How to ensure that e-mails get delivered to rented lists

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Deliverability remains a hot topic in the e-mail realm. Every other e-mail whitepaper I see these days has deliverability as the theme. But what to do when you're not in control of the delivery? How do you send a stand-alone e-mail to a rented list and guarantee your message to new prospects gets delivered? Here are a few “must-do's” to get the best results for your next prospecting e-mail campaign:

On the creative end, sending HTML e-mails with clean and favorable coding increases response rates significantly. Also, studies show you have less than three seconds to hook a reader. Many recipients view e-mails through preview screens while others only view a message's top portion before deciding whether to scroll down or delete your message. Design enhancement can help maximize your message and increase response.

Also, avoid spam trap words. An oldie yet a goodie — avoiding specific words in the subject line and the body copy remains critical. For example, avoid the following: “FREE”; using the dollar sign character in the subject line; multiple exclamation points; “offer” or the excessive use of “click here.”

Budget in “send time.” When planning your campaign, allow at least four days to complete delivery for best results. The major Internet service providers — Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc. — have all recently clamped down on allowing too much commercial e-mail to come through. Take a page from the retention gurus and mail out over a series of days instead of hours.

Rememner, follow-up is more important than ever. Send a follow-up message to those who open your e-mail, with a new subject line and possibly a sweetened offer. Studies on this practice have proven at least a 15% increase in response to a multi-message strategy.

Spread out risk and send from multiple list sources, using a variety of ESPs to ensure success. Also, ask your list provider when these populations last received mailings, as using a list which has not been contacted for several months greatly increases your chances of causing spam complaints to ISPs or to spam watch groups.

Finally, be certain to use a centralized tracking tool to track results real-time online. This way, you'll have visibility on opens and clicks. Many e-mail list rental vendors will have this tool. This way, you can monitor what lists remain in keeping with industry response rates as soon as they start deploying. Combined with always using reputable lists, these “must-dos” will increase the likelihood of your finding prospecting success and will help you achieve that ROI goal.

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