Some of the companies that we meet with send all of their email, including system messages, from their internal servers. Many of them don’t have means to even see if the emails are getting to their destination… and many of them aren’t. Do not assume that because you sent an email that it actually made it to the inbox.
This is why there is an entire industry of email providers. Email is a formidable tool – often resulting in the highest returns than any other online medium. If your company isn’t experiencing that, your email may be going out – but not actually being read or opened.
- Industry Blacklists – Most internet service providers (ISP) subscribe to industry blacklists. Spamhaus is a well known blacklist service. Organizations like Spamhaus monitor the volume of complaints that a business gets and the thresholds are fairly low. If your company finds itself on a blacklist, each ISP may be blocking all email from your IP address. There are hundreds of blacklists out there – so your best bet is to subscribe to a Blacklist Monitoring service to ensure you’re not on any as well as getting assistance on how to be removed from them.
- ISP Blacklists – Internet Service Providers like Yahoo! AOL and others also maintain their own blacklists. There are several things you can do to ensure high deliverability rates, including getting your company whitelisted with them. If you’re sending emails from your own system, be sure to challenge your IT teams to put the necessary precautions in place.
- Soft Bounces – Sometimes email inboxes are full so the host or provider doesn’t accept the email. They send a bounce message back. This is called a soft bounce. If your system doesn’t have any means of handling a soft bounce, you won’t send another email when the user finally cleans up their inbox. This is called bounce management and it’s quite complex. To maximize deliverability rates, email service providers will attempt to resend emails dozens of times if necessary.
- Hard Bounces – If an email address is no longer valid, the provider will often send back a message. If your system doesn’t do anything with that information and you continue sending to the address, you’re going to get in trouble. Resending messages to bad email addresses is an easy way to get on the bad side of an Internet Service Provider. They’ll begin dumping all of your email to the SPAM folder.
- Content – Email subject lines and content may contain some words that trigger SPAM filters. Unbeknownst to you, your email is sent directly to the junk folder and your recipient never reads it. Most email service providers (and some external tools) have content analysis filters. It’s a great idea to validate your message to improve the chances of it making it to the inbox.
There’s no need to break the bank on these tools, either. While signing up with an Email Service Provider may cost thousands of dollars, you can also just opt in to some email tool services. Their pricing on Blacklist Monitoring, for example, is under $10 a month!