We got the following in the mail this week from United Airlines: "Watch your email during the week at August 11 to receive a valuable limited-time offer from United for international travel this fall." Something has gone horribly wrong when in order for an email marketing campaign to be effective, you first have to send your customers something via the post office to alert them to watch their inbox.
You may or may not have heard the furor over Spamza - the website where anybody can enter any email address, and have that email address instantly signed up for hundreds of newsletter mailing lists. Of course, everybody is very upset because this site facilitates people getting spammed. BUT, there is also a very important lesson here for email marketers, newsletter publishers, and just about any other email sender who maintains a mailing list.
Three things happened within the last 24 hours which lead me to feel that today we need to talk about email personalization.
One of the most frustrating things for commercial and volume email senders is that different ISPs have different standards for what they require in order to ensure that your email gets delivered. On top of that, many ISPs don't seem to adhere to the agreed industry standards in terms of how their receiving mail servers interact with the sending mail servers - for example five different ISPs may use five different SMTP error codes when they bounce an email because the email address doesn't exist, even though people believe there to be one generally accepted code for that situation (along the lines of "550 user unknown").
Address book importing. Odds are good that if you aren't doing it, you are either thinking about doing it, or you know someone who is doing it or thinking about doing it. Because, you see, it's all the rage. It's also an awful practice.
What do a spammer and two legitimate email marketers have in common? They all had their brand new IP addresses blocked as soon as they started using them. And you can too. Here's how.
CAN-SPAM requires that you include your physical mailing address in each and every bulk mailing such as an email newsletter or other mail to a mailing list. For some reason this requirement confuses people - maybe because it's so straight-forward, and people are used to complex, convoluted, and contradictory (the Three Cs of legislative drafting!) language when it comes to the law.
Here's one of those things which can be subtle, and yet so critical. It can bite you in the back without your realizing it, and then six months later you wonder why you have gangrene in your knees - it's that difficult, to connect the dots. Until someone tells you about it and then you have that forehead-slapping moment - of course!
You know, sometimes it's the silliest, most boneheaded things which trip us up. This is true for your email too. See if you can spot the mistakes in this email (this is a genuine, unretouched email, other than our changing the name of the service to "Geegaw" in order to protect the hapless).
Once upon a time somebody - somewhere - somehow decided that it would be good idea to send email to their mailing lists using an email address in their "From:" field that didn't really exist. But sending email "from" an email address that doesn't really exist is a spectacularly bad idea. In fact, it may even qualify as the Epic Fail of "from" email address ideas.
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