Often it seems that email delivery is just a matter of creating the email, hitting "send" and being confident that the recipient will have it in their inbox a few seconds later. Unfortunately, it isn't that simple, and email delivery can be a really imprecise science.
Emails have to go through a number of stages between your Sign-Up.to account and your subscribers' inbox. Even after they've left our technical servers, they need to go through several layers of filters and checks before they get to your recipient's email client - and that's even before the client decides whether to put it in the inbox or the spam folder. Google's "Story of Send" gives you an idea of the scale of the journey emails take between you and your subscribers.
So when you send a preview and it doesn't show up, or when a subscriber gets in touch to ask where their email is, what can you do?
As the recipient:
> Give it time!
It sounds simple, but when emails almost always appear immediately in your inbox, it's easy to forget how far they have to go and how long it might take. Sometimes an email might take ten or fifteen minutes, even half an hour or longer, to make their journey. Grab a cup of tea and check back in a short while.
> Check the spam folder
It's not always possible for the automated scanners and filters to tell friend from foe when it comes to email, and it's possible for legitimate mail - even mail you receive regularly from trusted senders - to pop up in your junk or spam folder. If the email you're expecting doesn't show up, take a look here - and remember that some email clients have a junk AND a spam folder.
> Add your sender's 'from' details
Most email clients will have a list where you can store the 'from' address of trusted senders whose emails you always want to receive. You can save these address to your contacts list, whitelist, or safe-senders list, and this typically overrides any filters and confirms that the email is safe.
As the sender:
> Check your spam triggers
Subject lines with hotwords or too much punctiation, huge images with no alt text, lots of formatting and no plain text version - all of these are features which bring your email that little bit closer to being filtered as spam. Check out our blog on avoiding the junk folder for things you can do to ensure your email isn't accidentally filtered as spam.
> Check your data
In particular, if you have a specific subscriber who isn't receiving your data, make sure you've got the correct email address for them. Again, sounds simple, but if they gave you their address in person or wrote it down somewhere, it's possible it was typed into your system with the domain "hotmial.com" or "gogglemail.co.uk" (we've seen all the variations!). This invalid domain will cause a hard bounce, which means the address will become suspended. Search for the user by name to check if their address is correct, or check your suspended data list to see if you need to correct any addresses.
> Set up an SPF record
When you send emails from Sign-Up.to, we format them to appear as though they're coming from your 'from' address rather than our servers. Some vigilent email clients will take issue with this, thinking you're a spammer trying to masquerade as another company or person. Setting up an SPF record on your domain is like adding a note to tell email clients "It's okay - I've told Sign-Up.to it's okay to send mail for me".
By now you've gotten the gist of this - at the end of the day, there simply is no hard and fast rule and no one way to ensure your email ends up in the inbox. Try different solutions, test, test and test again, find out what works best for you - and don't forget to get in touch with the Support team if you need any advice.