Many Are Emailed, Few Are Delivered


By:  Paul Gibler

About 65% of email is spam, says MessageLabs, Gloucester, United Kingdom (U.K.). 

A new law, the CANSPAM Act of 2003, aims to impose limitations and penalties on spammers. Yet despite its enactment, spammers still bedevil legitimate email marketers —and your members.

As a result, you are having problems with email deliverability—getting your message into your members’ inbox. Beyond deliverability, the deluge of junk email has reduced open rates for emails that do make it into your members’ inbox and, consequently, lowered click-through rates for member offers.

Alliance training sessions on e-Marketing address these problems. One of the first things you will need to do is take measures to ensure your messages get through the spam filters. In the past, having a clean mailing list and getting permission to send your members email were enough. Today, you must ensure your email does not join the estimated 17% of messages that ReturnPath, New York, says are filtered out due to false-positive spam identification.

Spam filters exist at the Internet service provider (ISP), enterprise, and desktop level. These programs use rules-based guidelines to catch undesirable email. The guidelines catch unwanted email by looking at message content including sender, subject line, and/or body copy. You must design emails to avoid these red flags.

Marketing training says another way to improve deliverability is to make sure your organization or ISP does not get blacklisted.  Blacklisting occurs based upon complaints against mailers that consumers make to organizations such as,, and

These organizations then place blacklisted addresses into databases checked by email filters prior to email delivery. Even legitimate senders inadvertently can end up on a blacklist. To help avoid this problem, use an email service provider (such as Double Click, New York, or Digital Impact, San Mateo, Calif.) set up to ensure you do not get blacklisted.

Another trend in the spam war is the growth of email warranty services. Companies such as TRUSTe, San Francisco (www.; Habeas Inc., Palo Alto, Calif. (; and IronPort Systems, San Bruno, Calif. ( are developing trusted or bonded sender programs to provide emailers with a seal of approval. Consider participating in one of these programs to improve your email’s deliverability. Spam filters check email data and allow bonded messages to go through.

Before sending your email marketing piece, manage these factors to ensure members open it:

  • Timing - time of day, day of week. Email messages flood members’ mail boxes at different times of the day and week.  Research by eMail Labs, Redwood City, Calif., shows in the first three quarters of 2003, Wednesday was the day with the highest email open rates—22%.

  • Content - header, message. Personalize your message content to your members’ needs and personal financial situation.  Do not offer a product they already have, unless you are reminding them of its benefits or offering them a better deal. Also be sure to comply with CAN-SPAM rules requiring you to include your address in the message content; provide an opt-out option; remove from your email list within 10 days members who opt out; and include a subject line that’s not deceptive.

  • Frequency - a balance between too little and too much. You also can ask members to add your email address to their email address book. Many filters check against contact addresses to determine if a message is legitimate. As part of this strategy, it becomes critical that you do not change your email address.

A combination of these tactics should ensure members receive your email messages.

By:  Paul Gibler

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.



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