CategoryBest Practices

Terminology

There is a lot more to say here, and I’m working on a longer post to really talk about the underlying racism in tech and how we as an industry have failed. In the deliverability space, specifically, the use of blacklist/whitelist is terminology rooted in racism (black is bad, white is good). Many DNSBLs use the block terminology and have done for a while. But there are still too many places...

Advice on coronavirus emails

Gartner has some really good recommendations for companies considering mailing about the coronavirus pandemic. Launch your COVID-19-themed marketing email campaign only if you can answer yes to four questions: Am I telling customers something different from other brands versus saying the same thing as everyone else? Am I telling customers something they don’t already expect of my company or brand...

The key to improving deliverability

According to the UK DMA, marketers report improvements in deliverability after GDPR went into effect. I mean, thank you UK DMA for doing the research. Of course deliverability is going to improve when you send mail to those people who have expressly opted into your mail. 76% report an increase in open rates in the past 12 months; 75% say click- throughs are higher; 51% say ROI has risen. Opt-out...

Stop obsessing about open rates

In 2020: 250OK says open rates were much lower than ESPs report. The Only Influencers list hosts a discussion about the value and use of open rates. A potential client contacts me asking if I can get their open rates to a certain percentage.A client shows me evidence of 100% inboxing but wants to improve their open rate.An industry group runs sessions at multiple meetings discussing how...

Using Reply-To:

Yesterday I learned that some ESPs don’t support the reply to: address. I asked around to discover which ESPs did. Here’s what I learned. ESPs that support reply-to: ActiveCampaignAmazonSESConstantContactCampaign MonitorCordialDelivraDoListEloquaEmmaEpsilonGetResponseHubSpotiContactListrakMailkitMailUpMarketoN6PardotwordResponsysSailthruSFMCSharpspringTwilio / SendGridZeta Global...

The variables are not independent

In my previous career I was a molecular biologist. Much of my work was done on bacteria but after I left grad school, I ended up working in a developmental biology lab. Bacteria were (mostly) simple: just about every trait was controlled by a single gene. We could study what that gene did by removing it from the bacteria or adding it to a well characterised bacteria. When I moved to developmental...

Alt-text and phishing warnings

For a long time one of the “best practices” for links in html content has been to avoid having anything that looks like a URL or hostname in the visible content of the link, as ISP phishing filters are very, very suspicious of links that seem to mislead recipients about where the link goes to. They’re a very common pattern in phishing emails. /* This is bad: */ <a href="">>...

Forget about engagement, think inboxing

While answering a question about how to improve IP reputation at Gmail I realized that I no longer treat Gmail opens as anything about how a user is interacting with email. There are so many cases and ways that a pixel load can be triggered, without the user actually caring about the mail that it’s not a measure of the user at all. That doesn’t mean opens are useless. In fact...

Opting out of “service” messages

A frequent question in a number of deliverability spaces is how to tell if a message is transactional or marketing. In most cases the decision is related to whether or not to respect an unsubscribe request. All too often companies decide that their messages are too important to allow someone to opt-out of. The problem is, in some cases, there is no longer a customer relationship to send notices...

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