Posts Tagged ‘filtering’

If you follow the email marketing industry, you know that engagement is quite the buzzword lately.  But Engagement isn’t new at all. It has been a part of the filtering mix for quite a while. ISPs including Yahoo! (Xtra) Hotmail and Gmail are adding clicks, opens and other measures of user engagement to the long list of other engagement metrics that have been in use for a while. All these metrics try to do the same thing — figure out which messages are truly wanted by subscribers.

ISPs are measuring engagement and using it to decide who gets to the inbox, and who goes to the junk folder. In simple terms, the ISP is basically looking at whether or not your subscribers open, click, and in general, “interact” with you. If you send an email that mistakenly goes to the junk folder, then the subscriber moves it back out, you scored some engagement points. If your subscriber clicks your links or hits “reply” to send you a message, you get some engagement points.

Returnpath’s George Bilbrey says to senders:

“Treat inactive subscribers differently: This is probably the biggest change that most marketers need to think about. Mailing to a lot of inactive accounts may actually make your reputation look worse at some ISPs. Segment out inactive users and run a win-back campaign. If you cannot win back these subscribers, you may simply want to stop mailing them altogether.”

Over at Clickz, Jeanne Jennings had this to say about inactive members of your list:

“If these folks really aren’t that into you, they may take the next step and report you as spam. It’s like that shunned suitor who just won’t go away; eventually the victim will consider him a stalker and get a restraining order. Keeping inactive names on your list can open you up to blacklisting and deliverability issues.”

There is an art to deciding who is engaged and who is not.  This will depend on your buying cycle and the types of emails you send. It is good to use an email expert to help you make a matrix for your own business but there are some things you can consider:

Do you have strong calls to action in your emails – so that there is something to click?

Do you have a genuinely relevant and  interesting email stream, sent at least bi-monthly (6 per year)?

If you have a frequent email (weekly or more) do you allow people to control the frequency and type of emails they get using a Preference Centre?

  • From time to time you should dissect your email list to identify who have never opened, clicked or bought something from you. We call them ‘zombies’.  They bring all your metrics down, they impact your engagement measures and they don’t pay their way.  Try to get them to wake up – or kill them off.
  • Next look for who is in a coma – used to engage and now don’t.  Talk to them differently too.
  • Who is on their way out?
  • Who are you best responders?  Make them feel special, use them to spread your word, and keep up the good work!

There is much to this and a good agency can help you do this and come out the other side with a more profitable program.

And worst case is you get to kill a few zombies!

 

 

 

Why is Reputation and Deliverability important? Why do you need to know about these things when you just want to send out some emails? And what do these terms mean anyway?

Reputation and Deliverability requires senders to meet strict international best practices for good reasons like anti-spam measures. You might wonder just what issues there could be around delivery. After all, you write an email, you click “send”, and the emails arrive seconds later. However when you send email that goes out to dozens, hundreds or thousands of recipients, not all of those recipients are going to get your email. And deliverability is the guy in-between acting like the bouncer at the club, and he determines who gets your email, or who doesn’t, and why.

So how do you ensure every one of your emails gets through? Appease the deliverability gods? Tip the bouncer? An easier option would be to talk to our deliverability guys who have provided the following expert advice.

1) Deliverability is strongly measured by sender reputation. And a good sender reputation starts with a dedicated IP address. We do recommend dedicated IP addresses for clients especially those who have B2C databases of more than a few thousand recipients.  This offers a number of benefits, including the ability to apply for ISP whitelisting, subscribing to ISP feedback loops, and to build your own reputation as a best practice email sender. How it works is each client is assigned an IP address configured for their exclusive use. This is not only a recommended best practice but also a requirement by many IPs such as Yahoo / Xtra for whitelisting.

Why is this important? Without a dedicated IP address a sender has no reputation and runs the risk of being blacklisted as a result of others that may share the IP that they use.

2) However deliverability is measured by much more and it’s not enough just to isolate the IP address. Domains also have their own reputation. It is also important that headers and links are configured for clients to use their own Domain.

Why is this important? This not only strengthens the banding of the email but also builds the reputation of the Domain.

3) SmartMail complies with the US CANSPAM law well as New Zealand’s Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act of 2007. And we constantly monitor any changes or new laws that might impact our senders and work closely with agencies involved in enforcement to ensure that our clients comply.

Anti-Spam filters examine content, behaviour and complaints to determine if a message is spam. These filters are completely unaware of your relationship with your customers, and as a result are often error-prone. Whitelisting is a service offered by a few Internet Providers to solve the problem of filters that incorrectly identify your messages as spam. We work with clients to achieve whitelisting approval.

Why is this important? When your IP address is whitelisted all your messages automatically by-pass the filters and get delivered into the inbox.

4) SmartMail complies with Best Practices when it comes to hygiene as a result of invalid addresses. We also seek to identify bounces that occur as a result of reputation issues or other Deliverability issues.

Why is this important? This careful monitoring allows us to assist our clients in managing their reputation and resolving issues before they result in damage to their long term reputation.

Every feature of our platform and capabilities is designed around meeting or exceeding these requirements. And as we have a team of deliverability experts right here at Jericho, if you have any queries about your deliverability, IP whitelisting, domain, reputation, or data handling, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.