Sending newsletters that get delivered

This blog post will help you with the most important thing you care about if you're writing and sending a newsletter: making sure your newsletter ends up in your subscribers' inboxes, and not in the Spam folder.  If your newsletter isn't doing this, then no brilliant writing or incredible tactics matters — it's all going to waste.

So let's talk about the most important step in doing this: verifying your domain!

The biggest part of making sure your newsletter gets delivered is by making sure you're the one sending it; that, as far as your email address is concerned, you are who you say you are.

You see, spammers and malicious actors like to impersonate others (specifically, their email addresses) in order to trick folks into giving personal information or misreading an email — in order to solve this, email hosts like Gmail and Yahoo have developed the concepts of DKIM and SPF records, which are sort of optional drivers' licenses for emails: they sit on your domain and verify that you're giving your newsletter application the right to send emails on your behalf.

SPF and DKIM have gotten so prevalent, and so important, that Gmail now only shares images from domains that have valid SPF and DKIM messages:

And we only display images by default for authenticated messages (using SPF or DKIM).

It's important to choose a newsletter provider that lets you send your emails through SPF and DKIM.  Thankfully, with Buttondown it's easy:

  • Signup for a free account, if you don't already have one.
  • Next, navigate to your settings page and put in your desired domain into the "custom domain" setting.
  • Go to your DNS provider of choice and input the requested records.
  • Go back to your settings page and verify that the records are set up correctly (it can take some time for them to propagate)

That's it!  It should only take a couple minutes for you to get trustworthy, high-deliverability emails that end up in your subscribers' inboxes.

If you don't have a custom domain

If you aren't sending emails from a custom domain (and your main email is through Hotmail, ProtonMail, Gmail, or another common provider), another good tactic to ensure high deliverability is sending using Buttondown's email address for your account rather than your own.

This is because many mailboxes penalize conflicting addresses on emails ("This email says it's coming from justin@gmail.com but it's actually coming from justin@buttondown.email...looks suspicious!").

This is easy and free to do: just check the box that says Would you like to send emails from Buttondown's domain? in your Settings page.

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