The Email Marketer’s Guide to Test Messages in Office 365

Lately, Microsoft’s Office 365 product has been picking up steam in the email world. The value proposition is excellent for companies that are already using Microsoft Exchange and the Office suite of products. Instead of having to maintain your own email servers, worry about updating to the latest version of Exchange, and stay on top of the latest anti-spam updates, you can forgo all of that hassle and just pay Microsoft to do it for you. Seems pretty amazing, right?

Unfortunately, Office 365 sometimes creates some problems out of the box for email marketers. If you’re a marketing professional that uses a third-party platform to send your marketing emails, and your company recently transitioned to Office 365, you’ve likely had some struggles getting test messages from your email marketing platform into your new Office 365 protected inbox.

Getting Into (Your Own) Inbox

Here’s what I mean: if you notice you’re not getting test emails into your corporate inbox, but you are getting them into your Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail inboxes, you’ve likely raised a red flag with your email marketing platform, and have been told that you need to have your IT team whitelist the sending domain or IP that you are using to send your emails. If you’re currently experiencing this, try passing this Microsoft TechNet article along to your IT team along with the IP address(es) your third-party email service uses to send your email.

Usually, whitelisting resolves the issue, but suddenly your confidence is shaken. You find yourself wondering how many of your other recipients are not receiving your emails. Fear not! Delivery of email from your marketing platform into your corporate email network is actually harder to accomplish than delivery into email networks on the internet at large.

A well-configured email system knows what IP addresses are allowed to send email on behalf of the domain that it powers. When an unknown IP address tries to send email into a well-configured email system claiming to be from the domain that email system is responsible for, it should get flagged as a phishing attempt. In that regard, the Office 365 product is working quite well as it requires email administrators to create rules to permit email from authorized third-party senders to reach their users’ inboxes.

The moral of the story is this: if your company is planning to migrate (or has already migrated) to Office 365, make sure your IT team knows to whitelist your marketing platform’s email IP(s)! This will lead to a more seamless transition, and prevent a lot of headaches down the line.