E-mail Marketing: Message Content Not The Only Hold-up For Marketers
In the ongoing struggle for e-mail marketers to have their messages land in consumers’ inboxes rather than in their spam filters, it’s been widely assumed that message content is the main reason ISPs filter legitimate e-mail marketing messages. But the findings from the recently released Lyris EmailAdvisor study may go a long way in changing the mind-sets of many e-mail marketers.
Message content is not a major cause of deliverability challenges for most e-mail marketers, according to the Lyris EmailAdvisor ISP Deliverability Report Card for the first fiscal quarter of 2007. More than 1,705 unique e-mails were tested against the widely accepted Spam Assassin open source project. The average content point score of these unique e-mails was 1.04 — well below the filter’s generally accepted spam identification level of 3.0 or higher.
Beyond message content, such factors as the sender’s mailing history, the number of complaints the sender receives, data collection practices, the use of sender authentication protocols and other reputation factors all negatively impact deliverability.
“There are no easy fixes to senders’ deliverability challenge,” said Stefan Pollard, director of consulting services at EmailLabs in the study. “Changing a few keywords in the hopes of boosting inbox success rates is no substitute for adhering to e-mail marketing best practices. It’s an oversimplification to place blame primarily on content filters when a campaign has poor returns, and when most delivery challenges are due to subscriber feedback.”
From Jan.1 to March 31 of this year, the study monitored the full delivery trajectories of 440,694 production-level, permission-based e-mail marketing messages sent from 69 different businesses and nonprofit organizations to multiple accounts at 54 ISP domains. Messages were chosen to represent a cross-section of typical e-mail marketing and newsletter activities. The messages included publishing, B-to-B, retail, travel, finance and others. In all cases, the recipients had made an explicit “opt-in” request to receive the messages at the specified e-mail addresses. The results were surprising to many.