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How to Optimize Overall Deliverability

Kevin Senne
Senior Director of Global Deliverability

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 220px-The_Scream.jpgDo you track the deliverability of each and every email message? If so, you're most likely getting lost in the minutia of statistics and missing out on the opportunity to optimize your overall deliverability.  Here are a few factors to consider when
building your deliverability strategy.
First, you should optimize messages for deliverability in the same way that you optimize messages from a creative standpoint:

  • Take a good look at the make-up of your list.  What are your top domains?
  • Do you have a B2C or a B2B list?
  • Do you have a clear winner in domain size?
  • Which domains deliver the bulk of the metrics that are most important to you?  (Revenue, Signups, Clicks, etc...)

Next, be sure to think about the specific deliverability signatures and requirements of ISPs:

  • Does the ISP display images by  default?  If not, you will want to design email with that in mind.  It's also a good idea to encourage address book additions since that will turn on images.  There's nothing worse than an email that's just white space.
  • If image display is a big issue, you may want to consider Return Path Sender Score Certification.  The most important feature of this certification is that images are turned on by default.
  • Are your important ISPs "engagement" heavy?  ISPs like Gmail and Yahoo! make engagement metrics a very important part of inbox placement, so if this is your target you should focus on strong calls to action with very enticing links.
  • If you have a B2B list, you want to think about volume and throttling limits that are much more likely to come into play.  Smaller receivers, ISP's (especially in Europe and Asia), and corporate domains often have per hour or per day limits in place.  Cross over those limits and you could see blocking or bulking.
  • If you have an international list, you should decide if the majority of the list is owned by the Yahoo!, Hotmail, and larger ISPs, or country specific ISPs with small throttling requirements.

One size does not fit all in when it comes to email deliverability.  Tracking down the source of each and every bounced message statistics isn't practical and will cause you to miss the bigger and more important picture.  I would highly recommend developing an overall deliverability strategy and plan and be sure to optimize your email for the ISPs most important to you.  Once you stabilize those areas, you can decide to dig deeper if necessary.

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