Deliverability Best Practices help you to learn and manage the habits that affect your sending reputation. These six recommendations can help lower your email bounce rate, stay off blacklists, lower your complaint rate, and improve your email sender reputation.
Implement an Opt-in Process
An opt-in process is a method for your users to subscribe to your mailing list, which gives you permission to send messages. Only send messages to subscribers who have opted-in to your mailing list. There are two types of opt-in procedures.
- Single opt-in (unconfirmed): A user provides their email address and gives permission to receive relevant messages. Once the address is provided, messages can be sent without confirming the email address belongs to the user who provided it.
- Double opt-in (confirmed): A user provides their email address, but before the first mailing, a confirmation email is sent to the account owner. The email requires action from the account owner to confirm that future messages are wanted. An account can be verified by having the owner click a link for reply to the email. The confirmation email ensures that the address was not added to a third-party mailing list without consent.
Purge Unengaged Users
Remove unengaged users by implementing a process. If a recipient is not engaging with your mail by either opening or clicking the email, this might be an indication that the email account is not in use or that the recipient is no longer interested in your content. If the recipient does not use the email account, eventually the mailbox provider terminates the account or transforms the account into a spam trap. Remove recipients who have not engaged with your email in a time frame defined by your business model. Purging unengaged users helps your deliverability by increasing your user engagement rate.
Review Your Subscriber List
When reviewing your subscriber list, keep these things in mind:
- Eliminate duplicate addresses before sending. If addresses that do not exist are mailed to multiple times, your hard bounce rate could be inflated.
- Ensure that a previous suppression list (possibly from another email service provider) was not accidentally included.
- Verify that subscribers have opted-in. Do not send to an old list that you found.
- Restrict users from uploading their email client’s contact list in a “select all” fashion. Forcing users to select addresses individually prevents users from accidentally including potentially out of date or expired addresses.
Evaluate Your Sending Frequency
Sending too many emails in a short time might aggravate recipients, causing the recipients to mark your messages as spam. This is called list fatigue. Ensure that your message cadence aligns with the expected frequency of your content. Reducing frequency might reduce spam complaints. Ensure that your content is relevant to your subscribers. Keep your email messages consistent to your audience. A person who subscribed to a list for coupon updates might not want regular emails about auto loan finance rates. These unexpected messages are likely to be marked as spam, which decreases your sender reputation.
Easily Accessible Unsubscribe URL
Unsubscribing helps your inbox success by sending only to recipients that engage by opening or clicking. When people complain, your sending reputation is harmed. Make it easy for recipients to be removed from the list. Do not hide the unsubscribe URL at the bottom of the message. A small percentage of users scroll to the bottom of the email and search for a small URL. Most users mark the email as spam.
Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) Guide
Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is one of the best guides to ensuring your compliance with the law, users’ desire, and the intended filtering that most mailbox providers use. If you are a Canadian email sender or you send email to Canadian residents, you must comply with CASL. The following information is intended to help provide you with some guidance for complying with CASL. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it intended supplement or otherwise affect your rights or obligations under your service agreement with Oracle, including your obligations under Oracle’s Acceptable Use Policy. If you have questions about CASL or the legality of your sending practices, we encourage you to speak with an attorney who specializes in that subject matter.
What is covered by CASL?
CASL and its related regulations apply to any “commercial electronic message” sent from or to Canadian computers and devices in Canada. Electronic messages that are merely routed through Canadian computer systems are not subject to CASL.
A “commercial electronic message” is any message that:
- Is in an electronic format, including emails, instant messages, text messages, and some social media communications.
- Is sent to an electronic address, including email addresses, instant message accounts, phone accounts, and social media accounts; and
- Contains a message encouraging recipients to take part in some type of commercial activity, including the promotion of products, services, people/personas, companies, or organizations.
Are there any types of messages that are exempt from CASL?
These types of electronic messages are exempt from CASL for various reasons.
- Messages to family or a person with established personal relationship.
- Messages to an employee, consultant, or person associated with your business.
- Responses to a current customer, or someone who has inquired in the last six months.
- Messages that will be opened or accessed in a foreign country, including the U.S., China, and most of Europe.
- Messages sent on behalf of a charity or political organization for the purposes of raising funds or soliciting contributions.
- Messages attempting to enforce a legal right or court order.
- Messages that provide warranty, recall, safety, or security information about a product or service purchased by the recipient.
- Messages that provide information about a purchase, subscription, membership, account, loan, or other ongoing relationship, including delivery of product updates or upgrades.
- A single message to a recipient without an existing relationship based on a referral. The full name of the referring person must be disclosed in the message. The referrer might be family or have another relationship with the person to whom you are sending.
If your message does not meet one of these criteria, consent is required under CASL. Not all of the previous messages listed are permitted under the Oracle Cloud Hosting and Delivery Policy.
What is “express consent”?
Under CASL, “express consent” means a written or oral agreement to receive specific types of messages. For example, “You want to receive monthly newsletters and weekly discount notifications from Oracle”.
Express consent is only valid if your request for consent clearly and simply describes the following information:
- Your purpose in obtaining consent.
- A description of messages you will be sending.
- The name and contact information (physical mailing address and telephone number, email address, or website URL) of the requestor.
- A statement that the recipient can unsubscribe at any time.
The requestor can be you or someone for whom you are asking. If you are requesting consent on behalf of a client, the name and contact information of the client must be included with the consent request.
What is “implied consent”?
Under CASL, you can only obtain implied consent when certain circumstances exist, including when:
- A recipient has purchased a product, service or made another business deal, contract, or membership with your organization in the last 24 months.
- You are a registered charity or political organization, and the recipient has made a donation or gift, has volunteered, or attended a meeting organized by you.
- A professional message is sent to someone whose email address was given to you, or is conspicuously published, and who has not published or told you that unsolicited messages are not wanted.
What type of consent is required?
After July 1, 2017, you can only send to recipients with express consent or whose implied consent is valid under CASL.
Some additional requirements
In addition to understanding what qualifies as CASL-regulated message, and what type of consent is needed, there are a few other details to keep in mind.
- Retention of a record of consent confirmations is required.
- When requesting consent, checkboxes cannot be pre-filled to suggest consent. Each subscriber must check the box themselves for consent to be valid.
- All messages sent must include the following:
- your name
- the person on whose behalf you are sending (if any)
- your physical mailing address and telephone number
- your email address or website URL
- All messages sent after consent must also include an unsubscribe mechanism, and unsubscribes must be processed within ten days.
Where can I find more information on CASL?
The full text of the law can be found on the website for the Canadian Justice Department. The Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission has also set up an FAQ page and some guidelines for obtaining consent. If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact an attorney who is familiar with the law.
Oracle Cloud Hosting and Delivery Policy
Often, the Oracle Cloud Hosting and Delivery Policy is more stringent than CASL requirements. It is important that you review Oracle policies before using the service.
Troubleshooting Undelivered Emails
The following issues can cause an email to be undelivered:
- The recipient is on the Suppression List.
- An authentication failure or an issue with the format of the email message occurred. For example, if the SMTP "From" address is not the same as the "From" address in the email body, the email is rejected. The addresses must match and be an Approved Sender. Refer to your sending application's logs to review any issues.
If you are unable to resolve the issue, you can go to My Oracle Support and create a service request. See Creating a Service Request for more information.