How to Deliver eMails in a SPAM Filtered World Peter Martin President Cactus Sky Communications, Inc. peter@cactusskyeMail.com 941-907-4132 954-205-7716 cell
Power of eMail• eMail earns the Highest ROI• Last year, the average return from every dollar spent on: – eMail Marketing was $45.06 – Newspaper advertising $16.86 – Direct mail of $15.55
The Value of eMailPer eMarketer:• Internet users in the US check their personal eMail throughout the day, including at work.• Over 70% of employed respondents also said they checked their personal eMail at work—and nearly one- third said they did so more than three times a day.• On average, business users spend over an hour per day managing their eMail account.• -Garner Report as reported in Digitrends Magazine
“It’s always easier and cheaper to keep old customers than find new ones.” Dan Lawlor, senior analyst with J.D.Power,
Blocked eMail20 percent of permission-based eMail messages are being blocked.The steps presented today will help you improve your eMail deliverability.
eMail Deliverability Challenges• Crowded inboxes• Creating compelling content• Testing and continuous improvement• Implementing personalized and segmented campaigns• Monitoring and analyzing program performance• Increasing revenue and return on investment
Poor DeliverabilityPoor deliverability costs your company significant revenue from:• Lost potential sales• Money wasted to create content• Building databases or lists• Sending messages that never reach their intended audiences
Minimize spam complaintsAmerica Online, for example, currently recommends keeping spam complaints below one per 1,000 messages.
Managing ComplaintsComplaints are the #1 factor for deliverability • You need to set up and manage Feedback loops • Complaints are forwarded to sender’s abuse address for processing • Remove/suppress complaining addresses immediately • Analyze complaints for patterns • Frequency issue? • Relevancy issue?
Spam Complaints• Complaints are the cause of ISP blacklisting.• Someone can complain or register your eMail as spam with the click of a mouse button.• When enough people do the same thing with your eMail, you will be blacklisted.
Your Sender ReputationYour sender reputation has become the primary check that ISP’s use when determining how to treat your eMail.• Use recognizable sender names and explicit subject lines.• Send only relevant, wanted content.• Message frequency: not too much, not too little
Bounce Reasons• Attachment Detected • General Soft Bounce• Auto Reply • Invalid eMail Address • Mailbox Full• Challenge-Response • Message Too Large• DNS Failure • Relay Denied• General Bounce • Spam Detected• General Hard Bounce • Transient Failure• General Mail Block • Unsubscribe Request
Database Development– Prospects • Leads from various lead providers • eMail address collected at the dealership– Customers • Sales/service/interaction • Ongoing communications • Service recalls
Maintain & Clean• Analyze your data and remove invalid addresses: – No spaces or special characters (i.e., commas) – Make sure eMails have a valid domain structure – Add data validation to your web sign up form• Remove: – Distribution addresses (i.e., sales@) – System addresses (i.e., postmaster@) – Any address with the word ‘spam’ in it – Complainers and in actives
List Hygiene• The process of cleaning your list of undesirable eMail addresses• Why is list hygiene important? • Reputation • The #1 driver of deliverability today • Proper list hygiene will help establish a good reputation resulting in better deliverability. • Bad list hygiene will lead to poor reputation and poor deliverability.
List HygieneA “dirty eMail” list is guaranteed to cause delivery problems. Elements of a dirty list may include addresses that:• Have previously hard bounced• Generated a spam complaint• Unsubscribe but are still in the active database• Are likely spam-trap addresses• Are outdated domains• Have not opened or clicked in a few years
Your customers The average dealership has less than 2% of its customers’ eMail addresses.
Average Match Rates Increase your dealerships eMail house list count by up to 30%.
Matching ProcessYour existing customer Your file is matched against ourdatabase is sent to eMail permission-based eMail append eMail Matching database. When a match isMatching for processing. solution found, the eMail address is added to your file. eMail Enhancement At the completion of the eMail matching Process, A welcome eMail is sent to your the enhanced file is customers introducing online sent back to you. communications to them, Enhanced and giving them an opportunity to Consumer decline receiving any further Database for online communications. Marketing
Address Book• Encourage new subscribers to add your eMail address to their address book.• These personal white lists are your fastest route to the inbox.
How to Improve DeliverabilityTo achieve high deliverability rates requires involvement and cooperation from:• IT Department• Web designer/programmer• Copywriter• Marketing company• Database and list managers• Your staff on the front lines collecting eMail addresses• Executive management
Avoid Spammy Content• Avoid overaggressive language and spammy-looking content such as – Very large fonts – Using all caps – Big red letters – Anything that looks unprofessional and could be confused with a true spam eMail
“Catchy” vs “Spammy”• Run your copy through a content checker to identify any spam-like words, phrases or construction.• The content checker will tell you which phrases to avoid.• Two tricks that could trip a spam filter: – Subject lines in all capital letters – Using more exclamation points than necessary. • In fact, we recommend against using exclamation points at all if you can avoid it.
Service CouponsYou can have an unlimited number of online coupons.
Online buying •One-third (33%) of users in a Double-Click study had purchased something from a web site by clicking on a link in an eMail. •Another 42% clicked on an eMail link for more information, then purchased the product at a later time.
eMail Adoption Process Action Acceptance Comprehension Recall I ROAttention Builds Awareness Builds Intentions Builds Sales
Benefits of HTML• If your message is promotional or informative, but not one you would typically send via post on letterhead, we recommend designing it in HTML.• HTML offers greater control over formatting, layout, color, fonts, graphics and branding.• A visually pleasing design can affect your reader’s ability to process and enjoy the information.• HTML design also opens up a wealth of possibilities and interactive functionality within each eMail.• It gives you the ability to embed forms, links and surveys to truly participate with your reader.
Don’t over eMail• Stick to a frequency that you promised during the opt-in process. – Opt-in is the process of someone filling out a form on your web site.• We recommend twice a month. – Beginning of the month for service – Middle of the month for sales
Common MistakeBecause eMail has such high potential ROI, many marketers and their internal stakeholders fall victim to the approach of, “If it works, let’s send more eMails.”
What happens when you hit send? Best case, it is delivered into the inbox.
Worst CaseWhile ISPs and corporate filters all handle suspected spam messages differently, they generally are handled one of four ways: – Block it and return to sender with a message explaining the block – Block it without returning or notifying the sender – Route to the junk folder, often adding [SPAM] or similar notice to the subject line – Return it to you with a request to remove the subscriber if he or she clicked the spam button via a feedback loop
AuthenticationVerifies sender’s identityAccreditationThird-party verification of sender’s good habitsCertificationTokenized proof of sender’s good reputation
Message HeaderThe message header is the first thing that is seen by an eMail receiver (i.e. ISP) There are four major areas within an eMail header that should be checked prior to sending the message. These areas include:• Sender IP address• Host name of sender IP address• Envelope header From or Return Path address• Reply-To and From addresses
Sender ID• The Sender ID Framework seeks to verify that every eMail message originates from the internet domain from which it claims to have been sent.• Sender ID validates the origin of eMail messages by verifying the address of the sender against the alleged owner of the sending domain.• Sender ID uses SPF records for part of this validation process.
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) • Most domains send outbound mail through relatively small number of servers. • Domains should describe that set of servers in an SPF record in their DNS. • Internet eMail receivers can then reject forged messages. • A typical SPF record looks like: fromaddressdomain.com IN TXT "spf2.0/pra include:sid.acme.com -all"
Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM)• DKIM is a method for eMail authentication developed by YAHOO and now also used by other providers such as Gmail.• DKIM uses public-key cryptography to allow the signer to electronically sign legitimate eMails in a way that can be verified by recipients.• A typical DKIM DNS record has two parts that look like: key1._domainkey.acme12.com IN TXT “k=rsa;p=key” AND _domainkey.acme.com IN TXT “t=y;o=~;”
Dedicated IP Address• Belongs to you exclusively• When you share an IP address with other senders and they deploy a bad practice- your messages will be filtered or blocked along with theirs.• Dedicated IPs cost more, but will ensure that you are in control of your sender reputation.
Importance of “From Name”• Choose your sender/from name carefully.• Use your most recognizable and expected brand.• Be consistent with it.
Subject Line• Spend time on your subject line – first impressions mean the world to your recipient.• Personalize the subject line. Import the recipients first name into the subject line when possible.• Example subject line: Peter we have some specials for you.
Subject Line Best Practices• See which subject lines delivered the action you wanted: – The most conversions – The highest average sale per order – The highest click-through rate, etc.• Review your web analytics reports to see: – Which newsletter article topics draw the most clicks or forwards – Which whitepapers get downloaded most often – Which brands or departments get the most traffic• This analysis should: – Drive content and product selection strategies, – And it can also show you what information is most relevant or useful.
Personalize Subject Lines• Personalize subject lines based on users’ product or content preferences, interests, past purchases, web visits, or links clicked.
Subject Line LengthSome eMail clients allow more characters in a subject line than others, but most give you at least 50, including spaces. – Load your key information in that first 50. – Also, make sure the cut-off doesn’t occur in a crucial word, such as a price or date.One way to really see how your subject line will work in your recipients’ inboxes is to send yourself an eMail with your proposed subject line.
Unsubscribe Link• Make it extremely easy to unsubscribe.• If someone calls in and requests to be removed you must have a policy to accomplish that quickly.• If your spam complaint rates are very high, include an unsubscribe link at the top of your message.• Consult your Legal advisor about compliance with CAN-SPAM and other requirements.
Check ListTesting Variable ExamplesContact Frequency Last time you contacted the recipientCopy / Message Length, versions of wording, tone/styleCreative HTML versus text, different layoutseMail Type Newsletters, product information, sales promotions, new informationLanding Pages Driving visitors to different pages, different versions of a landing pageList Source eMail registrations, customers (current and lapsed), prospects, third-partyOffer % versus dollar value reduction, sweepstakes, white paper versus webinarPersonalization Use of name in subject line or message, offers based on demographicsSubject Header Tone, style, and personalization of subjectTarget Segments Demographics, psychographics, behavior, geography
eMail Pre-Flight Checklist• One critical process that is overlooked is the pre-flight checklist for eMail marketing. Spending a few minutes reviewing a pre-flight checklist prior to sending out eMail campaigns, will ensure that your messages will be opened, read, and well received.• Checklist: √ Have Goals been Clearly Defined? √ Are Logistics in Place so the Campaign may Succeed? √ Has the Correct Day and Time been Chosen to Send the Campaign? √ Are Tracking Tools Available? √ Has the List been Segmented and Reviewed for Errors? √ Has the Campaign Content been Reviewed? √ Does the Message have a Great Subject Line?
Checklist Continued√ Has the eMail been Properly Designed?√ Has the Campaign Content been Reviewed?√ Has the Message been Tested through Spam Score?√ Has the Message been Tested in Different eMail Clients?√ Does the Message Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act? √ eMail must have a functioning opt-out feature to be “ Acompliant opt-out mechanism”√ A valid subject line and header (routing) information√ The physical address of the mailer