How to make sure your emails get through...

Deliverability is the biggest challenge for email communications – it doesn’t matter how much time or effort has gone into the creative, the copywriting or the targeting.  If the email cannot be ‘received’ then the effort is wasted. The volume of spam is driving the ISPs to block emails.  Currently 80% of email traffic is spam, so there is a legitimate financial reason for the ISPs to control the amount of spam traffic on their networks.

However, deliverability can be improved by following a few codes of good practice:

a)Data Hygiene Policy.  Install a Data Hygiene Policy to ensure that the data within your Marketing Database is as ‘clean’ as possible.  The goals of the policy should be to: * Reduce incorrect,  incomplete or outdated addresses to a minimum * Process online unsubscribe requests immediately * Process unsubscribe requests received offline within a maximum of 7 days * Inform those unsubscribing that their request has been received and how long it will take to be effective –AND what to do if they ever want to ‘re-subscribe’. There are email systems that enable the unsubscribe email address to be ‘suppressed’ rather than deleted.  This way if a customer opts in at any point this overrides the unsubscription. 

b) Email Hygiene.  Following opt in / opt out policies and list hygiene is one of the most effective ways to maintain high deliverability rates.  In off-line direct marketing, the cost of producing and mailing each pack acts as a deterrent to ‘over mailing’.  In email marketing however, the marginal cost of each additional email does not hold the same disincentive – and invalid email addresses are continuously mailed.  If an email address is returned ‘invalid’ – then it should be checked for basic errors and if none are found, it should be removed from the mailing list.

c) ISP Relations.  Organisations that don’t manage their data efficiently and continue to mail ‘invalid’ email addresses without cleaning them out will get ‘tagged’ as spammers.  This means that your emails will be ‘blocked’  as you are put under ‘spam arrest’ by some ISPs.    You can rebuild these relationships – you need to identify which ISPs have blocked you and contact them to explain that you are a legitimate business – and that you are now following ‘best practice guidelines’ to ensure that you implement a good data and list hygiene policy.  After all – spammers are not likely to contact the ISPs directly.  Therefore, by making the effort to contact the ISPs and show that you are willing to do whatever it takes to rebuild a good mailing reputation – then you can start to build a good reputation.

There are email systems which you can purchase which directly manage your list hygiene and ISP relationships – if your business is dependent upon online communications – then it is likely that you would opt for this type of email service provider.

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