Dan- talk to DAV prior to 2016 – how DAV has evolved from emailing everyone to segmenting Becca – pick up with stats and early 2016 performance
Becca - Open Rates increased to 10.88 compared to 5.99 Raised $6000 less
This… $6K less panic – at the time the team working on this account was not used to sending more than a couple appeals a month = now when we’ll 4 that wasn’t the practice at the time –
We were stuck in the mindset – of one appeal is out there – and there’s nothing we can do about –
Becca - “It must have been because of this new segmentation…”
Lesson for everyone – if you’re down you can do something else – send another email; resend to openers or non-openers – if you have digital advertising boost it.
Becca - So we abandoned ship and went back to mass emailing the whole file
Becca - Mass emailing the whole file brought us back down to 3-4% open rates
Becca - In October, we took a breather, step back to look at the file and really analyzed. We could not continue with 3-4% open rates.
Two types of IP addresses: - Dedicated IP address: is used by a single sender or company - Shared IP address is used by multiple marketers or companies to deploy email. Because the overall reputation for the IP address is based on all mail that deploys from it, the IP address reputation cannot be managed by an individual sender. All senders are negatively or positively affected by 1 sender.
Becca - Dan – list buying business / eappend – this was recommended practices
We sent this email to our full list because it was a nice engagement email. We suppressed all non openers but a few things went wrong: Engagement Factor query didn’t seem to be working correctly Had not cleaned the email file in a very long time (ever?) Lots of potential traps on file…and we hit one
Becca – Don’t let the name fool you, they are not pristine. Made specifically to monitor who people are sending emails to and to catch spammers. You can only land here if you purchase list and have bad email practices.
Becca - plus emails that contain the word "remove" "removethis" "spam" "nospam"
Amy - Henny Penny WebMD example.
Whenever you look up a sore throat on WebMD, you convince yourself you have cancer. Whenever you read about spam traps, it can seem like the world is ending. But never fear… you can you get out of it!
Becca - You’re going to want to go hunting for all the bad email addresses. But that’s impossible on a file size of 5M+
rule of thumb, a subscriber who has been inactive for more than a year and is not responsive to your re-engagement campaigns should be removed from your list. Implement shorter time periods of six months or even 90 days if you mail frequently or send third party advertising.
Dan – Overall, where these tough changes to make? How did you get internal buy in? did you have to do a lot of educating of internal stakeholders?
Sync - talk about discontinuing bi-directional sync – outdated offline data was overwriting good online date. Now, it’s one way from online to offline CRM
Membership – Promotional emails using Corporate Partner lists stopped
Dan & Becca
Becca / Dan (what questions where you getting internally?)
Important: When Verizon got acquired by AOL, all Verizon.net emails will slowly start becoming abandoned. Keep on eye on these folks, when they become unengaged, their email could turn into a recycled spam trap.
Becca / Dan
Dan – focus now on the engaged audience and more emphasis on content. It’s not just subject lines and pre-header text. Content has always mattered and continues to matter. Our favorite new metric is open to clicks! Open to clicks is a better measurement of if the content resonates with your audience
Becca / Dan
Becca / Dan
Amy / Dan – talk about getting IT involved to help with this effort. The Domains discovered using DAV – domains impact spam
Amy 23.7 % of nonprofit/ education and /gov’t end up in spam
Amy -Messages marked as “not spam” is the unicorn – highly effects your spam placement rate in a very positive way
Dan – how did get leadership to recognize the importance of inbox placement rates? “amount of money lost due to emails going to spam” – this is a larger organization issue – due to the number of email platforms used / emails being sent out of same domain
Dan – if you’re seeing issues – any other tips for getting leadership to care and focus on something they’re probably not familiar with or concerned about. “We’re raising money – why do I care about this?”
Becca - First thing we had to work on to improve Yahoo deliverability was email authentication
Becca / Dan
Becca - An SPF record is like your social security number. It’s what mail servers use to look you up to make sure it’s you. The social security office = DNS (domain name system), your record = SPF, your social security number = IP address.
Essentially, these exist to prevent spammers from stealing your IP address.
Becca – The reason you have SPF record is to prevent people from pretending to be you
Dan / Becca –
DKIM: The private key is housed in a secure location that can only be accessed by the owner of the domain. This private key is used to create an encrypted signature that is added to every message sent from that domain. Using the signature, the receiver of the message can check against the public DKIM key, which is stored in a public-facing DNS record. If the records “match,” the mail could only have been sent by the person with access to the private key, aka the domain owner.
Amy – probably wondering why we’ve saved the spam complaints are our final chapter. It’s brings us to 2018
Amy / Dan - Luckily, most email providers taker an aggregate of all emails sent in the last 30 days, so 1 email won’t totally throw you off, but it’s still annoying! Example email looks like it has amazing performance until you see the spam complaint rate.
Amy - talk about by campaign performance too
This is typical – WS tend to have higher rates – because you’re sending to everyone who’s expressed interest with you
Current topic – more explicit opt in when donating – this isn’t a new topic – but it’s getting harder and harder to weed out bad people
Amy / Dan – how is DAV handling the latest round of changes – Honor Guard / Auxiliary - Overall DAV leadership is supportive – do what we need to do to maintain or increase our sender reputation
Amy – Unsubscribing easily is more important now then ever before – it’s hard to accept – it’s goes against all we believe in, but you need to lose them.
we’ve seen a slight increase in unsubscribes – not alarmaing – but, we’d rather you unsubscribe then mark us as spam or delete without opening.
Ntc email jail final
Stay Out of Email Jail
& Avoid Deliverability
April 11, 2018
Amy Braiterman, CDR Fundraising Group
Dan Clasgens, DAV
Rebecca Luckett, CDR Fundraising Group
• Collaborative notes:
• Who’s ready for Bingo?
• First three to get bingo
get a fun prize!
• Call it out when you get
• Let’s play
• Please feel free to ask
questions along the way.
CDR Fundraising Group
• Owner of a 20 year old cat; that’s
96 in human years
• Baltimore Ravens’ fan
• Turning the big 40 this October –
I’ll be celebrating the end of a decade by
running the Baltimore ½ Marathon followed
by wine tasting in Napa! #RunForWine
Digital Marketing Strategist
Disabled American Veterans
Fantasy football nerd. Host a weekend
show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio &
write for Pro Football Focus.
Huge Allman Brothers Band fan. Saw them
live 19 times before they called it quits in
2014. Daughter named after one of their
Former TGI Friday’s bartender. Traveled
country in 1998 on a “TGI Friday’s
Senior Account Executive
CDR Fundraising Group
• Got married during Hurricane
Matthew (it’s like rain on your
wedding day )
• Took the Game of Thrones tour in
Croatia on honeymoon
• Has a 4 year old rescue pup
Email… where do
• Let’s go back to 2016…
• It was time to stop sending one
mass email to whole wide world of
• So, we developed segments:
• Targeted: Donors & Non
• Suppressed: Offline donors
• …it worked!
• Moved from 6% to 11% open rates
• Revenue continued to increase year
And then it was
“It must have been because of this
Moral of our story is…
Good decisions are never
made in a state of panic.
Or, by focusing on one
This bring us to hot topics for 2017
• What is it? It’s EVERYTHING!
– An indication of authenticity; mailbox providers use
this to recognize and validate the email message is
truly coming from your organization.
– Scored on a scale of 0-100
• What makes up your sender score?
– Domain reputation
• Domain name is the registered name on the internet
– IP reputation
• IP address is the number listed in the domain name
system that sends mail on behalf of your domain name
Your sender score is like a credit score
• Mailing to
• Spam traps
How do you know
what your sender
• Google Postmaster Tools
• Less than 70: your
reputation is in need of
• 70-80: you’re on the up and
up, keep doing good work
and following best practices
• Greater than 80: you’re a
In January of 2017, a DAV
email hit pristine spam traps
and this is where our next
How did we know this
• Email was sent to our
engaged email list (opened
an email with in the last 6
• Experienced 2% open rate
– compared to 17% and
20% during year end
Spam traps are a
symptom of a problem -
it’s a signal that there
is a need to improve
and list hygiene.
Let’s talk spam traps
• What is a spam trap?
• A spam trap looks like a
real email address, but
it doesn’t belong to a
human being nor is it
used for any kind of
• What types of traps are out
• The Typo
• Role Account
Pristine Spam Traps
Pristine spam traps are email
addresses that were set up solely to
capture bad mailers and were never
used by an actual person.
Since these email address are not
associated with a human – it’s a
signal to mailbox providers that
your organization has questionable
acquisition or list growth methods.
Continuing to send and get caught
in pristine spam traps can damage
your sender IP reputation resulting
in emails being completely blocked.
Recycled Traps are email addresses
that were used by real human
beings in the past, but were
abandoned by the user. At some
point the abandoned email address
was converted into a trap by the
• Outlook.com: 270 days inactive
• Gmail: 270 days inactive
• Yahoo!: 180 days (plus an extra
60 days for every year you’ve
been a customer
• AOL: 90 days inactive
The Typo Trap
We all have the best intentions, but
typos happne. Whether it’s when the
supporter is completing a donation form
or a volunteer is entering supporter
information into the database – it’s very
esy to slip up and leave out a letter.
DAV inputs fake email addresses when
keying in gifts over the phone and the
donor doesn’t want to give an email
If an email gets sent to this fake
email address, we’re sending
to our own spam trap.
Role Account Trap
Examples: webmaster@, hostmaster@,
sales@, support@, postmaster@, info@,
These accounts are usually aliases for
multiple recipients, not all of whom are
engaged with your organization. The risk
of complaints from these email addresses
We found 1,230 role accounts on DAV file
and they are now sequestered in a do
not mail group.
Other words to look out for in email
addresses: remove, removethis,
So… what next?
Find all the bad
What did we
Step 3: Continued to research the file and learned the
bi-directional data sync was overwriting good online data
with out dated offline data.
Step 2: Quarantined email address acquired from old eappends.
Step 1: Ran a report to find recent “new to file email addresses”
We learned… Russia invaded our email
file through outdated live forms.
Several new constituent records with
Goal: Identify culprit! Where are the bad email addressing
What to know
about Spam Traps
• It’s just not Russia…
• Good email marketers can have
spam traps in their list.
• Avoid spam by:
• improving list collection
• maintaining good list hygiene practices
• engaging with your audience
• Hitting spam traps is never fun, but
remember they are a symptom that
something is wrong with your file.
• The good news is you can diagnose
the problem, correct the problem
and recover rather quickly.
• Here’s now we did it!
The Road to Spam Trap Recovery
Clean up the list
Hey Dan! Talk to us about business processes
What changed? What
was the impact?
• Two-way sync between
DAV’s offline database
and online email
• Uploads from offline
to online email system
• Promotional emails to
specific lists pulled
from offline database
Clean Up the
Actions to Take
Step 1: Find an email verification
service, but wow they were expensive!
So what can we do ourselves before
• Close down all old forms, surveys,
ecards, or other ways bad emails
could come through
• Create a “do not email” group of
potential bad email addresses --
query for role account emails, typos,
fake emails, old domains (earthlink,
verizon, juno, etc…), international
domains, and hard bounces.
Clean Up the List:
Actions to Take
• Important: Do NOT Stop
• Narrow down segmentation
using email engagement
• Only email those who have
opened an email in the past
• After researching email
validation tools and services –
we settled on using: Xverify
Full File Clean Up: Email Validation
• Valid: The email address exists.
• Invalid: The email does not exist.
• Catch All (Potential to Bounce): These emails are on a Catch All servers
and could bounce if mailed to. You would have to mail to these with
caution if you decided to.
• Potential Bounce: The email address and server are showing signs the
email could bounce if mailed to.
• High Risk: Emails that could severely hurt your sending reputation if
• Disposable: Email addresses that are meant to be used for a very short
period time and then “disposed of”. Never a person primary email.
• Complainer: Users who mark email’s as “Spam” at a high rate.
• Fraud: The email has been linked to online fraud, chargebacks, or other
• Unknown: We held the verification connection with the server for 30
seconds and it didn’t not respond.
You can recover! Caveat: if you improve
your email practices.
• Open rates
rebounded in March
• Jan avg:7%
• March avg: 19%
• Despite our email
2017 with a 1.5%
increase in email
revenue – year over
They’re just not
that into you…
And lastly, email engagement
Developing the right formula for:
engaged vs. unengaged supporters
• Have you opened an email?
– Tested and we’re continuing to test audience perimeters with each
email send to uncover the optimal audience
– Test audience perimeters for engaged supporters:
• Opened an in email in last six month
• Opened an in email in last 12 months
• Made a donation in last 12 months
• Hey Dan! Any tips for explaining engaged vs. unengaged to
Dear long-lost friend
Re-engagement tactics for the unengaged
• Let’s try some advertising to reach this audience:
• Facebook custom audience – using unengaged
• Yahoo! In-mail ad
• Revived some supporters with email sends
• Entire unengaged files vs. limited unengaged file
• Next up: true re-engagement campaign
• Lapsed donors: they were once engaged, get them
• Haven’t opened an email in 6 months- 1 year
• Find the sweet spot of where people stop
Keeping up with mailbox providers
• First started getting these inbox
placement reports in September
• Based on inbox placement rates
improving gmail was first on the
never ending to do list:
• Email list clean up
• Email engagement
• Check on Google Postmaster score
• DAV’s was 90 (Gold Star Status!)
• List header unsubscribe
• Gmail only allows senders with
good scores to add list header
• It’s a reward for good email
Of course we were
excited for the December
inbox placement report
• Drumroll please…
• Gmail looks great! 86.6% inbox
placement! That’s a big increase
from the prior rate of: 58%
• YAY, well not exactly…
• Yahoo! and Hotmail performance
• Industry metric: Only 28% of all
messages sent worldwide ever reach
More information often leads to
Based on what we learned about inbox
placement, what do open rates look like?
AOL Hotmail Gmail Yahoo
Open Rate by Domain
If you’re feeling sad and lonely: Spam
happens to everyone. It’s not just you…
What to know about
• Spam placement rate equals: the number of
emails delivered to the spam folder
divided by total emails sent
• Key indicators to keep spam placement
• Messages read & replied to
• Messages marked as “not spam”
• Messages moved to other folders
• Messages forwarded
• Senders/domains added to address book
• 2017 industry average: 13.5%
• Education/Nonprofit/Government: 23.7%
• The highest of all the sectors
When you go back to your office…
1. What’s your sender reputation?
o Google Postmaster score
2. What does your spam complaint rate look like?
o Aim to stay under .01%
3. What domain is the most prominent on
o Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc…
4. What do open rates and spam complaint rates
look like on that domain? Start there.
Next Up: Email Authentication
The Tale of Two Email Return Addresses
Quick reminder: Emails contain two “from” addresses
• Return email address
• This tells mail servers
where to return
undeliverable emails back
• Address contained in the
“From” email field that
• Where email replies get
sent back to
Beware: Both of these can be easily spoofed
Step 1 of Authentication: SPF Record
SPF = Sender Policy Framework
• Authentication protocol that allows the
owner of a domain to specify which
mail server they use to send mail from
• In plain English: An SPF record is like
your record at the social security office.
If your social security number
(IP address) doesn’t match what’s on
file, it fails to authenticate.
• An SPF-protected domain is less
attractive to spammers and less likely
to be blacklisted by spam filters
That’s the only
thing I really
• Difficult to keep updated as you
change service providers due to
lack of visibility
• Just because a message fails SPF
doesn’t mean it will always be
blocked from the inbox
• SPF breaks when a message is
• SPF does nothing to protect
brands against cybercriminals
who spoof the “header from”
address in their message (which is
what most users see).
Steps 2 & 3: Meet Kim and Marc
DomainKeys Identified Mail
• It’s complicated
• It signs a message in a
way that is difficult to
forge, proving that the
message came you.
• Most email providers
suggest signing your
messages with DKIM
• If your email doesn’t
pass SPF or DKIM
authentication, will be
marked as SPAM.
• Ensures that legitimate
email is properly
established DKIM and
• New advancement: 2011
• Best way to defend your
brand from spoofing
To sum up: Why is authentication important?
Protects against phishing and spoofing
• Domain reputation is based on DKIM and DMARC authentication
Builds your domain reputation
• Domain reputation moves with you regardless of what IP address
Creates a portable reputation
• Yahoo requires senders to sign their messages with DKIM in order to
sign up for their feedback loop program and received complaint
Can participate in Yahoo feedback loops
This brings us
to our final
• Mailbox providers heavily factor spam
complaints into their filtering decisions.
• Complaint rate equals: the number reported as
spam divided by number of emails delivered
• This means if you send to a small audience,
one person could throw everything off
Open Rate CTR Unsub Rate Spam
1,599 46.34% 26.64% .06% 2 0.12%
• That’s a great question. It varies.
• Campaign Monitor: Industry
spam complaints is less than
0.02%. That’s about one
complaint for every 5,000
• Blackbaud: recommends staying
at or below 0.01%
• But… according to a recent
Return Path study the average
complaint rate for all sectors in
2017 was 0.17%
• Sadly, Education, Nonprofit,
and Government was: 0.23%
What next? Spam complaints by
0.00% 0.02% 0.04% 0.06% 0.08% 0.10% 0.12% 0.14%
Donor Welcome Series
Sustainer Welcome Series
If it wasn’t for those
So, what can we do about it?
• Be kind and unsubscribe! Move
unsubscribe link to the very top
of the email.
• Only send welcome series email
two or three if they engage with
• Use interest groups to give them
information they say they are
• Call outs: explicitly mention they
opted in to receive email from you
What’s an email marketer to do?
• Overall spam complaint rates drop after sending an appeal…
• The messaging is resonating with our audience.
• Let’s take what we’ve learned from appeals and change up
the welcome series.
•Current timing is set to run
3, 10 and 17 days
•Welcome series emails run
everyday based on new to
•As we learned earlier one
compliant makes a
difference with smaller
•In progress: adjust the
timeline to include more
people in a send
•New content will be based
on a recent fundraising
campaign – which was well
received by supporters
•Focus more on the
supporter and less on DAV
•Ask supporter what
veteran legislative is
matters most to them
Change up the audience
•New! And scary: Not
everyone will receive all
•Receive email three in the
•Recipients interacts with
the email 1 and/ or 2
•Tells us what issue matters
What matters most to you?
Email 1: Tell us what
Email 2: What DAV is doing
to reform and modernize
Email 3: Veteran story as
an example of important of
Please Be Kind
• We get it, you’re not into us
anymore and that’s ok.
• Unsubscribes help keep your
email file current.
• For Gmail users: DAV provides
three options for unsubscribing
o List header unsubscribe
o Above email masthead
o In the email footer
• In progress – Yahoo! Feedback
Phew, that was A
LOT. But you
made it through!
• Don’t make decisions in a state of panic!
• Sender reputation is important. Find
out what yours is.
• Everyone has spam traps on their list.
You are not alone and the sky is not
falling. You can recover.
• Take small steps to clean your email file,
one at a time.
• If they’re just not that into you, it’s
okay. Don’t email them.
• Email authentication is important to
your reputation and deliverability.
• Spam complaints will happen. Do your
best to minimize them.
• Please complete session
specific survey. We’re fans
of feedback… it is a gift
• Keep in touch!
• Amy Braiterman,
• Dan Clasgens,
• Rebecca Luckett,