arpReach 1.6 is available & can help increase signups by 17%

email marketing software version 1.6 releasedVersion 1.6 of the arpReach email marketing software adds a host of new API‘s that will help marketers integrate even more third party tools and allow developers build new useful services to enhance email marketing activities.

We have also made some significant improvements to the core framework in preparation for an upcoming major version release which will allow arpReach to run with PHP 7.

And … we’ve included a new feature which has increased signups by an average of 17% over the previous two months testing while at the same time increasing the optin confirmation rate by 11%.  Plus we’ve fixed a number of old bugs.

The changelog for those in a hurry can be found here http://www.arpreach.com/changelog

A deeper look at the improvements

Probably one of the more helpful improvements for busy marketers in this release is that we’ve set the default tracking of HTML emails set to On.  (I can hear the cheers for this and I know I’m in great company when I’ve sent out my broadcast only to find out that I’d forgotten to turn on the open rate tracking when it can to checking the reports.  No more face palms for this 🙂 )

html tracking on by default

Reporting and tracking brings us very nicely in to some of the new API functions.

With so much new tech released and on the horizon, tagging, segmenting and reporting has never been more important to all business owners and marketers, not just those specializing in email.

arpReach has always had one of the most powerful engines for tagging, categorizing and segmenting your contacts in to highly targeted broadcast lists and the new API functions allow you to remotely call that power.

The new API‘s allow you to not only create and call ‘Tags’ but to also list contacts with specific tags, identify who opened which emails, clicked which links and with what Tag or Tags.  You can even set date ranges.

Some of you will already be drooling at the possibilities you’ve now got as an arpReach user.  For those wondering why this is so good let’s look at just a few things that can be done to save you time and make you more profit.

Imagine being able to capture not just a name and an email address during a signup but also, at the same time, being able to automatically Tag that person with what they like, what they want, what they bought.  May be what advert they clicked. And all they gave you was their name and email address.

Then imagine being able to send your contact emails tailored to what extra you know about them while at the same time being able to change your re-targeting campaign so your contact see a more relevant ad based on the actions they have already taken at your site. The power these API‘s give you is huge.  Plus you can customize your reporting with more relevant data to identify what’s working and what needs improving or stopping.

And then when you start thinking about creating logic funnels … oh my 🙂

How has arpReach increased signups by 17% and confirmations by 11%?

The first thing to say is that the improved results we have detailed were not what we expected.  In fact what we implemented out of ‘necessity’ we were expecting to kill our signup rate.  So why did we do something that might cripple our list building activities.

Here’s the back story.

Part of what we do for some of our clients is monitor email delivery networks and test their mailings against various commercial spam filtering services.  Like many other companies we also filter our own inbound email.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re marketers and keep in touch with all of the launches but lets face it … we all get spam .. and in a technical sense spam changes from day to day.

Given that many businesses for one reason or another use or rely on monthly paid autoresponder services, it was a massive eyebrow raising moment when I discovered back in August that the very reputable InfusionSoft had been back-listed by SpamHaus.  I need to point out it wasn’t just emails sent from InfusionSoft that were being blocked. Other monthly service providers were not making it through the blocks and spam filters either.

infusionsoft blacklisted by spamhaus aug-2016

OK, I’ll admit that I was more than a little happy that big names in the industry were blacklisted.  I’ve been saying for years that those serious about email marketing should take control of their own lists and delivery which is what arpReach allows you to do.  But …

But how the heck did these major players screw up so badly?

With so many ‘wannabe email marketers’ uploading ‘high quality lists’ to some of these services, their sender scores are not always as good as when you take control and manage things yourself.  Yes their lower sender scores do mean that lots of emails trigger some of the spam filters but an outright blacklisting by Spamhuas ….  this was a story.  It’s known as Subscription Bombing

A quick search lead me to a post by Laura Atkins “Subscription bombing, ESPs and Spamhaus” After a scratch of the surface it soon became very plain that this was Major.  But it wasn’t about spam emails as you normally think about spam.  This was nasty.  This was using spam as a weapon. More specifically this was about bots using lead capture signup forms across multiple networks to 10’s of thousands of email confirmation requests, per hour, to specific people and organisations in the private and public sector with the sole intent of inflicting damage.

The industry players pulled together quickly to try to solve the attack after Spamhaus got the markets attention by taking some drastic action  (blocking major players will do that).  And the upshot is that it became obvious that doing something to help protect our server’s reputations, our lists and the wider industry from fake and automated signups was the right thing to do.

We already use arpVerify to screen out mistyped and garbage email addresses but there was another step we could use before an email address gets checked.  Use Captcha on the sig-up form itself.

Never say never.  Test it first.

I know that pretty much every article I’ve read by marketers says that every additional action you make a user take reduces the effectiveness of your signup form and that adding a capcha kills sign-ups but that is not what our testing has shown.

We expected that adding Google reCapcha to our signup forms would reduce our signup rate but we found the exact opposite.

As a result we have included an optional setting for you to use Google reCapctha in your forms.

Use Google recaptcha in forms

Why do you think including reCapcha improved our signups and optin confirmations?  Is there a perceived increase in value?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

More about our test results

We applied Google reCaptcha to the main pages of our site.
The form content has not changed throughout the test (with the exception of adding reCapture)
recapture was added to our form in October (yes it looks ugly)
Monthly unique visitors vary through out the test by an ave +/- 2%

add recaptcha to sign up form results

See it in action

Without any custom styling this is what (and hopfuly still will be when you see it 😉 … we love net gremlins :/ ) a basic arpReach form with Google reCaptcha looks like. (Like we say, not the pretiest of things but you can’t complain at the results)

While you’re here sign up and try it yourself.
(Yes we’ll look after your details, there is a sequence of 7 emails and we mail out currently one a week)

(We would love to know what you think.  Share your thoughts in the comments below.)

How do you upgrade to arpReach 1.6?

We’ve provided instructions for existing licensed users of arpReach Gold or Standard here: How do I upgrade to arpReach 1.6

Where can I order arpReach 1.6?

click to order arpreach

You can order arpReach 1.6 here

How do I upgrade from arpReach Standard to arpReach Gold?

You can upgrade arpreach Standard to Gold here

Upgrading to 1.6

upgrade email marketing software to 1.6Upgrading to the latest version release of arpReach is a simple process if you follow the basic process outlined below. While a little technical knowledge will help anyone can perform an upgrade.

If you are uncertain, worried or just don’t have the time, we recommend you seek the help of a third party professional. Licensed users are welcome to contact the support desk who will provide you with a list of partners we work with on a regular basis who can perform your upgrade for a reasonable fee.

Important Notes:

The 1.6 upgrade cannot be used to upgrade versions below 1.2.002 or pre-release (beta) versions.

! Make sure your server meets the minimum requirements !

– PHP 5.5.x – PHP 7 (but not including 7 … yet)
– register_globals OFF
– safe_mode OFF
– max_execution_time = 0
– cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1 (for CGI/FastCGI)
– php-cli module – (PHP 5.5 or greater is needed at the command line)
– imap extension
– mysql extension
– cURL extension
– GD extension
– JSON extension
– Open SSL extension
– Ports 25, 587 and 465 (SSL/TLS) need to be open for inbound and outbound traffic when using third-party ESP’s
– We recommend at least 256M of memory is allocated to PHP, but you may need to set it higher depending on how large your list is. The memory MUST be applied to both http PHP AND php-cli which is used for cron tasks.

The 1.6 release includes a significant update to the CI framework paving the way to a new major version release in 2017 supporting PHP 7.  It also includes new database tables and settings. We strongly urge you to back up all files and your database via mysqldump before starting your upgrade.

 

The Upgrade Process:

1. Login to hub.arpreach.net and click on the Download Latest Software link

download software

2. In the To upgrade existing installations of arpReach from 1.2.003 – 1.5.xxx to 1.6.00x section click on the download link

upgrade existing arpreach to 1.6

 

3. Read and accept the usage terms agreement.

agree eula terms

4. The system will build your download and then present an OK button. building licensed download

6. Click OK to begin your download and save the zip file to a location you can access on your computerclick ok to download

We can’t stress this next part strongly enough. Back up, Back up, Back up.

7. BACK UP your arpReach database and then back up all of the files and folders of your existing arpReach installation. Keep these in a safe location in case you need them. Your hosting company will be able to provide you with the details you need, these vary from server to server and as a result we are unable to provide help with this element.

8. Ensure your version of arpReach is 1.2.002 or above. The version number is shown at the bottom left of every screen in arpReach.

9. If you have made changes to any files in the  /application/language/ directory, BACKUP the directory

10. Using your FTP software, login to your live installation  and delete the /system directories – Make sure you did a backup!!

11. Using your FTP software, login to your live installation  and delete the /application directories

12. Unzip the arpreach_upgrade.zip file you downloaded and saved to your computer. This file contains the file arpreach_upgrade_files.zip, a change log txt file and a txt file called README-FIRST. Read the read me file for version specific upgrade instructions and the changelog so you know what’s been fixed.

13. Unzip the file arpreach_upgrade_files.zip you downloaded and saved to your computer.

14. Using your FTP software, upload the contents of the arpreach_upgrade_files zip file in * binary mode * to the server directory containing your arpReach installation.

15. When asked to replace existing files, choose yes. Do not choose any option that would delete existing files or directories apart from those being uploaded.

16. If you saved your /application/language/ directory re-upload the files you previously changed.

17. Using your FTP software, download the file: /application/config/config.php

18. Using Notepad or a similar TEXT editor (not Word) Open /application/config/config.php
Around line 385, search for:

$config['sess_save_path'] = NULL;

Change ‘NULL’ to either ‘/tmp’ or the temporary folder associated to your server.  Check with your host what this folder is if you are unsure.

The line should now read:

$config['sess_save_path'] = '/tmp';

Note: The single quote marks are important.  Do not delete them by mistsake.

Save this file

19. If you are signed in to arpReach, sign out then sign in again. This step is important as it updates the database tables.

20. You may now see a message telling you ‘A new activation code is needed’.

activation code needed

15. Log in to http://hub.arpreach.net – create a new activation code for your registered domain

domain activation code

16. Copy the new activation code and paste it in to the ‘Activation Code’ box in your arpReach site. Add your license number and password in the appropriate boxes. Read the terms and conditions, click the box if you agree.

activate license

17. Click the ‘Activate Now’ button

Congratulations your arpReach installation has been updated.

Things to be aware of

If you have customized your language files please be aware that we have added new files for the arpVerify integration and you will need to add these and change them as appropriate within your customization (Thanks Tom for pointing this out).

If you need help please contact the arpReach support team and raise a ticket

You can order arpReach here

The arpReach Zap

integrate zapier with arpreach faqs Using arpReach with Zapier opens up a world of new possibilities for not only email marketing but also improving and streamlining business work flows.

This training article assumes that you have:

a) arpReach Gold
b) A Zapier account

The basic principle is that Zapier provides 100’s of integrations that connect, allowing you to ‘move’ the data from one tool or service through to another.

Step 1:

Log in to your arpReach installation and create an API key to use with your Zap

arp create api key

Copy the API key created.  Save to a txt file for ease of use in the coming step

arp copy api key

Step 2:

Log in to your Zapier account and click on the ‘Make A Zap’ Button.

make a zapThis allows you to give your Zap a name and set up your ‘Trigger‘. Give your Zap a name.

name and trigger

The ‘Trigger‘ is the tool or service that has the contact records or details that you want to move in to arpReach.  You can use the search tool to choose your Trigger.

search triggerFor the purpose of this training article we chose PipeDrive,  you can use any of the integrations that you want or need.  Depending on the integration you choose you will need to make choices as to what data records you want to use.  Each integration will be different and which options you need to select are outside the scope of this article.

The principle is that you are looking for an option that allows you to access at a minimum the email address and hopefully the contacts name and other details.

Depending on the tool or service you use as a trigger you may need to connect it to Zapier.  That tool/service will provide help/support if you get stuck.

For PipeDrive we chose the ‘New Person’ trigger.

pipedrive trigger

Once you choose your trigger option you will then be able to configure it to ‘collect’ the data stored there ready to move to arpReach.  Again the options vary from integration to integration and you will need to check the support details of that service to get any information you need.

Once you have configured the trigger to collect data from the tool/service you will generally get the option to test the trigger to make sure you are collecting usable contact records.  Here is what the PipeDrive example looks like.

test pipedrive works

Step 3:

The next three steps are common to every zap that you create for arpReach.  They are the filters that check if an email address already exists in your database or not.  Depending on the result of that check either the add_contact API or the add_to_list API. Remember that an email address can only be added to the database once and then, if that contact subscribes to additional lists associates (database links) are made ‘to’ the email address.

Now we need to set up the Zapier Action Step.

action step setup

Select Webhooks from Zapier’s built in apps

select webhooks
After selecting Webhooks choose “GET” by clicking on the checkbox

action get
After selecting GET you will move on to the Edit Template step

edit template

There are two main aspects to setting up the correct GET

  1. Adding the URL to the correct arpReach API function call
  2. Building the correct set of Query String Params

The URL to your arpReach installation API function is formed by taking the domain name with path to the ‘a.php’ file; adding the folder /api/ and then the function. In this case ‘add_contact’.  This is a colour coded example:

http://www.example.com/a.php/api/add_contact

The Query Strings are added one at a time.
The first query string to add is:
api_key – this is done by typing it into the left hand box.
Then copy and paste the arpReach API key in to the right hand box.

add template elements

The next query string to add is email_address – this is done by clicking the + (plus).  Clicking the plus will add a new line.  Type ‘email_address’ into the left box.  Then click on the ‘select option’ highlighted below.

add email element

This will open a drop down box that will allow you to choose elements that are pulled in from Pipedrive automatically.  Select the ‘Person email’ from the list of options.
Note: You can choose to use any of the data records bought back.

select email option

Once done you will see:

person email

Repeat the process adding lines for:

first_name
last_name
lists

For the lists line add the following in the right hand box:

[{“list”:”List Name Here”}]

Where List Name Here is the name of the autoresonder you want your contact records added to.

full query list

If the arpReach autoresponder list name was:

arp ar name

The lists line would be:

list query

Note: If you write down [{“list”:”List Name Here”}] you must have a look on the quotation marks – if you just copy and paste the system may have auto correction.
Write ” instead of ” the last ones are italic or intelligent quotation marks and so with them the zap would not work correctly.

Thanks to Chris for the feedback via the comments:

Once you have added the queries for the contact data that you want to capture you should test the inputs you have added.  If all is correct you will see something similar to:

run test

Click on ‘Create and Continue’
You should see a page similar to:

run test result

Step 4

Create a new step for your Zap.  Click on the + (plus) button.

create new action

Select ‘Filter’ from Zapiers built in apps

select filter

Choose the filter ‘Only continue if …’ and click ‘Save + Continue’

filter only continue if

You will now see the screen that will enable you to set up filters.  The filters are required to check if a contact already exists or not.  If the contact does not exist it can be added to arpReach.  If it does exist then the contact will be associated with a list.

new filter

Click on the down arrow.  This will open a new drop-down.  From the drop-down choose ‘Get’

filter get

This will open another drop-down.  From this drop-down choose ‘Status’

filter dropdown status

Now click on the down arrow of the middle column

filter column two

From the drop-down that will appear, choose the ‘(Text) Exactly matches’ option

filter text matches

In the third box type the word ‘error’

filter column three

You now need to add a second filter.  Click the + And button

filter and

The second filter follows the same process as the first.  In the first column click the drop-down, choose ‘Get’ and select ‘Detail Success’

filter detail success

For the second column, click the drop-down and choose the ‘(Text) Contains’ option.

filter text contains

In the third column type in the word ‘exists’

filter exists

The filter is now complete so click on the ‘Continue’ button.

filter continue

You should now test the filter you have built.

filter test

Depending on if you have already saved your Zap or run a previous test adding the contact to arpReach you will see the result.  If the contact is not in arpReach the result will look like this:

filter test result

Step 5

In the above result click the ‘Add a Step’ button as we need to add one final step to your Zap.
We are setting up another Action.  Choose ‘Webhooks’ from Zapiers own apps.

action webhook select

As in the earlier Action creation step, choose the ‘Get’ option.

action webhook get

The process is virtually identical to the earlier webhook you set up.
Repeat the process adding lines for:

email_address
first_name
last_name
lists

For the lists line add the following in the right hand box:

[{“list”:”List Name Here”}]

Note: Change ‘List Name Here’ to the name of the autoresponder you want your contact record to be added to.

action add lines

The important difference to the setting up of the previous webhook is that you change the API function.  For this webhook you will use add_to_list

action webhook api add to list

Again you should test your Zap to make sure it works.

Once you are happy it does, you can save it and turn it on ready for use.

arpReach is market leading in marketing automation, segmentation and puts the customer at the centre the of its contact database. This means that automating your email marketing becomes seamless and more effective.

Discover how arpReach can help your business grow by clicking the link below.

Buy arpReach

 

Set up MailGun with arpReach

training setup mailgun with arpreachSetting up and configuring arpReach to use the MailGun SMTP service is simple and straight-forward.  MailGun offer free and paid solutions, the free account allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month.

Follow the instructions below.

These instructions assume that you have already set up, verified and activated your MailGun account. If not you will need to create an account at:
https://mailgun.com/signup

Step 1:

Login to MailGun at:
https://mailgun.com/cp

Step 2:

Add a custom domain

If you haven’t added a custom domain you will see a screen similar to this

add custom domain screen

Click on the button ‘Add Custom Domain’.  You will be taken to a new screen to add a domain for use with MailGun.  They provide useful hints and tips throughout the process.  For this guide we followed their advice, adding a sub-domain.

add custom sub domain

Once you have added your sub-domain you will need to verify that domain in order to be able to send emails from it using arpReach.  Again they provide useful help and advice if you get stuck but the basic principle is that you need to create DNS records that ‘prove’ you can send emails from the sub-domain you have just created.  You will see a screen similar to this:

verify subdomain for mailgun with dns

To do the verification, you copy the information provided by MailGun and paste it into the appropriate DNS record that needs to be created for your domain name.  In the example below we are creating a TXT record in the Advanced Zone Editor available through CPanel.  This process will differ depending on if you use CPanel or not.  Your hosting company will be able to help you.

create spf record for mailgun

In the image above you can see we have creates a TXT record, copied the information provided by MailGun, pasted it into the boxes available and then press the ‘Add Record’ button.

The same process is used to create the CNAME record required but you select CNAME from the ‘Type’ dropdown (see below).

create cname record for mailgun

After clicking the ‘Add Record’ button you will see a confirmation message if it is accepted by CPanel

record add success

Depending on your hosting company it may take 24 – 48 hours for Mailgun to verify that you have set up your DNS correctly.  Once the DNS settings have been confirmed the domain state will change to ‘Active’ which means you can use it.

domain active mailgun

domain active mailgun 2

Once the domain is active you will need to copy the SMTP hostname, your SMTP login and password details (see above).

Please note that MailGun listen for connections on ports 25, 587 and 465 (SSL/TLS).  You will need to confirm with your hosting company which inbound AND outbound ports they have open so that your arpReach installation can talk to MailGun.

mailgun smtp listening ports

Step 3:

Now Login to your arpReach installation.

Navigate to: Setup > Email Systems > Add an Email System

In the ‘Settings’ Tab, Type in a name to help you recognise your Mandrill SMTP system and a description

add an email system

Click on the ‘Options’ Tab

In the Server Settings section > Sending Method – Select ‘SMTP’ from the dropdown.

Select SMTP from dropdown
Input your user details from MailGun into the appropriate fields of the ‘Server Settings’ section. Press the ‘Save Email System’
Note: Choose a valid port and encryption method.

add smtp settings tls

In the event that your arpReach installation fails to connect to MailGun, there are primarily four main causes

The MailGun SMTP port is incorrect – Try changing to port 25 or 587 or 465
You have not selected TLS as the encryption method
Your hosting company have blocked the inbound and outbound SMTP ports (25 or 587 or 465) – contact your hosting company for assistance.  Ensure they understand you need inbound and outbound capability
You have incorrectly applied your username or password – double check

arpReach is a self-owned autoresponder solution that allows you to maximize your email marketing efforts while saving time and money.  You can find out more about it at http://www.arpreach.com

Warming up an IP Address

warming up an ip addressIP address warming is a gradual process that happens over a period of time.   The aim of warming up an IP address is to establish trust and good reputation with the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) as a sender of legitimate, high quality email at volume.

Warming up your IP address is the time to take a careful look at every aspect of your email marketing process, including the aims and goals. You should be able make tweaks that will improve your overall long-term results, not just during the warm up.

Please note though that a structured ‘introduction’ of your email server to the world while ramping up of your sending volume does not guarantee trouble free sending of email for ever more.  You will need to play by ‘the rules’ and utilise good list-hygiene practices.

Why do you need to warm up an IP address?

In short, too many emails that get sent are spam (unwanted emails) and the ISP’s want to protect their users from receiving unwanted email.

As a result ISPs treat any new IP address that sends emails with scepticism. The ISP’s only ‘reduce’ that scepticism once the sender has proved their reputation.

What do ISP’s expect from email senders?

The ISP’s build up a ‘sender score’ for IP addresses and domain names based on metrics that differentiate legitimate email from spam. These include:

  • Send volume
  • Spam complaints
  • Messages sent to unknown users
  • Subscriber engagement
  • Infrastructure
  • Spam trap hits
  • Content
    And more…

To start with an IP address has a neutral sender score. Every time someone hits the spam button or you get a hard bounce or your email is sent to an unknown user, your credit rating goes down.

How do I get a good email sender reputation?

Follow Best practices

Make Sure Your DKIM, SPF, Sender-ID, and Domain Keys Are Set Up Properly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DomainKeys_Identified_Mail
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_ID
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DomainKeys

Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and other international anti-spam laws.

Only send to people who have opted in to receive emails and confirmed their request.

Do not buy lists from email brokers.

Avoid including large attachments and certain attachment types
.exe, .zip, .swf, etc. should be avoided

How do I warm-up my email server IP address?

The goal is to build up approximately 30 days of sending history so that ISPs have an understanding of the type and quality of email being sent by your new IP address. The warm up ramp-up period may take longer than 30 days for some senders and can be less for others.

The Basic Approach is to estimate your total monthly email volume and divide that number by 30.  Then try to spread your sending evenly over the first 30 days.
Example: if you will send 90,000 emails/month, you should start off sending 3,000 per day over the first month.
If you typically send about 300,000 emails per month, warm up your IP address by sending 10,000 emails per day for the first week

For larger numbers i.e. sending 500,000+ per month you will need to extend the warm-up period, possibly over 2 months.  You can also consider incremental increases to your daily send volume.  e.g. 3k for 4 days, 4k for 4 days, 5k for 4 days, 7.5k, 10k etc etc

There are no hard and fast rules but there are some guidelines:

Send first to your best, most active customers.
Send consistently.  Having a consistent mail volume from one day to another is much better than having a large volume sent on one day of the week and no email sent on remaining days.
Start with a hundred or so messages an hour.
Increase the hourly rate gradually.
Monitor your logs.
If the ISPs start sending back 4xx failures, you’re going too fast so slow down.

Other hints and tips.

Splitting large, non-time-sensitive sends over a number of days
Splitting campaigns between your new IP address and your legacy mail system
Creating non-time-sensitive campaigns (e.g. subscriber surveys) to use specifically for the purpose of ramping up new IP addresses

Reputation Monitoring Sites:

Sender Score – http://senderscore.org
Sender Base – http://senderbase.org
Cyren IP reputation monitor – http://www.cyren.com/ip-reputation-check.html
Barracuda Central – http://www.barracudacentral.org/lookups/
Spamhaus blocks – http://www.spamhaus.org/
Microsoft SNDS – http://postmaster.live.com/snds/

 

The Essential records that affect email deliverability

essential records that affect email deliveryThere are some important NS (name-server) and DNS records that services like Gmail use to determine if a server is authorised to send email or not.  Get these wrong or don’t include them and the emails you send may well be heading to the spam bin, if they are even accepted by the email service.

This article gives you an overview of what the essential records that affect email delivery are.

Note: Due to the risks involved if you make a mistake changing DNS or Name Server records (your website might not be accessible and you might not be able to send or receive emails)  we strongly advise that you get your hosting company or a suitable professional to make the changes.

These essential records are:

reverse DNS

This is arguably the most important setting that you need to check and make sure it is correctly configured. Many e-mail servers on the Internet are configured to reject incoming e-mails from any IP address which does not have reverse DNS where the hostname of the server matches the rDNS.  Normally it is your Internet service provider (ISP) who must point (or “sub-delegate”) the zone (“….in-addr.arpa”) to your DNS server.  It is very rare that a user has the privileges to make rDNS changes or updates

Reverse DNS (rDNS) is an IP-address-to-domain-name mapping (the opposite of DNS, which maps domain names to IP addresses).
A special PTR-record type is used to store reverse DNS entries. Technically, the PTR-record for example.com is “34.216.184.93.in-addr.arpa

SPF records

An SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record is a type of DNS zone record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. SPF is implemented using TXT records.

Further information about SPF records and how to configure them can be found at http://www.openspf.org/SPF_Record_Syntax
Google also has a helpful overview and insights here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/33786?hl=en

Remember, your hosting company will (or at least should) be able to help you set this up.  Out of the essential records on this page, this is the one you can do your self … if you want 🙂

DKIM records

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an authentication mechanism to help protect both email receivers and email senders from forged and phishing emails. Unlike SPF, DKIM must be configured on your server’s Mail Transfer Agent (MTA), so that your mail can be signed as well.  This means that in most cases your hosting company will need to set this up for you if it isn’t already.

There’s no agreed best method for email authentication and because there are pros and cons for each, you can’t assume that all mail servers will use the same one. It’s best to employ both all of them.

To check if your domain name and DNS records are using SPF, DKIM and to see if your rDNS is configured you can use one of the following free checking services:

http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools

http://mxtoolbox.com/ReverseLookup.aspx
http://mxtoolbox.com/spf.aspx
http://mxtoolbox.com/dkim.aspx
https://www.mail-tester.com/spf-dkim-check
http://vamsoft.com/support/tools/spf-policy-tester