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How to Ensure Email Deliverability in China

  |  September 2, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Three tips to win over China's top ISP - Tencent QQ.

More and more email marketers target China as their most potential and fast developing market, so how do you begin email marketing in China and become a total cash call? No matter how stunning or creative your eDM is, without deliverability enhancement, it'll be a shame to let your efforts go down the drain. As Tencent QQ is one of the top ISPs in China, the first deliverability issue that marketers will most likely encounter is have their emails blocked or moved to junk mail. If you don't believe it, just start with a few large volume campaigns and the above issues will easily find you. Nevertheless, don't panic. We're here to get you out of the impasse. You'll find a way to win this battle by following these tips.

1. Know the game rule. If you want to win a game, you must get to know the rules well. So is the deliverability solution for Tencent QQ. To better study the requirement of Tencent QQ, hire a Chinese staff or China-located ESP as an essential preparation for you.

As a beginner, you need to complete the authentication setup such as A record, PTR record, and other DNS records before you officially start your campaigns. Without the necessary setup, you may even fail to send out emails to Tencent QQ (or other China ISPs). After completing the above authentication setup, you can start to roll out emails. However, you need to fine-tune your speed (IP based) and daily sending volume limit through plenty of sending practice. And do remember to mark down your 'perfect' figures for future reference. Normally, once you find out your appropriate sending speed and daily sending limit, it will be suitable for most upcoming campaigns and won't change significantly. Last but not least, you need to identify your delivery issue by classifying different bounce messages from Tencent QQ. For example, connection time out, open relay denied, mail rejected by anti-spam server, and more are caused by the mailing system of Tencent QQ. While users not found, mail size exceeded, and no space in the mailbox are due to recipient side. For the first situation, you need to adjust your mailing practice or even appeal to Tencent QQ for any possible adjustments.

To study more about Tencent QQ requirements, find more details here (in Chinese only).

2. Use your secret weapon - mailing domain management. Just as you need an army to effectively win the war and defeat your rivals, you need a secret weapon to assist you. Mailing domain management (MDM) is your secret weapon to enhance deliverability on Tencent QQ. MDM is an open and free service that is developed by Tencent QQ and can be applied by any legal sender, as long as you can prove the authority of your domain and IP.

Through the MDM service, you can get plenty of valuable information regarding your mailing and delivery status under your IP range including: sending volume, delivery rate, open rate, spam complaint rate, and email delete rate. All of the above figures are indicated on a daily basis and IP-based. Moreover, it'll even show the most complained about subject line from your Tencent QQ recipients if any.

To use your secret weapon, keep monitoring its figures and status on a regular basis. Meanwhile, try to connect related data with your delivery performance, which can also help to foresee and minimise any potential delivery issues promptly. For instance, if your spam complaint rate keeps increasing from the MDM service, it's necessary for you to pay attention to your content relevance or sending strategy rather than let things run their course. Otherwise, your sending IP or eDM template will be blocked by Tencent QQ easily.

For more tactics please refer here (in Chinese only).

3. Get your IPs white-listed by Tencent QQ. As you may know, being whitelisted by an ISP is like getting a pass in a battle that will make things easier to go ahead. Though not all ISPs have a white list policy, Tencent QQ has one.

If white-listed by Tencent QQ, your speed and daily sending limit can be upgraded as you will gain more trust by the ISP and vice versa. Without a white list, you'll have strict speed control and sending limitations by Tencent QQ, no matter how large your database or how good your branding is. And you'll even get higher chances of encountering false positives from its anti-spam filters.

Since getting a white list from Tencent QQ is so advantageous and invaluable to senders, it'll not be a simple task to apply for it. Generally, you need to contact Tencent QQ directly or seek an experienced ESP company for help. All in all, you need to build a solid relationship with the ISP before getting white-listed in China.

If you're going to launch or expand your email marketing plan in China, Tencent QQ will be one of your very first lessons of deliverability. Keep leveraging your practice as per above tips, then you can extricate yourself from the predicament with Tencent QQ and things will fall into place. It's time for you to be ahead of your competitors and nail the pitch.

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Francis Kwok

Francis Kwok is the founder and CEO of Radica Systems. Radica has become a leading e-marketing solution provider in six markets in Asia Pacific under his leadership. He has worked closely with Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Global Sources, CTrip, BenQ China, Li Ning Company, and others, and works to enable enterprises to develop highly effective e-marketing campaigns with advanced personalisation technology.

With numerous experiences in the domain, Francis is also a regular author and guest speaker in Asia. Currently, Francis holds an executive position at the Hong Kong Association of Interactive Marketing. He is also a council member of iProA (Internet Professional Association) and a business adviser of SUCCESS of Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department.

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