At LAb[au], we run our own house-made mailinglist software, which we use to regularly update our 4K users about next performances and events with a graphically appetizing newsletter. The tool is in constant improvement since five years and I recently added a way to track opened-email statistics through a simple technique : an
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src is a php script updating an sql table with available user information. Of course, the data gathered is not 100% accurate by any means (as no online statistic tool is), but it does provide a good idea on the percentage of people actually “opening” the email. That does not say that they actually “read” the damn thing though, but it still constitutes valid information on how well “your email campaign penetrate your market”, to speak in e-marketeer’s language.
Needless to say, i was dishearted to see that the opened email statistics is around… 33% !
I can’t believe our 4000+ people who all inscribed themselves freely (we don’t inscribe people without their express consent) don’t then at least open our message, so why, oh wy so much turn down?
The one single cause that i find realistic is that people don’t open the email because they don’t see it !! Meaning, not that they are blind, but that the damn bytes land in their junkbox, since many of them use hotmail, live, msn, yahoo, google and what not.
That’s where, I learned, a specific entry in your domain’s DNS record can help you solve this: SPF record tells any mailserver that receives email from your host, if the computer that sent it is actually recognized by you as a legit mail server. If it is not, there is a good chance that your email will end up in the junkbox. I know that most of the above-mentioned free email account providers use it, as sp@m has become such a burden on the internet activity.
So i set up an SPF record for our account, and since i’m sending a newsletter today, i’ll tell in one week if it improved (or not).
Set up the SPF record
1. The easy way is to use the SPF wizard provided by openspf.org.
2. Add the generated string to your domain’s DNS Record
3. Restart your DNS Server
4. you’ll probably have to wait that the DNS cache updates itself (that is set by the Time-To-Live or TTL parameter in your server).
Test your SPF record
Now, you have to test your SPF record. Two options:
– via an online form
– via an spf-test(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)openspf.org (here is an check-auth(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)verifier.port25.com">alternative one). That’s the technique I chose, i simply sent them a dummy newsletter, and they reply with the full SPF record check log. Perfect for my needs.
And now, back in one week to review the results of implementing SPF records to avoid our newsletter landing in users’ junk mail box !
PS: additional resources