The filters that are used to keep spam out of your inbox can also block legitimate e-mails. Deliverability becomes a problem when filters generate false positives, blocking as many as one in five legitimate e-mails.
Here are some steps marketers can take to improve e-mail deliverability, and increase open rates and response rates.
1. Ask recipients to add you to their address book. This is the best way to avoid filters and ensure your e-mail is delivered. Include a request that reminds users why they are receiving your e-mail and when they opted-in to receive it:
“You are receiving this e-mail because you opted-in to receive information from ABC Co. To ensure you receive future e-mails, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book or safe sender list.”
2. Stick with your from name and address. Once your “from address” is added to an address book, changing it will cause your e-mail to be filtered again.
3. De-spam your content: Look for spam filter triggers, such as promotional words and phrases, multiple exclamation points, all capital letters and other text often used by spammers.
4. Keep Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail customers happy. These ISPs use shared filtering, so when one customer reports your e-mail as spam, deliverability decreases.
5. Use a permission-based e-mail marketing provider.These companies work hard to demonstrate a history of low undeliverable e-mails and complaint rates. These low rates have enabled them to developed whitelist relationships with major ISPs that produce higher deliverability rates.
Chip House is vice president of privacy and deliverability at ExactTarget, an Indianapolis-based provider of permission-based e-mail marketing solutions.