Troubleshooting inbox delivery

Inbox delivery is a joint effort between us and our customers. On this page we describe what we do to maximize inbox delivery and provide todo items and tips for you.

We cannot possibly investigate each individual email delivery issue. Due to the sheer volume of emails sent from our servers this is simply not feasible. After you followed all steps described on this page to mitigate deliverability issues you need to raise the issue with the recipient's email provider or mail server admin. If the admins have questions for Envoke we are happy to work with them to find a solution.

Before we dig into details we should address a FAQ related to reporting on inbox delivery: There is a distinction between emails sent and delivered to inboxes. Envoke and other bulk email platforms can only report on emails sent and if the emails bounced. If there was no bounce then all that's known is that the email was sent but whether it's in an inbox, spam folder or elsewhere is not possible to report on.

What Envoke's doing

Envoke's sending IP addresses are continually monitored to ensure they are in good standing. This is called reputation management in email jargon. Your emails are sent from so called warmed up IPs that have been in rotation for years. We use feedback loops, automated bounce management and monitor anomalies in email activity. A redundant infrastructure is in place to mitigate outages. All this happens in the background as we deliver a large number of emails for our customers.

Despite this ongoing delivery management emails going to spam or junk folders are unavoidable. No email provider can guarantee 100% inbox placement. Our goal is minimize this but a surprising number of legitimate emails sent to opt-in lists still end up in spam folders. Major Email Service Providers (ESPs) estimate this number is as high as 20%. This is not an Envoke-specific metric; it applies to emails sent from any bulk email platform.

What you can do to maximize inbox delivery?

Internal issue?

First, rule out if delivery issues affect internal emails only or external emails as well.

Review the internal email delivery troubleshooting page for more details.

To troubleshoot delivery to external contacts, follow the steps below.

Is domain authentication (DKIM) configured?

Setting up sender domain authentication (called DKIM or DomainKeys Identified Mail in technical terms) is a prerequisite to successful inbox delivery. It's a one-time setup that needs to be completed by your IT team. Domain authentication is commonly checked by spam filters and fraud detection software to filter out unwanted emails.

Read more about how DKIM works, why it's important and and how to set it up.

Emails aren't sent in the first place

Contacts who aren't eligible to receive emails are automatically excluded from sends. The only exception to this is when you designate messages as regulatory or mandatory communication.

We don't attempt to send emails to contacts if one of the following applies:

  • Too many bounces over time indicate an invalid email. Learn more about bounce management.

  • The contact is unsubscribed or consent has expired. Learn about consent options.

  • The email i unverified. This applies only if double opt-in is enabled in your account.

When you're about to send an e-blast exclusions due to these reasons are shown on the email delivery estimate page - just before you hit the send button.

Emails are sent but they are not in the inbox

Bounced emails

If there is a bounce then the message is rejected by the recipient's mail server. A bounce is a known error and it shows up on the email send report. You can review the bounce reason to find out why a bounce occurred. You can find details on the sending history and activity timelines for each contact. Both of these pages are linked from the "Activity details" panel on the lower right side of the contact details page for each contact on your list. Find the contact in question on the contact list page and click its email address to go to the contact details page.

If there is no bounce

Once the recipient's mail server accepts a message for delivery - there is no bounce recorded - we have no visibility into what decisions that server is making into how to handle it and why.

If there is also no open or click recorded then all we can know for certain is that the email wasn't rejected by the mail server and it wasn't interacted with by the recipient (or in some cases bots) but the email can still be in a spam folder, quarantined or blocked from reaching the inbox or even the spam folder or it can be in inboxes and never opened.

Spam filters are different for each server, which means the same email may pass through one spam filter and be flagged by another. They are also "trained" by individuals so spam filtering within the same provider can vary by user settings.

Note that bounces can take up to 48hrs to show up in reports because in case of transient failures, such as timed out connections, the Envoke mail servers will try to resend the message up to 10 times and only mark it bounced after the resend efforts failed.

To maximize inbox placement you should

  • implement domain authentication

  • ask your contacts to add your sender email (the "from email") to their address book or safe senders list.

  • ask your contacts to check their custom spam filtering rules that may block your email.

  • not send image-only emails. The text to image ratio in your emails should be high: much more text content than images.

  • only send emails to contacts who requested to be emailed and only send content they are subscribed to receive.

  • include personalization in your emails. For example merging contacts' first name in the subject line helps in some cases as spam filters are able to verify that you know something about the person you're emailing (this is often not the case with purchased email lists).

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