I received an email from an EMM customer today asking about how best to advise HIS client when it came time to talk about the value of Enhanced Mail Manager for ASPDotNetStorefront versus hosted services like Constant Contact. Aside from the obvious cost discussion (a HUGE factor for many small businesses) here is the rest of what we discussed via email:
Thanks Jonathan for your continued support of EMM.
Has your client done side by side testing of open counts with their mailing list in Constant Contact and in EMM? Seems to me this would be the best possible comparison. It would give them a solid foundation for a discussion about where they are getting the most bang for the buck.
I’ve done everything in software that I can to minimize the likelihood of filtering based on common information (ie : it is better to NOT encode graphics as attachments, always have a text and HTML version done as multi-part, include proper CAN-SPAM support, etc).
However, there is much about filtration that cannot be addressed in software and must be addressed by either a service bureau (like CC) or by the organization doing the mailing. The following items will all contribute to mail getting through:
- Ensuring that the IP address of the sending mail server is not on any real-time blacklists or shared by any spammers if in a shared hosting environment. IF your website is hosted in an environment that has strikes against it for clients who spam, you would want to use the mail settings in ASPDNSF to ensure that your mail is going out through that mail server rather than through the web server’s SMTP server. This is one of the services I?ve used in the past to check up on this: http://www.mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
- Ensure that your mail server can be matched forwards and reverse DNS to eliminate "No Reverse DNS Pointers Found" type of bounces.
- Setting up proper SPF and SenderID DNS records for the sending email domain. SenderID and SPF are becoming more and more critical for acceptance of email at ISPs and corporate email hosts. You can learn more about it here: http://www.openspf.org/SPF_vs_Sender_ID
- Keep your mailing list clean. This means immediately remove not only manual unsubscribe requests, but probably more important is to process bounce backs immediately.
- While EMM will accept one-click unsubscribe requests (as required by CAN-SPAM requirements) it doesn’t automate processing of bounce backs or manual unsubscribes. We do, however make it easy by accepting a list of email addresses to unsubscribe as well as attributing the type of unsubscribe to a specific mailing for reporting purposes.
- By running a "dirty" list, you will find that your emails are much more likely to get bounced since ISPs have been known to "shut the door" temporarily or permanently to mail servers who consistently attempt mail delivery to large numbers of old or invalid mailboxes. This helps protect not only against dictionary spam attacks but also against old data lists.
- Consider subscribing to reputation system/service. While I’m not certain if these actually work or not, there are a number of people who swear by their effectiveness. An example of this is GoodMail: http://www.goodmailsystems.com/. Nothing against the quality of their service, I?d have to have a pretty darn good reason to subscribe to a service like this as I feel that just contributing to a system that could tier email deliverability based on how much money you want to spend is just plain wrong.
Some of these items are set once and forget it kind of things while others will require a little bit of work on the part of merchant to keep their reputation clean. That is why it is always good to immediately monitor the results of each mailing (true for in-house or outsourced). You can spot trends in your bounce backs as well as in your open rates using EMM’s reporting features.
I hope you find this information helpful. If I can help in any other way, please feel free to shout!
At Over The Top and Exhibit A Communications, I've programmed solutions for Google as well as at least one other company that was later acquired by Google.
I've been CTO of an Internet SaaS company and spent my time pretty evenly between guiding the future technical strategy of the company, architecting software solutions for my dev teams, designing and running a data center to service our clients world-wide as well as being a technical evangalist/sales engineer to our media clients large and small.
I've also been Chief Photographer of the Daily Sun/Post newspaper back when it was a 5-day a week daily newspaper.
I also spent a great many years as a beach lifeguardfor the City of San Clemente as well as Jr. Lifeguard instructor and then as it's program coordinator.
Private Pilot with Instrument rating and proud husband of soon to be 25 years (and counting).