November 30, 2011 | Spencer Kollas
As we head into 2012, you should take a close look at your email marketing and list hygiene practices to make sure that you are maintaining a good sender reputation and maximizing deliverability. Good list hygiene combined engaging emails and sender authentication will help you build a solid email reputation with your top ISPs.
List hygiene may not be the most exciting aspect of email marketing, but it is essential for good deliverability. Simply follow the seven tips below to get your lists in order for the New Year.
1. Scrub Your Lists Regularly. Keep your email lists clean by regularly running them against a register of known bad domains and removing duplicate addresses and role accounts. You can automate the latter by adding “info@*,” “sales@*,” and other common addresses to your suppression list. Your email system may also enable you to automatically suppress bad domains and role-based distribution lists.
2. Remove Bad Domains. Bad domains should be removed immediately. Closely review your failure reports, identify bad addresses and evaluate whether they are the result of a data capture problem or a non-existent domain.
3. Review Data Capture Processes– List hygiene starts with collecting good data. Make sure your sign-up forms prompt users to fix incorrect email address or syntax errors before they are submitted.
4. Actively Manage Hard and Soft Bounces – In addition to having established policies for automatically removing hard-bounced addresses due to bad addresses and unknown users, you should have similar policies for removing soft bounces after a pre-determined number of consecutive failures.
5. Promptly Remove Unsubscribes – Don’t wait the 10 days allowed by CAN-SPAM to process unsubscribes. Remove unsubscribed addresses immediately to avoid users hitting the “this is spam” button and damaging your sender reputation.
6. Mark Inactive Addresses for Reengagement – Transfer inactive addresses to another list that is designed to reengage them. A good rule of thumb for identifying inactives is no more than 12 months – but 6 months can be preferable depending on factors related to the seasonality of your business.
7. Sign Up for Feedback Loops and Whitelists – Sign up for available feedback loops at your top ISPs to monitor the number of spam complaints generated from your mailings. Similarly, maximize your inbox delivery by signing up for whitelists offered by ISPs and other providers.
Consider these tips when looking to improving your email marketing and overall list hygiene to streamline practices going into the future.
Learn about other email deliverability solutions we provide at StrongMail.
Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 2:55 PM
January 27, 2011 | Spencer Kollas
If you've been having trouble getting into the inbox at Yahoo lately, it may be because of new Yahoo protocols for assigning email sender reputation that they began using in December. As first reported on Deliverability.com, Yahoo is now looking beyond just IP address and domain name of the sender to include the "From" name as well.
This means that your firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org are all being assigned different reputations, instead of an aggregate reputation based on any message from your core "@company" domain. Whatever is left of the @ sign is key, as Yahoo doesn't appear to be looking at the "friendly" From name.
Making things even more complicated, Yahoo is assigning unique reputations to each combination of From Name + Domain Name + IP Address. So, if you use two different IP addresses to send messages from email@example.com, then Yahoo is assigning a separate email sender reputation to each stream.
This change could have a positive or negative impact on your programs depending on your sending practices. If you've been playing it risky with one email stream because the other email messages you send balance out your email reputation, then it's likely that the one email stream will now go to the bulk folder, but you will continue to see good deliverability on the streams that more closely follow best practices. On the flip side, if one bad email slips out, it will only damage of the reputation for that From Name + Domain Name + IP Address combination.
The bottom line is that you should follow best practices across all of your mail streams and closely monitor deliverability for each From name that goes out from your domain.
Posted by: Spencer Kollas at 10:51 AM
July 16, 2009 | Spencer Kollas
Here is a repost of an article from my good friend Stephanie at Return Path.
What You Gotta Get Right for Higher Deliverability
By Stephanie Miller
VP, Global Market Development
I was speaking at a webinar this week and the moderator said, "Stephanie, we have 30 seconds. How can marketers avoid being filtered as spam?!"
No pressure, right? Luckily, I talk fast!
I responded with something like this:
"Reaching the inbox is the only way you can earn a response. So it's pretty important to focus on this.
"Avoiding the spam filters is simple in concept: You must be welcome in the inbox - and you must maintain an ongoing reputation for being welcome in the inbox. The minute you bore me, or abuse my trust or send something irrelevant, you are spamming me.
"It's simple in concept, complex in practice. Being relevant and earning a high sender reputation is not a box you can just check off. It's an attitude. It's got to infuse every aspect of your email marketing approach - your content strategy, your frequency caps, your permission practices, your metrics and tracking, how you source your data, process your bounces, and in the approach of every person you hire and train and reward around email marketing success.
"Every time you send an additional mailing this week to pump up revenue, or you mail to a list with a dubious source or you send the same promotion to every person on your file; you are putting your sender reputation at risk. And you are also leaving money on the table.
"There is no good reason NOT to track your inbox placement and work a bit harder to be welcome in the inbox. It's too easy for subscribers to ignore us. And that isn't just for today's mailing, a poor sender reputation will harm you for all your mailings.
"So make sure the people on your file want to be on your file. Give them choices. Know the impact of your practices by actively tracking your sender reputation (or at least knowing it at www.senderscore.org). And be welcome. Relevant. Interesting. Helpful. That is how you avoid the spam filters."
What do you think? How would you answer that question (in 30 seconds!)