Thursday, December 27, 2012
During the holiday season, most retailers want to maximize their email revenue. This time of year it's very tempting for senders to dig deep into their databases. Hey, let's send an email to everybody from ten years ago. Hey, let's reactivate those bounced addresses - maybe some of them will deliver now. More email means more money, right?
But, it's never quite that simple. It actually seems to lead to deliverability problems just about every time somebody digs up and mails to that old list.
It all starts on Black Friday. Or "Blacklist Friday," as a representative for another ESP put it. (What a wonderful turn of phrase!)
You see, anti-spam blacklist Spamhaus keeps an eye out for spamtrap hits (mail to old, recycled or typo'd addresses) and they can be pretty quick to blacklist a sender based on what they see. A Spamhaus blacklisting is no fun; it means you're blocked at Hotmail, Yahoo, Comcast, and Roadrunner, as well as many other ISPs. Maybe Gmail, too.
So what happens, starting on Blacklist Friday and heading throughout the holiday season, is a formula that looks like this:
|Sending Emails to Spam Traps|
|Increased Chance of a Spamhaus Listing|
Even as the holiday season winds down, it's important to keep list hygiene top of mind, to reduce the chances of a Spamhaus blacklisting or other deliverability issue. There are two very important things you should think about to keep away from spam traps and prevent deliverability issues. They are:
- Focus tightly on engaged subscribers. Retire subscribers that show no activity after a certain period of time (usually 12-18 months). This is pretty much the most important thing you can do to avoid deliverability issues in 2012 and 2013.
- Look at how you're validating addresses on the front end. Are you validating addresses? What can you do to ensure that you're not sending mail to people unexpectedly? What are you doing to ensure you're not sending mail to the wrong people? Spamhaus would probably say that double opt-in (confirmed opt-in) is the only way to do that properly, but there are a lot of good, different things you can and should be doing.
If you're effectively validating addresses on the front end, and are being careful to retire non-responding addresses quickly, your chances of ever having a blacklist issue are greatly reduced.
Learn more about how ExactTarget can help you hit the inbox by visiting our Deliverability Services page.