images by default, which can impact the overall user experience. An email that includes only images is also likely to land in the spam folder. In addition, sending images which are too large can have a negative impact on deliverability.

At Pure Firefly, our template design services consider deliverability by following best practices to ensure that your emails reach the inbox and are likely to encourage engagement. Our experienced team is here to help individuals and organizations of any size create visually appealing and effective email templates. Contact us to learn more.

What Makes an Effective Email Image?

Ultimately, the right images for your emails will vary depending on your industry. However, some key trends and tips apply no matter your audience:

  • Build on your brand: Whether you use photos, icons, or illustrations, ensure that any email image is consistent with your overall brand.
  • Guide the eye: Images immediately attract attention, so place them near the most important parts of an email.
  • Always add alt text: Some subscribers can’t view images in emails. They may have images deactivated in their inbox, while others use screen readers. Add alt text to every image to maintain accessibility for all subscribers.
  • Don’t forget to smile: Images with faces can convey emotion and cultivate feelings of connection with your brand. Don’t be afraid to include a headshot in your email signature or add a candid image to your latest weekly update

Pure Firefly is Here to Help!

If you need a helping hand with your email images, don’t hesitate to contact an email expert. Pure Firefly’s team is experienced with template design across various industries, and specializes in Mailchimp’s new template builder. Schedule a one-on-one training for quick questions, or contact us for a free quote on email design.

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