Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Outlook 2003 says Junk It!

Gmail …: Inbox
Yahoo …: Inbox
Hotmail …: Inbox

AOL ...: Inbox
Outlook 2003 …: JUNK!

Time and time again we face the same problem of creatives being classified as Junk mail on desktop applications -- when they are reaching the Inbox of major ISPs. While whitelisting and
authentication entries can take you to inboxes on large ISPs, it does not help much on desktop applications.

Outlook 2003 is one of the more used email desktop applications. The first thing we have to understand about desktop applications is that:

:: The filtering aspects are different
:: The filters are user defined

…and outlook 2003 is no different. Over a 100 million people use Outlook as their email application which means it is likely that your users may be among them. Getting your email communication out to them is of utmost importance, as one user not receiving the communication is one lost source of revenue – if you are a business.

We have to better understand how we can reach these users; we have to understand the tools they use to read your communication. Here is some insight of how an outlook filter works, and why your creatives maybe rotting in a Junk folder waiting to be deleted.

Message Sending Time Check – Weekends are a bad time to send a campaign to your users who use Outlook. The filters give it a higher score and are more likely to end up in the Junk folder than if the mailing was sent on a weekday.

Upper Case in Messages - If the message contains around 25% or more uppercase words, it classifies the message as SPAM. Avoid Uppercases both in subject lines and body of the messages as a rule of thumb for all your communication.

Numbers and Symbols - If the content has close to 8% or more numbers and symbols, the message is classified as SPAM. As an example for $100, avoid using “$” signs or “100” values – instead use “One hundred dollars”.

Duplicate Check – Outlook filters checks for duplicates. The more the repetition of the same word, the higher the weighted SPAM score and more likely the message will end up in Junk.

User Settings - User settings most often send the emails to Junk. Ask your users to whitelist your IP or domain.

The above are some of the pointers for better deliverability to the inbox in Outlook. Look to next week when I delve into the filter aspects of Hotmail Live, Yahoo, Comcast and AOL --- and not in that specific order.

Happy Mailing!