What if you could cut your delivery time by 80%?
Six Flags is the world's largest regional theme park company, with 20 amazing parks across North America. And email is a big part of their business—they send over 250 million emails a year to guests, customers and clients. From transactional sales notifications to marketing campaigns, Six Flags relies on email to communicate directly to their guests and get them excited about their next visit.
But in 2015, before they switched to GreenArrow, their email infrastructure was holding them back. Their previous list manager only allowed them to send 200K-300K emails per hour, which during peak sending times was not cutting it. And worse yet, it was no longer being actively developed, which meant they expect any new features or improvements.
Can it really be this easy?
I love details, and I love numbers. Makes sense, right? I’m a developer. Details matter because they define our work. But much as I love details, I also love simplicity. There’s an elegance to simplicity that, if done right, can make for better and more powerful solutions to complicated problems. One great example of this is Google Postmaster Tools’ reputation system. It’s surprisingly basic, and yet it works wonders in email deliverability.
In this post, I'll explain the benefits of the system and give you a few pointers to help you get the most out of it.
My Grandma Thinks I'm A Hacker
People can develop amusing views of what "working from home" means. For example, when my grandmother came for a visit, she asked about what I do at work. So I showed her by remotely connecting to a server and viewing some of its settings. Her takeaway from that experience was revealed the next time she visited—she asked if I “still break into people's computers at work”.
Is Your Email Sending Ready For Prime Time?
Have you ever watched the game show, Jeopardy!? Contestants face a big board full of clues in random categories that pop-up without advance warning, and have five seconds to sort through a lifetime of knowledge to come up with the correct answers. Sometimes email marketing can feel like the game of Jeopardy!, especially when rolling out a new email campaign. There is the potential for big gains—you might even stumble onto a Daily Double!—but when the categories are unfamiliar and there’s stuff you don’t know, it can be easy to get stressed out.
Now imagine you know the categories ahead of time. Today's post is kinda like that. We've compiled nine important email statistics – and a bonus cheat sheet! – that will help you make sense of your email delivery data.
Hammering Out Which Domain To Use
When sending email, domains are a key part of how people remember and experience your brand. For example, if your company (named “ACME”) primarily sells anvils, you would be wise to include the words “acme” and “anvil” in the domain name that you send your emails from. Simple stuff, I know.
But what if your business sells multiple things or has multiple departments? What if you have multiple sub-domains to manage? And what if your company grows from a one-man consulting firm to a software team and needs to update the domain name it's been using? (Actually that's us, and we know it. Look for a domain name change in 2018.)
As you can see when it comes to domains, things can get complicated. But whether you’re getting launched on GreenArrow, or another email platform, or whether your biggest customer is Wile E. Coyote—we have some helpful tips below. (Because like the Roadrunner, GreenArrow is also known as Accelerati Incredibilus.)
In our digital age, reputation is key.
If you’re like me you check and compare online reviews all the time. I check before visiting a new restaurant, choosing a new doctor or even when I’m buying a simple kitchen tool on Amazon. Chances are you've thought about how nice it might be to have access to the resources and reputation of a much bigger company.
And in the world of email, you can do exactly that! SMTP relay services such as Amazon SES, SendGrid, Sparkpost or GreenArrow Cloud offer access to their reputation. These services can, therefore, be a very useful tool in your email sending toolbox, but they're not for everybody. Today’s post gives you the pros and cons of do-it-yourself vs. outsourcing your email.
Lock It Up (But Don't Throw Away The Key)
As we readied this post for publication in September 2017, Equifax announced a security breach that impacted over 145 million U.S. consumers. As I checked my social security number, I had a flashback to 2014, when a group called "Guardians of Peace" leaked information from Sony Pictures. The Sony leak included personally identifiable information of employees, salary data, copies of upcoming films, and emails containing confidential information.
Incidents like these are a good reminder of why we need to take cyber-security seriously. Turns out the Equifax breach was caused by a failure to patch a two-month old bug, however the proper use of cryptography could have reduced the scope of what was compromised at Sony Pictures. Below you'll find a crash course on cryptography, with an eye to explaining how we keep our data secure.
What's in a Name?
As humans, we love to name things: children, pets, streets, mountains, rivers, oceans, deserts, and IP addresses. Yes, IP addresses. If you're running an email server, then each of your IPs needs a name. But you need to choose that name wisely, because choosing the wrong name (or not setting it up correctly) can affect your email deliverability.
Thankfully, you don't need to be super-creative or spend hours pouring through baby name books. Just follow a few simple guidelines (listed conveniently below) and you should be well on your way towards choosing the perfect name for your babies... I mean, IP addresses. :-)
What's a Routing Rule?
If you send email using VirtualMTAs (which allow senders to send email from multiple IP addresses), you already know the importance of having a configuration that works for your specific business needs. For many senders, setting up a single IP address and a single VirtualMTA interface may be everything they need to see long-term success out of their marketing platform.
But what happens when things change? Suppose you’ve been blessed with the burden of HUGE growth and now have a volume of email that exceeds what one IP address should deliver. Or perhaps your one IP develops a reputation problem, and Yahoo (or some other ISP) just suddenly stops taking your email. And what if you suddenly need multiple email streams, each handled differently than the other? How can you possibly adjust to all of these changes?