It's not laundry.
Let's get something out of the way right off the bat: even though I might use the words 'cleaning' or 'hygiene' when we're talking about email lists, I prefer not to. Sure, if someone says an email list is dirty, we all understand what they mean (more or less), but there's a judgment - and a suggestion of a solution - inherent in those terms that I think are inaccurate and misleading. What I tend to think of as "The Laundry Analogy" fails in a few ways.
What are Spam Complaints, and How Can You Keep Them From Happening?
Spam complaints are negative responses to an email. They are specific actions taken by the receiver of the email to let the ISP, ESP or sender know he's not happy about the email and wants to report it as spam.
Although it's almost inevitable that your email will generate some spam complaints, high complaint rates are indicative of a problem and will cause poor inbox delivery.
Spam complaints are a key driver of email deliverability, so it's important to understand them.
Two Reasons to Consider Switching
Whether you're new to sending email in bulk, or an experienced mailer switching from an ESP to your own mail server, there are several things to consider regarding the IP addresses associated with the servers you'll be sending mail from.
A spam trap is a special email address designed to receive spam and "trap" mailers that spam or otherwise use questionable mailing practices. Sending to a spam trap address can quickly damage your deliverability reputation and cause you to be blocked or, worse, get you blacklisted with Spamhaus or other blacklists. Fortunately, they can be avoided if you understand how they work, and adhere to best mailing practices.
Elements to get your message to the Inbox
Will this get you "Guaranteed Inbox Delivery"? No - Nobody can guarantee that. Even the best campaigns can run into occasional glitches that cause your mail to be filtered and have you seeking the guidance of an email deliverability expert. Here, in plain language, are the most essential elements of an email marketing campaign that will get your message to the Inbox.
This is your golden opportunity.
The welcome letter is an underutilized, but essential part of any email marketing program. The welcome letter can not only improve sales and brand loyalty, it can also be an invaluable tool for improving email deliverability - increasing your ROI long after it is delivered.
Hint: It's Relevancy, Segmentation and Testing
You will hear the word "relevancy" used frequently in the email world as it relates to email deliverability. Relevancy is key to delivering email to the Inbox. But what really is relevancy and how do you achieve this holy grail?
It has always been the goal of marketers to reach as many people as possible. In sales, you have probably heard the term "It's a numbers game" meaning that the more people you call on, the more sales you get. In traditional print, marketing this is true as well, and many marketers believe the same thing is true in email marketing.
Many email marketers today define and measure "deliverability" or "email deliverability" in different ways.