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By: April Wilson, President, Digital Analytics 101

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Email deliverability is something you always need to pay attention to as a digital marketer.  If you find yourself in a situation where your e-mail campaigns have gone from a 99% delivery rate to something much lower, like a 60% delivery rate, you probably have an e-mail reputation problem.

The top five reasons you might have a drop in deliverability are as follows:

  1. Your throttle rate is too high. What this means is that you are sending too many e-mails too frequently to your entire customer base. While there is no standard for how often is too often, making big changes to frequency can trigger deliverability problems.
  2. You use too many images in your e-mail, or your e-mail is one big image. Larger e-mail providers often will filter out any e-mails that are just one big picture, or too image-heavy. Because scanning software cannot read an image the way it can read text, there’s no way for an email provider to know what your content is. If they can’t read what your offer is, or your copy is, they may block your e-mails altogether.
  3. You have acquired a large e-mail list and you just start e-mailing them without asking first if they want to receive e-mail from you. Purchased lists are likely to contain what are known as SPAM trap emails. These are email accounts that have been abandoned or unused for over a year that email providers use to test for SPAM. Purchased lists always contain old, bad emails—many of which are likely to be SPAM traps.
  4. You have moved from one e-mail service provider to a new one, and have not told the whitelisting process. This is probably the most common reason you’ll get blacklisted. If info@CNN.com was sent from one IP address last month and all of a sudden info@CNN.com is coming from a different IP address, Hotmail will probably think it’s a spammer pretending to be CNN.com and blacklist it.
  5. You changed your email strategy to be more aggressive. If you start sending daily emails instead of monthly newsletters, this can trigger deliverability issues. If you move away from informational content to promotional content, that can trigger it as well. If you plan to make strategic shifts, slowly phase in changes.

Whitelisting is a process where your email marketing service sends documentation or paperwork to the larger e-mail providers to let them know that all e-mails from you will now be coming from their IP addresses because you are now their customer. It’s an extra step that is usually taken as part of your account set up to help ensure that your e-mail delivery is as high as it can possibly be. When you shop for an email marketing solution, make sure you understand what the whitelisting process is. That way, you don’t get taken by surprise when you launch your first e-mail campaign and realize you’ve unintentionally been blacklisted.

April Wilson, President of Digital Analytics 101,  is an expert on digital analytics, social media marketing, and leveraging big data for organizations of all sizes.

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