As you dip your toes into the waters of email marketing, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that some of your email might contain content that people don’t want to receive. This is what ESP’s refer to as prohibited content. When you send a message with content like this — snap! — you’ll feel the jaws of compliance bite down on your email program!
Lionel Richie asked this question (well sort of) back in the ’80s, with his heartstring-tugging hit song Hello.
And you could ask the same question of your subscribers. You know, the ones who haven’t opened one of your mailings in a while. Or the ones who haven’t engaged with you in a way that shows they’re still interested.
In our last post, we explained why it’s important to test your emails before they go out. There are many benefits to incorporating this practice into your email marketing program, from catching typos and grammatical errors to ensuring optimal image display and maximum delivery.
But the biggest benefit of all is a little more abstract.
Picture this: you’ve created a phenomenal email. One of your best ever, in fact. It’s got highly compelling content that’s relevant to your subscribers, gorgeous images, and a call to action that’s practically irresistible. This email is so good, you can’t wait to put it out there and watch the clicks and conversions start rolling in. So you’re really tempted to just pull the trigger and skip the whole testing phase. After all, you know your email is practically perfect.
What could possibly go wrong?
Addresses from dead domains are like zombies. They exist in your list and look kind of like the real thing (i.e., valid addresses that you can send to). They may have been on your list for a long time, maybe since you started collecting addresses way back when. But, like zombies, they are mere shadows of their former selves.
When compliance folks like me talk about dead domains, we are referring to addresses within a sender’s list that are from domains which are no longer in business, or are no longer providing mail client services. Having addresses from these domains on a mailing list is an indication to any good compliance specialist that the list is in dire need of clean-up, or that the list owner may have purchased addresses. Neither of these scenarios is good for the client’s sender reputation, nor the ESP’s overall reputation.
Recently, I was reading some articles about William Shakespeare (stay with me here, folks!), which led to some posts that discussed whether he revised his plays, how many revisions there were, and how they evolved from first draft to finished masterpiece. Since I’m such a geek about email, I started wondering:
If Shakespeare had a mailing list, would he have tested different versions of his plays to see which one got the best response?
Is achieving your email marketing goals becoming more and more challenging? It might be time to take a look at whether your current ESP is still meeting your needs.
Are you experiencing any of the following issues?
Your Sender Score, a ReturnPath metric to gauge your reputation as an email sender, is pretty important. It determines whether or not the door to recipient inboxes is open to your email communications and whether or not you’re even a welcome visitor. Heck, it determines whether or not you can even knock on that door as email marketers with poor Sender Scores are often not permitted anywhere near the premises! They either have their emails shunted to a spam folder automatically or recipient ISPs outright refuse the delivery of their messages entirely. Your Sender Score is pretty serious business.
For your eye-catching calls-to-action to get clicked on, your carefully crafted and targeted content to get read and engaged with and, heck, your messages even opened altogether, your email needs to first make it into the inbox. And it makes total sense: in order for your email to get interacted with, it needs to get to where it needs to get to in order to be interacted with there. Pretty basic.
But, sadly, there may be times when your mailings don’t get too far past the clicking of the send button, when their handshake with a recipient ISP gets refused outright.
It’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare. They spend days, or even weeks working on a perfect email design, layout, length, and subject line. When they find out from their customer or prospect that the message ended up in their spam folder, it causes extreme frustration.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you aren’t alone. Of the billions of emails that are marked as spam on a daily basis, many of them are well-meaning marketers who simply made a few mistakes with their email campaign.
Here are a few of the most common reasons that you are having trouble reaching the inbox of your recipients, and some of the best practices to correct these issues.