Best Practices for Email Deliverability with Planning Pod

Are you experiencing problems with your emails not being delivered? Or do you simply want to know the best practices for avoiding spam folders and having your emails delivered straight to recipients' inboxes?

Either way, this article walks you through how you can achieve maximum deliverability (and what might be holding you back from this goal).

1. Use links sparingly (or not at all) in your emails.
One thing that triggers spam filters is an email that has a lot of links in the body content. Rule of thumb is that you should not have more than five links in an email, but to be safe you should really not have more than three.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This total link count includes links in your email signature. Many people add links to websites and social media pages in their email signatures, and having several links in your signature is a big no-no if you want to avoid spam folders. You should limit email signature links to one or two at the most.

2. Do not use images in your emails.
Oddly, images in emails are also considered links (because there is an actual "invisible" link in the email that tells email clients like Gmail and Outlook where to pull the image from). And many email clients don't care much for images (so much so that Gmail by default turns them off). So you would be advised to not add images to your emails (including in your email signature).

3. Avoid sending lots of attachments (or large attachments).
Generally, there are limits to the amount of data you can send via email, and some email clients like Gmail will cap the total amount of data that can be attached to an email.

Gmail places of cap of 25 MB for attachments, and other email providers also have smaller or larger caps. A good rule of thumb here is not to add more than 3 attachments per email and not to exceed 10-15 MB of attachments per email.

4. Do not send mass emails or marketing email blasts through Planning Pod.
Emails sent from the Planning Pod system are intended to be one-on-one business or transactional emails (like payment or task reminders). Our email tools are not built for mass or bulk emailing like for sending to lists of recipients (for marketing or other purposes), and if you try to send mass emails via Planning Pod, your emails may get blocked or simply dropped.

For mass or marketing emails, we recommend using services like MailChimp or SendGrid, which are specifically built for sending out large email blasts and have special relationships with Internet Service Providers that help ensure your mass emails are delivered.

5. Avoid excessive capitalization or excessive use of punctuation.
WRITING IN ALL CAPS or using lots of punctuation (like this!!!!!!) is a sure-fire way to raise the hackles of any spam filter, so just avoid either of these practices.

6. Avoid using lots of different font point sizes and colors.
Anything that would make an email look busy (like changing point sizes frequently or adding lots of different font colors) not only makes emails hard to read, but it also reduces the chances your emails will get delivered to recipients' inboxes. BTW, using red as a font color in emails is especially hazardous.

7. Avoid spam trigger words.
There are several hundred words or phrases that, if they appear in your email subject lines or body content, can cause your emails to be sent to spam. These can include words like "free", "discount", "buy now", "sale" and "click here", and you would be keen to avoid using them in your emails.

FYI ... here's a more complete list of trigger words you can review.

8. Confirm that the email address you are sending to is valid.
This happens to be one of the most common reasons why emails don't get delivered ... the email address itself is simply not correct (or it is inactive).

Maybe the person provided you with an inaccurate/inactive address or you simply typed it in wrong. But no worries ... this email verification tool lets you check to see if an email address is actually valid.

9. Check with the intended recipient if your email ended up in their spam folder.
Sometimes you can take every precaution to send out clean emails and your email message still ends up in a recipient's spam folder for some unknown, undefined reason.

So if your intended recipient says she didn't get your email, have her check her spam folder and, if your email is there, have her mark it as "not spam" and add your email address to her contact list. These both tell her email client/program that all emails from you should be delivered to her inbox directly.

10. Check with your email service provider that your email server is operating properly and that your authentication settings are valid.
If you have set up your own email address in Planning Pod and are using it to send emails from your account, you should contact your email service provider to make sure your email server is fully functional.

You should also verify with them that standard email authentication protocols (like SPF and DKIM) are valid and functioning properly for your email address. FYI ... these are standard email sending protocols that authenticate your emails so that other email service providers can verify that your emails are authentic and legitimate. Don't worry if you don't know what these are ... just ask your email service provider if your authentication settings are valid and to check on them.

11. Check to see if your email domain has been blacklisted.
Finally, if your emails are not making it through to one or more recipients, there's an outside chance that somehow your email domain was blacklisted by a particular Internet Service Provider or email service.

Use this email blacklist checker tool to see if your email domain has been blacklisted or graylisted.

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