Email Marketing Guidelines

Get Your Emails Delivered!

As you know, I urge you to have a newsletter to stay in touch with your prospects and build your reputation.   I’ve written several times about the sort of content to put into your newsletter and how much selling it should contain (not much).  There’s another side of using email for marketing, and that’s ensuring that your emails are delivered; that’s the topic of this issue.

Any organization, from your ISP to a specialist bulk SMTP relay company, needs to pay attention to their own reputation.  If they are seen as a source of spam, then their own emails won’t be accepted by other Internet email operators.  So those practices are reflected on you; as your mailing list grows beyond 1,000 or so, you’ll start to see more attention to these matters.  This issue tells you how to deal proactively with what’s called your sender reputation, courtesy of Dyn. 

Warm Up Your IP Address and Domain

Spammers tend to suddenly start sending a lot of emails from a new IP address or domain name.  And their patterns of sending are irregular.  So your approach should be what’s called “warming up” your IP address and domain name by sending at regular intervals, and sending a growing number of emails.  Don’t jump around in quantity of emails sent.

You’ll find as you start sending 1,000 or more emails at a time, that senders will slow up your sending operation.  As you warm up your IP address and domain, they’ll relay your email faster and faster.  For a new IP address or domain name, you may want to throttle your sends for a while until both are suitably warmed up.

Establish a Rhythm

Spammers have erratic sending patterns.  If you establish a regular routine, sending similar numbers of messages each month with a similar schedule, your mailer will be more likely to believe that you are not a spammer.  In particular, don’t have lengthy pauses between sending emails.

A regular rhythm of sending also gets readers accustomed to when they will hear from you, so you’ll have fewer unsubscribes and fewer spam complaints.  Of course, you’ll also be more effective at accomplishing the business goals for your emails as well.

Maintain Your List

Your email sender’s own reputation is at risk if there are a lot of bounces of your emails or if there are a lot of spam complaints.  Dyn recommends goals of no more than .03% spam complaints and a 2% threshold on bounces.  Be sure that unsubscribes are removed, and remove bounces after 2 or 3 successive bounces.

You may be tempted to purchase a list.  This is often the best way to destroy your sender reputation!  Most companies who use email marketing find that in-house lists, that are built over time, are much more effective than purchased lists.

Send Quality Content

This seems obvious, but it’s worth noting that the quality of what you send impacts your sender reputation, because it affects the number of complaints.  Be sure what you send is carefully reviewed and that the messages are relevant to what you’re doing and to your recipients’ interests.   Avoid more than 20% selling content in email communications, and don’t bombard your recipients with communications that are too frequent.

The Bottom Line

For effective use of email in marketing, as you build your list, also pay attention to building your sender reputation.