Your Highway to Email Hell Questions, Answered Jillian Wohlfarth June 14, 2013 Best Practices // SUMMARIES ?> Is your email program on the highway to email hell? As a follow-up to our webcast: Highway to Hell–Top 7 Fastest Ways to Land in the Email Underworld, our presenters Ali Frusciano and Ali Nelson have answered all of your questions about how to stay on the fast track to the inbox below. LIST MANAGEMENT What is the best way to get an old list (that you created over many years) cleaned? We recommend starting to send to your most recent signups first and then tier back by sign up date. For example, for the first week, send to people who signed up in the past month, then the next week, send to people who signed up in the past 3 months, then the last 6 months and so on. With each send, watch your delivery, inboxing, and engagement metrics and once you start to see a drop off, stop sending to those email addresses. You can also try a one-time re-engagement campaign. Anyone who doesn’t engage (meaning click or open) can be removed from your list. Are social marketing channels a better way to gain followers than through purchased lists? You should always avoid using purchased lists because there’s no way to test the quality of the subscribers on that list. It’s best to acquire subscribers as organically as possible. If you do gain subscribers from a social network, just be aware that these networks don’t actively update their email addresses, so some of the addresses can be old or expired (like .edu addresses). So be sure to use a verification process, like a confirmation email or double opt-in to ensure that you’re only gaining active addresses. What’s the best way to build your own email list? Again organic methods of building your list is best—create quality content that potential subscribers will want to read, take advantage of cross promotional opportunities with your partners, extend special offers, and be sure to make your opt-in form easy and accessible. —————————————————————————————————————– IPS If I’m using SendGrid for my sending, how do I create/see a second IP for marketing emails vs. transactional emails? This is very easy to set up, by creating a second sub-user account and requesting an additional IP. Is your reputation tied solely to an IP address or is it tied to your domain name as well? Also, let’s say you get a bad IP reputation because you’re on a shared mail server, can you move to your own IP and build a good reputation, or is a bad reputation going to follow you? For the most part, your reputation is tied to your IP. If you move from a shared IP to a new IP, your reputation won’t follow you. What’s a good approach to warming up your IP? Daily or month to month? You can increase your volume daily—just do it slowly. There is no exact science to warming up—you just need to watch your open rates to make sure that you’re not being throttled. Warming up your IP not only helps introduce you to the ISPs, but it also helps you fix any issues that may arise in your sending behavior and content before you send to your entire user base. Does SendGrid pre-warm IPs? No, we do not pre-warm IPs. Each user is responsible for creating their reputation on their IPs. If I’m a SendGrid user, am I on a dedicated IP? SendGrid users on our Silver Plan and above are on a dedicated IP. If you’re not sure what plan you’re on, contact our support team. —————————————————————————————————————– ISPS My emails are currently getting into Gmail and AOL, but not into Yahoo! and Microsoft—what can we do? Requirements at the ISPs are all different. For an insider perspective on how to stay in the good graces of the ISPs, check out our webinar: Google, Yahoo! , and Hotmail, Oh My! Navigating the ISP Landscape. How do you stop your email from being throttled? Throttling can be tricky! It’s an indication that you’re getting push back from the ISPs on the mail you’re sending. In order to stop the throttling, you need to first identify the issue. Check your metrics to see if you have high spam and complaint rates or if you have low engagement. If you get throttled, use it a learning opportunity and get back on the right track. If you have low engagement, make adjustments to your content and consider segmenting your email by demographic, geography, and past behavior. Also unsubscribe users who aren’t opening your mail. For more information, check out our blog post on email throttling. —————————————————————————————————————– ENGAGEMENT AND REPUTATION What engagement metrics should I monitor? Open rates? CTRs? When we talk about engagement metrics, we mean opens and clicks. These are the first steps that a user takes when your email gets to the inbox. These behaviors show whether your recipient is interested in your content or not. Do unsubscribes hurt your reputation? High unsubscribe rates don’t affect your reputation. In the long run, it’s better that subscibers who are not interested in your content are off your list anyway. What % of opens and clicks equals highly engaged? Is open tracking inaccurate? It’s hard to give an exact percentage for opens and clicks because it’s generally really industry dependent. There are just so many variables at play. However, a rule of thumb is around 15% for opens and 8% for clicks. But again, this can vary depending on industry. In order for an email to be tracked as an open, images have to be enabled. This means that there is always a small percentage that won’t get tracked, so under reporting on opens is common. How can you know your IP reputation? You can utilize Sender Score which is a free service. Just plug in your IP and it will show you your score. Using Sender Score gives you a great health check on your IP. How do you find out about domain reputation? Finding out your domain reputation is harder than IP reputation. We recommend checking out Invaluement.com—it will let you track your domain to see if it’s been placed on a blacklist. If your reputation has dropped should you change your IP or domain? Don’t do either—if you change your IP or domain, your behavior will follow you. Your sending practices are the issue. Find out what you’re doing wrong and fix your mistakes. If you have good sending behaviors, you won’t have to worry about changing your IP or domain. —————————————————————————————————————– MISC What are Spam traps? For more information on spam traps, check out this blog post. And for more advice on how to stay out of the spam folder, read our free guide and watch our Top Tips video. Do you have any guides on newsletter writing? We have a bunch of resources about content and design tips here on our blog—we also just published a free guide: Transactional and Marketing Email Guide: How to Build a Powerful Integrated Email Program that shares best practices for writing effective content and relevant examples. For more insights into how to avoid the 7 Deadly Email Sins that will drag you into the email underworld, reference our free guide here and listen to a free recording of the webcast.