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Starting Off Strong with Deliverability Best Practices

Email deliverability can be a complex topic, and it’s important to keep in mind that there isn’t a magic formula to guarantee your emails will land in the inbox. However, there are variables you can control to increase your chances.

Review the recommendations below to ensure successful sending from the start! If you need further clarification, please reach out to Emma Support and they will be happy to assist.

Recommendations for Successful Sending

1. Move all unsubscribed addresses to “opt-out” status and move bounced addresses to “error” status

When migrating to Emma, you will most likely have exported a list of contacts from your previous ESP (email service provider). When you import your list into Emma, addresses will automatically be in an “active” state and ready to receive messages from you. However, to protect your sender reputation, you’ll want to be sure to place any addresses who have previously unsubscribed into “opt-out” status, and any address who previously bounced to “error” status. The easiest way to do this is by following the steps below.

For previously unsubscribed contacts:

  1. Export a list of all unsubscribed email addresses from your previous provider(s).

  2. Import your unsubscribed list of contacts into Emma and place it into a group named, “Unsubscribed”.

  3. Open the “Unsubscribed” group, click the Actions dropdown , select “Change status of all”, check “Opt-out”, and click, Save.

For previously bounced email addresses:

  1. Export a list of all bounces from your previous provider(s).

  2. Import this list into Emma and place it into a group named, “Bounces”.

  3. Open the “Bounces” group, click the Actions dropdown , select “Change status of all”, check “Error”, and click, Save.

Learn more about contact statuses.

2. Only Import Subscribers who have Provided Direct Permission

One of the most important things to be aware of before you begin sending is that Emma is a permission-based marketing tool. This means that all of the subscribers in your Emma account need to have given you direct permission to email them, or they have a clear relationship with you and, in the course of continuing that relationship, have willfully provided you with their email address. Confirm your list meets Emma’s permission-based marketing standards with the examples provided in this Emma Support Hub article.

3. Keep Track of Historic Subscriber Engagement Metrics

Export as much engagement data as you possibly can from your previous ESP(s). Most importantly, try to pull the last opened date for each subscriber, and import this information into your Emma account. You’ll need to create a custom contact field first, and map the information to the field when importing. This will help you to keep track of your subscriber engagement overtime, allowing you to be a better marketer. Your deliverability success relies heavily on how you react to your subscribers’ behavior. It’s important that you have a full picture of how your subscribers have interacted with your messages over time!

If a subscriber hasn’t opened a message from you in the last year, do not import them into your Emma account. Doing so can harm your sender reputation and is against our Anti-Spam Policy.

4. Consider ramping up to your full volume

It's pretty common for open rates to fluctuate when you switch ESPs, either by increasing or decreasing. This is because mailbox providers are not used to seeing your domain send from Emma IPs, so they will need to re-evaluate your reputation. During this re-evaluation period, engagement rates often rise and fall before eventually leveling out.

It’s important to try and make a good first impression during this time. The best way to signal to mailbox providers that you are sending inbox-worthy mail is to ramp up your sending. Typically, we recommend starting with only the most recently engaged recipients - those who have recently opened your emails. If that goes well, you can increase the volume for the next campaign adding in decreasingly engaged recipients in the next send.  

5. Authenticate your sending domain

Email authentication allows mailbox providers to ensure that the email is truly coming from the sender, and not someone pretending to be the sender. The 3 types of email authentication are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.


We recommend adding Emma to your sending domain’s SPF record. Adding Emma to your SPF record allows receiving servers to see that we are allowed to send emails on behalf of your domain. For instructions on adding Emma as an authorized sender, head over to the Emma Support Hub article on email authentication.


Your Emma messages are automatically DKIM signed on our domain, If you’d like for messages to be DKIM signed using your domain, please reach out to our support team for assistance.


Please check to see if your IT team has implemented a DMARC record on your domain. You can do this by typing in your domain here.

  • If the search results state “No DMARC record published”, there’s nothing you need to do

  • If the search results state your domain has a DMARC record published and the record states “p=none”, there’s nothing you need to do

  • If search results state your domain has a DMARC record published and the record states “p=quarantine” or “p=reject”, please reach out to our support team and we’ll help you ensure that your Emma messages are authenticated with DMARC.

6. Sending internal messages? Whitelist Emma’s IP addresses for best results

If you’re sending mail to addresses with the same domain that you’re sending from, you will want to whitelist our IPs for successful delivery. Learn more about whitelisting Emma’s sending range of IP addresses here.      

Additional Resources

Learn more about how to be successful using Emma from your first day forward with the help of these articles: 

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