Good Hygiene Keeps ISPs From Calling You a Stinker
The key, Schwedelson offers, is to process and flag each undeliverable e-mail address you get back from your ISP, so that it never sees those same addresses again. Also, double check your lists for “spam traps”—those addresses with no real recipient, like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes, he explains, your competitors will opt in to your e-mail list and sign themselves up as spam traps just to throw a monkey wrench into your e-mail campaigns.
Another important factor, says Schwedelson, is to establish a personal relationship with your ISP team.
“Call them and talk to them,” he says. “Let them know that you’re a real person trying to provide a decent product or service. Tell them to inform you of problems and [that] you’ll take care of it right away; then, do just that. Often, just taking the time to establish a personal, friendly relationship with your ISP will go a long way toward keeping you on their whitelist. They’re also more likely to call and talk to you when something goes bad, or your list has problems, rather than just dismiss you out of hand as a bad client.”
When shopping for an ISP, ask for its acceptable use practice, or AUP, up front, and read it carefully. It’s the series of standards and compliance that your ISP demands, as well as any other procedures it expects you to follow.
“Every large campaign will have at least one or two opt-outs, or even complaints,” Schwedelson says. “It’s just part of the channel. But establishing and maintaining a good reputation with your ISP will result in better lists, fewer complaints and, ultimately, maximum ROI from your e-mail campaign.”