Email is one of the most effective marketing methods that exist. It can build rapport, educate, inform, entertain, motivate, and more. However, for dealerships, it takes creativity to understand how to leverage email to advance your business. Before jumping forward it’s worth understanding the current status of SPAM. The reason? SPAM filtering is the nemesis of getting into a prospect’s inbox. It stands between your message being consumed and never being seen.
In this article, we’ll explore who is responsible, and who is penalized for SPAM email as well as how to ensure you can communicate with your target audiences. Being able to utilize email for marketing is crucial to businesses. However, if not done strategically your chances are next to zero for success.
Control…Get Your Email into Their Inbox
Email marketing has changed drastically in recent years. What few people understand is that the email delivery infrastructure in the USA is a market maintained system. Europe, on the other hand, is a rules-based system with governmental oversight and penalties. It’s fascinating the two methods and how they work.
Under the US system, email delivery is the responsibility of the sender Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP’s reputation is at stake when they send any SPAM email. The term reputation is not to be taken lightly. If a recipient ISP considers another ISP as a SPAMer, they will start to block that rouge email server. Why would do they do that? Why is it in the interests of an ISP to block a SPAMing ISP’s sending email server?
SPAM versus Solicited Opt-In Email – No One Wants To Receive SPAM
If you are an ISP, there are various things that are important to you. One of them is your server processing time. If your servers are consumed processing tons of junk email that means they cannot be servicing your existing valid customers’ requirements. If servers are bogged down with bogus email it can impact overall bandwidth, which includes website performance.
From an ISP’s perspective, they provide email as a throw-in. In fact, most website hosting plans include email delivery and storage. They don’t make any kind of money from providing and delivering your email. That doesn’t mean they allow you to send SPAM either.
ISP’s focus on maximizing services at the lowest cost to themselves. That means having an email server that provides services to many clients. If one of their clients is a SPAMer it will impact many others. If that server’s emails cannot be delivered, it naturally impacts all others using that email service for sending. That is not a good thing for an ISP. When customers want to send a legitimate email, they want it to make its way to the target recipient and not get blocked. Failure to send emails successfully from an ISP is very bad for business since web services are typically bundled (website hosting and email).
People receiving email do not WANT any SPAM. However, senders frequently believe that their emails are not SPAM.
For a while, I worked for a company that made monitoring devices that were used by electric utilities. They had a list of people that were precisely their target audience, who used this type of equipment. My employer, the owner of the company, insisted that sending emails to these people is not SPAM. In short, he believed he knew what people should get in their inboxes. He claimed they wanted the content we were sending and the products we were selling. However, delusion does not constitute facts. Thank goodness.
Just because someone does not believe they are sending SPAM or junk email does not make it fact.
The main difference most consider between SPAM and junk email is SPAM is thought of as bulk email while junk is often considered undesirable email. When a salesperson sends me a promotional email on their sale, and I have never heard of the company or person, that doesn’t mean it is not considered SPAM.
So what is SPAM?
In short, it’s really anything that the recipient considers as SPAM. For example, even though someone opt-ed in to receive some email it does not automatically mean they remember and accept the message. They have the liberty to mark it as SPAM. They can mark your email SPAM or junk mail anytime they wish. This is a harsh reality of the current system.
To make matters worse, there’s also a subset of “SPAM” that is nefarious and may have code embedded in it that can cause virus infection or worse. There is also a range of techniques utilized by hackers called phishing (linked story illustrates how easy this is) that has been effective at stealing passwords and personal information from unsuspecting email users. This is yet another reason why opt-in email is so critical these days.
Email Is The Most Effective Marketing Tool
If you do not have a strategy for email marketing you are missing a huge opportunity.
“59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.” – emma
Get a no-cost consultation to identify how you can turn email nurture into a hands-free customer delivery system.
CALL NOW: 800-709-3240 or email Sales@NetSourceMedia.com
What About Legitimate Email
As noted above, even an email that is totally legitimate can be marked as SPAM. There are a range of reasons for an email to be considered SPAM. Most of the ways this labeling occurs are technical/rules-based systems analysis of emails. For example, if you are using corporate email there may be multiple filters. Starting at the recipient’s email application there can be blocking of SPAM. Then there may be enterprise filtering, and prior to that, your ISP may be doing filtering as well. In other cases, it can be anything from the sender to your Google mail account. If you use Google’s mail, you have likely noticed how they have become more aggressive in blocking email. Even “seemingly” valid email can have a hard time getting to the inbox.
It is getting harder to know where to look any more when emails do not make their way to our inbox.
It’s good to know that corporate filters (also used by ISPs) can do a range of checking on email. One type that is widely used is content examination. The use of certain keywords can be seen as signaling SPAM. For example, “get free”, “buy now”, etc. Either combined words or these words combined with other signals can lead email to be labeled as SPAM and blocked.
The objective of these various methods is to keep illegitimate email out of the inbox. However, the reality is that legitimate email can be blocked. So, the question then becomes – why. There can be many possible reasons, such as bad senders lists.
Intensive SPAMers over the years developed an array of methods to bypass filters. Unusual signs can also be examined. In the cat and mouse game, a whole range of qualities are looked at in concert. All kinds of things can be examined. For example, high volume bursts of emails sent from a single source – to more elaborate behavior – such as source IP address rotations for the same exact content. So, any number of combined oddities can flag SPAM filters.
How To Ensure Deliverability of Your Email
It seems tough to get an email to someone, doesn’t it? Well, one-off, low volume email, typically is not a huge challenge. It’s really volume emails that get examined closely. Yes, SPAMers try to play with that as well. But, assuming you want to legitimately email, you have to take a very strategic approach. This means no shortcuts and being patient. But most businesses want results NOW and fail to have the endurance required for the dividends.
Building an Email List
If you wish to bulk email you must build an opt-in list. There is absolutely no way around this. The only question is how to do it. Our approach to achieving this is to utilize a content marketing strategy. The reason we do not just do one thing to address the challenge is that you may achieve the goal, but you lose a lot of other benefits. The main benefit is thinking in terms of value delivery.
There’s an opportunity in this problem of email delivery.
The opportunity is to change your marketing approach and really align it much better. Instead of seeing this as a block you see it as changing your approach to deliver real value to prospects. It is the equivalent of switching from a feature-based approach to a benefit-based one. It is a movement from selling to matching. It is a switch from self-focus to prospect-focused.
The model is built around the Buyer’s Journey. Then we construct content that delivers value. The goal is to provide valued content that a visitor wants and assists them in their purchasing decision. The content can be anything (video, webinar, infographic, report, etc.). The idea is to help prospects make a better buying decision. By doing so, we obtain many side benefits, including relationship building and converting the perception of our organization from sales to a partner.
This may seem like a long way to go to get an email into an inbox? Eh – NO!
Most companies take a very short view of their business. Yet, marketing is not the same as other parts of your organization. Many aspects of marketing are a macro long-term game. They require a strategic big picture approach. It requires patience. There are micro and quicker efforts marketing can take to grow your business (such as advertising), but developing a reliable communication and content marketing strategy is not one of them.
From SPAM to Valued Content
The short version? If you want to get to the inbox, build valued content that shoppers will appreciate and want to receive.
Here are a few more of the methodologies that we utilize as part of a communication and marketing structure:
- Content that motivates prospects to submit their personal information
- Valued content targeted at buyers in different stages of their buying experience (evaluation and engagement process)
- Manageable and segregated email lists for targeted and ongoing messaging
- Valuable email nurture content designed to move prospects through a buyer’s journey
- High-valued blog content, as the backbone for newsletter and social content
- Measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the success of email marketing efforts
Need Help Getting into Your Prospects Inbox?
We utilize opt-in content to build a robust connection to your prospects. By combining content with the buyer’s journey and ongoing communication, you’ll have a completely automated and powerful system to assist prospects in moving from unknown site visitors to customers (and ultimate advocates).
Want more information?
Contact us at email@example.com or call 800-709-3240 and we can help you navigate modern email marketing.