You can make a useful email containing a nice email copy, beautiful design, and high-quality coding and then find out that only 3 people (including you) have read it. That’s because your emails ended up in spam or in a greylist and no one saw them. Knowing how to create emails is not enough, you should also learn to deliver them to your subscribers. And to do that, you must have high-quality analytics that a postmaster can provide.
What Is a Postmaster
A postmaster is a tool that analyzes your email performance. It helps you learn your spam score, IP and domain reputation, and delivery errors. Using this info, you can improve deliverability in a given email client.
The most popular mail providers have their own postmasters: Google, Yahoo, and Outlook. Keep in mind that every postmaster works with its mail provider only. So if you set up a Google Postmaster Tool, it won’t show the email performance in Yahoo and Outlook. You need to set up separate postmasters for every mail provider your subscribers use.
How to Set Up Postmaster Tools
Setting up postmaster tools is very easy and most of the time all you have to do is fill out an application and wait till it’s been approved.
All the postmasters are different and their interfaces and functions may differ slightly, so let’s take a look at the most popular postmasters one by one.
How to Set Up Google Postmaster Tools
That’s the first step in any postmaster but the authentication methods may vary. If you use several accounts to send emails, you need to go through the procedure for every account you need. After filling in DNS TXT and DNS CNAME that you can find in your hosting control panel, you get access to Gmail analytics:
Spam rate dashboard. It shows the percentage of the emails that ended up in spam. For this dashboard to work properly, you must set up a DKIM record.
Domain and IP reputation dashboards. The titles speak for themselves: they show your reputation. If it is low, your emails will automatically be marked as spam, no matter how awesome they are. You can see a sample IP reputation dashboard below.
Feedback loop. This feature allows you to track users marking emails as spam. Thanks to this function, we may see users’ interactions with our previous emails and try to guess why they didn’t like the last one. Using this info, we can change the list of receivers and decrease the number of emails getting into the spam folder. The feedback loop is turned off by default but you can set it up manually.
Authentication. It shows the percentage of emails that passed the main authentication methods: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
Encryption. This dashboard shows the percentage of emails containing TLS (Transport Layer Security) code. Such emails are protected from unauthorized access.
Delivery Errors Dashboard. There are lots of reasons for these errors: bad IP or domain reputation, attachments that Gmail doesn’t support, spammy content, failed DMARC, and many others. You can see all the available info on every error by simply clicking on it.
Of course, all these functions work with email addresses belonging to the gmail.com domain only.
How to Set Up Yahoo and AOL Postmaster
Yahoo and AOL started as separate companies somewhere in the early 2000s and were gradually acquired first by Verizon, and then by Apollo Global Management. Now Yahoo and AOL are known under the name “Yahoo”. Yahoo postmaster combines the features of the two companies that fall into 2 main categories:
1) Complaint Feedback Loop. This function is the same as Google Postmaster Tools Feedback Loop. To gain access to this function, you should fill out a CFL application. CFL works properly only after setting up DomainKeys (verifying your domain using a cryptographic signature) and DKIM.
After filling out the application, you receive an email address based on your domain that will look like this: email@example.com. All the reports will be sent to this address, so make sure not to lose access to it.
Here’s an example report provided by Yahoo:
2) Email Deliverability & Performance Feeds. If you want to gain access to the data feeds, you should contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn all the requirements. This program allows you to monitor 2 types of feeds:
The Placement Feed. It collects data on the percentage of emails that hit the inbox, spam, and other folders as well as error and complaint counts.
The Campaign Performance Feed. It provides you with lots of various data including the number of emails delivered, opened, deleted, marked as read, clicked, and more.
Yahoo also has a blog where they post all the important news and changes in the postmaster’s functionality.
How to Set Up Outlook Postmaster
Outlook Postmaster provides fewer features than the previous two. You can find all the details on the website.
Outlook offers a Junk Mail Reporting Program that is similar to a Feedback Loop. It sends you reports with information on the number of emails marked as junk by the receivers.
You can also use SNDS, or Smart Network Data Services. It gives you the IP data that may help you monitor your IP reputation. The data is displayed in a table containing:
- IP address analyzed by the SNDS.
- Activity period: the period used to analyze your performance.
- RCPT commands: the commands that show IP’s intent to send emails.
- DATA commands: it defines the number of emails that were actually sent.
- Message recipients: the number of emails received by your subscribers.
- Filter results: shows the spam score in the form of a table.
- Complaint rate: the number of emails marked as spam by subscribers and some other metrics.
A postmaster is an important tool that helps you analyze how users interact with your emails. It gives you all the necessary data to rock your email campaigns and always hit the inbox.
The most popular postmasters include Google Postmaster Tools, Yahoo, and Outlook Postmaster. Though their features are more or less the same, there are still differences you should know about, like the variety of functions and ways to verify your domain.
Analyze what email clients your subscribers use, set up postmasters, and welcome to the inbox!