_This is a guest contribution by Amanda Maltby._
Are you certain that your e-mail messages are reaching their intended targets? Have you spoken with your ISP about their filtering practices? Do you have a sinking feeling that no matter how many layers of consent you receive from your customers to send them e-mail, they still won’t get your messages?
If you answered no, no and not sure then you’re not alone. As spam continues to clog in-boxes concern related to the deliverability of legitimate e-mail messages rises and the average marketer is caught in the middle.
Good e-mail marketers are already using practices based on permission being obtained prior to an e-mail being sent and an opt-out opportunity being offered in every e-mail message. They do this or risk being labelled a spammer. But even when these practices are followed e-mail often doesn’t reach its intended recipient.
As “Stefan mentioned”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/04/27/7-tips-for-getting-your-marketing-email-opened a March 2005 white paper by “ReturnPath”:http://www.returnpath.biz suggests that on average 22% of permission-based e-mail is not received by the intended recipient – the high end of that scale is 36% of e-mail not being delivered. That’s over one-third! These are U.S. figures but I suspect the filtering systems being put in place by ISPs south of the border won’t differ significantly from those in Canada and the numbers are similar. On top of this, your customers are putting in place their own filters. Bottom line is that a high percentage of your e-mail might be rejected as junk, spam or illegitimate.
So what can be done? Organizations such as the “Canadian Marketing Association”:http://www.the-cma.org and its members are looking at ways to educate marketers about best practices and are beginning to work with ISPs to address deliverability issues. The issue has generated some interest at the federal task force on spam and they have brought marketers and Canadian ISPs together to start discussions between these diverse interests.
There is also some renewed debate about the virtue of certification – the sender pays a third-party intermediary who registers their e-mail and ensures that it is delivered. Some marketers completely reject certification feeling they shouldn’t have to pay to have their e-mail delivered and believe this is an issue for them to resolve between their ISPs and customers. This may be okay for the big players in the marketplace but what about the smaller legit e-mail marketers? Others argue that this principle works for more traditional forms of marketing – mail – so it may be worth considering for e-mail delivery. But at what cost?
As more marketers turn to e-mail deliverability issues with a greater sense of urgency the debate will become more sophisticated and the level of rhetoric will rise. There is a lot on the line because failed delivery means skewed campaign metrics, no sense of ROI for e-mail campaigns and ultimately loss of revenue.
_Amanda Maltby recently joined “Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs”:http://www.ipsos.ca/pa/ as a Senior Vice President in the Toronto office. She brings over 15 years of insight and practical experience in public policy, communications strategy and opinion research on a wide range of economic and social issues in both the private and public sector environments._