Monthly Archives: May 2008

Double Opt In, Email Delivery and Why Double Opt in Works

Double opt in, why you should not care if your double opt in rate is crappy and what to do about it if it sucks!

This double opt in article came to be written because of a number of people whining about double opt in and AWeber. It was written very quickly and with a little heat, most of which I have removed.

AWeber delivers 97% of the email they send to the inbox. Most others are at 80%. 20% more delivery = 20% more profits. Do the math.

Next AWeber is an autoresponder not just a list manager. The ability to set up preset marketing delivered at the rate you choose is priceless. Search “autoresponder tips” if you do not understand this.

Double opt in prevents spam complaints. Spam complaints are the result of a recipient clicking the “this is spam button” and will get you blocked faster than anything else. A visitor cannot misspell their email address and send someone else your emails with double opt in.

Double opt in also saves your email reputation because you are not bouncing emails to bad addresses. Those same misspelled emails that get the spam button clicked can bounce when the recipient does not exist. ISPs keep track of bounced emails and the server it is sent from. The more bounces, the lower your email reputation score.

The very first time someone clicks the “this is spam” button on an email you sent without double opt in can get you banned by the receiving ISP. Your host may delete your domain and you are going to definitely get listed on RBLs (real time blacklists).

Sure you can triple your opt in rate by not using double opt in, but all it takes is a five or six spam complaints and you are history! NO site, NO domain, GONE. Forever.

The bottom line here is still that any email service that uses single opt in is just not going to have high delivery rates especially to Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft and that is probably 90% of the email inboxes these days.

Now let’s consider this: If they won’t confirm their address will they open your emails that you send in the future?

Will these readers that wouldn’t double opt in click thru to your site from emails?

Will these same people enter their credit card in your forms when they wouldn’t even double opt in?

Now let’s talk about increasing your email delivery and double opt in rate

When someone signs up via a AWeber form you have a hidden field named “redirect”

Here you can enter a URL on your site that a lead is sent to rather than a AWeber page.

Here you need to have an irresistible incentive to get the lead to open your email and click the link.

Stuart, I am sure your content rocks but don’t be insulted here, content just ain’t goona do it.

Here is the page I use on my site: email delivery ebook and the four chapter incentive.

Next to stay out of the spam folder you need to get you subscriber to whitelist you.

Email whitelist generator will generate these instructions for you.

Finally when your lead clicks the AWeber confirmation link there is one more page that you can send your new subscriber to.

This page is configurable in the AWeber console.

Don’t just send them to some lame thank you page, surprise them with an unannounced bonus or at least send them to some good content that is new and worthwhile.

If your sales letter has a good conversion rate and content in addition to the sales process, send them there on the click thru confirmation. But whatever you do the whole process should brand you as an authority on your subject.

Hope this helps,

Chris Lang

New CAN SPAM provisions

New CAN SPAM provisions released, not anything ground breaking

• An email recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her email address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply email message or visiting a single Web page to opt out of receiving future email from a sender.

• The definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements.

• A “sender” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under U.S. Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a “valid physical postal address.”

• A definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

You can read the full CAN SPAM FTC press release here.

Yahoo to use Return Path Sender Score Certified?

Yahoo is soon to start accepting Sender Score Certified via Return Path!

Yahoo using Sender Score Certified whitelist and Return Path was quietly made public in January 2008, “Yahoo! is implementing the scheme and will begin checking using it sometime in spring.” We have not heard much since. My connection at Return Path just mentioned Yahoo the other day and brought it back to mind.

Return Path blog says “Receivers that accept the Sender Score Certified whitelist include, among others, Windows Live Hotmail, Time Warner Cable, GoDaddy and soon Yahoo! and Yahoo! operated email properties.”

Maybe this is why Yahoo has been such a nightmare to deliver to lately and why Yahoo pulled it’s FBL in March.

Since they announced that Comcast would offer an FBL managed by Return Path I have been expecting the Yahoo Sender Score Certified Return Path full press release to come forth.

I don’t mean to be a nutty conspiracy theorist here, but first Comcast has no whitelist, no FBL and is tough to get your email delivered to. Then Comcast offers an FBL through Return Path. Next, it’s Yahoo, who pulls their FBL, calling it an end to a beta, is impossible to deliver any email to for months and now is poised to solve it all with Sender Score Certified and Return Path.

As always I invite your comments below! = Chris Lang

Technorati

Part of avoiding spam filters is using other forms of social media.

If you have ever wondered how blogs get those cool Technorati buttons on their site, here it is.

Create a log in, or log in to Technorati, then go thru the “claim blog” process. Once you are done it will provide you with the code to add the buttons to your site.

Hope this helps! = Chris Lang

Comcast Feedback Loop Now Available

Comcast Feedback Loop is Finally Available, Now How About a Real Whitelist?

Comcast Feedback Loop, or FBL, is finally available after being the email delivery nightmare of Yahoo proportions. Guess what, it is powered by Return Path.. But hey, this FBL looks good to me. Now if they would offer an open, real comcast whitelist rather than just the Sender Score Certified, that none of us lowly bloggers can afford we might not hate you so much Comcast.

From Return Path’s blog:

“We now host feedback loops for Comcast, USA.net, and Mailtrust and we are in the process of setting up half a dozen more over the next few months. A large portion of our business has always been to help senders understand how to handle the feedback they’re receiving, so this is a customer support task that we are uniquely capable of handling – and our ISP partners appreciate it.”

Just what is a Feedback Loop or FBL

Let’s say one of your recipients clicks the “report spam” button in Yahoo Mail. A copy of that email is saved in Yahoo’s database and the same thing happens at Hotmail, Gmail, AOL and Window Live Mail. The ISP can then use these spam reports to determine your whitelisting eligibility and of course has a direct effect your email reputation.

Feedback loops, or FBLs come into play here for us lowly senders like this. When someone does click the “spam button”, you, get a copy of the report. This does a number of things for you.

It let’s you know that one of your emails is so far off topic / track, unreadable, or just plain sucked that one of your readers clicked the spam button on you.

It allows you to immediately remove this person. Remember, this button clicker did not unsubscribe. They still get your emails! You want to manually remove them NOW.

Feedback loops also allow you to head off any problems with your host, because they are getting a copy of this as well and may take action against your site / hosting with out contacting you. BTW your host is the next person to contact.

I have a complete list of all ISPs, their FBL application URLs, what to do when you do receive a spam complaint and what is required to get on a ISP feedback loop in, you guessed it, my email delivery book, downloadable in seconds. By the time you figure out FBLs you could have already read my 80 page book made twice the money you spent on it by delivering more email.

Stefan Pollard Comments on the New Whitelist Email Generator

New Email Whitelist Instructions Generator and why I disagree with top email delivery authority Stefan Pollard

Being the most prolific email authority on email delivery (I have to be #2), Stefan Pollard of Email on Click Z is followed avidly by many, especially myself.

Marketing Sherpa went into very in depth detail in suggesting that we all use user email whitelist instructions on our sites. You can view Marketing Sherpa’a email whitelist instructions.

In fact this article goes into how Email Management is Lacking and not taking advantage of landing pages throughout the subscription process.

Now I asked Stefan to take a look at my whitelist email instructions and the whitelist email generator that built them.

Here is his response and mine is below it, so read on!

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the kind words, and I did take a look at your script. It seems to be very thorough, but I wonder if the personalization attempt at the beginning is really necessary? There are only a small handful of sites I have seen that publish directions for the different email clients to add to the address book (or whitelist in your case) and some studies done by Jupiter show a surprising sophistication by email users. Of the sites who do publish, general directions seem to be quite clear.

Marketers often times believe that the general user doesn’t know how to do simple things with their email client (like whitelisting) when the opposite is true, they know how but chose not to. The only time I have seen users use the whitelisting features in their email clients is during the reply function (when half or more clients ask you to) or when email of value consistently lands in the junk folder. The second part is quite rare.

What would be an interesting posting would be a complete list of FBL sources, links and directions on how to apply. Using FBL’s for list hygiene is much more valuable to a marketer than address book whitelisting directions. Professionals know how many sources exist and how to set them up, the average marketer is not aware of all the sources and often thinks the only ones are AOL/Hotmail.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan

Thanks for the reply here Stefan but I do have to disagree with you on the point that our subscribers are more advanced than I believe.

The one thing I have learned is that you must construct your instructions for anything to include the lowest common denominator in any type of instructions. Look at the questions that come in from someone that tries to download a report to their own machine. Most Internet users cannot even download a file to their own file structure, manage to find it and open the PDF file afterwards. You have to provide explicit instructions on how to do this so you are not constantly having to answer support emails.

When it comes to email it can be even worse. Your email can easily end up in the spam folder until a new subscriber finds it there, opens it and then whitelists you to enable HTML and clickable links. I reported on this a year ago when Hotmail was the first to disable clickable links and HTML. AOL, Gmail and Yahoo have followed suit.

After reading your email Stefan, I decided to go back and add a line stating that “Due to the overzealous filtering by ISPs you may have to look in your spam folder and recover my email.”

Do you have any suggestions on how I could word this better? It should portray that it is not there because I am spammer, it is there because the ISPs filters get carried away. Also what other suggestions do you have for my readers that could help us get over the hump of a new subscriber trusting us and whitelisting our email addresses?

Also as far as FBLs go I totally agree! I have a complete list of 10 ISPs, their FBL links and how to use them, but I have to save something for the email delivery book!

Of course I invite all your comments below. – Chris Lang