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Best Practices for Email Delivery

November 4, 2008

1. Become a preferred sender. Include verbiage at the top of your email communication encouraging users to set up your “from” address in their address books.

2. Stay away from spam triggers. Run your creative communication through a content evaluator tool to ensure that you are minimizing any spam triggers in your email copy. Most reputable email service providers (ESPs) should have such a tool.

3. Utilize in-box monitoring. There are many reputable companies out there that can help you seed your list and report back on the number delivered to each type of in-box (junk, spam, etc.). Check with your ESP to see if it provides these services. If it doesn’t, utilize one of the leaders in the space.

4. Get a dedicated IP address. If you are sharing your IP address (through your ESP) with other clients, blocking issues that might be related to any of the other senders’ campaigns can affect your ability to deliver your customer messages. An IP address dedicated only to your programs will help ensure your messages aren’t blocked based on other marketers’ email practices or programs.

5. Make sure you’re white-listed. Stay on top of your ISP relationships to ensure white-listing status. This is a big job. Outsourcing your email deployment can help, as most ESPs have staff dedicated to this effort.

6. Follow email authentication guidelines. Specifically, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Sender-ID guidelines should be followed. This is a technical requirement that you may need to implement with the help of an IT resource.

7. Manage abuse complaints. Creating a feedback loop with the ISPs is vital in order to stay on top of your abuse complaints. As mentioned above, your ESP will likely have dedicated staff working on ISP relationships. Make sure they have created this feedback loop and that your list is immediately cleansed of those who report your messages as spam.

8. Cleanse your list. Make sure that your list is clean of hard bounces (invalid addresses) regularly. Each ISP has a different algorithm for bounce management, such as the number of times it will attempt delivery before bouncing it back. You should understand these algorithms and actively manage them. Again, outsourcing to a reputable ESP is helpful.

9. Abide by the law. Make sure that each commercial email communication you send out is in compliance with all applicable legislation.

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