Table of Contents

Support Guide

Domain Authentication & Best Practices

This guide covers best practices for list management, authentication, and content optimization.

By following these best practices, you can improve your email deliverability, engagement, and overall effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. Regularly reviewing and updating your email strategies ensures that you stay compliant with regulations and continue to provide value to your subscribers.

Best Practices for Email

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, but it requires careful management to ensure high deliverability, engagement, and compliance with regulations.

Below are best practices for staying on top of your email marketing habits:

1.

List Management

Effective list management is crucial for maintaining a healthy email list and ensuring your emails reach the intended recipients.

A. Regularly Clean Your List
  • Remove Inactive Subscribers: Regularly remove subscribers who haven’t engaged with your emails over a specified period (e.g., six months).
  • Handle Bounces: Remove email addresses that hard bounce (permanently undeliverable) and monitor soft bounces (temporarily undeliverable) to address any issues.
B. Consider Using Double Opt-In
  • Confirm Subscriptions: Implement a double opt-in process where subscribers confirm their email address by clicking a link in a confirmation email. This can be done via Shape’s Lead Engine, or lead funnels product in conjunction with the Sales and Marketing CRM. This ensures the validity of email addresses and reduces the likelihood of spam complaints.
C. Segment Your Audience
  • Targeted Campaigns: Segment your email list based on demographics, interests, status, and engagement levels to send more relevant and personalized emails.
  • Improve Engagement: Segmentation helps improve open rates and click-through rates by delivering content that resonates with specific audience segments.
D. Provide Easy Unsubscribe Options
  • Unsubscribe Links: Include a visible and easy-to-use unsubscribe link in every email. Shape takes care of the heavy lifting by including an unsubscribe link automatically to ensure compliance with email regulations.

2.

Email Authentication

Email authentication is essential for verifying your identity as a sender, protecting your domain from being spoofed, and improving email deliverability. More and more email providers are requiring received emails to be sent through an authenticated subdomain. Traffic not sent through an authenticated subdomain usually ends up in the dreaded spam box!

To mitigate this, Shape offers domain authentication to our customers to ensure their email marketing efforts have the best chance to land in the recipients inbox. To learn more about the authentication process, do not hesitate to reach out to our support team by emailing support@setshape.com.

Below are some key terms to know when making adjustments to your domain's DNS settings:

A. Implement SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
  • Authorize Mail Servers: Create an SPF record in your domain’s DNS settings to specify which mail servers are allowed to send emails on behalf of your domain. This helps prevent unauthorized use of your domain for sending spam.
B. Use DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)
  • Digital Signature: Set up DKIM to add a digital signature to your emails. This signature helps receiving mail servers verify that the email was sent from an authorized server and that it hasn’t been tampered with during transit.
C. Enable DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)
  • Set Policies: Configure DMARC to specify how receiving mail servers should handle emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks. Use DMARC reports to monitor your email authentication status and take corrective actions if needed.

3.

Content Optimization

Optimizing your email content is key to engaging your audience and achieving your marketing goals. Shape makes content creation easy with Shape A.I that can be accessed directly from your Dashboard.

Simply type in the tone and content you want included in the email and let Shape A.I do the work drafting the content for you.

Below are some additional tips for crafting engaging email content:

A. Craft Compelling Subject Lines
  • Be Clear and Concise: Write subject lines that are clear, concise, and relevant to the email content. Avoid using all caps and excessive punctuation.
  • Personalization: Personalize subject lines with the recipient’s name or other relevant information to increase open rates.
B. Balance Text and Images
  • Optimize Image-to-Text Ratio: Use a good balance of text and images. Avoid relying solely on images, as some email clients block images by default.
  • Use Alt Text: Add descriptive alt text to images so recipients understand the message even if the images don’t load.
C. Include a Clear Call to Action (CTA)
  • Effective CTAs: Make your CTAs clear, concise, and action-oriented. Place them prominently within your email.
  • Multiple Links: Provide multiple links to the same action throughout the email to make it easy for recipients to click.
D. Mobile Optimization
  • Responsive Design: Ensure your emails are mobile-friendly by using responsive design techniques. Test your emails on various devices and screen sizes.
  • Readability: Use larger fonts, concise text, and single-column layouts for better readability on mobile devices.
E. Test and Analyze
  • A/B Testing: Conduct A/B tests on different elements of your emails, such as subject lines, CTAs, and images, to determine what resonates best with your audience.
  • Monitor Metrics: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns and make data-driven improvements.

Benefits of Domain Authentication

Email authentication is crucial for several reasons, all of which contribute to ensuring the integrity, security, and reliability of email communication.

1. Prevents Email Spoofing and Phishing
  • Email spoofing: Attackers can forge the sender address to make an email appear to come from a legitimate source. Authentication helps prevent this by verifying the sender’s identity.
  • Phishing: Phishing emails often use spoofed addresses to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information. Authentication reduces the likelihood of such emails reaching inboxes.
2. Improves Email Deliverability
  • Authenticated emails are more likely to reach recipients’ inboxes rather than being filtered into spam or junk folders.
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email services (like Gmail and Outlook) prioritize emails that pass authentication checks, thereby improving overall deliverability rates.
3. Protects Brand Reputation
  • Unauthenticated emails can harm a company’s reputation if customers receive fraudulent emails that appear to come from the brand.
  • Implementing authentication protocols demonstrates that the company is taking steps to protect its communication channels and its customers.
4. Reduces the Risk of Blacklisting
  • Sending unauthenticated emails can lead to being blacklisted by ISPs and spam filters, which severely impacts your ability to send emails.
  • Authentication helps maintain a good sending reputation, reducing the chances of being blacklisted.
5. Enhances Security
  • Authentication protocols like DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) add cryptographic signatures and policies that improve the overall security of email communications.
  • These protocols help ensure that the content of the email has not been tampered with during transit.
6. Provides Visibility and Reporting
  • DMARC provides detailed reports on email sending activity, which helps organizations monitor and understand their email traffic.
  • These reports can be used to identify and address potential issues, such as unauthorized use of the domain.

By implementing these email authentication protocols, organizations can significantly reduce the risks associated with email-based threats, enhance their email deliverability, and protect your brand reputation.

Helpful Articles from Common Domains

Below we are including helpful links to support articles from common domains that our customer's utilize. These guides will help to locate the DNS settings that will need to be adjusted to authenticate your subdomain:

Bounce Rate Policies

Shape, like other CRM platforms and reputable communication tools, requires users to maintain a low bounce rate to ensure the quality and reliability of its email delivery services. Here are the reasons why Shape enforces this requirement:

1. Protects Shape and its Vendors' IP Reputations
  • Shape’s sending IP addresses are shared among multiple users. High bounce rates can negatively impact the IP reputation for all users.
  • Maintaining low bounce rates helps protect the IP reputation, ensuring high deliverability rates for all customers.
2. Ensures High Deliverability Rates
  • Low bounce rates indicate that emails are being sent to valid and engaged recipients, which improves the overall deliverability of emails.
  • High bounce rates can lead to emails being filtered into spam folders or rejected by ISPs, decreasing the effectiveness of email campaigns.
3. Prevents Blacklisting
  • ISPs and spam filters monitor bounce rates and other engagement metrics to identify and block potential spammers.
  • High bounce rates can lead to Shape’s sending IPs being blacklisted, affecting all users of the service.
  • By enforcing low bounce rates, Shape reduces the risk of blacklisting.
4. Maintains Compliance with ISP Policies
  • ISPs have strict policies regarding email sending practices. Consistently high bounce rates can violate these policies.
  • Shape must comply with ISP requirements to ensure its emails are accepted and delivered. Enforcing low bounce rates helps meet these compliance standards.
5. Enhances User Accountability and Best Practices
  • Requiring users to maintain low bounce rates encourages them to follow best practices for email marketing, such as list hygiene and proper segmentation.
  • This leads to better engagement rates and overall email performance for users.
6. Improves Service Quality
  • By enforcing low bounce rates, Shape and its email vendors ensure that its infrastructure is used by legitimate senders who follow best practices.
  • This helps maintain the quality of service for all users and prevents abuse of the platform.

How Shape Helps Users Maintain Low Bounce Rates

By requiring users to maintain low bounce rates, Shape ensures the effectiveness, reliability, and quality of its email delivery service, benefiting both the platform and its users.

1. Bounce Management
  • Shape automatically handles bounce notifications and provides reports on bounce rates.
  • Users can use this information to take corrective actions, such as removing invalid addresses from their lists.
2. List Segmentation and Targeting
  • Shape supports list segmentation and targeted sending, allowing users to send emails to engaged and relevant recipients.
  • This reduces the chances of bounces and improves engagement rates.
3. Compliance with Best Practices
  • Shape provides resources and guidelines on email best practices, helping users maintain low bounce rates and improve their email marketing strategies.
  • These guidelines cover topics such as list management, authentication, and content optimization.
4. Monitoring and Alerts
  • Shape monitors bounce rates and other key metrics for all users. If a user’s bounce rate exceeds acceptable thresholds, Shape may issue alerts or take action to address the issue.
  • This proactive approach helps users stay within acceptable bounce rate limits and maintain a good sending reputation.

Keywords: domain, authenticate, subdomain, DNS, DKIM, SPF, spam, provider, email, TXT, best practices, bounce, email bounce

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