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Avoid Being Marked as Spam

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About Avoiding Being Marked as Spam

When sending out any email distribution, one primary goal is to keep your emails from being blocked or directed to the junk folder of your recipients. Essentially, you don’t want your emails marked as spam. If you find that your emails from Qualtrics are consistently being marked as spam, there are a few things you can do.

Using a Legitimate and Trustworthy “From” Address

The best way to avoid getting marked as spam and ensure recipients they can trust your messages is by making sure the email address the message is from is aligned with the branding in the email. But because the email is coming from Qualtrics’ servers, you can’t change your “From” address without proving you own the right to use it. Visit our page on Using a Custom From Address for simple ways to set up your email domains so you can use them through Qualtrics.

By default, emails sent through the Qualtrics Mailer come from noreply@qemailserver.com. Mail sent from a noreply address will make it through spam filters that check for “forged” emails (emails that claim to be from one server when really they are from another). For this reason, we use the real sender (noreply@qemailserver.com) as the “From” address rather than your own personal email.

Creating an MX Record

One of the most important first steps to establishing your domain’s legitimacy is by creating a mail exchanger record (MX record). This record contains DNS information for the mail server, and thus proves the address’s existence. If there is no MX record for a domain, it is as good as saying the email address doesn’t exist. If the recipient server doesn’t think the email exists, it will refuse to accept the email, causing a delivery failure or bounce.

Example: If I’m sending from demo@qualtrics.com and qualtrics.com doesn’t have MX record, it means that demo@qualtrics.com is not a valid email address.

Creating an MX record does not require you include any information about Qualtrics; instead, you will be providing DNS information about the server the domain has been established from. If you are using a mail host external to your servers (e.g., Gmail), you will set up an MX record using the host’s information instead.

If you’re not sure whether you already have an MX record, try using an MX checker tool, such as MX Lookup.

Qtip: Qualtrics Support unfortunately cannot set up an MX record for you. Reach out to your organization’s IT team for additional assistance.

Much like with an SPF record, you need to establish separate MX records for different subdomains. If I’m sending from demo@surveys.qualtrics.com, then it doesn’t matter whether qualtrics.com has an MX record. The surveys.qualtrics.com has to have one.

Qtip: Not sure of the difference between an MX record and an SPF record? MX records establish what host should be used to send emails from a certain domain. An SPF record is used to verify to recipient servers that the server that has distributed an email with a certain domain is allowed to be using that domain to deliver emails.

Using the Qualtrics MX Record

If your organization cannot use its own domain or SMTP address for an MX record, then you may use the below MX entry that Qualtrics has created for customers to use. This entry has some limitations; e-mail boxes are not provided for customers at that domain and any emails sent to the address will be lost. If you choose to use this MX entry, below is the information you will need:

  • NAME: your FROM domain
  • TTL: 3600
  • TYPE: MX
  • DATA (Server): noreply.qemailserver.com
  • MX Level: 10

Know Your Recipients

If you don’t know who you are sending your emails to, you run the risk of being marked as spam. For this reason, we recommend that you think twice before purchasing an email database. Email addresses in these databases are often not filtered very well and can include fake emails and other low quality contacts. Sending to fake or low quality email addresses increases your likelihood of being blocked or put in the junk folder.

As an alternative, we recommend working with a Panel Services provider. Panel providers maintain relationships with potential participants around the globe who have agreed to receive surveys. They will connect you with these participants for a small fee. Qualtrics offers this service, or you can work with any other reputable provider.

Qtip: Sending unsolicited emails (spamming) goes against the Qualtrics Acceptable Use policy. If your mailing generates an unusual number of complaints, your Qualtrics account may be disabled.

Have Respondents Add You to Their Address Books

If you know that the email addresses are all valid, and emails are still being blocked or landing in the junk folder, invite recipients to add your “From” email address to their address book. Adding the email address to your address book marks the sender as a more trusted email provider and will decrease the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.

Qtip: For more information on options for specifying your “From” address, check out our page on Using a Custom From Address.

Include Quality Email Content

The content and subject line of each email are given a “spam score”—an accumulation of points that help determine whether an email is marked as spam or not. Though every email provider has a different algorithm for this, the following considerations can help you keep your spam score low:

  • Avoid sending attachments in your email.
  • Brand your emails so recipients know who it’s from. Including a company logo can be an important step to ensuring the authenticity of your message.
  • If not branding your email, avoid the use of excess HTML. This includes random or unnecessary pictures, embedded videos, bright and unappealing fonts, and so on.
  • Be specific in what the message is for. For example, “survey” can be vague – try using terms like assessment, study, or feedback instead.
  • Write engaging subject lines. Instead of “We want your opinion on our customer service,” try, “How was your support call with Qualtrics?” Try to use your company’s name where applicable.
  • Avoid using words and phrases commonly used by spammers in either the body text or subject line. Some such words include “free,” “discount,” “opportunity,” “money back,” “incredible,” “targeted,” “offer,” and any words or phrases that could be construed as pornographic.
  • Avoid excessive use of caps and punctuation. (e.g., “PLEASE FILL OUT THIS SURVEY!!!”)
  • Avoid using bright green or red fonts.
  • Avoid phrases like “This isn’t spam!” in the subject heading.

Additional words to avoid

  • Marketing
  • Market
  • Free
  • Bonus
  • Click
  • Click here
  • Advertising
  • Advertise
  • Ads
  • Sales
  • Sell
  • Selling
  • Shop
  • Shopping
  • Package
  • Buy
  • Purchase
  • Mortgage
  • Finance
  • Refinance
  • Free Trial
Qtip: This is not a complete list. There are many other words that can increase your email’s spam score.

Allowlist Qualtrics Servers

Some organizations may need to set their email firewall to accept emails from Qualtrics. This is done by “allowlisting” the IP addresses of the Qualtrics mail servers. Your organization’s server admins will know how to do this. Reach out to them for this request.

Use the following IP address ranges to allowlist:

  • EMEA and Asia Pacific: 139.60.152.0/22
  • All other regions: 162.247.216.0/22

You can use this IP Address range to allowlist for Email Distributions, Salesforce, SFTP setups, and some SSO setups.

Qtip: If your account is within our FedRAMP environment, the IP addresses for allowlisting differ from those found on this page. To securely access your IP address information, please login to your FedRAMP Support Portal.

Allowlisting on common security software

For help allowlisting IP ranges using your email security software, visit your software’s help site. We’ve compiled the most common ones here: ProofPoint, Mimecast, Cisco, Symantec, Microsoft 365.

When Emails from Qualtrics are Marked as Spam

Attention: This feature is not currently compatible with EX Distributions.

When a recipient takes the time to manually mark an email as spam, it probably means they don’t want to receive those emails anymore. So when a recipient marks an email sent from Qualtrics as spam, they are automatically opted out of the contact list the email was sent to. This is to prevent the recipient from receiving anymore unwanted mail, and to improve deliverability for everyone using Qualtrics to send emails.

Gmail where the email options are expanded to show report spam option

Qtip: Recipients are only opted out of contact lists when they manually mark an email as spam. Recipients are not opted out of the contact list if the host or mailer (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook) marks the email as spam.

Think of it this way: you may sign up for a daily newsletter on a favorite topic, but do not have the time to read it every day. Your mailer may interpret this as you ignoring the newsletter and mark it as spam for you, but that doesn’t mean you want it to be marked as spam, and it doesn’t mean you don’t want to receive future newsletters.

This automatic opt-out is unaffected by whether you have an custom FROM domain (complete with MX record and DKIM) set up. If you have an SMTP relay set up, the automatic opt-out will not happen, because a different server is receiving the spam notification.

Qtip: If you use XM Directory, recipients who mark your email as spam will be opted out of the mailing list, but not opt them out of the directory.

Since the recipient marked the email as spam because they probably don’t want them anymore, they will not receive a notification that they have been opted out.

The number of recipients who marked the email as spam will be listed in the distribution as complaints. Their status in the distribution history will be “Opted Out.”

Removing Frequently Bounced Email Addresses

When you send a distribution that bounces, it can affect your sender score. Having a lower sender score means your emails are more likely to be automatically marked as spam. Management of bounced emails in your directory and mailing lists will protect your sender score to ensure reliable email deliverability. This section covers how to identify bounced emails so you can remove those addresses from your records.

  1. Download the distribution histories for your email distributions.
    clicking download history in the distributions tab
  2. Open the downloaded file on a spreadsheet editor on your computer.
  3. Filter the Status column of your file for both Hard Bounce and Soft Bounce.
    filtering the status column and looking at the bounce reason in the Bounce Reason column
  4. Verify the email addresses for every contact that bounced. You can look at the Bounce Reason column for an explanation of why the email bounced.
    • If the email is correct and valid, and you have confirmed that they can receive emails, contact Qualtrics Support for further assistance.
    • If the email is incorrect or invalid, you have two options for stopping emails. You can either opt-out the contact from your directory, or delete the contact if you do not mind losing any associated data. More about these options are below.

The following pages contain more information about opting-out and deleting contacts:

 

FAQs