Inbox Insider: Reputation is key to deliverability

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Deliverability is a key issue for e-mail marketers. No matter how good your creative is or how relevant the content, if your e-mail does not get delivered, it might as well not exist.

According to a new report by e-mail delivery services firm Goodmail Systems and ESP Pivotal Veracity, 20% of legitimate marketers' e-mail messages were routed to spam folders or blocked entirely in the first quarter of 2009.

This is a striking number of e-mails not being delivered. And while the study found that 5% of these are recovered by consumers in the spam box, 15% remain lost.

It is suprising for me to hear that this many e-mails are not being delivered in 2009, when the industry has been advocating reputation management for years. For those of you that haven't been listening or are not getting your mail delivered, now is the time to take action.

Having a good reputation is not a difficult task, but it takes work. The first step is to sign up for feedback loops and hear what consumers are saying about your e-mails. Use this information to clean up your lists.

Also, most marketers with good reputations are working with e-mail authentication tools such as DomainKeysSPF and Sender ID, which can help an ISP identify who a marketer is and authenticate who they are.

Another thing to think about is that when measuring e-mail campaigns, you should include bounces when measuring an e-mail's success. If you only deliver 80% of e-mail, the clicks will be lower than if you deliver the whole 100%, but if you look at it from this perspective, you will have a much more honest metric. You don't want to have false hopes and see lower returns.

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