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A business owners introduction - Email Marketing in 2018

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by AP2018, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. AP2018

    AP2018 Newbie

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    Greetings Earthlings,

    I am a small business owner here to share ideas and get insights on email marketing. Everyone gets spam and we all hate it however i don't spam on behalf of any 3rd party only advertising my services to a list of targeted and qualified leads that I've developed over the course of several years.

    I'd say for the past 2 years I've seen my deliver-ability plummet to less than 5% on the server level and have tried it all, from MailChimp, IContact & Constant Contact to making sure my OWN email server is bullet proof with SPF & DKIM, reverse DNS matching and unsubscribe headers, etc, etc... Even with all of that i'm getting nowhere.

    I've been investigating my bounce backs and even if my emails arrived in the spam inbox i'd be content in knowing a user can delete or just disregard my message but at this point i'm not even making it to the users box i'm getting blocked on the server level by service providers like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Godaddy, NetSol & many more. Today i'd say the majority of my business contacts have migrated their email services to one of the BIG GUYS and they've all implemented one or more of these spam blocking software's like CloudMark, SenderScore & possibly others i'm unaware of.

    If we all played on the same field i'd understand but the fact is Fortune 500 companies pay Cloudmark & SenderScore and all these more advanced email filtering businesses a good deal of money to bypass their filtration systems. I myself receive on average over 200 spam emails a day and can't wrap my head around them paying to play and a legitimate business owner whom abides by all spam CANN act laws getting hit hard and having no alternative.

    I've been observing and trying to understand the system and potentially finding how to bypass here are my findings:

    a) IP Reputation (Both client & Server)
    -- on average the majority of my emailing are getting blocked on the server level by IP Address and generally it will be both the email client's IP Address & the Server's IP. Even setting up a mail client on the server did improve my deliver ability for 1 mailing then i'm back to zero. I'd say there are rules that after X amount of connections are made from the same IP your server is getting greylisted or put on a blacklist.

    b) Domain Reputation
    -- After having changed my servers IP, I found that the domain is also getting added onto a list of sorts. I'm generally always sending from the same domain which is my own business and is a legitimate .com that links back to my business website.

    c) DKIM, SPF, DMARC, ReverseDNS Records
    -- From the start i've always complied with all the DNS (list of advisable things to do) making sure my SPF record is properly configured, setting up DKIM signing on my email server and testing to make sure cert files match on my DNS & most recently setting up DMARC and ensuring noone else is sending from my IP/Domain and bringing down my reputation.

    d) Unsubscribes
    -- For any users whom have unsubscribed to my distribution list, i've always taken great care to respect their wishes and immediately deleted them and never emailed them again. I always include a link to my site and even people whom just reply with delete or unsubscribe in body/subject won't receive an email twice from me.

    e) Emailing Frequency
    -- I'm not emailing the same list twice everyday, on average i'd say for ever 100k emails sent it rotates between different states on a monthly basis.

    f) Emailing Speed & Connections
    -- I've played around with how fast my software should be sending and making connections, between 1 per second vs 1 per minute to make sure i don't get flagged by greylisting for too many connections. Overall this has made no difference in my being blacklisted.

    g) Email Body/Subject Fingerprinting
    -- I've read about algorithms that look at the body and subject of the email to identify if the same content has been received at other locations within the network in a specific amount of time and toggling a flag. This could be true it sounds a bit far fetched but who knows.

    h) Qualified leads & Distribution Lists
    -- I'm not purchasing lists from some random person I've personally created my own lists of people I know need my services, off course within my scraping process there is room for error but i'm not emailing completely random people I know these are qualified leads that need what i'm selling. Not that this matters as i'm not even getting past the recipients email server.

    i) Looking Back
    -- I've been riding this horse for quite some time and can tell you since the immersion of cloudmark and sendscore and all these more intelligent spam filtering software's have come to light my deliver ability has drastically dropped. Before I'd get blacklisted in a few places and that was pretty much it, and even with that i'd say i was getting deliver-ability rates of about 30-40% 3-4 years ago. Today it's more like 3-5%

    I'm thinking today in order to get proper deliver-ability on a legitimate marketing email to a qualified target i'd say you need a software that can cycle through different IP's per email sent with some sort of domain masking in order to bypass the domain/IP greylisting and arrive at the users in/spam box.

    If anyone else has some knowledge they can contribute or idea's i'd love to hear them.

    All my best,
    AP2018
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  2. Jobdollarr

    Jobdollarr Elite Member

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    I am interested in email marketing.
    Currently amsih build aftar for my local business.

    I use mailchip.
    What I am confused here is, how email marketing works.

    Email bounces and goes straight into the spam folder.

    How do you keep customers reading your messages?
     
  3. William702

    William702 Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Welcome to BHW!
     
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  4. AP2018

    AP2018 Newbie

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    I myself am trying to find how to get there. From my experience make sure you've got a good list of people whom need what your selling and write some good content. Avoid spammy words and make your email interesting if nothing else.
     
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  5. AP2018

    AP2018 Newbie

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    Thank you
     
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  6. proxygo

    proxygo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    AP - just a tip u can reply to 2 people in 1 post rather than 2 posts to reply to 2 people

     
  7. toadallyawesome

    toadallyawesome Newbie

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    @AP2018

    If you've had problems with deliverability via MailChimp, or on a shared and whitelisted IP from any other ESP, then the issue is either content and/or your list. You're either triggering spam controls with your email content, or your email list contains spam trap addresses that trigger IP/domain blocking when you attempt to email them.

    If you haven't tried yet, I highly recommend deliverability testing a recent email against the major service providers that are relevant to your business (e.g. gmail, yahoo, or whatever...).

    If you haven't performed deliverability testing before, here's a quick primer:

    1. Setup a "vanilla" (I'll explain below) account with each of the major ISP/ESP clients that are represented in your list. Gmail, Yahoo, Live/Outlook, and AOL tend to be the biggest, but every list is different. You'll also want a similar account that you know is going to go through a SpamAssassin filter.
    2. A vanilla account is exactly what it sounds like: generic information, no social account connections, no plug-ins, no contacts, no favorites, etc. Set it up just like a spam trap would be setup. You will continue using these for each deliverability test, so never take any action to favorite/junk any mail you get in there.
    3. Send a live version of your email (do not send a "test" email, the headers are different) to each account. You'll notice deliverability tendencies by ESP/ISP pretty quickly.
    4. If it delivers to inbox on a live send, then you're done. Any deliverability issues you have are related to the email list, your sending patterns (e.g. hammering one ISP with too many emails too quickly, so you get throttled), or you got hit with a bunch of spam complaints from recipients during the send.
    5. If it doesn't deliver to inbox in all or some of the ISPs, then you have a content problem. Lots of little factors at play here, but the general pecking order of things to fix is: subject line & pre-header, body copy, image size and image:text ratio.
    6. Subject line & pre-header are pretty basic, spam KWs should be avoided. Test a super simple one, like "Test" or "Newsletter" just to weed it out if small changes don't work.
    7. Body copy can be trickier. If you know it's not subject line, I recommend just dumping a bunch of innocuous text toward the bottom of your email to see if it delivers. Use text that nobody spams about, like a Wikipedia article on Canada Geese - nobody spams about Canada Geese. Start with a big block, then trim until you find the cusp of inbox/spam. Now you know how much additional content you need to deliver to inbox, without changing anything else in your email.
    8. It's not uncommon to have slightly different copy, smaller/less images etc. by ESP/ISP for large lists. They make the rules, so you have to find ways to get your content to inbox within their framework.
    Good luck!
     
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  8. jamie3000

    jamie3000 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I've been sending through SES and haven't encountered this but I'm growing my own list so that might be why
     
  9. Zerderh

    Zerderh Regular Member

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    Thanks very much for all this info I have a pretty big email list that I got myself after a few months I have the CSV with info but havent even tried sending an email so ill guess ill need to sit down and figure this stuff out taking advice from you guys and see how it goes.

    Dont want my emails going to spam or not even getting sent!

    Thanks for sharing this stuff and welcome to BHW
     
  10. AP2018

    AP2018 Newbie

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    Thank you very much for this detailed write-up. I will go through the steps as described and report back with an update.

    A+
     
  11. TheVigilante

    TheVigilante Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Introduction with emailing tips that's unique :)