When you start an email marketing campaign, building and maintaining high deliverability is your primary concern. So, whenever you see that your open rate doesn’t keep up with expected KPIs, you do everything you can to fix it. You rewrite your templates, you change your targeting and clean your sending list, you keep testing your mailboxes for spam repeatedly…and you employ various email services to improve your outreach.
Take Mailchimp, for example. Everybody loves Mailchimp for a good reason. It’s easy-to-use, it’s reliable. It has flexible pricing and offers amazing templates. Users love it, internet service providers love it, so using Mailchimp for outreach will ensure high open rates, correct?
Sadly, if things worked like this, our clients won’t come to us with such an issue as Mailchimp emails going to spam. It happens more often than you think. Each time, our customers are completely at a loss and start thinking bad about the service, even though Mailchimp has nothing to do with it.
As a rule, Mailchimp is extremely good at what it can do. Problems appear when users fail to configure the service for their email marketing correctly.
So if you bought a Mailchimp package, started sending emails but keep losing them to spam folders, don’t give up on the service. Better read this post and see what steps you can take to solve this issue.
What is the deal with Mailchimp going to spam?
So, let’s say you are a Mailchimp user. After sending emails, you create a subdomain to test your new marketing emails targeted for nurturing your cold leads without affecting the reputation of your existing email campaigns. You make a new subdomain and go ahead with the campaigns. It seems simple enough: You verified your domain when you created your Mailchimp account and received a confirmation email. Therefore, all emails that you’ll be sending from Mailchimp will be connected to your domain.
If you recognize your decision-making style in this scenario, it’s quite possible that you’ve been making a mistake that is quite common among the beginning Mailchimp users and unknowingly contributed to your Mailchimp emails going to spam.
Where do Mailchimp issues come from?
When you try to send bulk emails with Mailchimp after verifying your domain, your recipients see two sender addresses. For example, the From field would say: email@example.com via mail61.suw11.mcdlv.net).
Why does it happen? Because Mailchimp doesn’t actually use your domain to deliver emails, even if you verify it. Instead, Mailchimp sends your messages from its own servers. This email marketing software is designed for email marketing automation and sending transactional emails; therefore, it’s specialized in controlling high volumes of messages.
You can call it “domain spoofing,” except it’s not. It’s an extra measure implemented by Mailchimp in order to provide recipients with full information about the senders and the services they use. At least, that’s how they explain it:
The reason for that is that Mailchimp is very thorough about its reputation and wants to prevent internet service providers from mistaking Mailchimp messages for spoofing emails and sending them to spam. Meanwhile, your very human recipients may grow suspicious of such a weird “From” field and not open your message or even mark it as spam. So, the human element plays a large role in Mailchimp spam issues.
In order to personalize your Mailchimp From field, you must authenticate your email domain. For this, you need access to your Mailchimp profile and your DNS records.
Log into your domain host’s website or contact the support team with a DNS record change request.
Open your Mailchimp profile in another tab and find the Website icon.
Find a verified domain and click Start authentication.
Select your domain provider (Google, GoDaddy or any other).
Switch tabs and go to your DNS records in your DNS admin panel.
Go back to the Mailchimp tab and click Next.
Create a new CNAME record in your Mailchimp profile following the instructions.
Copy the new record with all its values and add it to your DNS records.
Done! After this, your domain will be properly authenticated by Mailchimp, and you’ll no longer have to worry about your “From” field looking odd.
Will this measure put an end to your Mailchimp problems? Quite likely. If only you’re not using your Mailchimp for cold outreach, of course.
How do you improve Mailchimp deliverability by not sending cold emails?
“Outrageous!” you might say. “What else am I supposed to use Mailchimp for?”
Well, let’s see how Mailchimp describes itself.
The “permission-based” part means that using Mailchimp to send cold emails goes against the Terms of Services of this service. That’s a problem already.
As a result, many Mailchimp users end up sharing a server, which creates the same problem as with sharing an IP address with other users. All actions make an impact on your sender reputation: If there are many spammers on your Mailchimp server, you get treated with suspicion as well. If you’re surrounded by legitimate senders with great deliverability, your reputation grows. The latter sounds very nice, but are you ready to play this Russian roulette?
Naturally, Mailchimp works hard to keep its servers in perfect condition and treats its reputation seriously. The team behind the software keeps implementing new measures to stay compliant with GDPR guidelines and provides new ways of protecting both senders and recipients. But spammers never stop looking for loopholes and exploits, poisoning everything they touch.
Using permission-based software for sending cold emails (i.e., delivering messages to people who don’t expect them) would also affect your shared reputation, making it harder for all users at the server.
How to keep Mailchimp emails from going to spam?
What conclusions can we make from the information we learned above?
If you use Mailchimp for cold outreach, stop it. It’s a good service for sending newsletters and emails to your subscribed recipients or soon-to-be customers who wait for their transactional emails. When it comes to sending permission-based messages, Mailchimp is the mailchamp. However, if you want more focus on your cold outreach, you should look for another service or invest in a more human-managed approach.
Take extra steps to authenticate your domain. Update your CNAME records that would take Mailchimp into consideration and prevent your sender name from becoming more confusing to your recipients and receiving servers.
Run Mailchimp spam test. If you use Mailchimp for sending transactional emails or inbound marketing content, it helps with monitoring your performance and testing your Mailchimp mailboxes for spam. Tools like Folderly let you see the state of your campaigns and detect any hidden issues before internet service providers take measures. The Folderly test also lets you see whether your CNAME record was updated correctly.
We often say that you should consider the pros and cons of every email service and see how it can fit different directions of your email marketing. Take your time to explore the tools you want to use - and you’ll be able to squeeze as much productivity as possible without coming across pitfalls. Also, don’t forget to test everything! We’ll help you pick the right tool. Check out our review of email deliverability testers and see which one suits you best!