The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

What Do Email Spam Filters Look For in 2017? The Up-to-Date Guide on Getting Your Emails into Inboxes

What Do Email Spam Filters Look For in 2017? The Up-to-Date Guide on Getting Your Emails into Inboxes

BOING!

That was the sound of your email bouncing.

As a publisher, or anyone involved in email marketing, you might feel there is no worse sound. Except there is. It’s the sound of silence.

It’s the silence of your email never even reaching the recipient’s servers - or reaching the mailbox, and being swiftly and silently escorted to the spam folder by the automatic filters. Because there was no BOING! - you never know.

The percentage of sent emails that actually make it to the inbox (your deliverability rate), is the metric by which email campaigns and email newsletters live or die. It’s not just related to that one email, either. One email campaign with outstandingly bad deliverability (think 40-50% of your emails never made it to their destination) and your future campaigns start with a mark against them.

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Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation - Are You Prepared?

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation - Are You Prepared?

There has been talk for years about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and when and if it will come to fruition. Well, it looks like it finally has.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will take effect on July 1, 2014. This legislation applies to all email sent from or to Canada. Businesses have a three year grace period (July 1, 2017) to verify and confirm consent to send email to Canadian recipients but can still only communicate with recipients with whom they have an existing business relationship. Any opt-in information you have before CASL comes into force will be recognized as compliant with CASL. You can review the full details of the legislation here.

Given the looming deadline, it is essential for senders to assess their readiness and develop a compliance strategy for this new legislation. Here are some provisions that should be thoroughly investigated:

  • Permission – CASL has an explicit permission provision. This means that implied consent is NOT acceptable for gathering permission. There are multiple exceptions to the rule, including existing business relationships. Purchases qualify for this exception and the 24-month clock resets with every purchase.

  • Implied consent – There are multiple ways where a sender can obtain consent outside the required express consent. Personal or family relationships, inquiries, and several others.

  • The law applies to email that is accessed on computers in Canada.

  • Very different from CAN-SPAM, this is not an opt-out, but an opt-in law. Allowing people the opportunity to opt-out does NOT satisfy the requirements. A pre-checked box is an implied consent method that WILL NOT be allowed. Auto opting-in abandoned shopping carts and e-receipts for promotional mail will also be outlawed.

  • Private right of action – One of the most talked about pieces of this legislation which allows individuals to bring suit, will not take effect until July 1, 2017.

  • 3 year transition period – Senders have a 3 year grace period to gain consent of individuals. Implied consent is sufficient during this period, but express consent must be gained to go forward after that period.

  • You should update your privacy policy, make sure you are recording consent for proof, and always have a working unsubscribe mechanism.


Ask your ESP to help you identify all Canadian subscribers so you can come up with a plan to re-permission them if needed.

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Feedback Loop Management Strategies

Originally created by ISP’s to help identify senders of spam email, feedback loop management can be a great way for a marketer to effectively manage their email campaigns and send their subscribers messages they want to see.

Many ISP’s provide feedback loops to email senders as a way to help proactive companies cut down on spam complaints the ISP receives. Whenever someone tells their provider they’ve received a spam email, it’s basically like a “complaint” to the ISP. While each ISP’s threshold differs, the outcome is the same with all of them. Too many complaints will have a negative effect on all of your email campaigns, making it more difficult for subscribers who actually want your information to receive it.

With more and more email messages being sent, it’s important to understand what causes recipients to flag your message as spam. Common reasons for flagging email messages as spam include:

  • Irrelevant content
  • Receive too many messages
  • Recipient doesn’t remember opting into your list 

Even implementing email campaign best practices, you’re likely to get some subscribers who complain. While receiving some unjustified spam reports is unavoidable, there are some very practical ways you can use this information to improve your email campaigns.

List cleansing

When you review your feedback loops, you should unsubscribe any visitor who has reported your message as spam. This will make you look better in the eyes of the ISP’s and help keep your overall complaints low.

Message Testing

Feedback loops can also be used to help you identify what messages your list wants to receive and help you better target your message. Messages that receive a lot of complaints are clearly and indicator of the type of message your list does not want. The simple solution is to send more messages like what your list wants to receive and fewer of those that they don’t.

It’s easy to dismiss spam complaints as having come from unhappy people, but when used correctly, the information provided by feedback loops is invaluable for helping your refine your email marketing campaigns. For more information regarding feedback loops or any of your other email messaging needs, please contact us. Also, please feel free to check out one of our previous posts, It includes one of the most detailed FBL lists around!
 

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Start the New Year CAN-SPAM Compliant

Everyone understands the importance of internet marketing, specifically the effectiveness of a targeted e-mail strategy. However, e-mail marketing compliance is often the last things a small business owner considers when creating his or her marketing plan. The CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act was passed in 2003 and has major implications for e-mail marketers and consequences for violators. In fact, violators can be charged up to $16,000 for each separate e-mail that violates the CAN-SPAM Act. Consider the main features of this legislation:

What E-Mails Must Comply with CAN-SPAM?
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), any e-mail whose "primary purpose" is commercial must comply with the act. Any e-mail that advertises your business or promotes your products and services is subject to CAN-SPAM guidelines.
E-mails considered "transactional" or “relationship content" do not have to comply with all the CAN-SPAM requirements. For example, if you send payment receipts, shipping information or simply respond to customer inquiries, you do not have to abide by all the guidelines. Some do still apply though. Marketers are prohibited from using inaccurate information in the "to" and "from" fields. The e-mail address and domain must definitively indicate who the message is coming from.

What Are the Rules?
If your e-mails are subject to the CAN-SPAM Act, consider the following guidelines.
• Headers, domains and subject lines must be clear and not deceptive.
• You must state that the message is an advertisement.
• Your message must include your postal address in the body of the e-mail.
• You must provide an option to unsubscribe from the e-mail list, and follow-up on those requests within 10 business days. Whatever unsubscribe tool you use should be able to continue processing the requests for 30 days after the original e-mail was sent.

Lastly, keep in mind that the FTC doesn't differentiate between you and a third party that may be sending your e-mails on your behalf. Ask your provider how they handle the "opt-out" feature and any other compliance issues.

Contact us to develop an e-mail marketing strategy that is in compliance with the law.
 

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Trend: Email Deliverability Rates Becoming Stagnant: How To Beat The Priority Inbox

Despite enormous efforts on the part of marketers, email deliverability rates have halted after the first half of 2011, coming in at 81%, according to a study released on September 20th by Return Path. 

Although reasons for this are numerous and often situational, a certain amount of blame in this case can be placed on “priority inbox”. This lovely little tool, created last year by Google, essentially puts a brain within your email account. It sees and records every action and configures message placement accordingly. So what we’re seeing are high reported delivery rates that don’t necessarily reflect the number of messages actually delivered. Technically the provider may have accepted it, but it doesn’t mean it’s landed in the customers’ inbox.

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!