But there are some things you can do about it, and today, I'm going to show you how to avoid spam filters of email clients such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook etc. using Domain Verification. With this one essential method, you'll ensure greater email newsletter deliverability and hopefully, improve open and click rates too. You might not defeat the spam bots straight away, but this process once executed, will add to your protective armoury.
How to avoid spam filters: notes on Domain Verification
The internet has made creating and marketing goods and services so much easier, but there can be pitfalls. Unscrupulous entities lie in wait for naive users and businesses so you and I must protect ourselves.
Part of that process is letting service providers like MailChimp, Gmail, Yahoo etc. know that we are bonafide and trusted. That, in part, is achieved by adding DNS records to our domain that basically tells providers we're cool and the gang.
What if you don't have an email address associated with your domain?
Honestly. If you are using a free email address to send emails from MailChimp, then you must understand the limitations. You'll find it hard to avoid spam filters without one.
- Free email addresses can't be verified in MailChimp
- Free email address providers employ heightened scam protection which can keep genuine emails out of recipients inboxes.
- They dilute your brand recognition
- You have less control over deliverability
If you are running an online business then it's quite likely you have a domain to which your website installation points. If you do, then email your domain provider and have them add an email address to your account.
Once that's setup (it should only take a
How To Avoid Spam Filters Step by Step Tutorial
- Step 1 Click Your Account Name
- Step 2 Select Account
- Step 3 Go To Verified Domains
- Step 4 Verify A Domain
- Step 5 Enter Domain Email
- Step 6 Enter Verification Code
- Step 7 You're Verified
- Step 8 Authenticate Domain (Tricky bit)
- Step 9 Add Domain Records
- Step 10 Copy DNS Records
- Step 11: Success
What we are doing in this process is verifying that the email address which we are using to send emails from in MailChimp is one that is genuine and that we have access to.
Although this process to avoid spam filters is straight forward within MailChimp, it does require that you understand a little about DNS Records and how to configure them. The DNS configuration is a little technical and can be intimidating if you've not done it before.
As such, I've provided a little info for several domain hosts that may help you configure your DNS for MailChimp. The DNS config is relevant at Step 10 below, so let's wait until then to get into it.
To begin the process, log into your MailChimp Account, then commence Step 1.
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How to avoid spam filters Step 1: Click on your account name
When you are logged in, click on your account name in the top right-hand corner of the screen. In this
How to avoid spam filters Step 2: Select Account
From the drop down menu, select Account
How to avoid spam filters Step 3: Go to Verified Domains
When you are brought to your main account page, you'll see a series of account menu options. From the menu, click Settings, then Verified Domains as shown in Fig.3.0 below.
How to avoid spam filters Step 4: Verify A Domain
If you have not previously added a domain here, you can click Verify a Domain. If you or someone in your organisation has previously added a domain, you may see a variation of that shown in Fig. 8.0.
How to avoid spam filters Step 5: Add domain specific email address
A modal window will popup in your browser window like that shown in Fig. 5.0. In the email address field, enter the email address that is associated with the domain you wish to verify (your website domain for example).
If you have not got an email address associated with a domain that you own, refer to my notes on Domain Verification at the beginning of this tutorial.
When you've entered your email address, click Send Verification Email to proceed.
How to avoid spam filters Step 6: Enter the verification code
You'll notice in Fig. 6.0, the red warning box. If you attempt to very without the code, or the code was entered incorrectly, this warning will appear.
So, now go to your inbox for the email address you used in Step 5 above and grab the alphanumeric verification code MailChimp just sent you.
Paste it in the box and hit Verify.
How to avoid spam filters Step 7: You're Domain is verified!
Happy days! If you see the message in Fig. 7.0 then you've successfully verified your domain. That's the first part out of the way. Now you need to authenticate.
If you are using a Gmail email address, this is as far as you may get. As noted at the start of this tutorial, you will not be able to authenticate a Gmail email address. If you have a domain with Google Domains then go here to find out more about adding DNS Records.
How to avoid spam filters Step 8: Authenticate your Domain
The next stage in the process is to Authenticate your domain. This part is a little tricky and if you are unable to access your domain settings, then you'll need your provider to do this bit for you.
If you are into the techie stuff, here's a bit of bumpf from Mailchimp on Custom Domain Authentication.
How to avoid spam filters Step 9: The Domain Authentication Records
The next step in the process requires you to grab the DKIM and SPF authentication records and add to your domain DNS Records.
Click on Autheticate, as per Fig. 9.1. Other users may see view set up instructions as per Fig. 9.0. Whatever one you see in your account, click on it.
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How to avoid spam filters Step 10: Copy the DNS Records
When you click the above in Step 9, the following modal window will open in your browser. These fields contain the DKIM and SPF data you need to add to your domain DNS Records.
Here's more detailed information from MailChimp on How To Add Custom Domain Records
Domain providers account interfaces vary greatly and so it's not possible to go through them all here. However, accessing domain DNS Records usually runs as follows;
Log into your domain account > domains > yourdomain > DNS > DNS Records > Add DNS Record.
In this section of your domain provider account, you'll choose; add a CNAME Record and a Text record.
Adding The CNAME Record
The CNAME record consists of a subdomain of which the following precedes the primary domain (ie .yourdomain.com);
The result will look like this;
The secondary element of the CNAME is the “canonical”. It is sometimes called something else such as “points to”, depending on the domain host. The following is what you enter in that field.
Finally, edit the TTL to 600 from the default value (usually 3600). This will process the CNAME faster.
Save the CNAME Record.
Adding The Text Record
Here, the domain for your Text Record is yourdomain.com unless that is, you are using a subdomain for this process.There is no change to this element so if your host provides a field, leave it blank.
In the data field, add the following;
v=spf1 include:servers.mcsv.net ?all
Finally, for the Text Record, edit the TTL to 600 from the default value (usually 3600). This will process the Text Record faster.
Save the Text Record.
Domain Provider DNS Settings
I remember when I first began working on my domains, customising for services such as MailChimp and advanced hosting configuration, I was apprehensive. But with some familiarisation you can make these changes successfully.
Here are some specific how to articles from some of the major providers.
- Bluehost how to add a DNS Record
- Hostgator how to add a DNS Record
- Namecheap how to add a DNS Record
- GoDaddy how to add a DNS Record GoDaddy
- Google Domains how to add a DNS Record Google Domains
- How to add a DNS Record Register.com
Back to the modal window in Fig.10.0
After you successfully add the DNS Records and they propagate on your domain (sometimes this can take 48 hours to complete), you'll be then ready to click the Authenticate Domain button.
Some hosting providers take forever to setup DNS records, especially the cheap and cheerful providers. Bottom line is that we get what we pay for. If you want better domain hosting (aff), check out Bluehost Domain Hosting
How to avoid spam filters Step 11: Successful Authentication
After the DNS Records have propagated and you authenticate in MailChimp, the following will become visible for your domain in MailChimp Domains area as seen in Fig. 11.0.
Congratulations, you're done. You can be certain that your deliverability rates will increase.
There's a ton of junk out there vying for your attention and your email inbox is in the firing line. Just have a look at your Gmail spam folder!
Thankfully most of the unsolicited email crap you receive is diverted by your mail client away from your inbox, but some of the legitimate stuff ends up there too.
A 2017 email deliverability report suggests that 20% of email sent worldwide and arriving at its intended destination, doesn't go to the recipients' inbox. The figures don't include emails that are blocked or blacklisted so
Providers like MailChimp work hard to ensure the emails they send on our behalf arrive to the desired location, but there are things we can do nonetheless.
Here are some resources to help you improve email deliverability worth exploring;