Email is more than words alone:
Sending well is a technical skill
Email is business — business is email
Without email, there is no digital dialogue. Email is the preferred communication channel throughout the business world, and expected to remain as the primary channel even with the rise and growing popularity of social networking sites.
The readers are restless
Whether you're sending marketing emails, transactional emails or using email for any other purpose, the increasingly competitive inbox space places new demands on emailers. Extra care is needed in every phase of an email's creation, from concept to writing to final build-out, since each email is judged in relationship to other emails that compete for a reader's attention.
So, while email continues to be a powerful tool for timely messaging, promotion, image management, reputation building and demonstration of the sender's relevance, each email must be planned to have these qualities at the outset — or else the sender's reputation suffers — and the email is deemed to be no different than spam to the reading public.
This has major implications.
Your use — or misuse — of email determines your public image with readers. Their spam complaints using an email program's "mark as spam" button are becoming increasingly significant to the major email receiving networks (to be clear: Google, Yahoo, Hotmail etc). Reader's spam complaints are a significant factor in your sender reputation at the receiving networks. Reputation (even more than content) is quickly becoming the deciding factor as to whether your emails are held back from the inbox to avoid reader annoyance, or delivered to the inbox as a message valued by most readers.
Deliverability is a shared responsibility
It's a daunting task to keep up with the challenge of accurate messaging to satisfy increasingly impatient readers (who expect nothing less than absolute professionalism in messaging, writing, and sending frequency) — and to meet the sheer technical challenge of merely getting your email to the inbox in this age of aggressive filtering.
Why do some emails make it to the inbox while others seem to disappear without a trace? In the not too distant past, an email's content (words and images) was the main factor determining deliverability — use of "spammy" words in the email's text was carefully avoided, and any images placed in the email were best kept to a small size.
These are still good rules to follow, but today, deliverability rates are almost universally understood to be dependent on reader's responses to a sender's previous emails (ie, the percentage of readers who flagged a sender's emails as "spam"), combined with the reputation or technical "profile" of the IP address from which the email was sent.
What's your address?
Surprisingly, a fresh IP address, unused and unsullied by complaints about email sent from it actually has a negative reputation with receiving networks, since it is the mark of a spammer to simply migrate their operations to new IP addresses when their previous operations are discovered at their other IP addresses. (It is also worth noting that it is easier to "rehabilitate" an IP address hit with spam complaints than to create a good reputation from zero.)
So, starting with a new IP address does not insure a sender's emails will make it to the inbox. Building a good reputation for an IP address takes time and is a daunting job, since readers are increasingly impatient and overburdened with their email tasks — most readers will flag an email as spam just to get rid of it. They are unaware that their actions actually send a complaint against the sender and their Email Service Provider. That's why email senders must know their readership and strive to message accurately, while their Email Service Provider must have an established sending reputation in the technical realm, and work to actively maintain their whitelisted status.
Outsource the sending
To increase deliverability
Email communication and deliverability is too important to leave to chance. That's why an increasing number of businesses are outsourcing their email sending to established email companies like ReaderImpact. It's a good business decision for the short term, and keeps on paying off in the long term, as the ReaderImpact network of sending servers are whitelisted with major receiving networks — and we continually monitor the various blacklists that exist to address any complaints and re-establish the reputation of our IP addresses.
Give your emails
The right send off
So much depends on maintaining the email connection, it's clear that outsourcing the actual sending to a company that specializes in sending is a sound business decision.