Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Deliverability – Are You Getting into the Inbox?

Email best practices are something we all should know and utilize every day. Recently at KobeMail we spent some time brushing up on our best practices. We want to share what we discussed with all of you to help improve your online reputation and deliverability. Reputation is something you need to work toward improving, it is something that must be built from the ground up, so here’s how you can do that…

Improving and maintaining your online reputation

This is fairly simple. You can begin by ensuring that your emails are authenticated. ISPs need to validate your emails to ensure that they can actually be trusted and that you’re not a spammer or sending phishing emails. Once you’ve been authenticated, you’re set to begin sending valid, trustworthy campaigns.

Practice permission-based sending

Acquire your opt-ins legitimately and you should see a decrease in spam complaints, which will boost your reputation with ISPs. You can get legitimate, permission based opt-ins a couple of ways. You can include a sign up box on your website’s homepage; include a newsletter sign up form with an order confirmation; use the double opt-in method, which requires users to confirm their subscription to your newsletter before they will receive it. Whichever method of opt-in you choose, remember that permission based signups will affect your online reputation.

List hygiene

That means, clean out dead email addresses and hard bounces so you don’t keep racking them up every time you send a mailing. Inactive or dead email addresses can be very dangerous for email marketers to send campaigns to. Often times, ISPs convert inactive addresses into spam traps with the intent of catching would be spammers. If you’re sending 2 emails a week to a list of inactive addresses, your spam scores are going to be out of this world, which will really hurt your reputation.


In addition to permission based signups, the volume and consistency with which you send emails can either help or hurt your reputation. Try to avoid sending huge blasts to your user base several times a week. This can result in high bounces or blocks and can generate high spam complaints, which is certainly something to avoid. If you have a poor online reputation, you will have a poor deliverability rate as well.

It’s really important for your user base to trust your company. Right on your site’s sign up page, explain to users what you will be doing with the personal information you’re asking them to give you and how you’ll keep it safe. Explain the benefits they’ll receive for allowing you to know their home address or phone number. Being straight forward with your customers is going to allow them to build a trusting relationship with you and want to give your company their business.

Welcome Emails

Another way to build trust with your customers is to send a welcome email thanking them for their sign up. This will make your customers feel noticed and important. You can also try sending new users a short welcome series, thanking them, introducing your company and explaining the types of mailings they’ll be receiving from you. All-in-all, a welcome message is great because not only does make users feel important, but immediately engages them and reminds them who you are and what you do.

Once you’ve said hello and thank you to your now engaged users, take a good look at the content you’re sending them. Is it relevant? The best way to find out is to ask your users for feedback. Send a short survey to users asking questions about the subject line, the from name, the content, how the email itself looks, etc. Offer a small incentive to users for completing the survey, such as a coupon or discount on your product. This will not only get them to fill out the survey but to make a purchase from you as well.

Relevant Content

Remaining relevant in your mailings is equally as important as introducing yourself to your readers and keeping them engaged. Not only should your content be relevant to your product and the people reading about it, but it should also be relevant to the times. The current social media craze, for example, is something every email marketer should be on board with. Include a link to your social media sites in every mailing you send. If your content is relevant and engaging, chances are people will share your newsletter or promotion with their online network at no cost or effort to you.

In order to successfully accomplish all of these things, it’s essential to have a sound infrastructure. Your Mail Transfer Agent, which basically is the piece of technology that takes your emails and sends them, should have its connection adjusted based on ISP’s standards. You should constantly be performing quality control on your infrastructure, because the quality of your infrastructure is directly linked to sender reputation. This means you should be processing spam complaints as quickly as you can and constantly monitoring reports for any issues.

These are all really valuable tips to help you up your online reputation and increase your deliverability. Implement these best practices and see great results.

Author: Courtney Dillsworth
Editor: Peter Schirripa

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