Best practices get e-mail delivered: DM Days' panel

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NEW YORK - A clean list, good content and good sending practices are the way to get into your customer's inbox, according to a panel at yesterday's DM Days Conference at the Javitz Center.

During the panel titled "Getting in the Inbox. Is it the List, the Sender or the Content?," e-mail marketing executives discussed the best ways to avoid spam filters and get e-mail delivered. Austin Bliss, president/founder of FreshAddress Inc., moderated the panel on e-mail deliverability.

"You don't want to look like a spammer," Mr. Bliss said. "Like it or not, your list probably does have some undeliverable e-mail addresses, which looks like a spammers list."

This is due largely to the fact that 30 percent of people change their e-mail addresses every year. Inactive or incorrect addresses are just some examples of e-mail names that marketers should regularly be cleaning off of their lists.

While content is no longer the only thing that ISPs look at, it is still an important factor when deciding if an e-mail will end up in the inbox. Content issues can be bad headlines with words like XXX or FREE in them, or coding issues with bad HTML or JAVA Script code.

"If you think about your images and you focus on the text, you'll have better luck," said Chris Baggot, co-founder of Exact Target. "Also, it is important to focus on HTML when you are writing code."

One way to test content is to do a multi-part mile which tests various HTML and text codes. This looks good to an ISP who sees this as a best practice.

Clean lists and good content lead to a good reputation, which most industry experts agree is the key factor when determining deliverability.

"It's all about managing your reputation," said Rick Buck, director of privacy and ISP relations at e-Dialog. "A good reputation comes from the content and the quality of your list."

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