List Buying Guide: How Does Your Garden Grow?
The other areas of the audit speak to deliverability and reputation—and thus, the capacity to effectively use the e-mail channel for marketing contact. While not legally required, these activities can make a difference in how ISPs and e-mail recipients perceive your ability to respect peoples’ privacy and the ISPs’ mail-processing challenges. For example, ISPs increasingly are looking at bounce rates to determine how well marketers maintain their e-mail files; rates higher than 10 percent generally will cause ISPs to block, delete or redirect your e-mail messages to their customers’ spam folders, says Michelle Eichner, Pivotal Veracity’s vice president of client service.
Third Step: Review Audit Reports
After conducting its audit, Pivotal Veracity provides two reports to the marketer. The first report lists the audit scores; details the practices as reported and pairs them with any issue flags; explains the problem areas; and offers advice for how to improve weak practices. The second report is a stripped-down version of the first that can be shared with companies who might choose to advertise in your e-mails or rent your list. A technical expert and an account manager then review these reports with you, going through each issue flag and the advice section to make certain you understand the infrastructure issues and the recommended course of action. Another goal of this guided review is to identify any information the audit participant might not have reported accurately due to confusion or simple oversight—something that came up in Target Marketing’s audit report review. A quick fix to the details, and Pivotal Veracity was able to update our reports and improve our audit score.
What We Learned That Can Help You
It doesn’t take much effort to undergo an e-mail audit. The most taxing step is the gathering of information, especially if you’ve developed a complex e-mail program with a variety of different contact types: e-newsletters with advertising, product offers, free event invites, etc. In fact, just the act of ascertaining such information can be eye-opening; a sort of informal audit before the audit. Filling out the questionnaire spawned discussions about e-mail best practices within my company’s Web services department, and led to additional conversations with circulation, marketing and list rental managers.