Email Marketing

Learn how emails are sent and received in 5 simple steps

Ever wondered how an email is sent and also gets delivered to the right recipient within a couple of seconds. One should know how email works and it becomes important for email marketers so that they can prevent their mails from bouncing back or reaching spam folders.

5 steps of an email reaching its destination that is inbox of the recipient

  • Email starts with composing the message and concludes with sending the mail using a mail client. It is software that allows a computer to send and receive mails. Mails received are stored in the software and they can be accessed even without broadband connectivity. Web browsers like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo Mail are examples of this software. Apps like Outlook, Thunderbird and Mail also stores emails in the similar manner.

  • The software sends the mail to the router whose job is to direct the query from server to server and send the query back to the recipient. The router sends the mail to Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Server from where the email is directed towards the mail server of the recipient. In between, the email passes through some barriers that ensure that no malicious content enters the server. Most barriers are put at server level because it is the gateway to the system that manages emails. Malicious content can affect functionality of a server.

Barriers of mail server are:

  1. Firewall: It protects the server from viruses
  2. Spam Filter: It filters emails for malicious content and checks whether the sender is a spammer
  • The mail reaches the server where it encounters more barriers before reaching router of the recipient
  1. Reputation Check: Every sender has a reputation and every email has a set pattern. This check confirms whether the sender has a history of sending spam mails
  2. Authentication Check: This check verifies credentials of the sender to determine behavior of the sender
  • After passing these checks, the mail reaches the router where it passes through yet another check to reach the mailbox
  1. Spam Filter: This filter checks content for spam. It is managed by mailbox setting where user can mark senders as spammers
  • After clearing the spam filter the mail lands in the mailbox according to the settings made by the user. There are three different mailbox settings
  1. Web Mail like Gmail and Yahoo Mail
  2. Mail Client according to user’s preference
  3. Mail Application for phones and tablets

The mail will land in any of the three platforms according to the email protocol called Post Office Protocol or POP 3. But most mail servers are using new protocol IMAP 4. The new protocol is much advanced and beneficial than the existing POP 3. It allows synchronization of actions that POP 3 can’t perform. IMAP 4 synchronizes unread, read and deleted Web Mails with the app.

Problems with emailing

What if an email doesn’t pass any of the checks on server, router or mailbox? An email is rejected for a specific reason like:

  • When an email is rejected by server it bounces back to the sender. Depending on the barrier, the bounce can be classified into:
  1. Soft Bounce: It happens when the mail server is down, mailbox is full or the message is too large to be downloaded
  2. Hard Bounce: It happens when the mailing address or domain name is invalid or the mail hits a firewall or filter
  • In case an IP address continues bouncing mails from a sender, the sender can be put into blacklist. This action discourages bulk emailing
  • Email with a lengthy message or with too many links always lands in spam folder
  • Bulk mailing is the biggest reason for recipients marking mails as spams
  • Cold Calling is another reason for mails landing in spam folders. Bulk mailers send mails without taking permission of the recipients

These are the common mistakes marketers make when trying to communicate with targeted audiences through emails


Email as a mode of online communication plays an important role in personal as well as business communication. According to, email marketing will become the most preferred way of business promotion in future. Therefore it becomes mandatory for online marketers to understand the email process so that they can take advantage of it. The process of successful emailing is described in 5 simple steps for Internet marketers.


Udit Khanna is a Digital Marketing Course professional at Expert Training Institute, an expert in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Social Media, etc. who helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Udit worked as a marketing professional for various startups and tech companies. He graduated with B.Sc from IGNOU with a dual degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Finance).

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