Email Deliverability Tips
Ensuring requested opt-in email is delivered to subscriber
inboxes is an increasingly difficult battle in the age of spam
filtering. Open and click thru response rates can be dramatically
affected by as much as 20-30% due to incorrect spam filter
Confirming that the people who ask for your information have
actually requested to be on your list is the number one step in
the battle for deliverability. You should be using a process
called confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in to send a unique link
to the attempted subscriber when they request information. Before
adding the person to your list they must click that unique link
verifying that they are indeed the same person that owns the
email address and requested to subscribe.
When requesting website visitors to opt-in ask for their "real"
or "primary" email address instead of a free email address like
Yahoo or Hotmail. Free emails tend to be throw away accounts and
typically have a shorter lifetime than a primary ISP address.
Always promptly remove undeliverable addresses that bounce when
sending email to them. An address that bounces with a permanent
error 2-3 times in a 30 day period should be removed from the
list. ISP's track what percentage of your newsletters bounce and
will block them if you attempt to continually deliver messages to
closed subscriber mailboxes.
Usage of HTML messages to allow for text formatting, multiple
columns, images, and brand recognition is growing in popularity
and is widely supported by most email client software. Most spam
is also HTML formatted and thus differentiating between requested
email and spam HTML messages can be difficult. A 2004 study by
AWeber.com shows that plain text messages are undeliverable
1.15% of the time and HTML only messages were undeliverable 2.3%.
If sending HTML it is important to always send a plain text
alternative message, also called text/HTML multi-part mime
Many ISP's filter based on the content that appears within the
Research potential newsletter advertisers before allowing them
to place ads in your newsletter issues. If they have used their
website URL to send spam, just having their URL appear in your
newsletter could cause the entire message to be filtered.
Choose your language carefully when crafting messages. Avoid
hot button topics often found in spam such as medication,
mortgages, making money, and pornography. If you do need to use
words that might be filtered, don't attempt to obfuscate words
with extra characters or odd spelling, you'll just make your
messages appear more spam like.
Avoid creating messages that are entirely images. Use images
sparingly, if at all. Commonly used open rate tracking
technology uses images to calculate opens. You may choose to
disable open rate tracking to avoid being filtered based on
With viruses running rampant and spreading thru the usage of
malicious email attachments many users are wary of attached
documents. It's often better to link to files via a website URL
to reduce recipient fear of attachments and reduce the overall
The January 2004 Federal CAN-SPAM law introduced a number of
rules regarding the delivery of email. It's important you have
your legal counsel review your practices and ensure you are in
compliance. The two most important rules include having a valid
postal mail address listed in all commercial messages and a
working unsubscribe link that is promptly honored to remove the
subscriber from future messages.
Reputation services are often used by large ISP's as a way to vet
email senders regarding their email practices and policies.
Businesses listed with these services are then given less
stringent filtering or no filtering at all. Several reputation
Relationships & Whitelisting
Contact with major ISP's and email providers is essential in
letting them know about your requested subscriber email. Many
large providers such as AOL and Yahoo have specific whitelisting
programs and postmaster website areas to ensure your email is
delivered as long as you meet their policies and procedures in
handling your opt-in list.
Email deliverability is about ensuring requested opt-in email is
delivered to the intended recipient. While no single tip will
enable you to get 100% of your email delivered each one utilized
as a group can go a long way to reaching that goal.
. . .
About the Author:
Tom Kulzer, CEO and Founder of Newtown, PA based AWeber
Communications, Inc. an opt-in email service provider. With 7
years managing opt-in follow up and newsletters for small
businesses, email deliverability is an integral part of day to
Learn more: http://startupinternetmarketing.com/aweber
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