How admins can set up for successful email delivery
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How admins can set up for successful email delivery

Article summary


Working with Gong Engage requires an Engage seat.

Email deliverability is your ability to deliver emails to people’s inboxes. As online threats like phishing, hacking, and spam continue to rise, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are taking proactive steps to safeguard their users from unsolicited and potentially harmful emails. These measures include blocking emails that seem “spammy”.

For sales representatives who rely on email to connect with prospects, protective measures improve your ability to deliver legitimate emails to your recipients' inboxes by reducing the likelihood that ISPs will perceive your emails as spam. 

Several factors contribute to effectively connecting with prospects. These include:

  • The sender's reputation

  • Ensuring that emails are properly authenticated

  • Constantly monitoring email delivery metrics and performance  to identify areas for improvement

  • Maintaining clean and up-to-date email lists to avoid sending emails to inactive or irrelevant addresses

  • Generating engagement and receiving replies to your emails to enhance your domain reputation

ISPs are committed to prioritizing their customers' best interests. They aim to ensure that relevant and wanted emails reach their users' inboxes, while unwanted and suspicious emails are filtered out or rejected.

Your sender reputation is the most significant indicator of whether your emails will land in the inboxes you send them to. Following the steps listed below can help solidify your reputation and increase your chances of reaching your prospects’ inbox. Some of these steps can be handled automatically by Engage; others need to be done by you or your Gong admin. The result? A stronger reputation and better email deliverability.

1. Throttle emails for Engage flow emails: Gong does this for you

Gong automatically spaces out your flow emails, so some emails are sent a few minutes later. We do this because sending emails in bulk, all at the same time, may alert ISPs that the email is a newsletter rather than a personal email.

When we schedule auto email drafts, we look for an open window to schedule it in. Window lengths are 2 minutes, and they're considered open if they contain less than 5 email drafts. If the window is not open, we add a random delay between 2 and 5 minutes. We continue to do that until we find an open window, with a maximum delay of 2 hours from the original time.

Let's say an email draft is supposed to be sent at 6:06 PM. We check the window between 6:05 and 6:07 PM. If it's open (less than 5 scheduled drafts in that window), we schedule it for 6:06 PM. If it's not open, we randomly add 2-5 minutes and repeat until we find an open window. If we get to a time later than 8:06 PM, we stop delaying it and schedule it for that time. In this example, the latest time the draft would be scheduled to go out is 8:10 PM.

On top of email throttling, your company can set up email sending limits for flow emails. There might be 10,000 drafts delayed to the maximum time of 8:06 PM, but if email limits are already reached by that time, those emails won't go out until the following day and are throttled again.

2. Pause flows when an email bounces: Gong does this for you

If the emails you send have a substantial percent of “invalid email” errors, ISPs could start blocking your email address. To avoid this, when a flow email returns with an automated email bounce for “Invalid email” or ”The recipient email address does not exist,” Gong automatically does the following:

  • Pauses the flow

  • Marks the email address as “Invalid” so you and your teammates know not to reach out to that address again

  • Generates a new to-do on the owner’s To-dos page to resend the email with a different email address, and resume the sequence

3. Add unsubscribe links to your flow emails

Unsubscribe links enable your email recipients to tell you that they don’t want to receive emails from you. They are also compliant with certain international regulations. By providing an unsubscribe link, you make sure that you don’t continue to contact prospects who want you to stop, and you’ll limit the number of prospects who complain to your ISP and mark your email as spam.

To add unsubscribe links to a specific flow

  1. Go to Engage > Flows and select a flow

  2. Click the Rules tab

  3. Toggle on Display an unsubscribe link for all email steps in this flow

Learn more about setting up rules for flows.

You may want all flow emails being sent from your organization to contain an unsubscribe link instead of giving users the option for each flow.

To add unsubscribe links to all flow emails

  1. From the sidebar, go to Company settings

  2. Under Engage, go to Email settings

  3. Toggle on Display an unsubscribe link for all flow emails

4. Set up email sending limits for Engage flow emails

Sending a large number of emails all at once may raise red flags for ISPs. The more you spread out the emails you send, the less likely you are to get complaints. Rather than sending an email blast to all of your recipients, Engage lets you create a funnel that allows a certain number of emails to be sent per campaign, per day. Once the limit is reached, you aren't blocked from sending emails. Instead, the "Send" button is replaced with a "Send later" button, so you can complete your to-do by scheduling the email for tomorrow or another day. Non-flow emails are not limited. This helps to keep your follow-up tasks manageable, and prevents your prospects from becoming fatigued.

Engage has configurable settings for limiting how many flow emails are sent. All types of emails, as well as non-flow emails, count towards these limits. However, you are only prevented from sending flow emails once you hit the limit, meaning you can still send non-flow emails at that point.

Engage flow email limits, set by admin:

  • Number of flow emails from the same sender per day/per week

  • Number of flow emails sent from the same domain (company) per day

  • Number of flow emails sent from your company to the same recipient per day

  • Number of flow emails sent from your company to recipients within the same domain (company) per day

Read more about setting up email sending limits.

5. Email tracking flexibility - Toggle tracking on/off

In Gong, you have the option to toggle email tracking (opens and links clicked) on and off based on your preferences. This flexibility ensures that tracking doesn’t adversely affect email deliverability. ISPs might get suspicious of emails that contain tracking, so if you notice that your bounce and spam rates are increasing, you may want to stop tracking email opens for a while, until the bounce rates return to normal.

6. Assign different email domains to different departments or teams

To mitigate the risk of getting a domain flagged as spam, have different departments or even teams send emails via different email domains. This way, if one domain gets flagged as spam, only one department will be affected. Once you have additional email domains that you want to use, contact Gong support and ask to set up additional domains in your account.

Once you have multiple domains, you can assign additional email addresses to your team members. Go to Company settings > under People, select Team members > Select a team member and add email addresses under Additional email addresses.

Learn more about how Gong supports multiple domains for your organization.

7. Ask reps to connect their assigned email addresses

Reps can connect different email addresses, as long as their admin has listed those email addresses under their Gong account. Whenever a user within the organization connects an email account that their admin has listed for them, the communications from that email account will be ingested and the user can use that email address to send out emails from Engage.

Users can log into Gong and click on their username > My Settings. To connect other email addresses (with the relevant domain) so they can start sending emails from it via Gong, they should go to the Emails section and click Connect or Reconnect. Only one email address can be connected and used at any given time by a rep, so by selecting a different email address, the rep loses all connection to the previous one.

8. Authenticate your email domains

Email authentication is a technical standard in which you verify who you are so you aren’t flagged as spam or a spoof (someone phishing for personal information). Without email authentication, bad actors can change their email addresses to make it appear as though they’re sending emails from a legitimate sender (you) and copy the branding to try and steal personal information.

What your Gong admin can do

Email authentication is put in place by your IT team. They’ll configure your email servers so that when an email is received by your prospect, their email server can check the message you sent and compare it to the rules put in place by your IT team.

Email authentication standards

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail): This authentication protocol is used by email receivers/domains to determine if the sender is really who they say they are. The domain key is a specialized key that can be used only by one particular sender. As a result, it goes a long way to reassuring your prospect’s mailbox that your message is legitimate. This contributes positively toward your anti-spam score.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework): Closely tied to DKIM, this is an email validation system that’s designed to prevent email spam and to authenticate senders. SPF looks at the sender IP address and checks to ensure that the mail is coming from an authenticated and verified sender. If an email comes from somewhere that isn’t listed in the SPF record, the incoming server can assume it was spoofed or otherwise illegitimate and reject it as spam.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): This authentication protocol allows senders and receivers to report domains that may be sending fraudulent mail. DMARC policies let the sender indicate that their messages are authenticated with SPF and DKIM, and can give instructions on what to do in the event that the sender is not verified (for example, send to spam, reject the email).

ARC (Authenticated Received Chain): ARC checks the previous authentication status of forwarded messages. If a forwarded message passes SPF or DKIM authentication, but ARC shows it previously failed authentication, Gmail treats the message as unauthenticated. We recommend that senders use ARC authentication, especially if they forward email regularly.

Infrastructure configuration

IP addresses: Your sending IP address must have a PTR record. PTR records verify that the sending hostname is associated with the sending IP address. Every IP address must map to a hostname in the PTR record. The hostname specified in the PTR record must have a forward DNS that refers to the sending IP address. Set up valid reverse DNS records of your sending server IP addresses that point to your domain. Check for a PTR record with the Google Admin Toolbox Dig tool. Important: The sending IP address must match the IP address of the hostname specified in the Pointer (PTR) record.

Shared IP addresses: A shared IP address (shared IP) is an IP address used by more than one email sender. The activity of any senders using a shared IP address affects the reputation of all senders for that shared IP.

9. Warm up your email domains

Think of using a new domain like starting a car in the middle of winter. Before you start driving, you probably want to warm the engine up for a few minutes. Warming your car engine heats your car and helps you scrape the ice off your windshield, allows the engine to reach the optimal operating temperature, and makes the drive warmer. Similarly, you need to warm up your new domain to encourage deliverability. ISPs pay attention to your activities, and are suspicious of new domains that suddenly have high send volumes. Warming up your domain lets you establish your identity and gain the trust of your ISP, which has a positive effect on your sender reputation and overall deliverability.

What your Gong admin can do

Before taking action, consider the following:

  1. How old is your domain? Every domain has a reputation, and it’s dependent on many factors, including age. Spam filters check a domain’s age. When the domain is younger than a month, it’s marked suspicious by default; when you send messages from a suspicious domain, your messages are treated as suspicious. We recommend using a domain that’s more than six months old.

  2. What does your sending history look like? If your domain was used in the past for email marketing, or has a poor reputation for some other reason, you won’t want to use it for your outreach.

Once you’ve considered all of the above, you’re ready to ramp up your domain. Here’s how:

  1. Slowly ramp up your email sends. Once you have a new domain address, you need to slowly re-introduce yourself to sending email campaigns. The warming process should take about 30 days, but will vary depending on your volume, frequency of emails sent, and the quality of your prospect list. This means sending emails from the new domain in smaller volumes, using a targeted and engaged segment of your database, and gradually increasing the volume. Each day, increase the volume until you’re back to your regular email send rate, and double your send volume every three or four days.

  2. Actively monitor your campaigns. Gradually increasing email volume is only part of warming up your domain. The other piece to consider is the content of the emails you’re sending, and what engagement with those emails looks like. Are you sending emails that aren’t being opened and clicked? Have you reached your average reply rate? The higher the engagement with your emails, the better your credibility with your ISPs.

Don’t worry if the first week of sending from your new domain doesn’t seem to be landing your emails in the inbox. Since you don’t have a sender history on your new domain, don’t be surprised if your emails end up in spam. In addition, some email providers may deliver some of your emails to the spam folder to see if recipients mark them as “not spam”. Your email provider sees this as a good indication that you’re a legitimate sender.

10. Always keep spare domains warmed up in case you need to change a domain

If one of your teammates sends too many emails that get marked as spam, your domain may be flagged as spam by ISPs, and you may not be able to send emails that land in the inbox. In this case, you should have some warmed up domains ready to use instead of the one that’s been flagged. Before you start using the spare domain, check to see what kind of behavior led to the other domain being flagged as spam, and change that behavior before sending more emails. The days of “spray and pray” are no longer relevant. Sending personalized emails that are relevant to recipients is the key to healthy email delivery and higher conversion rates.

11. Know your audience: relevance, frequency and content review

The way prospects engage with your content is a good indicator of whether or not your emails land in their inboxes and are well-received. Low open rates, click rates, and reply rates are a clear signal to your ISP that prospects aren’t engaged, which can factor into the deliverability of future emails.

What your Gong admin can do

Pay attention to your engagement metrics (emails, clicks, and replies). Engagement-based metrics measure how your prospects are interacting with your content. If you notice your metrics are lower than usual, make adjustments to the content and subject lines of your email to improve engagement and limit negative interactions. Testing subject lines and email copy can help determine what’s working best for your goals. If you see a decline in opens, clicks, and replies, make adjustments such as changing your email cadence, timing (morning vs. afternoon), or by refreshing old content.

Target your campaigns to the people you want to engage with. For example, a CEO won’t likely be as interested in setting up a swag store as a marketing manager. By shaping your campaigns to meet the interests of your prospects, you’ll encourage stronger engagement.

12. Monitor your spam rate

Regularly monitor your domain's spam rate with tools like Postmaster Tools. Google suggests the following email sender guidelines:

  • Aim to keep your spam rate below 0.10%.

  • Avoid a spam rate of 0.30% or higher, especially for any sustained period of time.

  • Maintaining a low spam rate makes senders more resilient to occasional spikes in user feedback.

  • Similarly, maintaining a high spam rate will lead to increased spam classification. It can take time for improvements in spam rate to reflect positively on spam classification.

13. Monitor whether your domains are blocklisted

Blocklists are lists of domain names or IP addresses of identified “spammers” that are compiled for email servers to reference. If an email server sees your domain name or IP address on a blocklist, they’ll block your emails, and your prospects may never know you were trying to contact them.

Think of your domain and IP address as a return address on the envelope of a letter. Every email you send has your return address (IP address and domain) logged. Mail servers can check the return address against a number of public and private blocklists.

What you can do

Follow email best practices to keep your sender reputation high. Monitor blocklists so you know if your IP address and domain end up on one, even if by mistake. There are a number of tools that you can use to check your IP and domain against well-known blocklists.

If you are blocklisted, you’ll need to submit a request to the blocklist to have your IP address and domain removed. This is done by applying for a “delisting” from the specific blocklist in question, usually completed on the blocklists’ websites. If there is no delisting option, there may be a timer associated with the blocklist, which removes your email after a certain amount of time has passed, the email traffic slows, or complaints drop.

14. Follow the rules: CAN-SPAM, CASL, GDPR and CCPA

Data privacy is a big topic as governments begin to understand the wide scope of ways data can be used to persuade consumers. As a result, laws are being passed that give individuals the right to opt out of email communications and have their data deleted. There are significant consequences for violating these regulations, including a fine on your ARR for violating the terms of GDPR.

What you can do

Make sure you understand the laws in the countries where your company operates, and the rights of individuals in foreign countries (especially the European Union). For CAN-SPAM, this might mean including your company’s address and an unsubscribe link in all of your emails. For GDPR, you’ll need to ensure that the individuals you are emailing have opted into your communication. By complying with the appropriate regulations, you’ll limit the number of complaints against your domain, helping to ensure that your emails land where you want them: in the inbox.

15. Avoid spam words

Spam filters are very sensitive to the content of your emails, especially risky words that may attract or mislead the readers. According to a study by Smart Insights, spam words are one of the major factors that affect email deliverability (and influence whether or not the message will be blocked by spam filters).

Try to avoid words and phrases like: “FREE”, “75% OFF”, “BUY RIGHT NOW” and similar. These can trigger spam filters, damage your reputation and make it almost impossible to properly warm up your email account.


As an admin looking to set up your company for successful email delivery, taking several key steps can help you nail it, and establish a solid foundation for effective email communication, fostering stronger connections with prospects while following best practices and legal standards.

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