Session: Email - Increasing Response, Cutting Through the Clutter, & Delivering Through Spam Filters
With the explosion of spam and the increased use of spam filters, email marketers are facing an uphill battle to deliver their messages. Up to 40 percent of your email marketing might never have the opportunity to be read.
ISPs are aggressively filtering out spam, and the onus is on the email marketer to follow their varying procedures. Dave Lewis of Digital Impact predicted that over the coming months many ISPs will require emailers to identify and authenticate themselves. Bill Nussey of Silverpop said that ISPs will start looking at content and relevancy to determine legitimacy. TheStreet.com's Ryan Scott argued that a close relationship with the major ISPs is needed to have a successful email campaign.
What can you do, then, as an email marketer to cut through the madness? Most major ISPs track bulk mailing on an IP basis. Scott suggested emailers use separate IP address ranges for marketing/advertising messages and customer service or premium content. He also placed great emphasis on carefully configuring domain name servers, making sure to close open relays and setting the reverse DNS. And yes, it's still important, the panelists all agreed, to link to privacy policies, require recipients to first "double opt" into lists and allow an easy unsubscribe.
Challenge-Response systems such as Mailblocks are increasingly being deployed by consumers. Even if a marketer gets through the ISP's email filters and it has a consumer's permission, the message might still get filtered based on relevancy, according to Nussey. To make sure marketers reach these inboxes, they must use consistent "From/ReplyTo" addresses for every single email sent out and politely suggest recipients add the domain to their whitelists.
How do you measure if you're successfully getting through to your audience? Panel moderator Ben Issacson of Experian recommended monitoring your server logs, keeping a close eye on complaints and evaluating click-throughs from emails and track bounces. Lewis recommended getting an account at the major ISPs to track if they are filtering out your messages. TheStreet.com uses Assurance Systems to do this.