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Published 29 November 2018

Alex Innard

Alex Innard
Head of IT

It is a given that email communication is the biggest driver of sales, customer acquisition and customer retention.
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Email deliverability – are lost emails costing your business?

Are missed emails losing your business money or causing reputation issues?

Email deliverability in statistics:

It is a given that email communication is the biggest driver of sales, customer acquisition and retention. According to various surveys, around 45% of businesses say that email is the most important method of communication. However, roughly 78% of businesses say that email deliverability causes them problems.

email delivery failure

For sales and customer acquisition can translate to lost income. 24% of marketing and sales emails do not land in the recipients’ inboxes. To understand how that affects the profit of businesses, it’s estimated that deliverability issues cost all European companies 54 million Euros per day combined.

So, what is email deliverability?

Good email deliverability is the ability for sent emails to be received into the intended recipients’ inbox, without ending up in their Junk folders or blocked by anti-spam systems.

Many marketing or salespeople use the rate of email delivered as a benchmark for determining email deliverability. This isn’t particularly useful as having email that is delivered only means it didn’t “bounce,” not whether the end-user actually saw it. A delivered email could end up in the user’s Junk Email folder or get blocked, therefore delivery rate doesn’t tell the whole story.

Coupled with spoofing, where malicious emails purporting to be from a genuine company email address, the issues that can affect sales, revenue and brand reputation can be clearly seen.

Email deliverability best practices:

Relying on people to regularly check their Junk Email folders or quarantined email reports is not effective. How often can you say you check yours properly? Many people may glance at these areas, but most will not pay enough attention to notice a genuine email. That could be the next big 100k order!

There are ways in which you can make sure your emails are received with greater inbox penetration and prevent spoofing.

Use these email authentication standards:


Short for Sender Policy Framework, SPF uses the sender’s globally unique IP address to make sure they are who they say they are.

The receiving email system compares the sender’s IP address with a list of authorised IP addresses for the sender’s domain. If there is a positive match, the email is marked with a rating that classifies it as a low chance of spam and allowed to pass through to the recipient’s inbox. If there is a negative match, the email is flagged as spam and either delivered to the recipient’s Junk Email folder or quarantined.

SPF is configured per domain and is done so through your domain control panel using a TXT record. If SPF is not configured at all for a given sender domain, many receiving email systems are configured to treat emails from these domains as potential junk, which is just as bad as having a negative match.


A method called DomainKeys Identified Mail uses encryption to authenticate emails. This ensures that email content has not been changed in transit, between sender and recipient.

DKIM utilises public keys, which are used to decode the email once it has been received. The public keys for decoding are stored in subdomains of the sender’s main domain. Since only the sender or their authorised I.T representative can amend these keys, this associates the email with the legitimate organisation behind the domain and mail is marked as safe.

If DKIM authentication fails, the email is marked with a rating that classes it as a higher chance of spam, therefore is likely to be blocked or quarantined.


Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance is an extra layer of authentication encompassing, but adding to SPF and DKIM that actively blocks fraudulent emails. DMARC adds extra authentication parameters such as reporting and policy definition and is configured in the same way as SPF using a TXT record on your domain control panel.

The biggest benefit of using DMARC is that it prevents emails purporting to be from your domain that are not actually legitimate, also called Spoofing. This, in turn, can protect your brand and reputation.

PTR Lookup

Also known as reverse DNS lookup, PTR lookup is similar to SPF in that is used IP addresses to authenticate emails. However, PTR lookup works in the reverse of SPF, i.e. it looks up the domain name associated with the sending IP address. A PTR record that matches the sending email server name is registered against your unique internet-facing IP address.

Your PTR record is usually always configurable by your ISP, but in most cases is just set to a default “holding” record and not your actual email server name. In these instances, you can ask the ISP to make the change for you.


Not properly configuring your email authentication will cause problems with email deliverability, security and may damage your reputation. Apograph can help check your email authentication is configured optimally whether you use cloud a based or on-premise email system. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can help you.

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