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Winning at Deliverability

Nic Getkate
Nic Getkate

Setting up an email newsletter seems like a no brainer…??

Buy a domain, choose a topic, make a landing page, pick your choice of email software and bobs your uncle….right?

Not quite the case. Your deliverability is important and it means how often your newsletters reach the recipient’s inbox. Believe it or not, the entire concept of how email works is quite complex. You may not realize this when you send your normal emails from Gmail, Outlook or wherever but once you go down the rabbit hole of newsletters, you soon come to realize that there are a lot of technicalities.

Getting your deliverability on point.

When starting out a newsletter, these 3 aspects of deliverability can make or break you and send you straight to the spam box, which is a  big “nope” in our game.

These are known as;

  • DKIM
  • SPF
"EmailOctopus has the flexibility to design great-looking newsletters that stand out. The best part is it's free until 2,500 subscribers."


Let’s start with DKIM or DomainKeys Identified Mail which is an email security standard designed to make sure messages aren't altered in transit between the sending and recipient servers. It uses public-key cryptography to sign the email with a private key as it leaves a sending server.

In English, DKIM basically makes sure that the email you were sent wasn’t altered/ and is, in fact, the real email.

If you’re sending business emails, promotional emails, or anything to a large mailing list, this is essential….or your mails can say hello to the spam box.


Next, we have SPF or Sender Policy Framework allows the receiving mail server to check during mail delivery that a mail claiming to come from a specific domain is submitted by an IP address authorized by that domain's administrators.

Picture this, SPF makes sure that whoever sent that mail is, in fact, that person. It also stops spammers from stealing your domain.

This is quite easy to implement. All it takes a simple SPF record added in your domains DNS zone and boom, you’re good to go!

Kinda looks something like this.


And Lastly, the one that ties it all together is DMARC or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (Yes, that’s a mouth full).

DMARC is a protocol that uses SPF and DKIM to determine the authenticity of an email message. This is mainly used to stop email spoofing. (creating an email address with a forged sender address) Phishers and spammers do this a lot.

Think of DMARC as a filter. When an email fails an SPF or DKIM, the DMARC can filter it to spam or junk.

DMARC also helps with your domain and IP reputation. Here is a little sketch to wrap your head around the idea.

There is so much more to all 3 of these concepts, but this just outlines the basics to anybody new to the newsletter game. Without DKIM, SPF and DMARC properly configured, the deliverability of your email newsletter will suffer and that’s not something that we want.

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Nic Getkate

Freelance Copywriter and newsletter curator.