ListWise

Email Deliverability

Email Deliverability

“Spammy” Concerns for Email Marketers

Spam Concerns for Email Marketers

It’s incredibly difficult to choose the right words. Discovering phrases and terms that resonate with subscribers is difficult enough, but there’s also the danger that your email marketing campaigns can trigger spam filters through something you might consider to be the “perfect word” choice.  Although email marketing is just one of the marketing options available to businesses nowadays, it is one of the easiest to control and a good place to avoid mistakes.

ListWise addresses one of the biggest and most mysterious issues with email list hygiene – Spam traps. At ListWise, we have invested a significant amount of resources in assisting marketers escape the spam trap issue and now, we’ve got a highly sophisticated and credible way of not only identifying but also removing potential spam traps from your list.

Checking against 58,989,323 potential traps, ListWise gives your list the best chance of being cleaned with accuracy and efficiency. However, there are hundreds of millions of probable spam traps in the world and it is inconceivable for anyone to be able to detect and remove all of them. While we don’t boast a 100% spam trap free solution, we pride ourselves in being transparent about it and cleaning lists better, faster and cheaper than anyone else on this planet.

Even more so, it’s common for people to make simple typos when opting-in via a web form on a website. Yet, this typo can turn into a major error. ListWise addresses most email marketers typos. This way, missing @ symbols and incorrect domain names are fixed.

With spam being a key issue for email marketers, it’s crucial to have email list cleaning software, which gives any user the best chance of a higher deliverability rate. However, in saying this, it’s also important that an email marketer understands how spam filters work:

Spam filters look at a long list of criteria to decide whether your email is junk. They might look for ‘spammy’ phrases like “CLICK HERE!” or “FREE! BUY NOW!” They’ll assign points every time they see one of those phrases – certain criteria get more points than others. An example of these criteria from SpamAssassin is as follows:

•                Talks about lots of money (.193 points)

•                Describes some sort of breakthrough (.232 points)

•                Looks like mortgage pitch (.297 points)

•                Contains urgent matter (.288 points)

•                Money back guarantee (2.051 points)

It’s important to note that you don’t need to be a spammer to be reported for ‘spamming’. Sometimes it’s a simple mistake, like when an inexperienced user clicks the spam button as an easy way to unsubscribe from an email. But even if it is a mistake, getting reported for abuse is serious and yet often inevitable. As an email marketer, as long as you keep track of your email list and can prove a ‘reported abuse’ is a simple mistake, you will be in the clear. 

How to Improve Your Email Delivery Rates

How to Improve Your Email Delivery Rates

It’s an age-old adage that “the best defense is a good offense.” This sentiment couldn’t be truer in the battle for email marketing supremacy. While average marketers wait for problems to surface, the best marketers see problems in advance – then move decisively to eliminate them. Here are our top tips for improving your delivery rates before even sending an email…

1.      Clean your lists – It should come as no surprise to veteran email marketers that checking email addresses is vital for ensuring strong delivery rates. Duplicate emails, inactive email addresses, suspicious domain names, and generic email accounts all make your emails look like spam and damage your delivery rates in the process.

2.      Ensure your front end is optimized – Don’t wait until you start seeing incorrect email addresses in your lists – eliminate this problem when users sign up. Employ an email address checker to determine whether emails used to sign up for your lists are valid. If they aren’t, make sure users correct their mistakes or are removed from your lists.

3.      Quickly remove unsubscribes – Even the best email campaigns don’t appeal to everyone. Although you have 10 days to remove unsubscriptions by law, process these as soon as possible to avoid users marking you as spam. Oh, and you are including an “unsubscribe” option in your emails, aren’t you?

4.      Attempt re-engagement with inactive subscribers – An easy way to improve your lists without removing as many subscribers is to check in with recipients who have been inactive for a pre-determined amount of time. Use software to do this in an automated fashion – check back in if a user has been inactive for a few months, then send a follow-up message a week later. If you don’t hear anything back, remove that email address from your list.

5.      Check feedback loops – Even if you’re not sending spam email, people might complain about the frequency or content of your promotional emails. Contact your ISP to track the number of these leveled against you. If that number is too high or growing, you’ll need to change your email tactics.

Being prepared is imperative for successful email marketing campaigns. If you do your homework, your mass emails will be in a great position to bring in customers. 

How to Clean a Grubby Email List

How to Clean a Grubby Email List

Keeping your email marketing list performing to its full potential requires taking steps to make sure that the leads on your list want to be there and that the email addresses you are sending to are good addresses.  Failing to do this can lead to an email list that is bogged down by inactive and bad addresses that hurt the ROI of your campaigns.  It can also damage your reputation with ISPs by generating spam complaints and high bounce rates.  Some tips for keeping your list clean on an ongoing basis, in conjunction with your email hygiene software, are listed below.

Remove Bad Addresses

Whether they have gone bad over time or are due to lax email validation policies in your lead acquisition process, it’s important to use an email address checker to identify and remove bad email addresses from your list on a regular basis to avoid damaging your standing with your ESP.  Check your bounceback reports for invalid addresses and run a duplicate address check as well to remove dupes from your list.

Remove Unsubscribes Promptly

A lead who doesn’t want to be on your list should be removed as soon as you receive their unsubscribe request.  Tardiness in removing them may cause some of your emails to be categorized as spam, hurting your sender reputation.

Look for Alias Addresses

These email addresses, such as sales@ and info@ company.com often cause delivery failures as all the addresses associated with them may not have opted-in to receive your emails.  Remove these addresses from your list when you find them.

Attempt to Re-Engage Inactives

Leads that have not responded to any of your emails after a certain amount of time should be considered inactive and either deleted from your list or moved to an inactive file.  Before doing this, however, attempt to re-engage them by sending an email validation message designed to elicit a response, either by asking them to update their contact data or preferences or by offering them a special deal of some sort.

Segment Your List

In addition to making sure that your main list is focused on active contacts, you may also want to segment your list further by demographics, buying behavior, or some other metric.  This allows you to launch targeted campaigns to a customer base that is predisposed to look favorably on your offer.  By sending focused emails, you also are likely to cut down on unsubscribes and spam complaints, helping keep your sender reputation high as well as increasing potential conversions and sales from your campaigns.

How to Remove Spamtraps From Your Email Marketing List

How to Remove Spamtraps From Your Email Marketing List

If you are rigorous in your acquisition policies by using double opt-in procedures your email marketing lists should be relatively free of spamtraps – those emails that can get your email service provider (ESP) placed on the blacklist and your company banned for sending spam emails.  However, if you don’t have a policy to clean bad/inactive emails from your lists, over time valid email addresses initially added to your list can become spamtraps even if the contacts initially opted-in to the list.  Some suggestions for removing these emails follow.

Proper List Acquisition Procedures

In the first place, make sure you don’t add emails to your list that have bad domains or haven’t gone through the double opt-in procedure.  Also, be cautious when purchasing lists unless you know exactly how the leads on the list were acquired.  Utilize email hygiene software when possible to help with the process of verifying your list and scrubbing it of bad addresses.

List segmentation

To remove those spamtraps that have made it through your lead acquisition process, first segment your list by activity.  For instance, note the leads which have opted-in or clicked on a link recently, say in the past month or so, and put them in one segment.  Then make another segment of those leads on your list that have been active in the past 3 to 6 months or so.  Once you get past a certain threshold, usually anywhere from 3 to 9 months, make another list and categorize the contacts on the list as inactive. 

The inactive and less active leads can then be targeted by a re-engagement campaign, with the inactives who fail to respond being removed from your list.  Performing this type of list cleaning routine will remove any spamtraps you might have acquired along the way, without the necessity of positively identifying them as spamtraps.

Spamtrap Testing

You can also split your list into portions, say ½ or 1/3, and then send emails to each list separately and check your bounce rates and blacklist results to see in which portion of your list the spamtrap fell, and then focus your cleaning efforts on the contacts on that portion of the list.  If a positive result is achieved in more than one portion you can split those portions in turn and perform the same procedure again until your list is clean.  Email list scrubbing services can be helpful in this process by searching pre-existing lists of bad email addresses as well as checking for domain misspellings and other such errors.

How to Choose an Email List Cleaning Software

Email Cleaning

The basic principle of email marketing success is to have an up-to-date, clean and valid database of email addresses. And while it’s possible to just buy a ready-to-use email list, there is, however, no guarantee that the email addresses in that list would be 100% authentic, valid and not expired.

So, the best way to build your email list is to do it manually. It may sound like a large job, but a little effort and dedication will be good enough to achieve your desired results.  Nevertheless, there are many tools and software available to clean an existing email list. Not every email list cleaning software is right for the job however.To make sure you that you choose the right software, here are a few tips:

Number of Email Addresses

Every email cleaning software is useful for a particular number of email addresses. So, before buying any software, make sure that it has the power to clean your email list. If you have a huge list, always consult the software company before buying the product. There are many sophisticated software that can clean as many as millions of email addresses in a list.

Organized Output

Once you are sure about the productivity of software, make sure it will produce an organized output in your desired file format. So, the product you choose should not only be able to read your email list from your email list file format, but it should also produce output in the same format. Also, if it has the ability to add extra information columns like the status of an address next to each email, it can be really handy for you.

Software Accuracy

Okay, this is the tricky part. We use email address verification tools to take invalid, expired or fake email addresses off the list. So, if a tool cannot offer 100% or a near 100% accuracy, it is of no use. The main objective behind making this investment is to get a clean, up-to-date and fresh email database. Therefore, if a tool cannot offer it, there is really no point of wasting money. This is the reason why you must ask for a guarantee in written regarding the accuracy of the tool.

Technical Support

Never take technical support for granted. Make sure that the software company you are dealing with has a professional technical support staff. Technical staff may not sound like a big deal, but it can be really useful in case of any errors or problems regarding the application.

So, these are a few of the most important points that you must consider before buying any list cleaning software on the internet. 

Email Deliverability – Not Getting Easier!

Blog - Email Sending

Deliverability is the way to measure the percentage of how many marketing emails you deploy actually make it to the inbox of the recipient. Despite email marketing implementing practices such as permission-based marketing, sometimes emails still don’t have a guaranteed deliverability date – they are being treated as SPAM or being blocked outright. For a marketer who has made all the right decisions this can be frustrating – you’ve asked for permission to feed a customer your content and he or she is still not getting it!

The ability to have effective inbox deliverability differs at different points in the year – at the end of the year when the rate of sending email is higher, the deliverability rate also increases. Chance are, however, your recipient is merely deleting the high volume of marketing emails in their inbox without even bothering to mark it as SPAM.

Research shows that this deliverability rate differs based on the industry the marketer originates from. For instance, healthcare and beauty products seemed to have one of the highest email deliverability rates while software products have the lowest.

Another thing to consider is that if the largest number of your recipients is on Gmail, your messages are being sent to an alternate tab that filters all promotional material separately. This could however work positively for you at points – when a reader consciously opens the promotions tab, they are probably in the mood to know what you have on offer for them and make the decision to open and read your email themselves.

ISPs are also changing the way emails are being filtered with reputation based spam filters that are far more effective at being able to ascertain if an email is spam or not. This has resulted in ISPs making a conscious shift towards engagement based spam filters as well that are even more effective at identifying spam.

While your emails may not be getting delivered as effectively as you would like, the good news is that the global email deliverability hasn’t changed drastically over the years. The currently available tools and platforms have continued to challenge marketers to be on top of their game and deliver content that matters.

Name Field? The Pros & Cons

Blog - Name Fields

When it comes to opt-in forms for your online content, there is always the debate of adding a name filed will be beneficial or not. For one, it helps you get more personal information about the reader who is opting in but on the other hand, you may offend people who don’t want you to have that kind of information or would just prefer to be anonymous and still receive your content. There are no real answers to these questions, but it is good to highlight the pros and cons of both sides of the argument in order that you can make the most informed decision:

THE CONS

As with most things, it’s good to start with the bad news first and the general initial consensus for adding in more fields to an opt-in form will actually reduce the number of opt-ins. Another thing to note is that you are also running the chance of people inputting incorrect or false names which means you don’t really get accurate information. Imagine this information automatically going into your list and sending out emails to Random Guy or Alice Wonderland? If you want to grow your list fast deleting the name field will be most helpful and what’s more – you can always ask for their names later once you build a better relationship with them thanks to the quality and value of your content itself.

THE PROS

The first and most obvious reason to include the name field in your opt in forms is to be able to have better personalization with your future content. It means you can segment your lists further by either first or last name enabling you to send out far more personal emails than before. Research around the world goes to prove this fact and let us know that engagement increases automatically when your communication is far more personal. Opening your emails with Hi there Mr Jones or Hello Terry just makes things all warmer for you. Think of it in terms of a real human interaction – aren’t we nicer to people who we know?

The thing to note is that you need to decide what works best for you. There are valid arguments on both sides but your own experience as a marketer should enable you to go through your own history with opt in forms as well before you decide how to proceed on this matter. On one hand you can get more opt-ins on the other hand; you can improve the quality of your content.

Sender Reputation During the Holiday Season

Blog - Receiving Email Marketing

During the holiday season, retailers send an increased volume of emails to clients with special offers and promotions. In fact, according to Experian Marketing Services, email volume surged 13% higher in the 2018 holiday season compared to the 2017 holiday season. In addition, the increase in email volume led to a 9 % rise in the number of total transactions from email marketing campaigns and an 18.4% increase in overall revenue.

Clearly, email is a critical communication channel for the holiday season. However, with increased volume sent to potentially inactive subscribers, comes some vulnerability. And with increased pressure to perform, retailers look to increase their volume of communications and the size of their database. Sending to inactive subscribers or inaccurate email addresses can expose retailers to sender reputation problems. This is the rating a given domain has with Internet Service Providers, which can affect their ability to reach a subscribers inbox.

Since every ISP calculates sender reputation differently, it is important that retailers understand the top factors affecting sender reputation and work to prevent any errors. Some of the main factors is the volume of email sent, spam trap hits and blacklists, and complaint and hard bounce rates. Perhaps the most worried about factor is that of ‘spam trap hits’.

If you are receiving more than one spam complaint for every 1000 emails sent then this could be damaging to your sender reputation. Most people are familiar with the “Report Spam” button on their email client. When this is clicked on a spam complaint is logged at the ISP level or it is also relayed back to the sender if they are a part of a feedback loop. A good way to reduce your spam complaints is to ensure that all of your subscribers are opt-in.

As volume picks up during the holiday season, so does the risk of deliverability issues. This increased volume can exacerbate any problems that may exist with the email database. And problems certainly exist today in many email databases. On average, U.S. organizations believe a quarter of the information in their database is inaccurate. This has led to many problems for organizations in the last 12 months, including spam trap hits, blacklisting and trouble reaching the inbox.

While 88% of organizations manage their email database in some way, it is important that information be validated and data management methods refreshed prior to the holiday season. Marketers should be sure to review opt-out requests, bad emails and inactive subscribers prior to the start of holiday campaigns. This will help improve some of the leading causes of deliverability issues.

Sending to inaccurate or inactive email addresses can have serious impacts on your email sender reputation. Be sure your email database is ready this holiday season before increased volumes.