MarketingProfs recently convened a Thought Leaders Summit of global experts to discuss the issues facing email marketers today. On hand were Chris Baggot, founding partner of ExactTarget; Rok Hrastnik, owner of and author of Unleashing the Marketing and Publishing Power of RSS; Eric Kirby, senior vice-president and general manager for email solutions at DoubleClick; Chris Price, managing director of Permission; Neil Squillante, president of Landing Page Interactive; Jim Sterne, consultant, speaker and founding director of the Web Analytics Association; and Shar VanBoskirk, consulting analyst with Forester Research. (Here's a complete list of the participants and their bios.)

In part one, we discussed the coming of age of email marketing. Here, in the second part, we discuss the block-and-tackle issues of getting past the spam filters so your message is heard.

Spam filters tend to be the bane of the email marketer's existence. Getting past them is a serious challenge, and it is becoming increasingly harder. How can an email marketer consistently bypass those spam filters?

Perhaps we're asking the wrong question here. If you are a marketer who is truly focused on the customer's needs and on creating relevancy for that customer, you will already have a strategy that is focused on ensuring that your email conversations are relevant to your customers and are delivering value in relation to their needs.

Having said that, you can be doing everything right... and your mail might still end up in a junk folder—unless you go that extra step. In the B2B world, you are now at the mercy of every gatekeeper in every company you are trying to deliver into, and that becomes a much more important dynamic. Confirmed opt-in is obviously the best way to go.

Whether you are a B2C company or a B2B company, it is important to invest resources into staying on top of these issues. It's a moving target: new authentication procedures, shifts in adoption of varying anti-spam technology, and knowing what is the current flavor-of-the-month with spam filters that evolve as each day passes.

Unless you have in-house resources to track these changes, you may need to consider working with an email service provider that has invested in this capability.

You also need to ensure that your strategies are actually working for you. A service provider can help you set up test accounts to track how your email is being rendered to your email clients. Make sure that the messages you think are relevant and appropriate for the ISP are actually rendering correctly when you get through. Take a global view, too, on the need for ISP relations.

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Stephan Spencer is the founder of Science of SEO and an SEO expert, author, and speaker.

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