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Wine Email Marketing: Paranoid ISPs

This is one of a series of posts on wine email marketing:

How to handle email unsubscribes and paranoid ISPs

If you use a professional email marketing service (e.g. aweber or mailchimp), you can automatically process the regular unsubscribe requests you get from your email list.

These services put a simple unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email they send out. At anytime your subscriber can automatically unsubscribe by clicking on the link. They generally charge about US$30 per month for a list of 500 to 2000 or thereabouts.

Apart from being saved from the tedious job of manual unsubscribes you also keep internet service providers (ISP) happy (e.g. Yahoo or AOL). If these guys get a complaint and blacklist you then its a long drawn out process to get back in their good books and through their spam filters.

Similarly the email marketing service providers automatically “clean” your lists

If someone’s email expires the email marketing software removes them from your list. Emails expire due to inactive use, moving companies or ISPs. If you don’t remove these then the ISPs may well find out and, you guessed it, assume you’re spam (because you’re sending to inactive email accounts) and blacklist you. Brutal.

Using MS Outlook?

If you have a small list you may be able to get away with this. But once you send 200 (and perhaps even 50) people an email the ISP’s again start to get nervous and may tag your emails as spam. You also have the manual unsubscribe issue.

The Law

Most western countries now have anti-spam laws. In the US this is called CANSPAM. To abide by this legislation you need to provide your physical address and the ability for recipients to unsubscribe. Some people put in a telephone number as well. There are various other constraints most of which are common sense IMHO.

So you’ve got double opt-in, automatic unsubscribe, a ‘clean’ list, don’t use Outlook and abide by the law?

Gotta be fine now right?

Sorry, you can then find your recipients aren’t even opening your emails.

You’ll may never really know. The traditional way of an email service working out whether an email is opened is through analyzing whether a tiny image in the email is downloaded. However many recipients (e.g. Gmail users) have images turned off so this analysis can be very inaccurate.

They could also be going straight into the Outlook spam folder or deleted by the subscriber without opening them.

Use an email marketing service and you’ll get a majority of your emails opened

Depending on your content, which I’ll get to soon.

What bad stories do you have of ISPs and spam filters stopping legitimate business email?

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