Send and deliver – don’t let anyone hold up your email campaign

When sending email marketing campaigns, you want to get your voice heard. That means you’ll want to ensure your message is getting to your audience’s inboxes without any problems. One way of enhancing the deliverability of your campaigns is to set up an SPF record. Follow these simple instructions.

What is Sender ID/SPF?

Sender ID and SPF (SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework) are ways that people receiving email can verify that the person sending the message is allowed to send email from that domain name. They are slightly different versions of the concept.

What is the difference between Sender ID and SPF? SPF validates the originating email address of a message. This is not always the same as the ‘From’ address as it relates to the actual server sending the message. Sender ID validates the actual ‘From’ address of the email. In order to set up a Sender ID record you will need to add the Sender ID information to your domain name – see below for details.

Why is Sender ID important?

Sender ID adds an extra layer of security to email – it makes it much more difficult to send email from forged addresses, a favourite trick of spammers and scammers. By adopting Sender ID legitimate email can be more easily separated from junk.

How does Sender ID affect me? If you’re using email marketing, Sender ID affects you! Major ISPs like Hotmail and Gmail use Sender ID to screen emails – if an email is received which does not have a Sender ID record set then the user is alerted to this – at the moment nothing else happens but in the near future this may change and result in your message being classed as spam. If an email is received from an address with a Sender ID record but from a system that is not listed in the record, it is sent to the junk folder. If you are sending email from an email marketing system like CyanMailer you need to ensure that the system is listed in the Sender ID record for your domain name, this will help to maximise the delivery rate of your campaign.

How does Sender ID work?

A Sender ID record is a small piece of text that is stored in the DNS record of your domain name. You can generate this text using the online tools available at http://www.anti-spamtools.org/SenderIDEmailPolicyTool/Default.aspx. This text explains which servers are allowed to send email on your behalf. When a system receives email from you it looks up this record and checks it against the details of the server that sent your message. As only the owner of a domain name can alter its DNS record this is a fairly secure way to manage this information.

How do I create a Sender ID record?

Firstly, you need to have access to the DNS record of your domain name. This will usually be through the company you registered your domain name with, or your web hosting/design company. You need to check that this company supports creating a TXT record in your DNS. If it doesn’t you will need to move your DNS to another provider like http://zoneedit.com – this doesn’t mean that you will need to change your web host, just your DNS provider. Once you have access to this you need to go to http://www.anti-spamtools.org/SenderIDEmailPolicyTool/Default.aspx and use its wizard to create a record for your domain. You will need to know where you send email from, or set your record to allow any server to send email from your domain name (this is not advised!) If using CyanMailerto you must add CyanMailer in the ‘Outsourced Domains’ box – this allows us to send email on your behalf. When you have completed the wizard you will be given the text that you need to add into your DNS record. Once you have added this in you can check it by using the wizard again – it should detect that you have a record set. Note that in some cases it may take 24-48 hours before your new record shows up.

I don’t have my own domain name, can I still use Sender ID? No – you have to control the domain name to set the Sender ID. As such you cannot send out emails from free email addresses (hotmail.com etc.) through systems like CyanMailer.

Find out more about Sender ID: http://www.microsoft.com/senderid/