Ensuring requested opt-in email is delivered to subscriber inboxes
is an increasingly difficult battle in the age of spam filtering.
Open and click thru response rates can be dramatically affected by
as much as 20-30% due to incorrect spam filter classification.
Confirming that the people who ask for your information have
actually requested to be on your list is the number one step in the
battle for deliverability. You should be using a process called
confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in to send a unique link to the
attempted subscriber when they request information. Before adding
the person to your list they must click that unique link verifying
that they are indeed the same person that owns the email address and
requested to subscribe.
When requesting website visitors to opt-in ask for their "real" or
"primary" email address instead of a free email address like Yahoo
or Hotmail. Free emails tend to be throw away accounts and
typically have a shorter lifetime than a primary ISP address.
Always promptly remove undeliverable addresses that bounce when
sending email to them. An address that bounces with a permanent
error 2-3 times in a 30 day period should be removed from the list.
ISP's track what percentage of your newsletters bounce and will
block them if you attempt to continually deliver messages to closed
Usage of HTML messages to allow for text formatting, multiple
columns, images, and brand recognition is growing in popularity and
is widely supported by most email client software. Most spam is
also HTML formatted and thus differentiating between requested email
and spam HTML messages can be difficult. A 2004 study by AWeber.com
shows that plain text messages are undeliverable 1.15% of the time
and HTML only messages were undeliverable 2.3%. If sending HTML it
is important to always send a plain text alternative message, also
called text/HTML multi-part mime format.
Many ISP's filter based on the content that appears within the
Research potential newsletter advertisers before
allowing them to place ads in your newsletter issues. If they have
used their website URL to send spam, just having their URL appear in
your newsletter could cause the entire message to be filtered.
Choose your language carefully when crafting
messages. Avoid hot button topics often found in spam such as
medication, mortgages, making money, and pornography. If you do
need to use words that might be filtered, don't attempt to obfuscate
words with extra characters or odd spelling, you'll just make your
messages appear more spam like.
Avoid creating messages that are entirely images. Use
images sparingly, if at all. Commonly used open rate tracking
technology uses images to calculate opens. You may choose to
disable open rate tracking to avoid being filtered based on image
With viruses running rampant and spreading thru
the usage of malicious email attachments many users are wary of
attached documents. It's often better to link to files via a
website URL to reduce recipient fear of attachments and reduce the
overall message size.
The January 2004 Federal CAN-SPAM law introduced a number of rules
regarding the delivery of email. It's important you have your legal
counsel review your practices and ensure you are in compliance. The
two most important rules include having a valid postal mail address
listed in all commercial messages and a working unsubscribe link
that is promptly honored to remove the subscriber from future
Reputation services are often used by large ISP's as a way to vet
email senders regarding their email practices and policies.
Businesses listed with these services are then given less stringent
filtering or no filtering at all. Several reputation services are:http://www.isipp.com/iadb.phphttp://www.bondedsender.comhttp://www.habeas.com
Relationships & Whitelisting
Contact with major ISP's and email providers is essential in letting
them know about your requested subscriber email. Many large
providers such as AOL and Yahoo have specific whitelisting programs
and postmaster website areas to ensure your email is delivered as
long as you meet their policies and procedures in handling your
Email deliverability is about ensuring requested opt-in email is
delivered to the intended recipient. While no single tip will enable
you to get 100% of your email delivered each one utilized as a group
can go a long way to reaching that goal.
Tom Kulzer, CEO and Founder of Newtown, PA based AWeber
Communications, Inc. an opt-in email service provider. With 7 years
managing opt-in follow up and newsletters for small businesses,
email deliverability is an integral part of day to day operations.
Learn more: http://www.AWeber.com and