We provide Mailchimp integration services to our clients all over the world. One such client recently asked us to check their eCommerce shop to find out why the Emails were going to Spam and prevent this from happening. The open rate had dropped to 1-1.5% from a healthy 12-16%. We followed this checklist below to make sure that all settings were correct and in place.
It’s important to note that this usually happens if you have had some bad practice like try to purchase bulk emails to send Email to or use single opt-in or re-send email to unsubscribed users. If you are using MailChimp first time then most likely, your emails will be fine.
1. Check SPF & DKIM Settings
First thing we did was to login into MailChimp login to check SPF and DKIM settings. Most clients have these settings verified at the very start so thats not a problem. But sometimes, the client makes change to DNS settings and absent-mindedly temper MailChimp SPF & DKIM settings. Its a good starting point to recheck these just in case.
2. Check with Mail-Tester
Mail-tester.com is a great resource for testing email score online. You would be remiss to ignore this amazing service as it will give you a score out of 10. Send a test email and check the effectiveness in 10 seconds.
3. Search for domain in Spam Databases
Mail-tester will also tell you if you have any problem with your IP address reputation and if it is blocked on online databases. However, you can manually check the databases as well. We found a handy list at sendgrid. You should check with domain URL and IP address to find if you triggered any warnings.
Bonus: check MailChimp’s own complaint report inside each campaign. Maybe try to find a pattern like reporting user’s domain or problem.
4. Cleanup Your Lists
Make sure that you are not sending emails to any people who have not expressly allowed you to send email to them; namely double opt-in. Do not buy emails from third parties to run campaigns on, specially from your main website. MailChimp takes complaints very seriously and would block you if you pulled this stunt anyways. Go through your subscribers and remove any you feel were added by accident even.
5. Check email body
Its important that you email should follow guidelines. Most emails are HTML so it won’t be a bad idea to follow HTML best practices. Having a proper HTML body will trigger less warnings in mail parsing engines of different email services. Plus if you have more text then that will give the email services a better idea of what your product is all about.
- Avoid whole image emails
- For all images, use alt-texts
- Close all tags
- Test your emails using Litmus and similar services
- Make responsive emails
Basically, the emails that give user or software the least cause for concern will be marked as spam the least.
6. Use Merge-tags
In MailChimp, there is extra information for each subscriber saved in merge-tags. Use as many as you can. Specially with subscriber’s name in email body. If your email score is particularly weak then add merge-tags in email subject won’t be the worst idea.
7. Subscriber outreach
It won’t be a bad shout to reach some people that you know and ask them to manually check all emails from you (that they find in Spam folder) and mark as not-spam. I am sure if a few people did this, will have an effect on email score.
8. Change sending domain
If nothing else works then perhaps its time to change the sending domain. Instead of domain.com, maybe use email.domains.com or newsletter.domain.com to throw off some spam filters. We have not tested this method yet but seems like an interesting idea.
Finally, if you need help with your emails or MailChimp, send us an email below. We’ll provide you with our best knowledge and web resources.
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