Best deliverability check list yet!

Email deliverability checklist: Sending email is not the same as delivering.This popped up on Jordie’s Email Vendor Selection recently and is a must read and bookmark bit of content!

Email deliverability checklist: Sending email is not the same as delivering
by Linda Misauer

This is a fully comprehensive deliverability check list. Linda has kindly split it up into 5 sections so marketers can look at the relevant section to them them depending on their role:

  1. Email Deliverability
  2. Sender Authentication & safelisting
  3. Email deliverability and Content
  4. Email deliverability and Testing
  5. Email deliverability Reporting and Monitoring

Have a quick read now, definitely book mark it, refer to it when ever you do a campaign and make sure you can tick off as much as physically possible – especially second 2: you might be surprised how many of these get over looked and the difference they can make to your overall inbox placement.

Great subject line advice from the Email Critics

In “Subject Line Length Doesn’t Matter (Here Is The One Thing That Does)” the Email Critics give us 5 great things medically we need to have in our minds when composing subject lines:

1. Urgency
2. Fear
3. Valuable
4. Timely
5. Call to Action

All very valid and well written, go read it now…

Word to the Wise’s IP Address reputation primer

As you may or may not know: whatever Laura Atkins, of Word to the Wise, doesn’t know about email deliverability, is probably not worth knowing.

This recent blog post is particularly remarkable, so I’m linking to it from here, so less people miss out on it.

The post is called “IP Address reputation primer“, it was published on 26th Jan 2012 and covers the following:

  • Why IP addresses?
  • What is IP reputation?
  • How is IP reputation measured?
  • How fast does IP reputation change?
  • How is IP reputation used?
  • Key IP Reputation takeaways

This also does a fantastic job in validating one of my previous posts “dedicated IPs are good“.

I’ve also added Laura’s page to my “IP Warming” page.


How long do you have to convert an email recipient

Dori Thompson guest writes for the awesome Smart Insights in “The 3-5-7 rule for Email marketing” (01/11/2011).

This is probably more vital information than you may, at first glance, think…

So many emails are created as a giant image and then get sign off, as a giant image but don’t tested in the inbox’s preview pane with images blocked until it is too late to do anything about it. The result is another under achieving delivery.

If you rely on the images to be loaded to convert, they need to take an extra action once they have opened the email.

Consider the 3-5-7 Rule in conjunction with the Triangle of Conversion when you have one main call to action.

Of course always make sure you have additional things for people to engage with, either to the right or beneath your main content.

When it comes to newsletters, where you have a lot of content try some teaser text in preheader or even more of a contents section in header, this way if the content that is visible when the email opens is not suited but there is more further down that might be, they will be able to know about it, rather than click away without knowing what they’ve missed!



The triangle of conversion

Originally published on the Pure360 site as “Single Call to Action Emails” (22 Aug 2011)

There are two main types of email marketing campaign: newsletter and single call to action. Single call to action emails have only one main goal for their recipients, this could be about an event or a product or any other one thing.

Single call to action emails work best with a triangle of call to actions (CTAs) and account for the three stages of conversion:

The three levels of conversion

1. Converted from the subject line

Some people get the email, see who it’s from, read the subject line and as they open it all they want to do is click through and get involved; be it book a trip, look at pictures or buy a product. To account for this it really helps to present readers with an opportunity to convert from the preview pane whilst the images are blocked so there are no barriers to conversion and momentum is maintained.

2. Converted by the header

Some recipients are early adopters and work quite visually or simply want to get engaged quickly when something gets their interest. These people will open the email out of curiosity and want to see what the email is about, these recipients will then either load the images or view in a browser. If your content in the top third of the email is optimised to wow them nice and quick they will click through on your main call to action and your website can do the rest for you.

3. Converted by the elaboration

Some openers need some convincing before they commit to the click, the big wow header and short and sweet elevator pitch will not be enough for them, that’s just ‘salesy bumpf’ to these kinds of people. They want a real reason to click through, they need some facts and some details to investigate further. So further down the email you have something like a more detailed bulleted list and something to explain the product in more detail. This can be nice and literary to let people really read it, but still shorter and more to the point than a book; then at the end flow the call to action to click through so they click the link as the next stage in the story.

The triangle of conversion

This is something learned over time by many marketers and fits in nicely with the three levels.

Essentially the top of the triangle is the quick conversion in the top; the next section stage is normally graphical and more to the right hand side, then the last section is nearer the bottom of the contextual copy on the left, making a triangle.

triangle of conversion

The triangle of conversion – in practice

triangle of conversion in practice


Have more than one call to action

While it is common for an email to only have one call to action when a brand only wants to convert for one thing, it is a wise idea to have additional engagement points, either below the main content or in the right hand margin.

Try and make it personalised where possible or at least relevant. Up-sells and cross-sells are popular for this purpose as well as social media pushes.

Will the new ICO powers help the fight against spam

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]As a response to the increased EU privacy laws, there will be an amendment to our Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) in the UK.

From the 25th of May 2011 the ICO will have the powers to fine businesses and organisations up to half a million pounds for incidents of unwanted marketing calls, emails and SMSs.

The powers include:

  • Monetary penalty powers extended
  • Increased investigatory powers
  • Compulsory notification when breaches occur
  • Increased audit powers
  • New rules for websites using cookies and similar technologies

For all of the details on each point and a word from the Information Commissioner himself, Christopher Graham read the full press release from their press release page.

– – –

Now to the brain-dump / rant…

While this dramatically increases consequences and hopefully will act as more of a deterrent now, personally I’m not sure what this will really achieve for email marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to kick the gift-horse in the teeth: it is definitely a step forward and gives hope for the future, but it merely means that there are more consequences for ignoring the PECR. However, the majority of the emails that get complained about are sent within the law, it is the law that is the problem.

Along with the US CAN-SPAM laws (often referred to as “u-can-spam”) the UK’s soft opt-in and zero protection for generic business addresses while popular with data brokers and lead generation businesses is despised by recipients and subsequently their ISPs. So much so that ISPs have their own sending regulations far beyond the legal requirements requesting only emails that have actually been asked for by their users.
And no-one who’s been blocked by and ISP has ever successfully sued an ISP for it – even though I’ve occasionally hear the phrase ‘illegal restriction of trade’ no-one tries it because they know they won’t win.

The large consumer ISPs like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and AOL (respectably) are all utilising engagement monitoring to help them more accurately assign a reputation and decide if someone is sending emails their users want and have asked for…or not. This reputation will then decide inbox placement and volume tolerances for brands by IP address, domain, email address and sometimes even the prefix.

You have to ask your selves, why have ISPs had to do this?

Answer: Because the law does not respect email or SMS properly.

As countries in the mainland EU like Germany and Holland have nailed down their data privacy laws, and now the EU  has improved their laws significantly and appropriately, they have nicely encroached on  the generally poor communication laws, and that can only be a good thing.

Now we just need the same protection in the UK because it’s not cutting it: email is not flyering.

One big problem is that once an email address has given 3rd party permission once, that’s it there is no way out. You just have to keep hitting the unsubscribe links – if you trust them – or hit the spam button, or get a new email account. And most of the time you don’t realise you’ve even given 3rd party permission.

Something has to give and change to improve the recipient experience and stop consumers just thinking that all marketing emails are spam:

  • Brands should be forced to clearly announce contact details usage and ownership in plain site of the submission form, not a linked Ts and Cs page full of small print.
  • Brands should not be allowed to force consumers into providing 3rd party opt-in when using their site.
    Eg: credit companies, comparison sites and gambling sites etc.
  • Ownership of that data must stay with the collector.
  • All email addresses should have the same levels of opt-in, whether they are consumer, business or generic business. However I will compromise for generic business address being given the same protection and opt-out rules as personal business addresses.
  • I can tolerate the soft-opt-in as long as the soft-optin emails are sent from the same brand which attained consent in the first place.

So my main issue is third party sharing of email addresses which to me is a privacy thing.

Maybe it is because an email address alone is not classed as personal identification, because it is without context, even if it is firstname.lastname@…?

It is someone’s email address and subsequently should be treated with respect and care born out of empathy, not contempt born out of greed from more money for nothing – great tune by the way, got it as a ring tone for whenever my Dad calls me.

There must be a reason why sharing email addresses so freely is still an acceptable practice, other than no-one has fought hard enough to change it?

Is it some kind of age old industrial loyalty to a revenue stream born out of peoples’ apparent endless confusion between postal marketing and email marketing

Maybe it’s some kind of pressure from elsewhere

Could it just be de-prioritisation.

Dunno is the answer, but something is wrong with it.