Delivering email newsletters and sales messages to opt-in subscribers and customers is getting more exasperating—and more expensive—by day.
Delivery rates for email have gone through virtual floor. According to MarketingSherpa, one out of every six people who asked to be on your mailing list won't receive your email newsletter or marketing message because a spam filter blocks it by mistake.
Why you’re just not getting through to them As you probably know, challenge you are facing is primarily spam filters, electronic and human. And no wonder. Consider these sobering numbers:
- 10 out of 12 messages reviewed are considered spam (Postini.com)
- average users receive 42 unwanted sales pitches a day (Jupiter Research)
- 70% of all email messages will be spam by 2007 (Radicati Group)
Your emails fail to reach your subscribers for three basic reasons. Either email is blocked by subscriber’s ISP or enterprise firewall (in which case it never gets delivered), email is blocked by subscriber’s spam filter (in which case it gets delivered but is never seen) or email is deleted by an irritable subscriber with an overzealous delete-key-finger who does not recognize your “From:” address or mistakes your email subject line for something unwelcome.
But take heart. There are some tactics you can employ today to increase your email deliverability scores and reach your newsletter subscribers and customers with email messages they have asked you to wing their way.
1. Hire someone to monitor your mail Your most expensive option is to retain services of a third-party vendor to monitor your email deliverability. For a fee, ReturnPath.net, PiperSoftware.com, Deliverability.com, DeliveryMonitor.com and other companies will seed your mailing list seeded with hundreds of email addresses from a variety of domains. When your email arrives, these firms record time, count number of emails that escaped spam filters, and generate a report that shows deliverability scores for each ISP. These reports help you notice which ISPs are blocking your messages or only allowing a few to get through before blocking rest. You can take steps needed to improve deliverability.
2. Test your email messages for spam before sending The above companies and a host of smaller software firms let you run your email message by a spam filter before sending. They search for “free,” “buy now” and other words that trigger spam filters. That way, you can see if your message is likely to be flagged as spam somewhere enroute, and tweak where needed to improve your score before hitting Send. Try free service at www.ezinecheck.com.
3. Make sure your ISP is not on a blacklist Spammers may have abused servers of autoresponder or listserver service that you use. As a result, major ISPs may have blacklisted or blocked emails from these servers. To discover if you are blacklisted, find IP address of email server and do a spam database lookup at www. DNSstuff.com or www.OpenRBL.org.
4. Slow down your email send rate Some ISPs set a threshold for how many emails you can send during one session. If you exceed this threshold, their software flags you as a spammer and blocks remainder of your messages. One way around this wall is to send your messages in small bursts, say 200 at a time, with a pause of a few minutes between bursts. The other solution is to host your list on a reputable listserver. The more popular ones include Constant Contact, AWeber, Topica, and GotMarketing Campaigner.