Five steps to coax e-mail subscribers to add your e-mail address to their contact list.
Whenever we talk about improving e-mail deliverability, we usually cover the big issues: getting rid of spam elements, ISP whitelisting, permission, list hygiene, and so forth.
One simple tactic gets short shrift: getting into your subscribers' address books or contact lists.
Sure, you put your add-to-address-book request in the top line of your e-mail message (which isn't necessarily the best place to put it, but more on that later). But that's not enough to get on your subscribers' personal whitelists, which is what address books and contact lists really are. However, you can improve your chances of getting listed with just a few steps.
Why the Address Book Is Key
Whenever people add your e-mail sending address to their address books or contact lists, they're telling their ISPs, "I want this person's e-mail messages." Being listed in some circumstances can even get your e-mail delivered to the inbox with images rendering correctly.
ISPs want to deliver only the e-mail their customers say they want to receive, so they check those personal whitelists when deciding whether to deliver, block, or direct to the spam folder your e-mail.
Five Steps to Optimize Address-Book Listings
The Email Experience Council's new report, "Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study," suggests retailers are moving toward greater subscriber interaction: adding e-mail confirmation, cleaning up mailing lists, and integrating more channels, such as RSS feeds, blogs, and social networks.
Adding add-to-address-book requests and instructions should be a staple feature of your opt-in process, beginning on the subscription or thank-you pages and moving all the way through the welcome phase. Here are five steps to get you listed in subscribers' address books:
Do It Because Spammers Don't
Take a minute and sift through the spam in your junk folder right now (the real spam, not just the misrouted e-mail you don't redeem with the "not spam" button). How many of these e-mails ask you to add their sending address to your contact list or address book? Not many, if any, I'll bet.
That should tell you something right there. Spammers don't usually request address-book placement. So if you want to boost your legitimacy with your readers, ramp up your placement requests, then watch your inbox placement improve.
Until next time, keep on deliverin'!
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Stefan Pollard, who started his career in online marketing in 1999, was considered a selfless mentor and champion of best practices in e-mail marketing. He held the position of senior strategic consultant at Responsys where he was responsible for developing e-mail marketing and lifecycle messaging strategies to increase clients' ROI. Before that, Stefan led the e-mail consulting program for Lyris clients, frequently speaking at industry events on best practices. Prior to that, he managed the audit process and consulted with clients to improve their e-mail delivery challenges for Habeas. As an e-mail marketer, he spent several years building and executing acquisition and retention campaigns at E-Loan and Cybergold.com. He died May 14, 2010.
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