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How to Deliver eMails in a SPAM Filtered World. Peter Martin President Cactus Sky Communications, Inc. 941-907-4132 954-205-7716 cell. Power of eMail. eMail earns the Highest ROI Last year, the average return from every dollar spent on:

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how to deliver emails in a spam filtered world
How to Deliver eMails in a SPAM Filtered World

Peter Martin


Cactus Sky Communications, Inc.


954-205-7716 cell

power of email
Power of eMail
  • eMail earns the Highest ROI
  • Last year, the average return from every dollar spent on:
    • eMail Marketing was $45.06
    • Newspaper advertising $16.86
    • Direct mail of $15.55

The Value of eMail

Per eMarketer:

  • Internet users in the US check their personal eMail throughout the day, including at work.
  • Over 70% of employed respondents also said they checked their personal eMail at work—and nearly one-third said they did so more than three times a day.
  • On average, business users spend over an hour per day managing their eMail account.
  • -Garner Report as reported in Digitrends Magazine
“It’s always easier and cheaper to keep oldcustomers than find new ones.”

Dan Lawlor, senior analyst with J.D.Power,

blocked email
Blocked eMail

20 percent of permission-based eMail messages are being blocked.

The steps presented today will help you improve your eMail deliverability.

email deliverability challenges
eMail Deliverability Challenges
  • Crowded inboxes
  • Creating compelling content
  • Testing and continuous improvement
  • Implementing personalized and segmented campaigns
  • Monitoring and analyzing program performance
  • Increasing revenue and return on investment
poor deliverability
Poor Deliverability

Poor deliverability costs your company significant revenue from:

  • Lost potential sales
  • Money wasted to create content
  • Building databases or lists
  • Sending messages that never reach their intended audiences


is the key to


minimize spam complaints
Minimize spam complaints

America Online, for example, currently recommends keeping spam complaints below one per 1,000 messages.

managing complaints
Managing Complaints
  • Complaints are the #1 factor for deliverability
    • You need to set up and manage Feedback loops
      • Complaints are forwarded to sender’s abuse address for processing
      • Remove/suppress complaining addresses immediately
    • Analyze complaints for patterns
      • Frequency issue?
      • Relevancy issue?
spam complaints
Spam Complaints
  • Complaints are the cause of ISP blacklisting.
  • Someone can complain or register your eMail as spam with the click of a mouse button.
  • When enough people do the same thing with your eMail, you will be blacklisted.
your sender reputation
Your Sender Reputation

Your sender reputation has become the primary check that ISP’s use when determining how to treat your eMail.

  • Use recognizable sender names and explicit subject lines.
  • Send only relevant, wanted content.
  • Message frequency: not too much, not too little
opt in permission
Opt in Permission
  • Define
    • Who the message will be from
    • Content you’ll be sending
      • Provide value & state the benefits
      • May want to show an example
    • The frequency of delivery
    • Display or link to privacy policy
    • Establish relevancy
      • Obtain segmentation information through preference center

Database Development

  • Prospects
    • Leads from various lead providers
    • eMail address collected at

the dealership

  • Customers
    • Sales/service/interaction
    • Ongoing communications
    • Service recalls
maintain clean
Maintain & Clean
  • Analyze your data and remove invalid addresses:
    • No spaces or special characters (i.e., commas)
    • Make sure eMails have a valid domain structure
    • Add data validation to your web sign up form
  • Remove:
    • Distribution addresses (i.e., sales@)
    • System addresses (i.e., postmaster@)
    • Any address with the word ‘spam’ in it
    • Complainers and inactives
your customers
Your customers

The average

dealership has less than 2%of its customers’ eMail addresses.


Average Match Rates

Increase your dealershipseMail house list count by up to 30%.


eMail Enhancement

Enhanced Consumer Database for Marketing

Matching Process

Your file is matched against our permission-based eMail append database. When a match is found, the eMail address is added to your file.

Your existing customer database is sent to eMail Matching for processing.

eMail Matching solution

At the completion of the eMail matching Process, the enhanced file is sent back to you.

A welcome eMail is sent to your customers introducing online communications to them, and giving them an opportunity to decline receiving any further online communications.

address book
Address Book
  • Encourage new subscribers to add your eMail address to their address book.
  • These personal white lists are your fastest route to the inbox.
how to improve deliverability
How to Improve Deliverability

To achieve high deliverability rates requires involvement and cooperation from:

  • IT Department
  • Web designer/programmer
  • Copywriter
  • Marketing company
  • Database and list managers
  • Your staff on the front lines collecting eMail addresses
  • Executive management
avoid spammy content
Avoid Spammy Content
  • Avoid overaggressive language and spammy-looking content such as
    • Very large fonts
    • Using all caps
    • Big red letters
    • Anything that looks unprofessional and could be confused with a true spam eMail
catchy vs spammy
“Catchy” vs “Spammy”
  • Run your copy through a content checker to identify any spam-like words, phrases or construction.
  • The content checker will tell you which phrases to avoid.
  • Two tricks that could trip a spam filter:
    • Subject lines in all capital letters
    • Using more exclamation points than necessary.
      • In fact, we recommend against using exclamation points at all if you can avoid it.

Service Coupons

You can have an unlimited number of online coupons.

  • Relevant eMails equal:
    • Better opens, reads, clicks & conversion rates
    • Increased retention
    • Increased ROI
    • Enhanced deliverability
      • Easier to spot deliverability issues
      • Lower spam complaints
online buying
Online buying
  • One-third (33%) of users in a DoubleClick study had purchased something from a web site by clicking on a link in an eMail.
  • Another 42% clicked on an eMail link for more information, then purchased the product at a later time.
email adoption process
eMail Adoption Process







Builds Awareness

Builds Intentions

Builds Sales

online coupons
Online Coupons

73% of consumers have a coupon for an online purchase.

59% have redeemed an online coupon offline.

html emails
HTML eMails
  • Optimize design and HTML coding for delivery and rendering.
  • Many self service programs create spammy code.
  • eMails that are improperly coded or designed will render poorly (particularly when images are blocked) and make your messages look untrustworthy and spam-like, increasing the chance of a spam complaint or unsubscribing.
sample email
Sample eMail:


I received your request for information regarding a Hummer.  Please let me know what you are interested in and I will assist you.Best regards,Mark "the bow tie guy"Cadillac and Hummer727-822-20

benefits of html
Benefits of HTML
  • If your message is promotional or informative, but not one you would typically send via post on letterhead, we recommend designing it in HTML.
  • HTML offers greater control over formatting, layout, color, fonts, graphics and branding.
  • A visually pleasing design can affect your reader’s ability to process and enjoy the information.
  • HTML design also opens up a wealth of possibilities and interactive functionality within each eMail.
  • It gives you the ability to embed forms, links and surveys to truly participate with your reader.

Reach your audience at the right time.

  • Frequency is determined by relevancy
    • No longer defined by calendar
      • Once per quarter, twice per month, once per week, once per day
    • As long as the message is relevant to the recipient, the audience will open, read, and respond to the message.

One of the most welcomed eMails.

don t over email
Don’t over eMail
  • Stick to a frequency that you promised during the opt-in process.
    • Opt-in is the process of someone filling out

a form on your web site.

  • We recommend twice a month.
    • Beginning of the month for service
    • Middle of the month for sales
common mistake
Common Mistake

Because eMail has such high potential ROI, many marketers and their internal stakeholders fall victim to the approach of, “If it works, let’s send more eMails.”

what happens when you hit send
What happens when you hit send?

Best case, it is delivered into the inbox.

worst case
Worst Case

While ISPs and corporate filters all handle suspected spam messages differently, they generally are handled one of four ways:

  • Block it and return to sender with a message explaining the block
  • Block it without returning or notifying the sender
  • Route to the junk folder, often adding [SPAM] or similar notice to the subject line
  • Return it to you with a request to remove the subscriber if he or she clicked the spam button via a feedback loop


Verifies sender’s identity


Third-party verification of sender’s good habits


Tokenized proof of sender’s good reputation

message header
Message Header

The message header is the first thing that is seen by an eMail receiver (i.e. ISP) There are four major areas within an eMail header that should be checked prior to sending the message. These areas include:

  • Sender IP address
  • Host name of sender IP address
  • Envelope header From or Return Path address
  • Reply-To and From addresses
sender id
Sender ID
  • The Sender ID Framework seeks to verify that every eMail message originates from the internet domain from which it claims to have been sent.
  • Sender ID validates the origin of eMail messages by verifying the address of the sender against the alleged owner of the sending domain.
  • Sender ID uses SPF records for part of this validation process.
sender policy framework spf
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • Most domains send outbound mail through relatively small number of servers.
  • Domains should describe that set of servers in an SPF record in their DNS.
  • Internet eMail receivers can then reject forged messages.
  • A typical SPF record looks like: IN TXT "spf2.0/pra -all"
domain key identified mail dkim
Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • DKIM is a method for eMail authentication developed by YAHOO and now also used by other providers such as Gmail.
  • DKIM uses public-key cryptography to allow the signer to electronically sign legitimate eMails in a way that can be verified by recipients.
  • A typical DKIM DNS record has two parts that look like: IN TXT “k=rsa\;p=key” AND IN TXT “t=y;o=~;”
dedicated ip address
Dedicated IP Address
  • Belongs to you exclusively
  • When you share an IP address with other senders and they deploy a bad practice- your messages will be filtered or blocked along with theirs.
  • Dedicated IPs cost more, but will ensure that you are in control of your sender reputation.
importance of from name
Importance of “From Name”
  • Choose your sender/from name carefully.
  • Use your most recognizable and expected brand.
  • Be consistent with it.
unsubscribe link
Unsubscribe Link
  • Make it extremely easy to unsubscribe.
  • If someone calls in and requests to be removed you must have a policy to accomplish that quickly.
  • If your spam complaint rates are very high, include an unsubscribe link at the top of your message.
  • Consult your Legal advisor about compliance with CAN-SPAM and other requirements.
subject line
Subject Line
  • Spend time on your subject line – first impressions mean the world to your recipient.
  • Personalize the subject line. Import the recipients frist name into the subject line when possible.
  • Example subject line: Peter we have some specials for you.
subject line best practices
Subject Line Best Practices
  • See which subject lines delivered the action you wanted:
    • The most conversions
    • The highest average sale per order
    • The highest click-through rate, etc.
  • Review your web analytics reports to see:
    • Which newsletter article topics draw the most clicks or forwards
    • Which whitepapers get downloaded most often
    • Which brands or departments get the most traffic
  • This analysis should:
    • Drive content and product selection strategies,
    • And it can also show you what information is most relevant or useful.
subject line best practice
Subject Line Best Practice
  • Make sure the subject line is relevant. Tie it directly to your message.
  • Tell the reader up front how they will benefit.
personalize subject lines
Personalize Subject Lines
  • Personalize subject lines based on users’ product or content preferences, interests, past purchases, web visits, or links clicked.
subject line length
Subject Line Length

Some eMail clients allow more characters in a subject line than others, but most give you at least 50, including spaces.

  • Load your key information in that first 50.
  • Also, make sure the cut-off doesn’t occur in a crucial word, such as a price or date.

One way to really see how your subject line will work in your recipients’ inboxes is to send yourself an eMail with your proposed subject line.

list hygiene
List Hygiene
  • The process of cleaning your list of undesirable eMail addresses
  • Why is list hygiene important?
    • Reputation
      • The #1 driver of deliverability today
      • Proper list hygiene will help establish a good reputation resulting in better deliverability.
      • Bad list hygiene will lead to poor reputation and poor deliverability.
list hygiene1
List Hygiene

A “dirty eMail” list is guaranteed to cause delivery problems. Elements of a dirty list may include addresses that:

  • Have previously hard bounced
  • Generated a spam complaint
  • Unsubscribe but are still in the active database
  • Are likely spam-trap addresses
  • Are outdated domains
  • Have not opened or clicked in a few years
bounce reasons
Bounce Reasons
  • Attachment Detected
  • Auto Reply
  • Challenge-Response
  • DNS Failure
  • General Bounce
  • General Hard Bounce
  • General Mail Block
  • General Soft Bounce
  • Invalid eMail Address
  • Mailbox Full
  • Message Too Large
  • Relay Denied
  • Spam Detected
  • Transient Failure
  • Unsubscribe Request
email pre flight checklist
eMail Pre-Flight Checklist
  • One critical process that is overlooked is the pre-flight checklist for eMail marketing. Spending a few minutes reviewing a pre-flight checklist prior to sending out eMail campaigns, will ensure that your messages will be opened, read, and well received.
  • Checklist:
    • Have Goals been Clearly Defined?
    • Are Logistics in Place so the Campaign may Succeed?
    • Has the Correct Day and Time been Chosen to Send the Campaign?
    • Are Tracking Tools Available?
    • Has the List been Segmented and Reviewed for Errors?
    • Has the Campaign Content been Reviewed?
    • Does the Message have a Great Subject Line?
checklist continued
Checklist Continued
  •  Has the eMail been Properly Designed?
  •  Has the Campaign Content been Reviewed?
  •  Has the Message been Tested through Spam Score?
  •  Has the Message been Tested in Different eMail Clients?
  •  Does the Message Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act?

 eMail must have a functioning opt-out feature to be “ A compliant opt-out mechanism”

  •  A valid subject line and header (routing) information
  •  The physical address of the mailer
reputation is key today
Reputation is Key Today
  • Complaints
    • Permission
    • Relevancy
    • Frequency
    • Authentication
  • Invalid Addresses
    • Big issue with manual subscriptions
    • Remove invalid addresses
contact information
Contact Information

Peter Martin


954-205-7716 cell