Email Broadcasts: Deliverability

Email broadcasting is wonderful - a nearly free way of getting a message directly into the hands (so-to-speak) of the potential buyer.

But the mere fact that you send out an email doesn't mean it arrives. This is something different about email broadcasting, because when you send out individual emails, or send something by US mail, or Fedex, of course you expect it to arrive!

Any (rare) instance of "the Internet ate my email" or a letter got lost in transit is cause for concern.

That is NOT the case with broadcast email, where spam filters at every step of the way potentially can block your email.

Read on for the full story....

There's a key term for this: "Deliverability" - the percentage of emails sent in a broadcast which actually arrive.

How bad can this get? We've seen a company do a broadcast of 40,000 emails and have only a few hundred of them arrive at the intended email address - a deliverability of only about 1%. That's pretty extreme but deliverability rates of 50% aren't unusual and 80% is considered very acceptable.

Also low deliverability rates are a self-perpetuating problem as ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will recognize email senders with bad deliverability and categorize them as spammers on that basis alone.

What are the key factors that affect deliverability and what can you do about them?Of course if it is a bad email address it isn't going to arrive, so part of it is keeping your email mail lists cleaned up.

This is best done using software that automatically recognizes and updates your mailing list accordingly. With a small list you can do it manually but no one ever seems to get around to it if there is too much manual work involved.

The bigger issue is where your emails are considered spam and so blocked. It can be your ISP blocking the outgoing email, it can be the receiving ISP at the other end, or it can be the email client (such as Outlook) on the receiving computer which blocks it.

There is no 100% answer to this, as different ISPs and email clients have different rules for evaluating email to decide if it is spam. But there are lots of "no-no's" which will pretty well guarantee your email being blocked.

A simple solution many people use is a subscription service such as iContact or Constant Contact. However, you don't get a fully professional looking email that is completely under your control that way. And as we have elsewhere noted, you can only use these subscription services with 100% opt-in lists. The alternative is to get professional help in doing your email broadcasting.

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