Troubleshooting email deliverability issues – a step by step guide

When emails bounce it can cause a lot of disruption. It’s important to get to the bottom of it – fast! To make sure you can troubleshoot and fix problems with email deliverability quickly and efficiently, here’s our straightforward step by step guide to troubleshooting deliverability issues.

1. Run the database analysis

Check the database for the email client that is bounced the most. Look into the bounce code and see if it starts with 550 bounce code. If so, a spam filter is your problem. Asking recipients to add the email address to their contacts will possible resolve this. If not possible, go to next step.

2. Check the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

This is your next step whether or not you find a 550 bounce code. Various software is available to help you complete this step, for example DKIMValidator or MXTool. When these measures are not set correctly it can cause email deliverability problems.

3. Check the IP reputation/sender score

If the issue persists there may be a problem with the IP address’s reputation or sender score. Return Path’s software [] allows you to check the IP’s sender score. If the score is not consistent this will give you some insight into the cause of the problem. This software can also help you to identify ways to improve going forward.

4. Contact the email client service provider

If the sender score isn’t the issue, it may be necessary to contact the email client you identified in the first step. Deliverability issues can occur with large providers such as Gmail, Microsoft, BigPond, and Optus. However, if you identified the client to be a government email address it is best to ignore the issue as it is not possible to contact the relevant body directly.

Ask the email client service providers (Microsoft, Google, Telstra, Optus) to whitelist the IP address. This should prevent the problem from happening again. Be sure that the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are correct before you make contact with the service providers – this will be their first question. You’ll need to prove these measures are set correctly before they can action anything.

5. Contact us

Working through these steps should enable you to resolve most email send problems without difficulty. However, if you’ve completed these steps but the issue remains, help is at hand – contact our team for support.

Based on the above step by step guide, we have assisted many clients to resolve their deliverability issues. For example, for one of the Australian enterprise banks, we followed the above steps to increase deliverability from 80% on average to 95% in 2 months.