How much control over delivery do senders have? I have repeatedly said that senders control their delivery. This is mostly true. Senders control their side of the delivery chain, but there is a point where the recipient takes over and controls things.
As a recipient I can
- report your email as spam
- forward your email to another account on another mail system
- file your email in a mailbox I never read
- block all your images
- delete your email before it ever hits my mailbox
- forward your email to public or private blocklists
- fold, spindle or mutilate your email
- forward your email to friends
- blog about your email
- purchase something from that email
- visit your website and purchase something else
- reply to you
Some of these things are going to hurt your reputation as a sender. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t make a recipient accept your email. You can’t make a recipient ISP accept your email.
What you, as a sender, can do is send mail that your recipients want to read. Send mail that they expect, even anticipate. For instance, it’s now noon on Tuesday, I know I’m going to get Ken Magill’s newsletter in the next 2 hours. Then I will read it, chat about it with some other delivery folks and possibly comment on his blog. I may even get inspired and blog about something he wrote.
Influence and inspire your recipients. Send them mail they want, don’t just send mail they tolerate. Because they don’t have to just tolerate your email. They can react in many ways, some of them positive, some of them negative.
Senders need to remember they only control one end of delivery, but they can influence the whole stream.