ARE YOU GETTING THROUGH TO YOUR SUBSCRIBERS?
Four Tips For Delivering Your Newsletters
A few of our clients have recently discovered yet another downside of spam: spam filters are blocking their email newsletters from reaching their subscribers. In fact, I replaced the word “spam” in the newsletter with an image of said word because so many filters are set up to block emails containing that word!
Email filters come in two main varieties: ones that are set up by the ISP (Internet Service Provider,) i.e. AOL, Earthlink or MSN, and ones set up on the user’s email program, i.e. Outlook, Eudora or Netscape.
Although there’s currently no solution that will solve all potential problems, there are some steps you can take to improve the chances of your newsletter getting through.
1. Educate Your Subscribers. A brief page explaining how to prevent email filters from blocking your newsletters is the first step. If possible, display this message immediately after someone subscribes.
If that’s not possible–or in addition–place a link on your home page beneath your signup box that reads: “Not receiving our emails? Click here!” You can see an example that we created for the Meal Makeover Moms here.
This page should also have your newsletter’s “From” address listed.
2. Your From Address. Many email programs filter mail based on the address they come from. If they don’t recognize an email address they may pop it in a “junk” or “spam” folder. If possible, use an address at your domain, such as firstname.lastname@example.org as the “from” address and let your subscribers know this. Then they can tag the address as “friendly.”
3. Post Your Newsletters to Your Site. We’re dealing with a lot of newbies out there, people. They don’t understand what email filters are or how to change them. They don’t know who their ISP is or how to contact tech support. Even when you walk them through the process (which can be time consuming for just one subscriber) they don’t get it. To help these people we recommend posting all your newsletters to your site.
There are benefits beyond telling these people that they can always visit your site to read your newsletters. New content will get search engines to revisit your site more often, will encourage links from other sites, and will allow new subscribers to see what they’ve been missing.
4. Handle Responses Efficiently. You need to determine how to handle responses to your email newsletters. Even if you send your newsletter from email@example.com people will reply. It’s their nature. Plus, there’s a button labeled “Reply.”
The problem with having newsletter replies go to your email is that when your subscriber base gets to a certain size you are going to receive dozens, hundreds or even thousands of “Out of the Office” messages and other unnecessary emails.
You may also get people asking to be unsubscribed despite a very visible, very clickable link in your email for that very purpose. In fact, you may be unable to unsubscribe people if someone else is maintaining your newsletter.
I recommend having the replies sent to a specific email address that has its own autoresponder. This response should explain how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or update an email address. You may also want it to say that any messages sent to this address won’t be read, or won’t be answered in a timely fashion, and all correspondence should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking these steps will help your subscribers, your business, and your peace of mind.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact us.
President, flyte new media