Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like ISPs and email marketers are working at cross-purposes, but the truth is they share the same goal: to deliver messages their customers want. Marketers can make their own jobs easier – and improve the deliverability of their email marketing – by better understanding how ISPs determine which messages their customers want to see (and therefore deliver to inboxes) and those that are deemed as spam.
SparkPost’s guide “9 Things ISPs Really Want Email Senders to Know” shares this important advice straight from the horse’s mouth. You can download the guide to read all nine things in their entirety (promise it’s an easy read!), but if you don’t have the time, remembering just the five tips below is a great place to start. They’ll help you be a more effective sender and will get the messages your customers want to see delivered to their inbox.
1: Read and understand positive signals.
When a recipient opens an email, it’s an obvious indicator that he or she values messages from that sender, but there are other signals that ISPs look for that reinforce a sender’s reputation. These include adding a sender to the address book, moving a message to a specific folder, and rescuing a message from the spam folder.
2: Read and understand negative signals.
There are also negative signals that impact your reputation. ISPs take note if recipients delete your message without opening it, mark your message as spam, or report your message as a phishing attack.
3: Let ISPs know when you make IP address changes.
Separating marketing and transactional email into distinct sending streams is a great way to ensure your most time-sensitive messages get immediate inbox placement. However, implementing this segregation of different types of messages typically requires you to dedicate new IP addresses to the effort. Unfortunately, this means that ISPs initially won’t recognize you or your existing relationship to your recipients. You can ensure that your positive reputation follows you by contacting ISPs to let them know of the changes.
4: Make it easier to unsubscribe.
By making it easier for recipients to unsubscribe, you increase your overall open rate, reduce the chances of subscribers marking your email as spam, and improve your reputation with ISPs. What’s not to love?
5: Read and follow ISPs’ policies and best practices.
If you take the time to look, you’ll find that ISPs actually want you to understand their policies and best practices for email deliverability. This information is usually found on dedicated Postmaster pages on their websites. We’ve listed some of the most important ones below, but you can search for “Postmaster” and the ISP’s name to find others. Read this information and follow it to improve the deliverability and become a better email marketer.
- AOL: https://postmaster.aol.com/
- Gmail: https://gmail.com/postmaster/
- Hotmail/Outlook.com: http://mail.live.com/mail/postmaster.aspx
- Yahoo: https://help.yahoo.com/kb/postmaster
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