When is the last time you sent yourself an email from your own website?

BLOG Check Your Forms

July 9, 2024 / Updated: July 9, 2024 / Lena Shore
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When was the last time you sent yourself an email from your own website? Be honest. You probably haven’t, right? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But let me explain why this is crucial.

Recently, I had a client contact me because they weren’t getting emails from a new marketing campaign. A little digging revealed a deliverability problem. Even worse, we discovered they hadn’t received an email from their website for over 7 months!

As someone whose business lifeblood relies heavily on email, this makes me feel queasy. By the time a potential customer contacts me through my website, there is a very good chance I will make that sale. After all, they’ve already spent time on my website to discover if “I might be the one”. Once we get that email it’s our turn to respond in a timely manner and put our best face forward. Hopefully, the potential client’s needs, and our offerings line up.

But this connection can’t happen if you never get their message. Personally, when I am shopping for services and a vendor doesn’t respond to my email, I move on to the next option. It’s possible that when they don’t get a response from their email, they will try to call. But, if they wanted to contact you by phone in the first place, wouldn’t they have already done that?

I have seen this happen many, many times.

But I get email all the time!

The email you get from your website is on its own system. It can break while email sent directly to you from friends, co-workers, and existing customers continues to be delivered.

Why do I need to check my email forms if they worked when the site was built?

Why? Frankly, shit happens.

  • Employees change
  • Email providers change
  • Spam filters get updated
  • Servers have problems
  • Websites have software updates than can cause problems.

Many things can affect your email deliverability. It can work for months and years and then it won’t, which is why it is so important to check.

How often should I check?

If you get a decent volume of emails, this might be as easy as noticing any disruption in your usual email flow.

If you are part of a larger company that receives a lot of communication, put someone in charge of making sure the emails are flowing. It can be hard to notice when an entire team is busy answering phone calls and answering emails that were not generated from your website. Make a plan for how often you want them to ensure the email is working.

How can I check?

Easy. Send yourself an email using your form and see if it arrives in your inbox.

Reasons your email isn’t working

There are a lot of reasons your email might not be delivered properly. Here is a partial list, based on my own experience, from the most common reasons to the least common.

The email is hitting a spam folder. This is the culprit 95% of the time. It could be a spam filter you can check yourself, but it could be a spam filter on the server that you cannot.

  • Check your spam filter
  • Add an email address to the form outside of the system and see if the email shows up at the new address. (Outside the system will have a different domain name. Example: gmail.com, yahoo.com, etc.) 
  • FIX: Find and allowlist the email or call your IT department and tell them your emails aren’t being delivered.

The wrong person’s email is in the form settings. Maybe they left the company, or their email changed when they got married.

  • Check the form to see where it is sending email.
  • FIX: Adjust the email address to the proper one(s).

Your mail handler isn’t working. To put it simply, your server is failing when it sends mail.

  • Check the alerts on the website admin area. Some form systems will tell you if the mail handler failed.
  • Call your hosting company and ask them to test the form while watching the server.
  • FIX: Add an SMTP handler to your website to use your provider’s mail handler

Your web site needs an update of some sort, and your form is broken.

  • Make sure your core files and plugins are up to date.
  • FIX: Update your core file and plugins.

A couple of personal tips:

Adjust your confirmation message. This is the “Thank you” message that pops up after someone fills out your form. My own confirmation message tells the sender when they should get a response and asks them to call me if they haven’t heard back during this time period. This is my last-ditch effort to make contact in case something goes terribly wrong with my email.

Make it easy for your customer: One of my top rules of is “make it easy for people to contact you” (This is right behind “make it easy for people to pay you”). People all like to communicate in different ways. Some of us prefer the phone. Others prefer email. And still others prefer text or chat. Provide them more than one way to contact you.

If you are one of my existing hosting/web clients and you need help testing your email, just let me know! I’m happy to pop into your site and poke around. And, if you aren’t a regular client and need some help, you should also reach out and let me know what you need. If you send me an email, I’ll get back to you within 24 hours…

…unless something has gone terribly wrong. 😉