The deliverability top 5


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This white paper assembles a wide range of tactics and information regarding deliverability into five core best practices to help marketers get up to speed quickly with the constantly changing deliverability landscape and key strategies for improving results.

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The deliverability top 5

  1. 1. W h i t e p a p e rthe Deliverability "top 5"A Best-Practice Guide for E-mail Marketing executive Summary E-mail marketing remains one of the most flexible and cost-effective channels through which marketers can reach targeted audiences with direct and meaningful messages. But e-mail marketing is only effective if it reaches recipient inboxes, and as ISPs develop increasingly stringent rules and tests in response to the problems of spam, spoofing, and phishing, many legitimate, desired e-mail messages are getting blocked or mislabeled as spam. This white paper assembles a wide range of tactics and information regarding deliverability into five core best practices to help marketers get up to speed quickly with the constantly changing deliverability landscape and key strategies for improving results.
  2. 2. The Challenge of Deliverability the ever-changing tactics of spammers. The task can be daunting, to say the least.E-mail has undeniably revolutionized marketing strategies,offering a low-cost, highly scalable means of reaching Burying one’s head in the sand, however, is nocustomers and prospects. Beyond that, it has set new solution, and marketers who fail to adequately addressstandards in terms of marketers’ ability to personalize deliverability issues will rapidly erode the effectiveness ofand target messages and track response and return on one of their most valuable and flexible channels.investment. It is, in short, a marketer’s dream medium. This white paper seeks to compile a range of deliverabilityBut marketers who have wholeheartedly embraced the information and tactics into five core best practices fore-mail channel are also in danger of being lulled into e-mail marketers—what we call the “Deliverability Top 5”:complacency. The minimal cost of e-mail marketing . Understand Why E-mail Gets Blockedlowers the barriers to launching campaigns but mayalso make marketers somewhat passive about response 2. Monitor and Respond to Deliverability Metricsrates—after all, if the set-up costs are low, doesn’t any 3. Manage Your Sender Reputationdegree of response count as ROI? But if marketers aren’t 4. Send Messages Users Want to Receivevigilant about tracking what happens to their marketinge-mails once they are sent out, they may be missing a 5. Test, Test, and Test Againshocking statistic: a large percentage of their e-mails While it’s nearly impossible to cover the vast landscape(20% or more,. in many cases, and up to 40% for of deliverability in a single white paper, this documentbusiness recipients2.) may not be reaching recipients at should provide a good starting point for e-mail marketersall, and ignoring the problem will only make it worse, as wanting to make sure that more of their carefully craftedsending out e-mails that do not meet current standards permission-based marketing messages reach theirwill further injure their sender reputation. intended recipients.In response to problems such as spam, spoofing, andphishing, which represent a staggering 80% of all e-mailtraffic,3. Internet service providers (ISPs) have developed The Deliverability Top 5increasingly stringent rules and tests that e-mails andtheir senders must pass to get through to recipients. . Understand Why E-mail Gets BlockedIt’s no longer a matter of avoiding certain trigger words It was estimated that the cost of e-mail incorrectlyin your content or subject line—in fact, it’s become a blocked as spam (“false positives”) accounted forcomplex and increasingly technical challenge to ensure $0� million of total e-mail spending in 2006.4. With ISPe-mail deliverability. filtering techniques getting more and more complex and marketers struggling to keep pace, one can onlyEven if e-mail messages do reach their recipients, many imagine that this figure is on the increase for 200� andmarketers would be shocked to see how they turn out. beyond. One thing is for sure: undelivered marketingSome ISPs block images by default, and many more e-mails represent not just wasted effort, but wastedblock them if your sender reputation is unknown or poor, money. Beyond just wastage, this represents lost revenueresulting in carefully crafted designs and messages opportunities: if marketers eliminate a 20% deliverabilityrendering as garbled messes with missing information. gap, the results should have a commensurate impact onNot only does this damage branding and impact sales and ultimately revenue. If e-mail marketers wereresponse, it also results in recipients interpreting your uncertain whether this problem was costing them, themessages as spam and increasing your complaint rate, answer is now clear.which further degrades your ability to deliver. The first step toward fixing the problem is to understandMost marketers are aware that deliverability is an issue, it. Far too many marketers shy away from educatingbut many are not aware of the quantity of legitimate, themselves about e-mail delivery. By taking the time todesired e-mail messages that are getting blocked and learn why e-mail gets blocked, marketers can get a sensemislabeled as spam—and they don’t know how to find of the multiple lines of attack they must pursue to improveout how their own campaigns are doing and how they deliverability. Even if you use outside experts or solutionsmeasure up with other companies. Other marketers know to combat the problem, a little knowledge can go athe extent of the problem but lack the time and resources long way toward selecting the right partners and feelingto keep up with—let alone comply with—the ever-evolving confident that you’re really covered on all fronts.standards and rules ISPs put in place to keep up with. Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Marketer Agency Guide to Email Deliverability,” 2006.2. MarketingSherpa, “E-mail Marketing Benchmark Guide 200�.” 4. David Daniels, “Outlook 2006: More Technology, More Targeting,” DM News, February 6, 2006.3. Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Marketer Agency Guide to Email Deliverability,” 2006. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper
  3. 3. Content Content considerations don’t end with text, however. Images and attachments can also get an e-mail blocked.Content is now something of a dinosaur in e-mail Attachments are easily avoidable—if you have documentsdeliverability, and arguably almost as extinct as a or content that cannot be contained in the body of thedeliverability concern. For almost as long as there has e-mail itself, post your content online and link to it frombeen e-mail, there have been filters screening e-mail the e-mail, rather than attaching it. Images can be difficultsubject lines and content to check for trigger words that for some marketers to part with, as they can make e-mailsmight indicate that an e-mail’s contents are obscene or much more creative and aesthetically appealing. Whileunsolicited and promotional. While this is still the case, you may not need to dispense with them altogether, it’strigger words are now eclipsed by other deliverability important to use them sparingly, as many ISPs see afactors, and smart marketers can ultimately use any higher number of graphical elements as a sign of spam.content they desire provided they are diligent on other In addition, many popular e-mail programs, including thedeliverability fronts. Nonetheless, its worthwhile to be widely used Microsoft Outlook, now block images inaware of content that can cause deliverability problems e-mails by default, requiring users to actively downloadfor marketers who may not have their other deliverability the images to view them. Not only can this result inbases covered. garbled messages that look nothing like the senderSome trigger words, such as foul or pornographic intended, but it also underlines the importance of notlanguage, are relatively obvious and unlikely to be used relying too heavily on graphics to draw readers in orby any reputable marketer in the first place. Other words communicate information. If an e-mail doesn’t appeal toand phrases, such as “free” or “apply now,” could a recipient based on its non-graphical elements, the usereasily be used in solicited e-mails, but most marketers is unlikely to take the extra step to download the images.understand that the rampant use of such terms in spam If a key piece of information is contained in a graphic,messages justifies some filtering of e-mails containing such as the call to action or important details or benefits,them. But many of the words and phrases that trigger an e-mail’s conversion rate may suffer dramatically. Thespam filters are common in solicited e-mail and seem problem is more widespread than one might imagine: in ainnocent enough to many marketers: phrases such as 2006 study by the Email Experience Council, 2% of ,000“unlimited,” “congratulations,” “weekend getaway,” “terms B2B and B2C e-mails reviewed appeared completelyand conditions,” or “guarantee.” In fact, even phrases blank when images were turned off or stripped by e-mailassociated with responsible e-mail marketing, such as clients.5. While this does not affect deliverability per se, it“unsubscribe” or “opt in”—which usually signal that does support the best practice of minimizing graphics.marketers are following the guidelines of the CAN-SPAM After all, if you are going to put increased effort intoAct, which require a clear way for recipients to opt out ensuring an e-mail reaches recipient inboxes, it’s worthof e-mail communications—can label an e-mail as the extra step to ensure it renders well.spam. It’s thus worthwhile for marketers to keep up withtrends in trigger-word filtering, which evolves along with Volumespam trends and even legitimate marketing practices. E-mail volume per hour is another simple and obviousMany trigger words can be easily avoided with a simple way to catch spammers: how many personal e-mailsrephrasing, such as using “Want to stop hearing from get sent out to five or 0,000 people at once? But at theus?” instead of “unsubscribe.” same time, every day, thousands of people sign up for e-newsletters, e-mail alerts, and other forms of massTrigger-word avoidance, however, is not an exact science. e-mail communication, confirming that volume alone isLists of trigger words vary from ISP to ISP and spam not a reliable indicator of whether an e-mail is spam.filter to spam filter, and they’re always changing. The Nonetheless, many ISPs closely monitor volume andpresence of a single trigger word is seldom enough to impose volume caps, shutting down your connectionget an e-mail labeled as spam, but in combination with if a resource-demand threshold is surpassed. Volumeother trigger words or spam-detection factors, it may set thresholds not only vary by ISP, but also by sender—thean e-mail “over the edge.” One useful common-sense acceptable threshold for a sender may depend on atest is to consider whether the language used in your combination of other factors, such as sender reputationmessages is uniquely promotional in any way—“remove score and number of complaints received about theme from your list” or “act now” may be common phrases sender. Accordingly, marketers should regulate, orin a commercial e-mail, but they’re unlikely phrases to find throttle, their volume, number of connections, andin a non-commercial one. The only real way to determine messages per connection (more on this below) to ensurewhether an e-mail contains trigger words is to test it, either they are keeping within acceptable thresholds for varioususing a software tool or by creating test accounts with ISPs. In addition, they should carefully manage theirmajor ISPs and sending your e-mail to them, changingphrases in subsequent tests if your initial test is blocked. 5. Email Experience Council, 2006. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 2
  4. 4. sender reputation to avoid low volume thresholds— they e-mail a few bad addresses—especially compared totechniques for this are described in detail below. the cost of telemarketing or print mailings.Of course, one surefire way to avoid volume caps List hygiene can be a nuisance for marketers, but theis to reduce the volume of identical e-mails you results of not keeping your list clean are much moresend. Interestingly, this also dovetails with another injurious. ISPs measure the number of “unknown users”marketing best practice: personalization via small-slice or recipients in your mailings, and if the number is toosegmentation. Rather than sending broad messages out high, they may block or even blackhole (automaticallyto a large number of recipients, marketers should look delete) your messages. Unknown recipients can resultto increase relevance and personalization by carefully from a myriad of common reasons—people change ISPs,segmenting their list by meaningful criteria and sending change jobs, enter their e-mail addresses incorrectly whenout more tailored messages to smaller groups. Not only subscribing, or provide a false address, for example.will this tend to mitigate concerns regarding volume capsdue to smaller list size, it will also increase conversions. There are a few strategies marketers can take to reduceIf this sounds like more effort than a single e-mail the chance of bad data entering their lists, includingblast, it is, at least initially. But with today’s advanced requiring subscribers to enter their e-mail twice (reducesmarketing automation tools, you can create campaigns chance of typos), requiring a confirmed opt-in (sending athat deliver the personalization on an ongoing basis, confirmation e-mail recipients must act on; this minimizesand thus have lifecycles of months instead of minutes. fake addresses), asking users to provide secondary e-mailSoftware that enables this kind of perpetually running addresses (so that marketers can switch to the second onecampaign can make the overall effort invested even less if the primary one fails), and making it easy for recipientsthan that of running multiple large campaigns. And the to update their profile data and e-mail addresses.payoff in terms of increased receptivity on the part of the Nonetheless, a certain number of bad e-mail addressesrecipient is difficult to overstate. With studies indicating will inevitably accrue on a list over time, and if you continuethat relevance is among e-mail recipients’ top criteria to e-mail a significant number of these addresses, there’swhen deciding whether an e-mail is spam, even when a good chance your e-mails will be blocked.they subscribed to it, e-mail relevance is more than just In addition to the methods listed above, recenta nice-to-have feature: it could have a tangible impact on improvements in software systems enable marketers toyour e-mail deliverability, not just in terms of volume, but automatically eliminate e-mail addresses (or take otheralso complaints. defined actions) when they bounce or even when users don’t open or click through after a prolonged period ofComplaints time. This can radically improve your reputation with ISPs,In their efforts to enlist frustrated customers in the battle to resulting in both higher deliverability and fewer contenttrounce spam, ISPs have made it easier than ever to label and image filters being placed on your e-mail as spam, with many integrating one-click “reportas spam” buttons into their e-mail interfaces. Customers Spam-trap hitsno longer have to go to the trouble of complaining to an Spam traps are e-mail addresses set up specifically toISP about spam the hard way—they can just select and attract spam. Rather than going to a recipient, e-mailsclick, and the complaint is logged with the ISP. If one of sent to these traps are logged and monitored. Theyyour e-mails receives enough of these complaints, expect may also be “fingerprinted”— labeled as spam andyour e-mails to start going directly to all recipients’ junk then compared against new messages, which are alsomail boxes—or to be blocked altogether. The danger of labeled as spam if their content or links match thethis easy mechanism for reporting spam is that many original. Spam-trap hits can be avoided by eliminatingrecipients will label anything they don’t want to read as duplicates, generally keeping lists current and removingspam—as mentioned above, often even if they subscribed e-mail addresses that have not responded to a campaignto it. They may also mistakenly believe that reporting an for a significant period of time. Marketers should alsoe-mail as spam is tantamount to unsubscribing. This be careful when dealing with third-party list providersemphasizes the importance of making your e-mail sender and sending e-mails to partner lists—if these lists havename and subject line as clear as possible to avoid bad data or spam-trap addresses on them, it couldmistaken complaints (as well as your opt-out process), introduce bad data into the list and negatively impact theirand it also reinforces the wisdom of following best deliverability rate.practices regarding segmentation, personalization,and relevance. Failing authentication testsUnknown recipients Spoofing—masquerading as another e-mail sender—is a serious problem for all e-mail users, because it meansMarketers can get lulled into a false sense of confidence that anyone can have their sender reputation irreparablywhen it comes to e-mail lists. Sure, their lists may have damaged by a spammer appropriating their identity.some outdated addresses or bad data, but is it really Phishing—the attempt to extract private data suchsuch a big deal? After all, it doesn’t cost them any more if as bank passwords by spoofing e-mail addresses of CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 3
  5. 5. legitimate service providers—poses even greater threats Good marketing automation solutions should maketo consumers and businesses alike. Because there is no it simple for marketers to generate detailed reportscommon method on the receiving end to verify a sender’s showing open rates, click-throughs, bounce rates, andidentity, this has placed the onus on e-mail senders to other metrics. Start by generating and analyzing theseprove they are who they appear to be. Unfortunately, there reports—not just for a single campaign, but for a rangeis no single method for authenticating e-mail senders, so of campaigns. Cross-compare them: did certain kinds ofmarketers need to be aware of—and in compliance with— campaigns perform better than others? Did campaignsa number of industry standards for e-mail authentication, to a specific list have higher bounce rates than others?which will be discussed in more detail below. Keeping up Is campaign performance improving or deteriorating overto date with e-mail authentication standards is critical for time? Simply making the effort to closely scrutinize ande-mail marketers, as failing to authenticate correctly can compare reports will likely uncover an array of usableeasily result in the marketer’s address being blacklisted. insights into your e-mail marketing campaign performance. Marketing reports of this nature are always valuable, butreputation on their own, it is hard to truly evaluate where you stand.A sender’s e-mail “reputation” is a complex amalgam Comparing your figures against industry benchmarksthat may take into account any or all of the negative is a great way to see how your programs stack up. Forfactors discussed above, as well as positive criteria such basic widely broadcast e-mails, Jupiter Research citesas whitelisting or sender accreditation and history as an an average open rate of 20%, click-through rate of 9.5%,e-mail marketer in good standing. On a more formal level, and conversion rate of .% as the industry benchmarks,“reputation” is a score assigned by e-mail reputation with higher metrics for more targeted, personalized, orservices firms, which track all available data about e-mail event-triggered campaigns.6.marketers and score them based on these factors. Theymonitor the sender’s activity continuously, and thus In the absence of deliverability metrics, however, it’sthe reputation score may fluctuate with every e-mail hard to get the full picture about open rates and othercampaign. Scores from reputation services firm such as performance metrics. If your open rate is below 20%, doesReturn Path, Habeas, TRUSTe, and Goodmail are used that mean that your subject lines aren’t compelling—orby ISPs and anti-spam software vendors in determining simply that fewer people are receiving the e-mail insender quality and in making deliverability decisions. the first place? Getting to the bottom of your delivery issues can help flesh out your overall e-mail marketingaccreditation performance picture substantially. Yet one quarter of marketers are unsure of their deliverability figures.�.Marketers can seek accreditation through reputationservices firms such as those listed above, usually by Deliverability benchmarks vary, but the most recentundergoing a rigorous initial standards and policy available data suggests that permission-based e-mailsevaluation process and adhering to standards on an to U.S.-based ISPs are delivered to the recipient’s junkongoing basis, as well as paying some kind of fee. or bulk e-mail folder almost 6% of the time.8. Overall,Accredited e-mail marketers are essentially automatically permission-based e-mails are reaching consumer inboxeswhitelisted with the ISPs that use use that particular only about �5% of the time. The picture gets more variedreputation firm’s services, because the reputation services as one delves into specific ISPs: XO Concentric deliversfirm certifies their e-mail blasts as safe to deliver. a whopping 56% of permission-based e-mails to the junk mail folder; SBC Global and Bell South, 30%; Yahoo, 26%;2. Monitor and Respond to Deliverability and MSN Network, GMail, and Hotmail, 8%.9.Metrics responding to Bounced e-mailsThe large number of factors that contribute to e-mail With these sobering statistics in mind, how candeliverability can be admittedly prohibitive for marketers marketers track and act on their metrics to improveto address. But there are several simple steps that you their e-mail deliverability?can take that can yield immediate improvements ine-mail deliverability. The first thing to do is get a handle on your bounce rate. The overall percentage of e-mails sent that bounce backBenchmarking is a nice figure to have and to track over time, but it’s notYour first priority should be to get a handle on yourdeliverability metrics as they stand right now. A surprisingnumber of e-mail marketers do not have any visibility 6. David Daniels, Jupiter Research, December 2006.into the performance of their campaigns—they may seeincoming leads, but have little insight into whether non- �. Jupiter Research, 2006.respondents opened the e-mail or even received it in the 8. Lyris, ISP Deliverability Report Card, Q2 200�.first place. 9. Ibid. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 4
  6. 6. enough to truly take action—it lets you know the extent Another good reason to pay attention to bounced e-mailsof the problem, but provides few clues on how to fix it. is to watch for “challenge-response” e-mails. VariousThe good news is that ISPs send you back information spam blockers, including Earthlink and Spam Arrest, sendabout why they bounce each e-mail. The bad news an e-mail the first time a recipient gets an e-mail from ais that these “reasons” take the form of thousands of certain sender, requiring the sender to type in the code indifferent cryptic bounce codes that differ from ISP to ISP, a CAPTCHA graphic. While this is laborious, it only needsmaking it very difficult to make sense of this feedback. to be performed once per recipient, and with these kindsLuckily, solutions are available on the market that can of programs growing in popularity, it is worth the effort tonormalize these bounce codes and sort them into logical ensure deliverability.0.and understandable categories, enabling marketers toget a good sense of the major reasons their e-mails are Monitoring Blacklistsbouncing back without sifting through bounce codes. No permission-based marketer wants to think that they’veWith an understanding of bounce rates and categories, been branded as a spammer, but it’s good to know formarketers can begin to take immediate action to improve certain. If you send out large e-mail communications, eventheir deliverability rate. First off, marketers should if they are permission-based, there is a strong possibilityautomatically cull all e-mail addresses that receive a that you will at some time be misidentified as a spammer“hard” bounce—that is, e-mails that are returned to the and listed on a blacklist. If you have been having e-mailsender without being accepted by the recipient’s e-mail deliverability issues, it is worth checking whether yourserver. Hard bounces may indicate that the marketer’s domain or IP address has made it onto a blacklist. In fact,company has been blacklisted by the ISP, and continued it is worth monitoring blacklists on an ongoing basis toattempts to e-mail these addresses will not be any ensure that you react swiftly should your company ormore successful—these e-mails should be immediately e-mail service provider appear on the list. Several blacklistsremoved from the list. are published publicly, including those from SpamCop and Spamhaus. ISPs use these public blacklists (often in“Soft” bounces—e-mails that are bounced back after addition to their own private blacklists) to block and filterbeing accepted by the recipient mail server—can occur e-mails. A variety of tools and services are available thatfor a variety of reasons, and require more monitoring and monitor blacklists for you and alert you if your IP or domaininvestigation to determine the best course of action. For appears on them. Some of today’s software solutions canexample, a mail server may bounce the e-mail because help detect when an ISP is not delivering your e-mails andit cannot find the recipient’s address, because the also stop the e-mail flow through a particular problemrecipient’s mailbox is at capacity, or because the e-mail ISP, so that if you are blacklisted, you can hold affectedsize exceeds the ISP’s pre-set maximum. If the e-mail recipients e-mails until the problem is resolved. Gettingaddress does not exist, marketers will want to remove off a list can be challenging and take time, but being onit, but since soft bounces can be due to a temporary a blacklist can decimate your e-mail marketing programs,state such as a full mailbox or server problem, it would so it is important to be aware of blacklisting as soon asbe rash to remove all soft bounces automatically. possible and take immediate action.A better method is to set a threshold for soft bounces—for example, removing e-mails that receive a certain removing inactive Contactsnumber of consecutive soft bounces—or to set differentcourses of action depending on the different bounce As much as marketers would like to believe that everycode categories. contact is a potential conversion, there is value in removing recipients from your lists after a certain period ofOne strategy that is increasing in popularity is to send an inactivity. Recipients who have not opened or clicked onautomated welcome message to all subscribers who opt an e-mail you have sent them for some time may well seein to an e-mail program and immediately remove all hard your e-mails as unwanted, increasing the chance that theybounces—this lessens the chance that bad or fake e-mail will report them as spam. Stale, inactive contactsaddresses will make it onto the list for mass e-mails. are also more likely to be spam traps. What length of inactivity qualifies for removal will depend on the industry,A few software vendors have recently integrated their the frequency of contact, and other factors, but may bee-mail automation systems with mail transfer agents as short as 90 days. Rather than simply removing the(MTAs) that deliver the e-mails and detect and categorize contact from the list, marketers may instead wish to dothe bounces. This level of integration enables hard a final campaign to the inactive list segment—a “we wantbounces to be removed automatically and other types you back” campaign, for example—offering them theof bounces to go through an automated process that opportunity to re-engage or unsubscribe. Current softwarepreserves good, deliverable e-mail addresses and deletes packages enable this process to be automated, yet highlybad ones. 0. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, “Best Practices that Improve E-Mail Deliverability (Part 3)”,, September 4, 200�. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 5
  7. 7. interactive, enabling prospects to opt back in to content expectations more clearly with subscribers to reducethat is relevant to them, potentially giving them several future complaints.choices. Systems that allow conditional paragraphs orsections can include these options in e-mails when they When it comes to e-mail deliverability, the moreget close to the “inactive threshold.” visibility you have into your campaign metrics, the more empowered you are to troubleshoot and improve results.It is worth taking every measure possible to preserve your Monitoring and acting on the metrics described above iscontact list, but equally important to draw an eventual line critical to ensure marketing e-mails reach their destinationwith inactive contacts. As hard as it can be to remove and have the chance to convert prospects, and it canhard-won contacts from the marketing database, doing so be made significantly easier through and automatedmay have a positive impact on deliverability. response capabilities.Subscribing to Feedback Loops 3. Manage Your Sender ReputationMany ISPs, including AOL and Hotmail, make it possible A good sender reputation is golden in e-mail marketing.for e-mail marketers to track when their e-mails are In much the same way that being on a blacklist can resultreported as spam or provoke complaints. These in your e-mails being indiscriminately blocked, having a“feedback loops” are usually automated systems that good sender reputation can help ensure all your e-mailsmerely require the marketer to enroll; it’s a simple way sail past the ISP gatekeepers without issue—certainly theto get valuable data. Again, however, the onus is on ideal scenario for e-mail marketing.the marketer to register for the feedback loop, monitorthe data, and act on complaint information. Given the Attaining a good sender reputation, however, requireslarge number of ISPs, this can be a somewhat laborious diligence, knowledge, and often some financial investmentprocess, and marketing departments that lack the as well. But if e-mail marketing is a key channel for yourresources to adequately manage feedback loops in-house organization, the returns are well worth the effort.may wish to seek out third-party solutions or serviceproviders to help alleviate the complexity. Build relationships with iSpsWhether it is managed in-house or externally, marketers ISPs are the unavoidable middlemen in yourshould not ignore the valuable data provided by feedback communications with prospects and customers, and asloops. Complaint rates should be monitored closely, such, it’s worth the effort to build relationships with them.and all complainers should be removed from the list As with any friendship, this involves taking the time toimmediately. Ideally, software should be utilized that get to know them—their thresholds, their triggers, theirenables complaint rates to be monitored in real time; standards—and engaging in a sustained relationship overif you notice that the complaint rate is approaching a time. If you’re the new kid on the block and don’t yet have aknown danger-threshold for an ISP (for AOL, for example, history of being a sender in good standing, you can expectthis is a 0.% complaint rate.), this software should halt your e-mails to be scrutinized by more image and contentor throttle down the campaign, reducing the chance of filters than companies with established reputations. But adamaging your sender reputation. Another smart tactic commitment to meeting deliverability standards over timeis to test campaigns on small list samples first, getting will help you build up a solid reputation.a sense of the complaint rate by individual ISP to helppredict whether any problems will be encountered with The challenge? There are 20 or 30 main ISPs, andthe main blast. Finally, marketers should analyze the those are just the major ones. And the truth is that fewimplications of their complaint rates—if a certain segment marketers can expect to develop real relationshipsor type of mailing receives higher than usual complaint with ISPs, especially if they’re from smaller firms. Butrates, there are valuable lessons marketers can learn that should not preclude marketers from seizing everyfrom this data. Are new subscribers complaining in higher opportunity to engage with the ISPs by whatever methodsnumbers than long-time subscribers, for example? If are available. This can include signing up for theso, this could indicate that subscribers don’t feel they aforementioned feedback loops with any ISPs that offerare getting what they expected from you—or perhaps them. Some ISPs, including Yahoo, also offer marketersthat there was too great an interval between their opt-in a mechanism by which to submit themselves for whitelistand the first e-mail they received.2. Marketers can use evaluation. Also, by becoming familiar with differentthis information to fine-tune their programs and set volume caps and guidelines set by ISPs, you can throttle your e-mail delivery rates and connections to stay in line with each ISP’s recommendations.. Derek Harding, “Getting in the Feedback Loop,” ClickZ, September �, 2006.2. Ibid. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 6
  8. 8. avoid Switching ip addresses authenticate Your e-mailTo build up a reputation, you need to have a unique As discussed earlier, methods for authenticating theidentity that is comprehensible and distinguishable from identity of an e-mail sender have become increasinglyother e-mail senders. This means maintaining the same important in recent years due to widespread attemptsIP addresses for your mailings over time. Each time you by spammers to hide their identities or spoof the identityswitch IP addresses, it is like setting back the clock in of another sender. Since several different systems ofterms of building up a sender reputation. authentication are in use by different ISPs, both alone and in combination, marketers should be aware of and inMaintaining IP address consistency, however, does not compliance with all of the major authentication methods.mean that you have to use a single IP address. In fact, These include Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Senderit’s highly advisable to maintain separate IP addresses for ID (which combines SPF with Microsoft’s Caller ID),corporate e-mails and bulk mailings, to ensure that if your DomainKeys (from Yahoo), and DomainKeys Identifiede-mail marketing reputation is damaged, this does not Mail (which combines DomainKeys and Cisco’s Identifiedimpede the delivery of other important corporate e-mails. Internet Mail).Another strategy you may want to consider is maintaining Sender Policy Framework is an open standard that allowsdifferent IP addresses for different kinds of mailings, senders to define their e-mail sending policy, includingsuch as customer versus prospect communications, or the servers and IP addresses from which they send mail.informative versus promotional e-mails. This approach Senders publish an SPF record containing this “returncan also be used to maintain different IP addresses for path” information within their DNS, and receiving ISPs thatsending e-mail from different divisions or brands, which use SPF for authentication verify that incoming messagescan help build up the strongest sender reputations for comply with the listed domain/IP addresses contained inthe strongest brands or divisions while not allowing this record. If the e-mail is not in compliance with the SPFweaker divisions or brands to weaken the overall record, the ISP blocks the e-mail.sender reputation. Many e-mail marketers and ISPs have embraced SPF,Set Up Your Systems properly making it the most popular IP-based authentication solution. But SPF records are not a one-time solution—Minor blunders in system set-up can have a major impact they must be rigorously maintained and kept up to date.on sender reputation. Ensure that your IT team has Recent data indicates that SPF authentication checksconfigured your e-mail servers with reverse DNS and mail are now in the list of the top-0 content triggers that ISPsexchanger (MX) records and does not have open relays or check, and failing an SPF check carries a much heavieropen proxies. These small errors can result in automatic penalty than other spam triggers.3. If e-mail sendersblocking of your e-mails by ISPs. neglect to keep their SPF record up to date with correct IP/server information, this can have a far more damagingGet Whitelisted effect on their e-mail deliverability than not having anGetting whitelisted by ISPs is highly desirable for any SPF record in the first place. Ensure that you alwayse-mail marketer. As previously mentioned, a few ISPs have a thorough and accurate SPF record in place, andallow senders to apply to become whitelisted, but be certain to update it should you change IPs or e-mailmost rely on their own data and third-party services to service providers.determine which senders will be whitelisted. Marketers Sender ID is similar to SPF in that it verifies sendercan try to achieve good standing on these lists simply e-mail addresses against a published policy record inby following best practices, but for some it may be the DNS. Sender ID differs from SPF in the layer of theworthwhile to seek accreditation or employ the assistance e-mail system that it checks against and what it validates.of a reputation services firm (more on these options Sender ID is a Microsoft-created authentication protocolbelow) in order to ensure they get on ISP whitelists. that builds upon SPF but is not entirely compatible withMarketers should also ask individual subscribers to add existing SPF specifications, though there are workaroundsthe sender to their whitelist. This can be useful not only in that allow e-mail senders to use the same SPF recordgetting past ISP gatekeepers, but corporate spam filters with minor modifications to permit Sender ID well, which are often even more restrictive than ISPs. You should ensure that your IT team is aware of theAny marketer engaged in business-to-business marketing differences between SPF and Sender ID and sets up yourcommunications should go to every length to get SPF record to support both.subscribers to whitelist them. You should ask subscribers As with SPF and Sender ID, DomainKeys (DK) is a systemto whitelist you at the point of subscription, in confirmation for proving that e-mail senders are who they say they are.e-mails, and in all communications, linking to clear,comprehensive instructions on how to whitelist you. 3. Lyris, “ISP Deliverability Report Card, Q2 200�.” CDC MarketFirst | White Paper �
  9. 9. To comply with DK, an e-mail sender must create a pair services: third-party programs that certify sender policiesof keys (one public, one private) and use them to sign all and practices. An accredited firm must typically undergooutgoing e-mails. The public key is published in the DNS, a rigorous evaluation, which might include scrutiny ofand the private key is made available to the e-mail server. corporate history, e-mail policies, complaint rates, opt-outWhen an authorized e-mail message is sent from the processes, spam trap hits, data collection methods, anddomain, the e-mail server uses the private key to create a more. Accreditation is not a one-time event; accrediteddigital signature header for the e-mail. The receiving firms are generally monitored on an ongoing basise-mail server reads the header and retrieves the public and must continue to comply with his standards tokey from the sender’s DNS record, verifying that the maintain accreditation.pair of keys goes together. If they don’t, the e-mail will beblocked. Accreditation leads to an improved sender reputation. E-mails from accredited firms are generally givenTo deploy DomainKeys, you must use a DomainKey- preferential treatment by ISPs that subscribe to theenabled mail transfer agent and choose one of several accreditation firm’s programs, if not whitelisted outright.options for key distribution. The public key should be These standards vary, however, and even accredited e-published to your domain’s DNS and the private key mails may be subject to some regular ISP spam filtering.inserted into the MTA. In addition, accreditation firms partner with various ISPs but not necessarily all of them; accreditation from a givenDomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an open standard firm may offer no advantage whatsoever for e-mails sentthat synthesizes DomainKeys with Cisco’s Identified to non-partner ISPs. Nonetheless, accreditation can be aInternet Mail specifications, and as with DK, it appends powerful tool in improving sender reputation, and it shoulda digital signature to the outgoing message. It uses be considered by all serious e-mail enhanced DK DNS record that permits the use ofa number of additional parameters. As with Sender ID Use Sender reputation Servicesand SPF, you should ensure that your e-mail and DNSadministrators understand the differences between the Reputation services firms continually monitor e-mailsystems and set up your DomainKeys to support both deliverability data and score senders based on allkinds of standards. available data. Reputation services firm Return Path, for example, monitors 60 data points to develop compositeThere is some indication that the future of e-mail “Sender Score” reputation rankings, including complaints,authentication and reputation tracking lies not in IP-based filtering, volume, network integrity, ID stability, and more.tests, but in domain-based ones. At the July 200� These scores are provided to ISPs, which use the scoresFederal Trade Commission Spam Summit meeting in in determining whether to deliver e-mails from a givenWashington, D.C., there was both strong governmental sender. E-mails from senders with higher scores areand industry interest to move away from tracking typically given preferential treatment, though the e-mailreputation by IP address and to track it based on domain. may still be subject to additional filtering. Because ofThis could give crypto-based authentication systems the in-depth tracking performed by sender reputationsuch as DomainKeys an eventual edge over IP-based services firms, however, most ISPs do consider their dataauthentication standards such as SPF. At this point, valuable in determining deliverability status; furthermore,however, IP-based approaches remain widely used, subscribing to sender reputation services can giveso marketers should continue to build marketers access to a wealth of information abouttheir reputations around the IP addresses they use for their reputation that they might not otherwise have thee-mail communications. resources to track. Marketers looking to delve into the factors impacting their reputation should consider senderKeeping up with authentication standards can take reputation services as an option.effort, as well as collaboration with your e-mail serverand/or DNS administrators, but it is no longer optional fore-mail marketers. As these standards grow in usage, not 4. Send Messages Users Want tounderstanding them and taking all steps for compliance Receivewill damage an e-mail marketer’s sender reputation. Even With the many factors that impact deliverability, marketersif you use a third-party e-mail service provider, it is worth may begin to see getting their e-mails into recipientspending the time to understand authentication standards inboxes as an endless series of hoops to jump be better positioned to evaluate whether your service But it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of seeingprovider is in full compliance with the latest developments e-mail deliverability as some sort of elaborate contestin authentication. to trick your way into targets’ inboxes. The simple fact is that even if your e-mails are successfully delivered toUse accreditation Services recipients, if the receiver doesn’t want the message, heSeveral companies, including Return Path, Goodmail or she will delete the e-mail unopened, unsubscribe fromSystems, TRUSTe, and Habeas, provide accreditation your list, or—worst of all—report your e-mail as spam, damaging your sender reputation. Since the ultimate aim of most e-mail marketing is to generate leads or convert CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 8
  10. 10. sales, deliverability is a means to an end, not the end in Send relevant, targeted, personalized,and of itself, which is good to keep in perspective. adaptive MessagesMarketers should do everything within their power to send It is borne out time and time again in research reportse-mails prospects and customers want to receive. To do that the more relevant and personalized an e-mail is, theany less can negatively impact not just deliverability, but more effective it will be. Knowing this—and with marketingbrand equity and sales figures. Part of this is, of course, automation systems now available that put thesetaking the time to develop compelling, valuable e-mail capabilities within the reach of almost any marketer—copy and offers. But there are many other simple steps e-mail marketers have little excuse for blasting outyou can take to try to ensure your e-mails go to receptive generic, single-shot e-mails to unsegmented lists. Notaudiences that want to receive them. only will better-targeted, more personalized e-mails achieve better conversion rates, they will also improveUse a Closed-Loop Confirmation process deliverability due to fewer complaints.Requiring subscribers to confirm their registration or Segmentation has achieved new heights in recenttaking steps on your end to confirm the validity of years, with the development of sophisticated marketinga subscription are easy ways to help ensure right off the automation systems that allow lists to be segmentedbat that your subscribers want your e-mails. Closed-loop not just by basic demographic data, but accordingconfirmation processes can be put in place by sending to advanced, multi-factorial criteria that may includesubscribers a confirmation e-mail that requires them to preferences, past behavior, even website usage patterns.respond or click a link to activate their subscription, Such systems enable marketers to create truly meaningfulwhich eliminates fraudulent or malicious subscriptions. list segments and target them behaviorally. The abilityAt a minimum, send an automated welcome message to easily generate these complex lists and even sub-to new subscribers and remove the bounces or any segments for testing purposes enables marketers to takecomplainers immediately. their e-mail targeting to the next level.Give Subscribers Control Similarly, “personalization” is no longer a matter of inserting the recipient’s name into the “to” line. Today’sThe more options you offer subscribers, the more likely best marketing automation systems enable marketersyou are to offer a combination that suits them and to make almost every element of an e-mail conditional,keeps them happy with your e-mails. There is no single composing completely custom e-mails based on thecombination that will please every subscriber, so why not contact’s profile data, from the sender line and differentgive them control? As part of the subscription process, copy elements down to individual images. The sky isgive users the ability to set their preferences for format now the limit in terms of personalization; it’s up to the(e.g., HTML, text, even non-e-mail formats such as fax or marketer to decide how they want the user to experienceSMS) and frequency (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly, or their e-mails.unlimited). You should also give them options in terms ofsubject matter: are they only interested in a certain kind of There is also no reason to see streams of e-mailproduct, or in information relevant to their industry or role? communications as static and linear. Again, advancedNot only will this give you valuable information about the marketing automation systems allow marketers to createcontact’s areas of interest, but it will also enable you to adaptive campaigns that react to past contact behavior.ensure you do not send them messages on subjects they Perhaps the contact responded best to a certain kind ofdon’t care about and are more likely to see as unwanted. offer in past, or clicked on a certain kind of link: marketersAllow contacts to easily update and manage their own can ensure that the next e-mail this contact receivesprofiles, changing their frequency or areas of interest, draws on this information to compose an even morefor example, should they change their minds about what custom message, with the e-mail stream becoming morethey want to receive. This process should also enable and more relevant and personalized with each successivethem to update their e-mail address to help keep your interaction. This is the dream of true one-to-onelist up to date. marketing, made possible on a mass scale.By placing a link to user-controlled profile management Finally, if they aren’t doing so already, marketers shouldon your website and in every e-mail you send, you can also consider evolving their e-mail marketing practicesimprove list hygiene and help users think twice about to become less of a broadcast medium and more of anwhether they want to unsubscribe altogether or simply intelligent event-triggered channel. Rather than blastingchange the parameters for receiving e-mails from your firm. messages out to audiences when it suits you, meet them where they are. E-mails triggered by recipient action or lifecycle stage have significantly higher conversion rates than other forms of campaigns. For example, sending new customers an up-sell or cross-sell campaign for complementary products based on the timing of their recent purchase will yield better results than periodically CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 9
  11. 11. blasting generic up-sell or cross-sell campaigns to the By taking these simple steps, marketers can help ensureentire customer base when it suits the company, not that they are sending their e-mail messages to receptivethe customer. An added benefit is that marketers can customers and prospects who wish to receive theirset these campaigns up once and allow them to run for communications; these recipients are consequently moreas long as they like, making minor periodic updates as likely to enact measures such as whitelisting that improverequired. In essence, it’s self-running perpetual marketing. deliverability and less likely to report e-mail as unwanted.E-mail performance metrics prove that these advancedpersonalization and targeting strategies work. Targeted 5. Test, Test, and Test Againlifecycle messaging and user-triggered e-mails have more Too often, marketers learn their mistakes only once athan double the conversion rates of untargeted broadcast mass e-mail goes out. At that point, it’s too late to doe-mails, and campaigns that use website user click- over, and the damage is done: complaints have beenstream data in targeting outperform untargeted broadcast lodged with the ISP, list members have unsubscribed, andcampaigns in conversions by nearly 4 to .4. Clearly, the marketer’s sender reputation and brand integrity havethese campaigns are getting better user responses been impacted.because they’re delivering more relevant messages at theright time. Testing should be a critical part of every e-mail marketer’s programs, and time should be built into each campaignMake it easy to Unsubscribe to adequately advance-test its impact in terms of both conversions and deliverability. Today’s software packagesYou may not want contacts to unsubscribe, but if you often enable automated processes to be createdmake it difficult for them to do so, you’re taking a far surrounding the testing of new campaigns, reducing thegreater risk, as disgruntled unsubscribers are far more potential effort and overhead surrounding testing.likely to complain to ISPs and spread the word toother potential subscribers about their frustrations. The Conduct Spam-Filter testsCAN-SPAM Act requires e-mail marketers to include anopt-out mechanism in all marketing e-mails, and while With spam trigger-word lists constantly evolving andthis mechanism can take different forms, it is worthwhile overlapping with common marketing language, it is worthto ensure the process is as intuitive and easy as possible screening your e-mails before sending them to see iffor the user. If a contact is unsubscribing, it could indicate they register as spam—even if you don’t think you’vethat they are less than pleased with your company, or they used any major trigger words. Numerous spam-checkmay simply not find your communications relevant to their tools are available online at no charge, such as theneeds anymore—either way, don’t make them angry on SiteSell SpamCheck Report, which tests e-mails usingthe way out! SpamAssassin. These tools can not only help you avoid sending out e-mails with too many trigger words, butUnsubscribe requests should be processed immediately. also help you avoid being overly cautious. On your firstIf this is not possible, be sure to set the expectation attempt, word your e-mail exactly as you would like to andof the exact timeframe for removal at the time of the see how it does. In this way, you can minimize awkwardrequest. If you send frequent e-mails, do not let a lag in rephrasing designed to avoid suspected trigger words,processing unsubscribe requests lead to an unsubscriber which may not even be necessary. Nowadays, many ISPsreceiving continuing e-mails, as the recipient will very likely rely much more on sender reputation than trigger wordslodge complaints with the ISP. Always use up-to-date in filtering e-mails, so you may be able to phrase somesuppression lists when sending e-mails. things more directly than you imagine, which is ultimately much better for the end-reader.While you do not want to create hurdles for those wishingto unsubscribe, in some situations it may be worthwhile tobuild a brief survey into your unsubscribe mechanism to Don’t ignore rendering issuestry to glean information about what has driven a contact to At some point or another, most of us have been trickedunsubscribe. Even if you lose that contact, survey data of into opening a spam e-mail, finding upon opening that itsthis kind can be very valuable in fine-tuning your programs contents were not what we anticipated. What appearedfor increased relevance and recipient satisfaction. You can to be an e-mail from a friend or colleague turned out toalso use this as an opportunity to offer the alternative of contain a promotional offer or garbled content, links, andchanging subscription preferences, switching to alternate images. And immediately upon opening the e-mail, mostcontent, format, or frequency, for example—though be of us probably knew that something was wrong, due tosure not to appear to be making it difficult to unsubscribe. a disconnect between what the e-mail might have been expected to contain and what it contained upon opening. Unfortunately, this disconnect is no longer reserved for spam. With both ISPs and end-user e-mail applications4. David Daniels, Jupiter Research, 2006. blocking images and rendering content in unexpected CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 0
  12. 12. ways, permission-based e-mails are also landing in change or an improvement to you may be enough torecipient inboxes with garbled content and unintended confuse or put off your audience, creating a spike in spamappearances. And when recipients open these e-mails, reports and unsubscribe requests.there’s a good chance that many react just as theydo upon accidentally opening spam e-mails: with Survey recipientsthe immediate feeling that something is wrong. Thisdecreases the chance that the e-mail will be read and Earlier in this paper, the idea of using “exit” surveysincreases the likelihood that it will be reported as spam. to determine unsubscribers’ reasons for leaving was proposed. But why wait until a contact hits “unsubscribe”The problem is more widespread than most marketers to find out what they think? Marketers should considermight imagine. The Email Experience Council reports that periodically surveying their lists to learn what subscribersless than 50% of marketers create e-mails that render like and don’t like about their company’s e-mailappropriately, and that one in five e-mails is invisible and messages. What would they like to see more of? Lessineffective due to blocked images.5. The only way to be of? Would they prefer messages more often? Less often?sure that your e-mails don’t fall into this category is to These surveys can be sent to strategically segmentedthoroughly test e-mail rendering on a variety of e-mail or random list samples, depending on the surveysystems across a wide range of ISPs. objectives. But if you choose to pursue this strategy, be prepared to act on what you learn, even if it’s not whatIn addition to the concerns of image-blocking and you expected—contacts who take the time to tell you whatdifferent ISP renderings, the increasing use of mobile they think should feel that you have taken their feedbackdevices introduces additional rendering concerns for into consideration.marketers. MarketingSherpa reports that 64% of keydecision-makers are reading your e-mails on BlackBerrysand other mobile devices.6. Knowing this, e-mail E-mail Marketing: Still amarketers should consider optimizing their e-mails formobile devices, either sending carefully formatted text- Marketer’s Best Friendonly e-mails or multi-part MIME messages that render as If all of this sounds like a lot of trouble to go to, don’t betext in non-HTML environments. disheartened: it’s all achievable, and a variety of services and solutions are available on the market to make it aFortunately, help is on the way. Many marketing software whole lot easier for those who simply don’t have the timeprograms are evolving to be able to adapt the look of or technical resources to wade through the deliverabilityan e-mail and send different versions based on the ISP quagmire. Deliverability is unquestionably a challenge, butor e-mail platform it is destined for, resulting in more it’s far from insurmountable.meaningful e-mails, lower complaint rates, and thushigher deliverability. Above all else, don’t let a fear of tackling deliverability issues erode your confidence in or use of e-mailtest all e-mails and Changes marketing. Industry statistics show that most marketers still believe e-mail is their best marketing channel; 83.2%Testing out e-mails on sub-segments and sample of marketers in a survey by Datran Media cited e-mail aslists before mass-sending is a marketing best practice their most important advertising tactic for 200�, primarilyfor multiple reasons. Not only can it help assess the because of its ability to drive incremental revenue.�. Whileeffectiveness of your message and predict conversion most marketers who have any experience with e-mailrates, but it can identify deliverability issues. Test your marketing understand its power, reach, and potential,messages to check for higher-than-normal complaint its advantages bear repeating. As a marketing channel,rates or numbers of unsubscribe requests. Split-test e-mail is:different versions of the same e-mail on random lists toisolate the biggest factors in deliverability rates, or test a. Still the most cost-effective: Few media offer suchthe same e-mail on different segments to identify different low set-up costs and barriers to entry. The low costs oflist-segment behavior patterns—perhaps a certain list e-mail marketing allow marketers to concentrate theirsegment is more sensitive to certain factors and at risk of resources on quality of message, segmentation, andlodging spam complaints. content—not materials—and scale to reach very large audiences with negligible increases in cost. EvidenceAny time you contemplate making changes to your consistently shows that e-mail delivers greater returncampaigns, whether it’s something as simple as the on investment than other marketing channels—$5.45“from” line or design, be sure to test out the change on asmaller list before proceeding—what may seem a minor �. Datran Media, “The 200� Email Marketing Survey: Looking Forward,” February 200�.5. Email Experience Council, January, 200�.6. MarketingSherpa, “Special Report: Email Marketing to BlackBerrys - Usage, Formatting Rendering Tips,” July 25, 200�. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper
  13. 13. per US$ spent, versus $2.08 for other online marketing and $�.20 for print catalogs.8. ways to block them, and marketers must often scramble to catch up. With each ISP using a custom combinationb. Still the most personalizable: While direct mail of spam-blocking strategies and often erring on the side technologies have advanced in recent years, they still of caution when it comes to any mass e-mail, e-mail don’t offer anything approaching the personalization marketers are left with the burden of meeting a broad capabilities of sophisticated e-mail marketing engines, range of standards to ensure their permission-based and the costs associated with personalization in e-mails reach recipients. other media can be prohibitive. With a good e-mail marketing system, marketers can send e-mails that The end result is that most marketing departments are not just personally addressed, but have custom struggle to keep up without some assistance. Few have subject lines, images, links, and blocks of text. the time and resources to stay on top of each new development in deliverability roadblocks and tactics. Andc. Still the best for advanced targeting/segmentation: frankly, many marketers would prefer to focus on their While precise database segmentation can generate core competencies, investing their time and energy in lists that can be used for other marketing channels, campaign planning, market research, and the creative no channel makes it as easy as e-mail marketing to elements of their campaigns rather than learning the latest target different audiences with truly custom messages ISP-friendly e-mail server configurations. without dramatically escalating costs. Advanced e-mail marketing programs can furthermore allow For some companies, especially those with fairly simple marketers to segment not just based on demographics or linear e-mail marketing needs, the answer is to use an or preferences, but on responses to other e-mail e-mail service provider (ESP) to send out their e-mails. campaigns—opens, click-throughs, conversions— Good ESPs are aware of and in compliance with the and even website visits. latest deliverability best practices, and many have the scale and clout to build strong relationships with ISPs thatd. Still the most trackable: No other channel offers such small standalone companies could not hope to achieve, a direct, immediate way of tracking response from resulting in higher overall deliverability rates. open rate right through to revenue recognition. With e-mail marketing, you can understand more than just As e-mail marketers move from a generic broadcast conversion rates—you can learn precisely what the e-mail approach to a more personalized and interactive recipient felt compelled to click on and what they did one-to-one marketing philosophy, however, many firms after they clicked it. With e-mail marketing, marketers are finding that their e-mail marketing channel is too are always able to quantify results and never at a loss important to outsource or restrict to simple one-way to show their campaigns’ direct impact on revenues. e-mail blasts. To create more personalized, event-based, and multi-wave e-mail campaigns, many companies aree. Still the best for building relationships: While a seeing value in keeping their e-mail marketing in-house short-term sale is obviously a desired outcome for and investing in robust marketing automation tools that many marketing programs, companies today are empower them to create more sophisticated campaigns. increasingly recognizing that a long-term relationship Furthermore, many marketers are finding that to realize is substantially more valuable and desirable. Advanced the greatest benefits from their e-mail marketing, they e-mail marketing systems allow companies to engage must treat e-mail not as a standalone channel but as an customers and prospects in two-way exchanges integrated part of their multi-channel marketing efforts. that unfold in multiple waves, progressively adapting to responses at each stage and building strong, For these marketers, creating a unified customer or loyal relationships. prospect experience across marketing channels means finding a best-of-breed solution that enables them to integrate advanced e-mail marketing into a holisticConclusion multi-channel marketing approach. Unfortunately, a fractured technology infrastructure comprising a rangeIt’s no wonder many marketers find deliverability a of disparate point-solutions can be a barrier to achievingdizzying topic: there is no single answer to the challenge this level of continuity. The best solution for this newof deliverability, but instead countless factors marketers generation of integrated marketing is one that addressesneed to be aware of and address with each campaign. all of the marketing department’s complex demands, notAdding to the problem, deliverability best practices don’t the least of which is e-mail deliverability. A system thatstand still—as spammers develop new ways to try to trick enables marketers to perform the most sophisticatedISPs into delivering their e-mails, ISPs must develop new of personalized e-mail marketing must also help them ensure their e-mails reach recipient inboxes.8. Direct Marketing Association, “The Power of Direct Marketing,” October 2006. CDC MarketFirst | White Paper 2
  14. 14. As your marketing department looks at ways to realizethe full potential of e-mail marketing, seek out integratedsolutions that address the complexity of today’smarketing environment, including the challenge of e-maildeliverability. Partner with a reputable firm that can helpyou leverage the best technology tools to not only createcompelling e-mail campaigns, but to ensure they alwaysreach their targets.CDC MarketFirst: Your IntegratedMarketing SolutionCDC MarketFirst is an adaptive marketing automationand lead management solution that enables marketersto manage even the most complex, multi-channelmarketing campaigns. Using CDC MarketFirst, marketingprofessionals can utilize the visual campaign designerfeature to create e-mail/web page streams, profilecustomers and prospects, target each with a highlypersonalized and relevant message, deliver the messageat the right time via the right channel, and ensureconsistent and effective follow-up. CDC MarketFirst canhelp marketers achieve higher response rates and betterlead quality with perpetually running, precisely targetedcampaigns based on data captured at every pointof interaction.Through partnerships with industry leaders MessageSystems and Return Path, CDC MarketFirst offersan all-in-one deliverability, reputation, and marketingautomation solution suite, including the CDC MarketFirstDeliverability E-mail Server. CDC MarketFirst is the firstand only integrated marketing automation suite thatalso provides core delivery capabilities—authentication,bounce management, reputation monitoring, and deliveryassurance services—in one solution. With CDC MarketFirst,the days of looking at countless different reports to getthe full picture of campaign performance (from click-throughs through bounce rates through rendering reportsand reputation scores) is over: CDC MarketFirst givestoday’s marketers the integrated environment they needto effectively design, launch, gauge, and adjust complexcampaigns through a single solution.For more information or a complete list of our worldwide offices, please visit or call+1 877-748-6825.Copyright © CDC Software 200�. All rights reserved. The CDC Software logo and CDC MarketFirst logo are registered trademarks and/or trademarks ofCDC Software.