As one of the three major mailbox providers, Windows Live Hotmail is key to reaching over 286 million customers worldwide – a portion of which is probably a part of your email file. Reaching Hotmail inboxes can be achieved if you focus on sending relevant content, practicing good list hygiene, removing complainers, and having a sound infrastructure. However, in addition to following standard best practices, Microsoft recommends you also do the following to get delivered to their email inboxes:

  • Authenticate your mail with Sender ID: Using Sender ID protocol will help Hotmail better identify you as a legitimate sender. By verifying your domain and IP addresses, Hotmail can help prevent spoofers and phishers from duping your customers.
  • Join the Junk eMail Reporting Program. The JMRP is a service that lets you create a support request if your email is not being delivered at Hotmail. Once you join, you can provide details on your delivery issues and receive assistance directly from Hotmail.
  • Access the Smart Network Data Services. The SNDS program provides access to information on an IP’s mail, spam, virus, blocks, bots, and other statistics. This data can help you make changes to your email program that can reduce support costs, protect your reputation, and stop spam from reaching customer inboxes.

New Hotmail features

New Hotmail features are giving subscribers more control over mail that they opt into, but may not want as often. This is called “graymail.” Microsoft automatically places newsletters in a separate folder and proactively removes old copies after a pre-set period of time if the subscriber opts into this feature. Subscribers can also tag messages to be placed in the junk folder or other folders for filing away.

Additionally, Microsoft has a one-click unsubscribe functionality that allows subscribers to easily remove themselves from your list. However, in order for this function to work, you must have the List-Unsubscribe header in your emails. If you don’t, you will be permanently marked as a spammer.

Each ISP has different criteria for email filtering. As a sender, it is imperative that you understand the barriers to delivery for each ISP and keep abreast of any changes that might affect your email program. Of course, this can be difficult if you don’t have a dedicated email deliverability team. In that case, find a provider with the level of expertise you need to ensure email delivery at Hotmail and the other ISPs.

And for more information on email best practices for delivery, download our email deliverability guide.

With more than 15 years of experience, Carly Brantz is an email deliverability and inbound marketing veteran. As the VP of Revenue Marketing at SendGrid, Carly empowers her team to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. With a key focus on funnel optimization, Carly leads the team responsible for content creation, lead nurturing, SEO/SEM, and website optimization. An accomplished speaker, Carly shares her email delivery and revenue marketing tactics as a headline speaker on SendGrid’s international roadshow as well as other Marketing conferences.