Reach the Inbox
When it comes to e-mail deliverability, there is only one way to ensure success: Build a good reputation. The perception ISPs and other receivers have of the mail sent by your mail servers determines whether or not your e-mail stays clear of spam filters and gets delivered to the inbox. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to determining delivery issues, much less figuring out what ISPs think of them.
There are two sides to e-mail delivery: the pre-campaign best practices that build your reputation, and the ongoing management necessary to track delivery rates and potential problems. The following five steps consider the primary factors of each. Follow these tips and you’ll see more of your e-mail reach the inbox—and get higher response rates as a result.
1. Prevent Complaints
When your customers or prospects hit the “this is spam” button or report your e-mail to abuse queues, ISPs take notice. It’s critical you know whether you have complaint issues—and how to fix them, if you do.
The best way to prevent complaints is to take care in setting up your e-mail program from the start. Get permission—preferably by asking twice—before mailing to customers. Make it clear to subscribers what they will get from you and when. Be consistent in your communication. And above all, make your content extremely relevant. By mailing things your customers want, you can keep your complainers to a minimum.
Following e-mail best practices, while important, still is not enough. You also need to monitor your complaints so you can see what the ISPs see. Here are three areas to monitor that will reveal if complaints are hurting your reputation.
• Customer support—Your own customer support e-mail boxes and any auto-reply addresses can show you which e-mails are offending customers. A surprisingly large number of subscribers will reply to the e-mails you send with complaints about the e-mail, or in an attempt to unsubscribe—so open those replies and read them. Also, register your abuse addresses with www.abuse.net. This site is a directory of where to contact a sender about abuse complaints. Many abuse desk administrators at ISPs and system administrators at smaller systems use this Web site to determine where to send complaints. If you want to source more complaints—and you do—advertising where to send them on abuse.net is a helpful step.