A Beginner’s Guide to Great Deliverability

A couple years ago, I was chatting with a friend who was telling me about working at SparkPost. He asked me if I thought it would be a challenge to communicate about email and how it works. I have to confess, my first reaction was, “how hard can it be?” After all, I was a technically literate person who had a lot of enterprise tech marketing under my belt. I knew something about the basic standards involved with email transmission. I even had some hands-on knowledge of administering small-scale mail servers.

Suffice to say, it didn’t take me long to realize just how much I didn’t know! In particular, the challenge of ensuring email deliverability for large-scale senders was a real eye-opener.

If you’re at all like me, this story might feel familiar. And it’s why SparkPost’s deliverability team has put together 10 Steps to Great Email Deliverability. This deliverability for beginners guide is aimed at helping new senders get over the hurdle of “where do I begin?”

One thing I really like about this guide is that it’s very practical. It’s focused on 10 best practices and key configuration steps that will help any new sender get off on the right foot, including the best way to configure sending and bounce domains, how to warm up a new IP address, why email authentication affects email deliverability—and the all-important impact of subscriber permission and engagement.

Additional Deliverability for Beginners Resources

By the way, once you’ve had a chance to work through these 10 starting steps, you might want to check out some additional resources that will help you continue to develop great email deliverability.

  • The Intro to Email Deliverability section of our SparkPost Academy is a great starting point for SaaS teams looking to learn about deliverability
  • In Email Best Practices 101, SparkPost’s head of deliverability, Kate Nowrouzi, builds on these starting tips with a curriculum that will help you to increase the ROI of your email operations with 15 proven tactics for boosting email deliverability.
  • And if you’re a developer new to building email into your apps, you might especially appreciate our Developer’s Survival Guide to Email. It’s a light-hearted read highlighting the quirks and idiosyncrasies that turn out to be “gotchas” for many developers.
  • Anyone can send email, but let’s not forget the key players on the other side of the equation who actually deliver it—ISP inbox providers. They sometimes earn a reputation as demanding deliverability gatekeepers, but their rationale really isn’t a mystery. Their job is to ensure that their customers (and ours!) have a great experience with email. It’s well worth getting the perspective they share in the 9 Things ISPs Really Want Email Senders to Know.
  • And finally? You’re looking at it. 🙂 SparkPost’s team consistently shares great blog posts about using Google’s postmaster tools to troubleshooting blacklisted IP addresses to the surprisingly complicated question of how to measure email deliverability. Dig into our Deliverability category for a wealth of information for newbies and experts alike.

If you’re a new sender, what kinds of challenges did you face ramping up your programs? And if you’re a pro, what do you wish you’d known when you got started in this business? Sometimes the best lessons are the ones you learn the hard way. Let us know in the comments below, or reach out on Twitter.


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