Improve the deliverablity of your email

Back in the days of the Pony Express (beginning in 1860) it took a pistol-packing rider more than 10 days to deliver mail from Missouri to California, changing horses and risking all kinds of dangers.

The US Post Office strives to deliver each piece of mail — rain, snow, or shine.

But did you know that as much as 20% of email is never delivered? There is no guarantee that when you send email, it will reach its recipient. This is because Internet Service Providers (or ISPs) block email in an effort to counter SPAM. Reputedly, AOL blocks up to 1 million email messages a day.

The problem is that a percentage of this email is legitimate communication that the recipient expects and wants to receive, such as email newsletters from associations to which he/she may belong.

Universities, public school systems, and government agencies (such as the Defense Department) block significant amounts of email, mostly from commercial sources, such as email marketing programs like Constant Contact and iContact. These are reputable companies who provide economical ways for businesses and nonprofit organizations to manage their lists and distribute email. And these email marketing companies take significant steps to safeguard ISPs from spam. So, why isn’t the email delivered? The answer lies with the ISPs.Some ISPs, such as many school systems, simply decide that their members don’t need to read commercial email, and they won’t deliver it. Any email sent from a company like Constant Contact is considered commercial email, even if the content is a nonprofit association’s newsletter with no real commercial intent.

But using an email service like Constant Contact is a cost-efficient, rapid, and effective way to communicate, which is important to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Constant Contact (who partners with Fletcher Prince) actually enjoys a higher deliverability rate than the industry standard because of its assertive anti-spam program. Yet, emails that I send using this program on the behalf of my clients don’t reach 100% of my client’s lists — especially universities and schools. So, individual members of associations who use email addresses associated with school systems or government agenices may not receive the email newsletters, announcements, and other information they have asked to receive.
Here are four ways to increase the deliverability of your email campaign?

  1. Encourage your recipients who want to receive email from your organization to obtain a free email account with Yahoo or Hotmail, instead of using the email address given them by their employer (if that employer is a school or government agency).
  2. Urge all your recipients to add your organization’s send address to their email address book.
  3. Ask members of your list who are not receiving email to contact their IT departments and explain that they have requested and want to receive their email. Then the IT department may lift the block.
  4. You can also contact the ISPs or IT Departments directly, on behalf of members on your list, and request that the block be lifted.

For more information on email communication and deliverability, please contact Fletcher Prince.

Try Constant Contact free for sixty days AND receive free email advice from Fletcher Prince.

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on May 22, 2009, in Email Marketing Tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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