Most ISPs rely on your IP or domain reputation when deciding whether to accept, reject or black hole email sent by your organization. Usually, senders with a good IP and domain reputation will have their email newsletters and email marketing accepted by the majority of ISPs, while senders with a poor IP or domain reputation will have the door slammed in their face and their email either rejected or black holed.
How to Build and Maintain a Good IP Reputation
Why Email Recipients Complain
There are only a few reasons why a person would complain about receiving your email.
How Email Recipients Complain
When an email recipient or subscriber complains about an email they received, they normally don’t tell you, but instead tell their ISP. This sometimes makes it difficult for you to know that an individual has complained about receiving your unwanted email. There are a few different ways that recipients can complain about the unwanted email they received.
With web based, free email service providing ISPs like Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail, the ISPs simply count the votes. With most ISPs, a >0.1% complaint ratio is acceptable. So, if you send to 100,000 recipients and receive 99 complaints from any single ISP, you’re most likely safe. Obviously, your goal should be to receive no complaints, but the possibility of not having a single person click the spam button is unlikely, unless your email list is extremely small.
Monitor your Email Campaigns and be Proactive
Be sure to follow best practices when you’re sending email newsletters or promotional email messages. Analyze your results. If you find a specific email marketing campaign you sent generated a large number of complaints or the number of unsubscribes was higher than usual, make sure to take the time to review the email you sent and determine the cause. The need to continually monitor and tweak your email campaigns should be a mandatory part of your post campaign review to ensure your recipients are receiving wanted and valuable information.
Being prepared with a holiday email marketing program should be at the top of your to-do list. As with most businesses, email marketing plays a huge role in your promotional plans for the holiday season. Creating and scheduling a series of planned and timely email campaigns could greatly benefit your bottom line when it comes to your holiday sales. Connecting with your customers and potential new customers should be done in a way that your email creative will be displayed properly on any device, whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone, making sure that people can receive and read your email marketing message should be of the utmost importance. After coming up with your messaging and offerings, starting with a well-crafted, responsive email creative should be your first step.
Making your emails, the message of your email marketing and your subject lines stand out should be extremely important as well, so your message doesn’t end up in the trash.
You should take a few minutes to read; Email Marketing Subject Lines you Never Want to Use.
To help get you started on your holiday email marketing initiative, we’ve compiled a list of our Top 10 Holiday Email Marketing Ideas and Tips.
Coupons – Start with a holiday shopping coupon for your loyal customers. You can focus on the coupon specifically or make a coupon part of your email marketing newsletter. Even though your customers might not be ready to buy at the exact moment they receive your coupon, it should help ensure they come back when they are ready to buy.
Thanksgiving Special – Offer your loyal customers a Thanksgiving Special, which can be a timely coupon, a holiday discount or simply to say, “Happy Thanksgiving” and thanking them for their continued patronage throughout the year.
Black Friday Offer – This year Black Friday is on November 28th. Create a special Black Friday offering and let your customers know about it through an email campaign. Send a series of 2 or 3 emails leading up to Cyber Monday letting your customers know about special discounts and awesome deals you’ll have online on Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday – This year Cyber Monday is on December 1st. Make sure you take part in the online shopping event called Cyber Monday.
Gift Card Bonus – If you offer gift cards on your website, provide a special offer to give your customers a reason to buy a gift card for someone special. Add a 20% Bonus when they buy a new Gift Card any time before Friday, November 28th, Black Friday.
Holiday Gift Guide – Come up with some great ideas and specials for moms and dads, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles – don’t leave anyone out (especially your wife).
Inexpensive Gift Ideas – Come up with a few inexpensive gift ideas for people who either don’t have a big budget or want to spend under $10 to buy a gift for a friend or someone at work.
Last Minute Reminders – Let your customers know about last minute gift ideas, specials or discounts you have on your website. Keep them engaged throughout the holiday buying season.
Free Shipping – Create a few days where you offer free shipping on all of your products. This could help save your customers quite a bit of money and allow them to buy more of your products. Incentivize them to buy from you, while not having the added expense of shipping.
Extended Hours – If you are a retail establishment, let your customers know that you have extended your store hours and on which days you’ll be open late.
While all of these ideas should help you get a head start on your holiday email marketing initiatives, make sure you are sending to valid email addresses. No matter how good your email offer or creative is, if you are sending it to dead email address, it won’t generate anything. Remember, 30% of all emails are abandoned or change each year. Think about email validation and making sure that the email addresses in the list or database you are sending to are still valid and deliverable.
Don’t put it off. Plan and schedule your holiday email marketing campaigns before it’s too late.
OK, so you decided to start sending emails to your customers, leads or prospects, but you just realized that after attempting to upload your list into Mailchimp, SendGrid, ExactTarget, Constant Contact or one of a handful of other ESPs (email service providers), they shut you down before your list was even fully uploaded. WOW, that’s a shocker. Considering that you haven’t sent an email to any of these people ever, or in a very long time, why would this come as a shock? It shouldn’t – The simple fact is that 2-3% of all email address are abandoned, become inactive or are changed every month. As with most ESPs, when you sign up for a new account and think you can simply upload your email list and start mailing, you might be in for a big surprise, when they tell you your list is not acceptable.
So now what? Most ESPs will either direct you to a company that can assist you in cleaning up and validating your email list or show you the door, with a note taped to your back that says “Get Lost”, as you hear the door slam behind you.
What is Email List Cleaning?
Email list cleaning is a service, usually provided by a specialty data company that will compare your email addresses to a large compiled master list of email addresses that are known to be bad or problematic. These are email addresses you’ll never want to send an email marketing message, advertisement or any email to ever. This works by identifying, purging and removing bad, invalid, known hard bounce, seed, honeypot, duplicate, complainer and BOT email data from your list.
What is Email Validation?
Email validation is a service, usually provided by a specialty data company that will validate every single email in your list by using either a proprietary or non-proprietary application that will determine if the email address is valid and deliverable or not. This service should always be done by a professional company and never requires an email being sent to the end user while validating.
OK, are we still on the same page? Simple Right? So, why doesn’t 2+2=4?
So logically, you would assume that the first step that most of the specialty data companies that provide these services would do is clean out and remove the bad email addresses you should never send an email to prior to validating the email addresses in your list. While this sounds like a pretty good, simple and intelligent idea, it’s utterly astonishing that most companies that provide these types of services don’t do both. Email Answers is the only company that offers a complete service that will clean and validate an email list. You should also consider the fact that Email Answers service is 80% less expensive than any legitimate competitor. When I started doing some research on Google, it blew my mind that the handful of companies who offer email validation don’t (or maybe can’t) offer email list cleaning as part of their service.
Let’s Look at Some Email Validation Companies Together.
(You can click any of the images/screen shots below to see a larger version)
Now you might want to buckle up, because what I’m about to share with you, which you can test yourself by simply going to these companies websites (at least for a short while until they fix it) will absolutely amaze you.
Why would you ever want to send an email to email@example.com even if it is valid?
Yay! firstname.lastname@example.org is valid (LOL) but why would you ever want to send a marketing email to it or have this email address in your customer or newsletter database?
This one really amazed me – they test 10 different validation components but they still allow you to validate email@example.com. Why would any company ever want to send an email to an abuse email address or this type of role account?
This one I really enjoyed, because they allow you to validate up to 5 email addresses at once, but totally miss the fact that they need to scrub and remove the garbage?
Besides telling you the emails address is OK to send to, they offer an Email Extractor.
(Stay Really Far Away from this one!)
This one I really enjoyed. A company that sells a service they don’t even use themselves on their own website. I was able to sign up with an abuse email using a domain that doesn’t even have name servers answering, DNS records, a web or email server setup.
But wait, it gets better. Once I sign up with a bogus abuse email account, I am taken to an up-sell page to get my free “email assurance” report, whatever that means? They even pre-populate the bogus email address I used during the signup test.
Since we’ve had a little fun today testing out some other email validation company’s forms and their email validation testing tools on their websites, I think it might be time to move on to discuss what we’ve discovered and learned today. I think we can all agree, most of you should now understand Why All Email Validation Services Are Not Created Equal.
Any Questions So Far?
It’s actually pretty sad that there are companies signing up for these services and relying on them to validate their new email signups without truly knowing what they are getting into.
Are you feeling a little sick to your stomach yet? Yea, me too.
What’s the Solution?
Email Answers offers 2 options for you to choose from.
The main difference between Purelist and Email Answers – Email List Cleaning and Validation Service is that while Purelist is a real-time processing platform, our email list cleaning and validation service is not and requires a 24-72 hour turnaround time. Purelist does not validate each individual email address to ensure it is valid and deliverable, while our email list cleaning and validation service does.
Here’s some additional recommended reading for you: