E-mail Delivery Case in Point

One of the most vexing aspects of e-mail marketing is the fact that a lot of legitimate e-mail gets blocked by ISPs by mistake in their effort to control Spam. As a result, we spend huge amounts of time and resources making sure all our clients’ mail gets into the inbox and our delivery rate is typically 95% to 100%.  It’s a process that involves 4 people on my staff, who work with our superb partners at Return Path, the industry leader in e-mail delivery and hygiene.

I thought I would offer a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes by quoting a blog posting from George Bilbrey today, who is the VP & GM Delivery Assurance Solutions at Return Path that I just read.

This story is particularly interesting because he’s writing about two huge brands in our country, showing the e-mail delivery is a problem everyone has to focus on. Last week, I did a seminar in North Carolina, and someone raised her hand saying that she was determined to continue using Microsoft Outlook to send her e-mail. I think this post is really instructive, as it makes the case as to why you need to use an e-mail provider. IT also underscores the importance of selecting a company that has an excellent e-mail delivery track record, and one that can talk with you about what they do about it. If you’re going to take e-mail marketing seriously, delivery is a big deal.

I’m quoting George here:

It’s comforting to think of deliverability as a problem you can solve and be done with. And, in some cases, that can seem to be true. We have many clients that went from so-so inbox placement rates to nearly 100 percent across the board and, for the most part, stay there every campaign. But it takes work for that to happen.

The rules of the deliverability road can change without warning. Smart marketers must be prepared to react to those changing rules to ensure their delivery rates remain high.

Such was the case for one of our favorite clients, Overstock. We have been working with them for some time and brought their inbox placement rates up by 11 percent — they are typically near 100 percent for every campaign. Then, in November, a sudden drop in their deliverability at Yahoo! raised alarm bells.

Yahoo! was having problems with large volumes of spam that caused it to slow down all email. As a result, some legitimate mail was getting inadvertently blocked. A change in sending strategy to Yahoo! was all it took to get them back to 100 percent. But, making those changes takes the dedication to watch for problems, and the willingness to fix them quickly.

We’re hard at work dealing with problems like this one every day. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

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