Email Deliverability Audit: Quick Domain Health Checks for Pardot Users

The health of your Email Sending Domain is something you should keep an eye on.

Your sending domain is how Email Clients/ISPs (Internet Service Providers) decide whether to let your email in or not. If you get put on a ‘Blacklist’, then there’s a diminishing chance of your emails reaching their intended destination – in the inboxes of your prospects.

This post will cover a few light admin tasks I do to ensure we are not damaging our email deliverability and sending reputation. It’s a three-part process: inspect the damage, resolve the damage, and put measures in place to prevent future damage.

Inspect the Damage: Check your IP Health

To check your sending IP reputation (AKA ‘health’), you have to find your IP and run a check on a 3rd party site.

1. Find Sending IP

You are looking for your email sending IP, not your computer’s IP address. Find this in the account settings in Pardot.


Navigate to:

Gear Icon (top-right hand of the screen) -> Settings -> Account Tab (you will automatically land here). You will see ‘Sending IPs’ on the left column.

It should be in the format 11.111.1.11
Copy this code.

NOTE: Shared IP vs. Private IP
I’m going to give you a quick explanation about the differences. With a ‘Shared’ IP, you are using Pardot’s (Exacttarget) server address, with a dedicated one, you’re on your own. The benefits of a Shared IP is that Pardot are monitoring deliverability to protect all of their customers; plus, you don’t have to go through the lengthy process of IP warm-up to prevent email clients (inbox providers) blocking your mail.

2. Check your Sending Reputation

You will need to go to a 3rd party website to do this. I recommend two that I’ve used:

Senderscore.org is a free tool that gives you what you need in a user-friendly format – no registration required.

If you do register, you can access detailed reputation reports – including how email clients (AKA ISPs) look at incoming mail to mitigate spam reaching recipients.

Here’s an overview example, shown over the last 30 days:

And the Reputation Measures Report, which uses a traffic light system:

Reputation Authority by WatchGuard

This one is a little heavier, but it’s more useful if this is the first audit you are doing, showing you your reputation across a longer time frame.

Things to look out for are the ‘Spam’ percentage, and if you have red flags against any of the DNS Block Lists (both marked in the below image).

Clicking on the DNS Block Lists links will redirect you to SORBS (Spam and Open Relay Blocking System) – AKA ‘The Blacklist’. You should take this seriously and work with Pardot to solve what could be causing the issue.

MX Toolbox

The tool that Pardot support will refer to when you reach out to them. Although it gives them the insight they need, the details are not easy to interpret (well, at least for me anyway!).

If you do find yourself on a blacklist like SORBS in the short term, you can reverse it with little harm done. It’s repeat offenses that will send alarm bells ringing – major offenses will rapidly result in being banned from using Pardot.

Resolve the damage: Sent Emails Report

Who are the culprits? You’re about to find out!

Getting to the send emails report page will allow you to sort and filter the stats you need to take action.

Navigate to:
Reports (Green sidebar icon) ? Marketing Assets ? Emails ? List Emails

You will want to look at these email deliverability metrics, so add these column by clicking on any column filter (funnel icon on table header), and hover over ‘Columns’.

Make the selection like the screenshot to the right:

  • Sent
  • Bounces
  • Delivery Rate
  • Spam Complaints
  • Hard Bounces
  • Soft Bounces
  • Opt Outs
  • Spam Complaint Rate

 

Let’s take Hard Bounces first.

A Hard Bounce means that no email can reach this person’s inbox. It could be because the recipient is deactivated, or there were 5 soft bounces (which automatically equals a hard bounce).

It’s marked on the prospect record like this:

You need to clear these prospects from your account.

Click on the hyperlinked email title. In the email report, click on the hyperlinked number of hard bounces (shown below).

You will land on the Hard Bounces table. You will see the ‘Bounce Reason’ column, some are more serious than others, eg. 5.0.0. If you have a bad email sending reputation, consult an expert.

Tag the entire prospect table, eg. ‘hard-bounce’. Repeat this for all Hard bounces across all emails.

Then finally, create a list & an automation rule that send all tagged prospects to the list. The, move all prospect to the Recycle bin.

Best foot forward…

Once you have gone through inspecting the damage and resolve the damage, it’s now time to put measures in place to prevent future damage.

You may want to consider changing users to the ‘Sales Manager’ or ‘Sales’ user roles, as these do not include list email sends. Alternatively, if you would like someone to continue creating marketing emails, but not send them, then the extra tick box settings at the end of the user record will be most helpful to you. Remember, general awareness of good email deliverability amongst your team will go a long way!

In a future post, I will cover email address verification services that can go a long way in preventing hard bounces.

Summary

The health of your Email Sending Domain is something you should keep an eye on because if damaged, there’s a diminishing chance of your emails reaching their intended destination – in prospect email inboxes.

This post covered how I investigate our email deliverability and sending reputation in the three-part process: inspect the damage, resolve the damage, put measures in place to prevent future damage.

Hope you were able to take something useful from this. If you have any more tips, I would be more than happy to hear them in the comments!