The complete email deliverability guide

Deliverability in general is not a clear-cut, black or white outcome. It’s a spectrum. The better you do it, the higher the ratio of your emails getting sent to the Primary inbox. This doesn’t mean you will never show up in Promotions or Spam. It's best to add DKIM, SPF, DMARC, and BIMI to all emails you want the best send rates.

Email deliverability factors:

Your domain reputation
Your IP reputation
Your content, which is again split into:
Vocabulary and topics
HTML used to generate your email
Domains and links you use inside your emails
Authentication, aka proving that you are the real and rightful sender
Your existing list of engagement
Some are very technical, some have more to do with a general strategy for your email. Let’s first explain how to prepare yourself to monitor these factors, then we will go into detail for every single one.

The important techie stuff:

DKIM, DMARC, SPF, BIMI… These acronyms might look scary but they are generally pretty easy to set up. It’s some copy-pasting. You just need to know what to copy and where to paste it. For some information, you will have to contact your ESP, whether that’s Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, etc.

DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Email and is set by default if you have web hosting with Web Host Pro. Once we break out the acronym, it gets much easier, right? It’s an email authentication method that verifies the messages were sent from a legitimate user of the email address. Only the person who has access to DNS settings can set it up, therefore only the rightful owner of the domain.

SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework and is set by default if you have web hosting with Web Host Pro. It’s used to prevent spammers from sending messages from your domain.

DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance so it’s not just an authentication method but also a policy and reporting protocol. You can search our FAQ section for a tutorial on adding DMARC.

DMARC is also a reporting protocol so once you have it set up, tools like GlockApps can help you track who and when sends emails using your domain.

A newer entry on this authentication list, BIMI stands for “Brand Indicator for Message Identification” and it does two things.

It authenticates the email because a BIMI entry is also only the owner of the domain can set up in DNS settings.
It sets up a custom-branded avatar/profile picture for your sender. This is not currently supported by all inboxes but it’s likely just a matter of time until it is adopted more widely. At the moment, BIMI gives you a branded avatar in several Oath brands like Yahoo! and AOL, plus Gmail is testing it as well starting this year.
Before you can set up your BIMI entry in your DNS settings, you must have DMARC set up with a “reject” or “quarantine” policy (remember the important tip above?) and you must prepare your avatar. You need a copy of the desired image in an SVG format and you must host it under a publicly accessible URL.

Once you have your SVG URL, you will have to set up a TXT entry with the name “default._bimi” and the value “v=BIMI1 l=your URL for the logo”


BIMI: Brand Indicator Message Identification, it’s a DNS record that is used to display a company logo inside an email inbox if the email is legitimate.

CSS: Cascade Style Sheet, a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML. In other words, it’s used to make a website (or email) look nicer.

DKIM: Domain Keys Identified Mail, an email authentication technique that allows the receiver to check that an email was indeed sent and authorized by the owner of that domain.

DMARC: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, a protocol that uses SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) to determine the authenticity of an email message. It allows senders to specify how unauthenticated emails should be handled.

DNS: Domain Name System, a hierarchical and decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities.

ESP: Email Service Provider, a company that offers email marketing tools and software.

SPF: Sender Policy Framework, an email authentication method designed to detect forging sender addresses during the delivery of the email. Best used together with DMARC, otherwise it has limited use.

SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics is an Extensible Markup Language-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation.

  • dkim, dmarc, spf, bimi, email, deliver rate
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