Your email deliverability

Fundamental guidance to enable you to maximize your email deliverability rate
All successful marketers understand the importance of their messages reaching the intended targeted recipient containing the most interesting and relevant information and an efficient inventive execution.
Once you have these elements mastered your print adverts, inserts and mailing pieces will all be read and quickly responded to. However, although email marketers do not have to be concerned about their ads being in print or being delivered by the postman, they do need to be concerned about other unique elements.
An email marketer has to be able to understand their email deliverability as this cannot be taken for granted. If an email is not successful in reaching the intended inbox, it will not be read.
Emails which are sent to an inbox without obtaining prior consent are known as spam. Vast amounts of spam are sent out every day and often to addresses which have been ‘harvested’ and it is an accepted fact that between 85% and 95% of all the email traffic worldwide are unsolicited. This large number of unrequested email has a significant impact upon the email marketing industry.
Regarding capacity requirements, it costs the Internet Service Providers or ISPs, such as AOL and Hotmail, very large sums to process. Corporations are also confronted with the concealed costs of lost productivity when handling unwanted emails. Then it is the consumer who has to deal with the cost of being a victim to these fraudulent and illegal scams.
It is no surprise to see why the email industry has made it their number one priority to reduce and then finally eliminate the mammoth volume of unwanted email traffic.
How does this affect marketers?
Although it is all well and good for ISPs to try and eliminate spam emails it does cause a few issues for email marketers, such as their legitimate emails being blocked even though they have been requested and prior consent has been obtained, which means that email marketers may be paying for their messages to be created and sent without them actually being delivered.
Your email delivery rate can be hugely impacted by the extent to which your emails are blocked.
There are a few different methods a marketer needs to know in order to maximise their emails delivery rate. The first of these is obtaining the correct ROI or Return on Investment.
How do emails get blocked/filtered?
In order to be sure that you increase your delivery rate, it is important to have a basic understanding of how ISPs analyse and label emails as spam.
Major factors which affect your deliverability
There are two vital factors by which an ISP judges an email and the sender and decides whether or not it will permit your marketing information to be successfully received into the intended inbox.
The first is authentication, which refers to whether the email has actually been sent from who it appears to be from and the second is reputation, which looks at the standards of behavior of the email’s sender.
1. Authentication
ISPs employ 3 main protocols in order to validate the identity of the email sender regarding the email being sent. These are domain keys, sender ID and Sender Policy Framework (SPF). These tools enable an ISP to confirm an email has been sent from a server which is who they claim to be and that they are authorized to send it.
2. Reputation
A spammer does not take time to build relationships and reputations with ISPs, in fact they make all the effort they can to do the complete opposite and stay invisible from them and undercover. Therefore, email marketers who make an effort to be known to ISPs and build relationships with them and adhere to their rules are able to please filters, gain a white listed status and become fast tracked into the intended inboxes.
Although these two protocols are essential for high volumes of successfully sent emails, there are a few others we can mention such as feedback loops, Goodmail, white lists and black lists.
Feedback Loops
Use an ESP (Email Service Provider) which is signed up to receive ‘Feedback Loops’ on the major ISPs, which include Hotmail, AOL as well as Yahoo.
A ‘Feedback Loop’ is something which enables the ISP to send an unsubscribe email to your contact database when a receiver of your email clicks on the ‘Report spam’ button. It also enables your ESP to save the recipient who made the complaint from receiving any future messages, and therefore avoid any repeated complaints and as a result protecting your reputation.
RPC or return path certified enforce very strict standards and guidelines which they must abide by for their senders in order for them to receive accreditation. Email senders which are accredited are able to benefit from definite delivery into targeted inboxes, as well as functionality regarding enabled links and images.
Black Lists
Black lists, sometimes referred to as block lists, are basically databases of IP addresses, servers and domains which have all been reported at one time or another and therefore have been identifies as spam. Every ISP is able to check an email in real-time against these database and choose whether to reject or accept it.
Is the sender of the email judged on the content?
Some of the over-riding factors regarding the filtering and blocking of emails by ISPs is sender authentication and reputation. However, an ISP is also able to employ content filters for the emails which have been accepted. A content filter reviews the content of the email according to a set series of rules which then creates a ‘spam score’. Any email which gets a spam score over a certain number will then be delivered into the Junk Mail inbox.
Good ESPs are able to make sure that your email template and content will receive a low spam score.
Some of the vital factors to consider avoiding when designing your email and content are:

  • Large images or a high volume of graphics compared to the volume of English text.
  • A high number of different colours for text, fonts and links.
  • A high ratio of links to number of words.
  • Ambiguous subject lines.
By Lee Callender
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 12:37
Catagory: Delivery
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