The growing threat of cybercrime within Email calls for robust countermeasures. But email is still of paramount importance, and one of the systems in this sphere is an Email Relay, which is very important for certain organizations.

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Hubspot, 78% of marketers have noted increased email engagement in the past year, while 80% of businesses believe email marketing is crucial for customer retention.

Transactional email - receipts, notifications, invitations, system alerts - isn't going anywhere either - the number of automated emails from systems and organizations you deal with are staggering. And maybe as crucial to businesses as marketing emails

For these cases, there is so much more to transactional and marketing emails than simply typing out a catchy message and pressing ‘send.’ An email is only effective if it is trusted by the recipient, it reaches the right inbox, avoiding the spam folder, and if its content is usable.

To maximize the deliverability of batch sends and automated emails, SMTP email relays are the way to go.

What are email relays?

SMTP stands for ‘Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.’ SMTP is a server that doesn’t accept incoming mail. It is only responsible for delivering outgoing mail. These servers facilitate email transfer from one server to another in a process called email relay.

If we compare email relays to traditional relay races, the email would be the baton, and different servers would be the runners passing the baton from one hand to another.

The primary purpose of email relays is to help businesses of any size deliver large batches of email to their consumers without reaching sending limits or getting the emails labeled as spam.

Benefits of Email Relays

  • Better deliverability - An SMTP email relay service (a third-party service that manages bulk emails) will ensure that your transactional and marketing messages reach the right place. This requires an important control of reputation and mail content, so that is is not blocked and considered spam, immediately causing a drop in the sender's IP and Domain reputation, which in turn is used by systems worldwide. In summary - you sent bad emails in the past, every system will stop accepting your future emails.
  • Perfect timing - If you send time-critical business emails, SMTP email relays will ensure that your consumers receive them without any delays.
  • No sending limits - Most email and webmail providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and similar, restrict the number of emails you can send to different users in one day. This sending limit conundrum is easily avoided through SMTP email relays.
  • Increased email security - Through this type of email sending, it is possible to filter out harmful scripts and shut down compromised email accounts to improve your email security.

Best Practices

To maximize the security of your email relays, implement the following best practices:

  • Use Domain Authentication mechanisms, such as DKIM
  • Ensure that the SMTP relay encompasses reliable security layer to filter out bad email.
  • Your relay allow list should contain only the IPs you want to relay emails for, and these should be sent by your Domain, via Sender rewrite.
  • Manage your bounces by utilizing suppression lists and adequate information on reason for bounces - from technical reasons to recipient complaints. If you keep insisting on delivering to these bounced addresses, you'll soon have your IPs and Domains blocked and worse, you'll be disrespecting Data Privacy laws and the right to stop receiving emails.
  • Good analytics and good information on your delivery profile. Sometimes emails pose important information (e.g. a notification from IRS) - The organization sending these transactional emails must always be on top of how and when these emails are or are not being delivered.

Key Takeaways

At this point, SMTP email relays are essential if you want your emails to reach your consumers. They increase deliverability and email security, enable your business to avoid sending limits, and lower the chances of a time-sensitive email getting lost in the spam folder.