Email Deliverability, Spam, and You

Why Isn't My Email Getting To My Client?

When you send emails through ServiceMonster, there are a number of possible reasons why it may not be getting to your clients inbox. These could include what email serve the emails are sent from (Or your SMTP settings), the content of the email, having the correct email address on an account, and other factors.

A few things to consider when sending out emails through ServiceMonster…

Delivering the Actual Message

There are a number of factors that contribute to messages being delivered. When an email is successfully delivered, we receive a 250 OK status. This means that the receiving mail server has accepted our message. Once we receive a 250 OK, there is nothing more for us to do — we have delivered the message, and it’s out of our hands.

The big things on our end that affect email deliverability are server configuration and blacklists.

Our SendGrid account (the email service ServiceMonster uses) is configured to ensure maximum deliverability, and blacklists are checked often to ensure we remain in good standing.

To have full control of your email (see sent emails, undeliverable and unsubscribes) you can set up SMTP.  You may still have some limitations on the number of emails sent when marketing.

Delivery Rate vs. Inbox Rate

Delivery rate is the percentage of messages successfully delivered to email addresses.

Inbox rate is the percent of messages delivered to the inbox (as opposed to the spam folder).

Unfortunately, there is very little we can do to affect the inboxing rate for you directly since we don’t control your messages’ content. If you’re noticing low inboxing rates, see if any of the tips below help you. We also recommend taking a look at email creation best practices online.

Avoiding Spam Filters

Here are some tips to help you avoid your recipients’ junk folders.

* Don’t send PDFs (invoices) or other attachments with little to no additional message content. PDFs delivered via email are a prime malware vector and thus trigger a high filter rate. Make sure you’re using templates, or at least a bit of message content to ensure delivery.

* Be sure you’re using clean HTML templates. Bad code or overly-large templates can affect filtering.

* Avoid spam triggers, such as spammy words and phrases (“quote,” “100% free,” “$$$,” etc.), making the subject all capitals, including exclamation points in the subject line, sending out graphic-heavy emails, and including too many colored fonts.

* Be sure you have an unsubscribe link or message in your email. This is an extremely important tip to abide by, as it’s a requirement of CAN-SPAM.

The SimplyCast blog has a lot of tips on improving email delivery and composition. Here is a link to help you get started:

Don’t use Yahoo and AOL email.

Yahoo and AOL both changed their policies to no longer carry third party emails, which is what ServiceMonster is.

Yahoo changed its DMARC policy to stop fraudulent emails. In response, many email receivers started bouncing emails with From addresses sent from non-Yahoo servers. Yesterday, AOL announced the same change to its DMARC policy, and we expect to see similar results.

Like the Yahoo change, this will only affect senders using an From address. The solution is also the same: We recommend using a custom domain for your From address instead of If you need help registering a new domain or setting up email addresses, please contact a web developer.

In addition to changing your From address in campaigns, we also recommend changing the contact email for your account and user profiles. This will ensure ServiceMonster features, like Job Notifications, continue to deliver email on your behalf.

It’s only a matter of time before other ISPs, such as Gmail and Hotmail, make similar changes. So switching to another free-mail provider is like hopping stones in a smoking volcano: You might find some temporary solace, but you should instead focus on getting out of the volcano. Using your own domain will prevent future deliverability issues caused by sudden changes made by ISPs.

As with the Yahoo update, we continue to support ISPs who change their DMARC policies. Adjustments have to be made if we want to move forward in the fight against spam.