How to manage the Deliverability of your SMTP Server
Send an email, and within a few minutes, that message will appear in the recipient’s inbox. It seems to work by magic. Press “Send” and the work is done. The delivery is automatic.
Technicians know it’s not as simple as that. They know that sending and delivery are two distinct phases. The delivery process can be very complex — and it doesn’t always work.
The key concept is deliverability: the average delivery rate of the emails sent. It describes the percentage of emails sent to a sender that actually arrive in the recipients’ mailboxes.
Delivering, and not just sending, an email requires very specialized knowledge. Few people have that knowledge but as delivering emails is our business, we want to make people more aware of what’s involved in moving emails from one computer to another. We want to describe the technologies and processes used to make sure emails reach their destination.
Why a Technical Guide for Email Deliverability
If sending and delivery are not the same thing, what are the differences? Imagine that you’re sending a physical shipment. The sending phase is when you carry the package to the Post Office or leave it on the counter for the courier. The delivery phase is everything that comes after: the complex process of transferring the package from one place to another, passing through various sorting stages and across different transport systems, and placing it in the recipient’s hands.
The complexity of the process isn’t in the sending but in the delivery. Opening an office to accept packages is easy; creating a logistics system that carries them to their destination is extremely complex, which is why only a few companies in the world have managed to do it successfully.
Mail delivery is no different. Although it takes place in the digital world rather than the physical one, it has the same degree of complexity. In fact, digital delivery has to deal with an even greater challenge. Emails are often unwanted and are frequently dangerous. Millions of emails are sent each year containing viruses that can damage their recipients’ computers. It’s no wonder that recipients often treat deliveries with suspicion and have to be convinced that the message is secure. They want to know that the message isn’t spam, that it really does come from the company that claims to have sent it, and that it doesn’t contain any dangerous attachments or links.
We’re hoping that we’ll be able to show the value that we bring to email delivery and help technicians implement their own delivery system and choose the best solution.
NOTE: In this document, we’re not going to talk about the best practices that have to be followed by those who write the emails and choose the subject, content, and layout. Nor will we discuss factors involved in managing communications such as sending frequency and segmentation, or distribution list characteristics, such as double opt-in, list cleaning, and GDPR compliance. All these aspects may affect deliverability, but they do not involve technical delivery procedures. You can find plenty of information about these topics on the web.