While building a good prospect list is a big part of the marketing battle, all your marketing efforts might be wasted if you aren’t following good email marketing best practices or if you’re working with a company that isn’t familiar with these practices.
“It’s not just the quality of the list,” warns John Harrison, senior vice president of product strategy and client services for Yesmail, a subsidiary of InfoUSA. “With good deliverability practices, you can expect good results. Whitelisting and ISP relationships, proactive deactivation, and message frequency are critical to the success of your email marketing activities.”
Here are some tips for prospecting through email:
· Focus on whitelisting and manage
ISP relationships Whitelisting and ISP relationship management are tied together, Harrison says. When you send emails to your customer list, you’re routing the messages through ISPs like AOL, Yahoo! and MSN. Each ISP has tools in place to minimize spam including feedback loops and authentication protocols. If you do not follow the rules to keep you on the ISP’s whitelist, you may end up in a situation where your email is being blocked or discarded, Harrison warns. Having a good relationship with the ISP can go a long way to making sure that your emails get to the intended recipients.
· Proactive deactivation of undeliverable email addresses
Proactive deactivation is really another term for list hygiene, Harrison explains. You want to make sure that you are constantly monitoring your list for “bad” email address – or email addresses that are no longer active. If you constantly send messages to bad email addresses, the ISPs might think that you’re spamming them and will block all of your incoming messages so none of them get through, even to the email addresses that are correct. Harrison says that Yesmail systematically deactivates invalid email addresses according to a set of proprietary rules that have built up over years of working directly with the ISPs.
· Regular message frequency
It is critical to maintain regular contact with your subscribers, Harrison says. The best marketers have some level of an ongoing communication stream, he contends. If you don’t contact your subscribers regularly, you run the risk of subscribers forgetting that they had chosen to receive email communications from you. If you only communicate with them once per year or once per quarter, they have no sense of a relationship with you. Harrison recommends that marketers contact their subscribers at minimum once per month, if not twice per month.
By following these practices you can ensure a healthy program that will avoid many of the pitfalls of first-time email marketers.
Go to http://www.yesmail.com/resources for more resources on email deliverability and good list maintenance.
John Harrison, Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and Client Services, is a member of the Yesmail Executive team and directly involved with the future direction of Yesmail and the success of their client base. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.