StreamSend: Perform Your Own Email Deliverability Audit in Seven Steps

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StreamSend, a leading email marketing software provider, has named seven steps businesses should take to audit and improve their email marketing.

StreamSend, a leading email marketing software provider, has named seven steps businesses should take to audit and improve their email marketing.

"Deliverability is the foundation for all email campaigns," said Dan Forootan, president of StreamSend Email Marketing. "Every email marketer, even those with seemingly satisfactory sending results, can benefit from taking an hour a month to perform a basic deliverability audit to make sure all the checks and balances are in place and to take the necessary action to improve deliverability. Here are the seven steps to make this happen."

1. Check the delivery report
Delivery reports should be monitored for blocks and deferrals. These deliverability problems should be handled promptly, first by correcting the mailing practice responsible for causing the problem, and then by contacting the ISP or blocking organization to get the block lifted. More times than not the contact method is included in the bounce reason.

2. Do an open rate by domain analysis
Take the time to make sure that the top domains within the mailing list are actually opening messages. For example, if your mailing list is 15 percent yahoo.com
addresses, but only 3 percent of opens are from yahoo.com members, this is an indication that your messages may be bouncing or going to the bulk folder. Hotmail,
for example, is notorious for filtering messages, meaning that they do not deliver the message to the recipient, but nor do they bounce it back to the sender. An easy way to determine if this is happening is to look at the open report for any discrepancies as described above or abrupt declines in open rates.

3. Monitor complaints
Spam complaints are the biggest cause of deliverability problems. Email marketers need to closely monitor complaints reported through feedback loops, sent to "reply-to" addresses, or sent directly to the abuse account for the 'from addresses' domain. Using this data, marketers can isolate the source of the complaints, take corrective action such as removing the complainer from the list, and prevent potential delivery problems.

4. Pay attention to the unsubscribe link
Nothing generates spam complaints faster than an unsubscribe link that is hard to locate, overly involved, or not functioning properly. Spam buttons are easy to locate, and seven out of ten email users have reported using the spam button intending to block future emails from a particular sender. Moving the unsubscribe link to the top of the message and making it more noticeable can reduce complaint rates by as much as 75 percent. Also, sending a quick test message to a personal account can quickly check to verify that the unsubscribe process is easy to find, easy to use and working properly.

5. Check the SPF record
Many ISPs, both large and small, use SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records to verify the mail is actually coming from who claims to be sending it. SPF records, included in the senders' DNS, have become a key tool in preventing 'from address' forgery.

6. Test with a customized seed list
Send to email accounts created solely for testing. All of the big ISPs offer free email accounts, so open one or two accounts per ISP. Sending to this list of addresses
can provide insight into whether the message is going to the inbox, bulk folder, or is being filtered by the ISP. These test accounts are also an excellent way to check
message rendering, and to verify that the 'call to action' is above the scroll bar fold. Sending to these seed addresses before, during, and after a mail campaign can be very helpful in gauging overall deliverability to major ISPs.

7. Check your SenderScore
SenderScore.org, a free email reputation service provided by ReturnPath, can provide a quick analysis of your mailing server's IP address reputation. The score uses several factors to rate the IP from 0 to 100 (with 100 being the best). Several factors, even inconsistent sending volume, can hurt overall reputation. And low scores can translate into deliverability problems. You can also use this site to see if your sending IP address is currently listed by any blacklist organizations.

About StreamSend
StreamSend offers an easy-to-use, affordable and reliable email marketing software solution designed to help businesses make the most of their time and money when sending an email newsletter or other email campaigns. StreamSend offers a number of industry-leading standard pricing plans and also has strong private-label and affiliate programs. Started as part of EZ Publishing, a web hosting and design company founded in 1998, StreamSend is now the company's flagship product.

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Jim McNulty
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