List Buying Guide: How Does Your Garden Grow?
If you handle any part of your e-mail program in-house, then an audit of your e-mail programs can reveal both the good and the bad—allowing you to take action to eliminate the weed-like practices spoiling your overall garden.
Curious as to how such an audit could help a marketer identify potential weak spots in its e-mail address collection, maintenance and usage practices, Target Marketing put its own file to the test. We worked with Eclipse Direct Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm in New York, that offers I.D.E.A., or Independent Deliverability E-mail Audit. I.D.E.A. is an e-mail auditing tool developed by Pivotal Veracity, an e-mail delivery optimization firm in Phoenix. This tool scrutinizes a marketer’s e-mail technology infrastructure, permission/notification practices, advertising practices (third-party sponsorship, banners, list rental, etc.) and reputation.
The auditing process involved three main steps, as follows.
First Step: Gather Information
The I.D.E.A. auditing process begins with your IT or e-mail services department filling out a questionnaire that assembles comprehensive details about your company’s e-mail technology, practices and policies. For example, one of the questions under the IP/Mailserver section asks “Are you able to distinguish Spam Block bounces from other types of bounces? If yes, what is your Spam Block bounce rate?”
In addition, your company needs to send a specific e-mail (text provided by Pivotal Veracity), using the “from” address being audited, to a list of 38 e-mail addresses (also provided by Pivotal Veracity). These e-mails must be deployed from the same mailserver identified in the questionnaire as the server from which you regularly send your e-mail campaigns.
Second Step: Information Evaluation
By combining the questionnaire responses with insight collected from receipt of the test e-mails, Pivotal Veracity is able to assess how well your company meets Can Spam requirements, as well as whether it follows established sending protocols, considers ISPs’ concerns, and pays attention to best practices for list owners and advertisers. Obviously, flagging any practices that are not Can Spam compliant is critical to avoiding fines and legal trouble, as well as protecting your company’s reputation and ability to use e-mail effectively.