Category Archives: Product Features

Mail Monitor Spam Tracking: The Tools You Need to Optimize Email Authentication

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Product Features, Services | No Comments

spam trackingEmail spams are common – these unsolicited messages are responsible for deteriorating the overall experience of subscribers and defaming email marketing as a whole.  The worst part about them is that they are often unavoidable and are repetitive disruptions for end users.

While most of these email spam messages are overtly commercial in nature, there also are many with disguised links in them that may seem to be from a familiar website but, in reality, are leading to phishing websites or sites containing malware.  These type of spam emails can also have malware as embedded scripts or attached executable corrupt files, commonly known as Trojans.

The situation of email spam has worsened in the last decade. These days, botnets are commonly used to send out spam.  These botnets are basically networks of virus-infected computer systems created with the sole purpose of spreading viruses like wildfire, from one user and one system to another.

Most of the spammers out there collect email addresses from chat rooms, customer lists, websites, and newsgroups.  Many viruses are used to harvest users’ address books.  These lists are then commonly sold to other spammers.

All of this has made it imperative for professional email marketers and ethical online businesses to integrate solid spam tracking to ensure their business and subscribers avoid this trouble.  With Mail Monitor’s Spam Tracking features, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands and will not be impacted by these issues.

 

Spam Tracking: Know What’s Getting Flagged

If your emails don’t make it to the inbox, they will not get read.  Therefore, you need to check your email content before sending it out to your lists.  Thanks to our years of experience in the field, Mail Monitor knows how to spot these types of spammers.  We will check your content for specific terms and various elements to ensure no links are leading to flagged websites and double check the HTML coding to verify that it won’t raise a red flag with any of the leading email providers.

 

Takes Actions Before Getting Flagged

There’s a reason why so many market leaders trust us with identifying any issues that can get them in hot waters.   Our foolproof content testing and analysis features will protect all of your emails from getting flagged.

We will run your email content through all of the common spam filters to get spam scores and then created itemized feedback for you.  Most of the times, this feedback will point out any specific areas in the email that should be changed and improved for an optimum email marketing performance.

 

Authentication Testing

Each time you send us an email, we will use our spam filter testing reports to check your authentication.  This will help you see on an individual email campaign level if your emails are passing SPF and DKIM authentication.

What more assurance that you have the right spam tracking in place?  You can sign up today for a free trial and see what we’re all about!

Preview and Rate Marketing Emails Before Sending

By | Marketing Email Deliverability, Product Features, Services, Tips and Resources | No Comments

marketing emailsLet’s be honest here – how many times have you discovered, after sending out marketing emails to your subscribers, an embarrassing typo or that you completely missed out on inserting a link to a button? Happens to the best of email marketers out there!

What might seem like a harmless little mistake can cost you a customer, and even worse, can land you in the spam folder. Your efforts and hard work will go to waste as a meaningless, amateur email when landing your potential customer’s inbox.

To avoid this heartache, we at Mail Monitor strongly recommend that you always preview and rate marketing emails before sending them out.

 

Marketing Emails: What Does An Inbox Preview Do?

Most of the leading email marketing services out, such as MailChimp and HubSpot, will allow you to have a complete preview of your email campaigns, giving you the final preview that your subscribers will see. This allows you to preview all your email campaigns before sending them out and gives you the opportunity to check them to see if they look professional and are readable and up to your quality mark.

Reviewing and optimizing your messages before sending them out will:

  • Ensure that your emails look accurate and are aesthetically correct for all devices and screen types; and
  • Will guarantee that your emails don’t get blocked by any spam filters based on an unforced error on your part

Performing this final check will also enhance your chances of increasing your response rate and minimize your unsubscribes.

 

Marketing Emails: What If You Don’t Do Inbox Previews?

Inbox Previews are essential marketing tools to quickly identify any issues before deploying a campaign. Failing to do this can lead to:

  1. High Spam Requests/Unsubscribes – You increase your subscriber’s likelihood to mark you as spam or simply unsubscribe from your mailing lists altogether. Imperfect emails are a real turn off for anyone and it looks extremely unprofessional and suspicious.
  2. Email Your Reputation – You need to make sure that your messages look perfect on all kind of devices. Failing to do so will definitely reduce your business’s reputation online.
  3. Increase in Block Rates – All renowned organizations rely heavily on email marketing to send the message across. Sending out faulty emails that might contain missing texts or images, broken links or invalid landing pages will increase the risk of being blocked, killing off the entire object of the marketing teams.

 

Rating Your Marketing Emails

Below are some of the things that you should always check when previewing your emails:

  • No words are misspelled – First and foremost, make sure your content has no typos or even worse, any grammatical errors. Make proofreading your best friend and maybe also involve another team member in the process.
  • The images are all working fine – Always double check to see that your images are being uploaded properly and/or are hosted on your public server, free from any password protection.
  • Links are working perfectly – Ensure that all of the links in your email are leading to the right place. Check each and every link and certify that none of your links used are blacklisted – something that you should consider critically.
  • Email layout is proper – Check the spacing of all elements and the overall layout of your emails for various devices, including the padding, margin changes, color, and fonts.
  • Looks good on all inboxes – You will have to make sure that your emails look good across all inboxes and not just a few. Check how they look on test accounts across all inbox services.
  • Headlines and subject lines looking good – Your emails should have a good headline as well a subject line that is relevant to the content of your email.

Reputation Tracking – Why is it Important for You?

By | General, Product Features, Tips and Resources | No Comments

Email Reputation TrackingIn our recent blogs, we have been talking about ways in which email marketers can stay away from the recipient’s dreaded spam folder. This week, let’s touch on another essential way in which you can avoid getting your messages from being marked spam: Reputation Tracking.

Reputation tracking, also commonly referred to as Sender Reputation Tracking and is closely linked with the IP address of the mail server that is being used to send messages to your subscribers. ISPs review multiple factors of your email marketing activities and will award you a sender reputation score based on their findings. This score indicates to the ISP the level of your trustworthiness when it comes to sending non-spam related emails. While there can be some differences in how each ISP reviews and assigns trustworthiness, there are some common factors that you, as an email marketer, need to familiarize yourself with in order to help yourself score higher.

Newcomer Penalty

As with many other things in life like credit scores and finding your first job, being a new kid on the email marketing landscape can cause some initial issues.  If your company and email address are brand new, you shouldn’t be surprised to see yourself land in the spam box at first, as a new IP having no history whatsoever is typically treated suspiciously by all of the ISPs. With time, however, you can make considerable improvements.

 

The Importance of Clean Lists

Reputation Tracking is closely connected with having a clean list for your email campaigns. To repair your sender reputation you need to ensure that your subscriber list is of quality because this will affect your bounce rates and damage your score. If your bounce rate is above 10% then you need to look into your subscriber lists to see what the problem might be. Also, a hard bounce can be even more damaging – this is when you send your emails to invalid email addresses. These are often referred to as spam traps as they appear to be valid email addresses, but in reality, they are anything but valid. According to most of the ISPs, a hard bounce rate can drop your reputation score by 20 points with just one such invalid email address, so you will want to be vigilant about monitoring for this. Some of the things that you should try to avoid include:

  • Poor List Sources – Avoid paid subscriber lists at all costs.
  • List Aging – Use bounce management tools to filter out any old email addresses that might be used by spam traps.
  • List Poisoning – Inserting Opt-In approach can help you minimize getting those invalid email addresses.

 

Spam Complaints

You should be concerned if you are receiving multiple spam complaints about every 1000 emails that you send out; a ratio like this can damage your sender reputation. Whenever a recipient clicks on the “spam” button on your email, a complaint is logged at the ISP level or will be notified to the sender if there is Feedback Loop. To prevent this negative reporting, ensure that your ‘opt-out’ and ‘opt-in’ messaging is clear to understand and easy to access and/or update if necessary. You should also review the content of your emails in case you continue to get a high level of spam complaints even after integrating opt-ins. Sometimes, your content just isn’t relevant enough for your subscribers.

Here at Mail Monitor, we work tirelessly to help our customers with improving their reputation score. With our application and online tools, you can be sure to land a consistently high score after the ISPs perform reputation tracking on your email marketing campaigns. You can find more about our features here.

email spam traps

An Introductory Guide to Spam Traps

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability, Product Features, Tips and Resources | No Comments

What Are Spam Traps?

Spam traps are used by blacklist and inbox providers to detect and catch malicious email senders. It is common for legitimate senders to find themselves becoming a victim of spam traps unclean email data, inappropriate subject lines and poor practices for email list acquisition.

Spam traps will look like an authentic email address – the catch is that they don’t belong to any real person and are not used for any communication by the company or inbox provider. The sole purpose of spam trap email addresses is to identify spammers and faulty senders and remove them from the ability to reach their user base with unwanted information.

 

Why Spam Traps are Important to Email Marketers

As an email marketer, you might already be sending emails to spam traps without knowing it is happening. Having even a single spam trap in your mailing list could mean hazardous dents to your ability to reach your subscribers.

Sending emails to spam traps typically indicates that you’re indulged in bad practices to collect email addresses or haven’t managed to keep your list clean.  Either effort could land you on the wrong side of email providers, greatly impacting your ability to continue to send and reach your target users.

 

Types of Spam Traps

To get an understanding of how spam traps end up in your mailing list, it’s important to understand the different types that are out there:

  • Pristine Traps – These are email addresses published on public websites that are hidden to a normal user. Only people using bad collection processes will find and send to these addresses. So if you collected your email addresses by scrapping from web pages, chances are you may have picked up by a pristine spam trap.
  • Recycled Traps – These email addresses were once used by real people, but became abandoned and got converted into a trap by their inbox provider.

 

How to Identify a Spam Trap

It is extremely hard to spot a spam trap email address because they don’t look different from any regular email addresses. However, there are many useful tools designed to help you evaluate the sender’s reputation and identify any emails that may be sending emails to spam traps. One such tool is the Microsoft Smart Data Network Service (SNDS).

 

Avoid an Email Spam Trap

Spam traps are structured to identify senders with irresponsible list building behaviors. One sure fire way of getting this fixed is to have a thorough audit of your own email list quality, and then evaluate it on a consistent basis.

Since spam traps do not belong to real people and provide no level of engagement with your emails such as clicks and/or opens. Getting rid of inactive subscribers would help you get rid of such spam traps as well. One quick way to garner engagement of active users and identify inactive users or potential spam emails is to run a campaign reconfirming user interests.

However, this is just one part of the entire picture – the most important part is reevaluating your strategies of email list acquisition to ensure only genuine, healthy email addresses are in your marketing plans. Use double opt-in procedures, validate incoming addresses, and do not buy or rent lists.  You also may want to perform a list cleaning process to get rid of these spam traps.

You can find out more information on how to spam-proof your email marketing campaigns in our six-part series.

Email Authentication Next Steps – DMARC

By | Email Authentication, Product Features | No Comments
Email Authentication

How DMARC Email Authentication Works

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) can be regarded as the latest advancement in email authentication. However, since it is not as convenient as SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), we believe it is important to understand how DMARC is different, how it works and why should it matter to you.

So, to explain as clearly as possible, DMARC is a process that ensures that all legitimate emails are authenticating properly against established SPF and DKIM standards. It also ensures that any fraudulent activity appears to be coming from domains that are under the control of the organization (defensively registered domains, active sending domains, and non-sending domains) is blocked. Domain Alignment and Reporting are the two values of DMARC.
DMARC’s alignment feature effectively prevents any attempts of spoofing of the ‘header from’ address in the following way

⦁ It matches the ‘header from’ domain with ‘envelope from’ domain name that is used while performing an SPF check.
⦁ It matches the ‘header from’ domain name with the ‘d=domain name’ in DKIM signature.
In order to pass DMARC, the message has to pass SPF alignment and SPF authentication and/or DKIM alignment and DKIM authentication. A message will certainly fail DMARC if it fails any of these.

DMARC also helps senders in instructing email providers on how the authenticated email has to be handled via a DMARC policy, eradicating any grey area for guesswork on how to treat emails that fail the authentication.

Senders can choose to either:
⦁ Quarantine the message(s) that fail DMARC (move it to spam folder),
⦁ Reject the message(s) that fail DMARC (don’t deliver the mail at all), OR
⦁ Monitor each and every mail, understanding the brand’s email authentication system and guarantee that a legitimate email is authenticating adequately enough, without any interference with the delivery of the message(s) that failed DMARC.

Mailbox providers regularly send forensic and DMARC aggregate reports back to the senders, giving them complete visibility of the messages that are getting authenticated and the ones that are not, and why.

So why does DMARC really matter to you? The answer is quite simple – DMARC is the first and the only widely deployed technology that can authenticate the trustworthiness of the ‘header from’ address. This foolproof process protects customers and the brand, as well as discourages all cybercriminals to go after brands that have a DMARC record.

Read this article to find more about Mail Monitor’s email authentication processes.