Email Deliverability and the Common Crimes that Kill It
Perhaps one of the most consequential mistakes in email marketing that kills email deliverability and causes a whole host of problems is the failure to get proper permission from the people you plan to contact. That probably reads like a straightforward statement, but there are different levels to this crime. Here’s a look at some common scenarios where YNOT Mail customers sometimes go wrong, as well as an explanation for why you want to avoid these tactics.
Scenario 1: Bought lists
You’re eager to increase sales for the month, and you’ve heard good things about email marketing. A business associate offers to sell you a list of 10,000 email addresses for a few hundred bucks, so you jump on it. You sign up for a YNOT Mail account, upload the list and start sending out emails with carefully crafted special offers, and then eagerly await big sales numbers because you’ve heard great things about the effectiveness of email.
Email Crime Rating: 10
Analysis: If you’re purchasing a list of email addresses, or “borrowing” them from another company (perhaps in a trade), you’re starting out very badly. When you email these unearned lists, the recipients are not going to recognize your content as anything they consented to receive. Some portion of recipients will click the “spam” button when this happens, and if the number of spam reports is high enough, major email service providers like Gmail and Hotmail will start directing all your future emails to the spam box. You also run the risk of hitting numerous spamtraps with bought lists, which can get your IPs branded as spamtastic. Buying lists is one of the fastest ways in the email game to build a bad reputation and destroy email deliverability for extended periods of time.
Scenario 2: Zombie email lists
You own the website SomeOldSite.com, and back in 2010 you legitimately collected a lot of “opt in” email addresses from customers who purchased something. After years of neglect you decide now you want to revive the website, so you start sending out emails with special offers to entice customers to re-visit.
Email Crime Rating: 6
Analysis: While this crime isn’t nearly as bad as using a bought list, it’s still likely to cause email deliverability problems. First, those who receive your email might not remember seven years later that they ever did business with your website, so there’s higher risk for spam complaints. Second, many of those email addresses will be bogus now, which will generate a lot of “bounces.” A high bounce rate can cause email providers to spam-box messages from your IP address. Third, spamtrap operators commonly take over old domains and use them to see who’s sending emails. You can argue that turning old email addresses into span traps is a bit of a dirty tactic by the anti-spam community, but when you email old addresses that have not recently opened an email from you, there’s much greater risk of getting blacklisted and killing your deliverability.
Scenario 3: Cross-pollination
You own ReallyAwesomeWebsite.com, where you collect email addresses from customers. You recently launched AnotherGreatWebsite.com, and you’re looking for ways to jumpstart the traffic. So, you start emailing your list that was generated at ReallyAwesomeWebsite.com with your newsletter from AnotherGreatWebsite.com.
Email Crime Rating: 7
Analysis: Although you may have properly collected the email addresses for your first website, the recipients were not expecting email from your second website when they consented to join your list. While recipients might have agreed to receive emails in general from your company, if they’re not able to connect ReallyAwesomeWebsite.com to AnotherGreatWebsite.com, they’re going to assume they’re just getting spammed. That’s going to lead to a high level of spam complaints and, you guessed it, poor deliverability for all your email campaigns. Possibly even worse, if email providers like Gmail see a new domain suddenly sending a lot of email, they’ll suspect you’re using a bought list instead of one you built organically. That can lead to your emails being delayed or, worse, spam-boxed or even just not delivered at all. If you plan to cross-promote multiple websites, do what you can to communicate that to contacts as you collect their email addresses and try to make it obvious that the websites are connected under one company.
Protect Email Deliverability; Get Permission
The first rule of email marketing is to use lists you earned, consisting of only the email addresses of individuals who opt-in to receive your content. I know that sounds easy, but in the rush to get a marketing message in front of more people, many email marketers fall to the temptation of using unearned email lists. If you choose this approach, your emails “enjoy” awful deliverability stats, which actually costs you and your business money. Luckily if you choose to get started with YNOT Mail, we make it easy for you to grow your lists the right way and get the best ROI with your email marketing campaigns.