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Tips on Avoiding Deliverability Disaster

by Barton Schaefer, PhD  |  
January 20, 2009

Will nearly 100 percent of my marketing email end up in my customers' spam folders?

The answer may be "yes" if your company doesn't change its email practices.

Fewer consumers are willing to spend right now, while most companies are anxious to improve their revenue numbers. If customers aren't buying enough, the solution may seem simple—send more email. Alas, customers who are not eager to buy are unlikely to be receptive to additional emails from you.

Instead of being financially rewarded for emailing more, you may be punished by a slackened or even negative response, and you might find that your revenue plummets while your email languishes in spam filters.

How can you determine how your email is performing?

Don't fixate on a single metric

There are many sides to the performance puzzle. For example, bounce-backs can't give a complete picture of your delivery success. You should also watch the number of delayed deliveries, sometimes known as soft bounces; these are emails that didn't make it through on the first delivery attempt.

Also, pay attention to your opt-out rates. The expected rate may depend on the kind of customers you have, but anything above one percent may indicate dissatisfied recipients. Less than half a percent is preferable, and less than a quarter of a percent should be achievable. Look at how your opt-out rate is trending: Even if your rate is low, a steady increase may signal a change in how your recipients perceive the value of your mail.

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Barton Schaefer, PhD is CTO of iPost (

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  • by Jack Leblond Wed Jan 21, 2009 via web

    All great info. I'll add that you must test every aspect of your e-mail campaigns. Just because Tuesday at 2pm is the best time for me to send, does not mean it's best for you - only way to know is test. Test subject lines, link text...well, you get the point.

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