Email Deliverability Terms Every Marketer Must Know

Email deliverability is not something you can ignore…it impacts revenue.  Understanding the ins and outs of email deliverability best-practices is an essential part of any Demand Generation Strategy and will soon become another skill set that best-in-class marketers must have.

Test your knowledge of email deliverability with the eleven terms below and score yourself. Didn’t do as well as you expected?  Check out the eBook 10 Things Marketing Automation Users Need to Know About Email Deliverability for more information on email deliverability best practices.

IP Address – A number assigned to each computer, network device, or network in order to distinguish each network interface and networked device.  Marketers also use an IP address to send out email campaigns and may or may not be dedicated.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) – Provides access to the Internet and normally provides the user an email address associated with that provider.  An example ISP would be Comcast.

Soft bounce – This bounce rejection reason from the recipient mail server indicates a transient delivery failure.  Retried delivery attempts may be successful.  An example of a soft bounce would be mailbox full.

Hard bounce – This bounce rejection reason from the recipient mail server indicates a permanent delivery failure.  Retried delivery attempts will not be successful.  An example of a hard bounce would be a bad mailbox.

Feedback loop – When the ISP forwards complaints of recipients to the organization that sent the email.  Typically, this is sent back to the Email Service Provider that sent the email.  Not all ISPs and networks maintain a feedback loop, but it is important to get signed up with all that are available.  If you use an Email Service Provider, they will typically take care of this.

Whitelist – A list of IP addresses and/or domains that are allowed into a particular network.  By being whitelisted, the sender also bypasses typical “checks” designed to quarantine emails.

Blacklist – A list of IP addresses and/or domains that are not allowed access into a particular networks.  By being blacklisted, the sender’s emails may bounce and/or get rejected.

Email client – Software that downloads email from your provider, or that an individual uses to access their email online.  An example would be Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail or Yahoo Mail.

Email Authentication – IP and domain authentication is your “passport” to the Inbox.  Essentially, this authentication verifies that you are allowed to send using the sending IP address and the sending domain.  Authentication helps to prevent phishing and spoofing of your domain, as well as lets your recipients know that you have taken the precautions of using IP and domain authentication.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) – An email authentication standard that specifies what IP addresses can send mail for a given domain.  This is the easiest authentication standard to implement and is most widely used, but does not account for the visible headers in the message, such as the from and reply-to address.

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) – The most comprehensive email authentication standard that signs each outgoing message with an encrypted key.  While SPF involves making changing to DNS records, DomainKeys requires senders to change the way that messages are constructed.


11 out of 11          You clearly are a deliverability rock star!

9 -10                      Wahoo. Not much gets by you.

7-8                          Meh. Good, but not great.

5-6                          You have some work to do.

3-4                          Yikes. Better brush up on this stuff.

0-2                          Not looking good. Learn more on this today.

Keep testing yourself and reading up on email deliverability and related topics. Remember, it’s no longer an option – email deliverability means revenue.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP @erikawg Director, Marketing, ANNUITAS

More Great Content