Good Hygiene Keeps ISPs From Calling You a Stinker
Considering the number of professional relationships that must be developed to realize a decent ROI from your e-mail campaign, your relationship with your Internet service provider (ISP) may not be your top priority. Just send e-mail campaigns and wait for the results, right?
Wrong, say industry insiders. Your relationship with your ISP could, and often will, make or break your campaign. It’s the critical difference between having your e-mails end up in your intended customers’ inboxes, or having them bounced back to you as undeliverable.
“Hygiene has to be your number one priority, bar none,” says Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president of Worldata, a list and interactive marketing company based in Boca Raton, Fla. Schwedelson jokes that your list hygiene is equally as important as your personal hygiene, and just as noticeable to others when you don’t pay attention to it.
“You have to have a very clean e-mail list,” he says. “Without a thoroughly purged and cleaned list, you’re better off not launching the campaign at all. Let’s say you send out e-mails to 100,000 people. Your ISP has to work to inform you of every name that comes up as undeliverable. Get enough of those names, and it sends up red flags with your ISP. Now, once your ISP has informed you of those undeliverables, and you send out another mailing next month with those same names, you’re going to have a problem.”
Schwedelson says that ISPs usually make several attempts to deliver e-mail, and high numbers of undeliverables puts a strain on their infrastructures. Once you’ve been flagged as having bad e-mail lists, you could land your company on an ISP’s blacklist for a long, long time.
“ISPs are not the most forgiving folks when they feel you’re either deliberately or incompetently wasting their time,” he warns. “They figure if you don’t care, why should they? When that happens, say goodbye to your good reputation.”