Five Ways to Improve Your Company’s Email Deliverability
Email is messy: a decades-old accumulation of technology that just about works, but is no-one’s idea of a flawless communication platform. Nevertheless email remains the world’s most popular way to communicate. Businesses have to take the deliverability of their emails seriously — a task made difficult by hair-trigger spam countermeasures.
It’s all too easy to fall foul of spam-blocking put in place by ISPs, anti-spam organizations, and email providers. The slightest whiff of spamminess is enough to land IPs on a blacklist.
How can you avoid being sent to Coventry? Following these five simple rules will help keep your company’s IPs off anti-spam radars.
Don’t Send Spam
This should be obvious, but it’s not quite as straightforward as it seems. One person’s spam is another person’s ham. That said, a good definition of spam is this: unsolicited email sent to a large number of people without their permission.
The line between marketing emails and spam is thin, but if you cross it either deliberately or accidentally, you’ll find it increasingly hard to have legitimate email delivered.
Don’t Ignore Spam Reports
If you receive reports of spam coming from within your organization, don’t ignore them. There are many different reasons you might be spamming, from rogue employees to compromised servers. Ignoring spam reports is irresponsible and a quick way onto spam blacklists.
Feedback loops (FBLs) are your friend here. Many ISPs and email providers make it easy to see if email originating from your organization is being reported as spam. Here’s a useful list of Feedback Loops for major ISPs.
Use Double Opt-ins
Although double opt-ins are a legal requirement in some parts of the world, many companies don’t bother.
A double opt-in means asking people to sign-up to your list and respond to an email sent to the address they signed-up with. When you’re building an email list, make sure the people on it have opted in and that you’ve verified that the person who submitted the address is its legitimate owner.
Furthermore, make it easy for people to opt-out with clear unsubscribe links in all marketing and transactional emails.
Remember, if people don’t want the email you’re sending, it’s spam by definition — give people an easy way to say ‘no thanks’.
Take Network Security Seriously
Compromised servers, content management systems, and hosting accounts are a major source of spam. Spammers invest resources to find out-of-date software on the web, then use known vulnerabilities to break in and install malware that sends spam. An organization could end up sending millions of spam emails without ever knowing.
Spam blacklist and email providers will not be sympathetic. If you send spam, you’ll be blocked. It’s up to you to keep your networks secure.
Filter Outgoing Spam
The single best way to ensure your organization isn’t sending spam is to run all outgoing email through a third-party outgoing email filter. If spam originates from within your network, it’ll be caught and filtered, and you’ll be notified.
Because outgoing spam filters are SMTP relays, even if spam does get through, your company’s IP addresses won’t be implicated and blocked.
If you take spam seriously and do your best to make sure you only send email to people who are interested, keep your company networks free of spam malware, and filter outgoing email to remove spam, you and the blacklist providers can avoid a falling out that has the potential to seriously degrade your ability to communicate with customers and leads.
About Ciara Noonan: Ciara works as a marketing specialist for MailChannels, a provider outbound email filtering and email delivery solutions for service providers. Follow MailChannels on Twitter at @mailchannels and check out their blog, http://blog.mailchannels.com/.