We all talk about Digital Body Language in the Eloqua world, but there is an aspect of the digital body that is rarely discussed – the health of your IP reputation. As many are aware, the chief determining factor of where your email will end up (Inbox, Junk filter, or SPAM filter) is the reputation of your sending IP. If your data and data management practices are healthy, your IP reputation will be healthy too. If they are out of shape, your IP will be as well and those email metrics will follow suit. How can you keep things in tip top shape? Here are a few easy guidelines to follow:
Yes – this is basic but much like the yearly trip to the doctor most put it off due to time constraints, or for fear of what they might find out. Not to worry; this should be painless and relatively brief.
Visit http://www.senderscore.org/. Sign up for a free account and plug your dedicated IP(s) into the search bar. You will see the current score, risk rating, accepted rate and problem areas.
Test campaigns before deploying.
You can test the deliverability of an email message. You can run tests to check the deliverability of your emails to different domains, possible spam concerns in the content, and previews of the email in different email clients.
To test email deliverability:
1. From the navigation toolbar at the top of the page, select Assets > Emails.
2. Click Open. Navigate to and select the email in the Email Chooser and click Choose. The email opens in the work area.
3. Click > Test Deliverability.
4. In the Email Test Center window, on the Deliverability tab, select the name of the email you wish to test.
You must choose a Test Type: General Deliverability, or perform an Inbox Preview and review for Spam Content.
5. Check the box next to "Send email when the results are ready" to be notified when the results of the test are available.
6. Click Run Deliverability Test to run the test.
That handy General Deliverability option will show you how your campaign will perform in the real world and is a reflection of IP reputation, authentication, and content.
If your Inbox rate at a particular provider is sub par, check into the symptoms and remedies below.
Don’t ignore those test results. If your checkup didn’t go well, you have to get to the root of the problem and take some good, strong medicine.
Complaints – The cough, the sneeze, the chest congestion. These are the loud and painful signs that something is amiss. Complaints primarily arise when contacts have been sent email that they have not opted in to receive, or have opted in to previously but have not been sent in a long period of time (4+ months). Complaints carry a very high weight when it comes to IP reputation and as a result the threshold is very low. In fact, if complaints amount to more than 0.01% of your total sends, your IP will take a hit. If you receive many email complaints, Eloqua will notify you via email. You can see your complaints in Eloqua via the ‘SPAM Unsubscribe’ report. Just search for it or browse to Emails > Email Metrics.
Bouncebacks- Bounce messages provide a wealth of information about the health of your list, DNS setup, and IP reputation. Hard bounces let you know that your lists have quality issues, and if you are seeing a hard bounceback rate over 4% you have either acquired a list of questionable origin, or you have activated an old house list. Either way, segment contacts from the problem list source so that they do not continue to generate bounces and harm your IP reputation. Soft bouncebacks on the other hand do not impact your reputation, but they can provide you with details about other issues. If, for example there is a problem with your branded domain and it is not publishing your Eloqua SPF record, you will see information about this in your soft bounce messages. If your IP has a bad reputation at the receiving network, you will often see a soft bounce message stating that. If you are blocked as SPAM, the soft bounce message will provide you with a web location where you can remediate the block. Take some time out every week to check into your "Bounceback History with Messaging" report (Search for it in Insight or browse to Email > Email Metrics) and take careful note of the information provided in the Message column. If you need help, there is a handy guide in Customer Central called ‘Auditing the Bounceback History Report’ which can help you make sense of the data. The Campaign Analysis report will give you an indication of your bounceback rate.
We have all heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This holds true here as well, as preventing issues is much easier than correcting a full blown crisis.
Authenticate – The first thing a receiver will look at is whether authentication is enabled, and of what type. With Branding & Deliverability, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) authentication is required as part of the setup process. This tells the receiver that the IP you are sending from is authoritative to send on the behalf of your branded domain. Branding & Deliverability also provides Reverse DNS authentication which allows a receiver to validate the IP against its domain name. A third level of authentication which is NOT provided by default but can be requested is DKIM signing. DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) verifies the sending domain through encryption and is rapidly gaining popularity at ISPs such as Gmail and Yahoo!. In fact, your email is not eligible to be added to the Yahoo! feedback loop without it.
Segment Inactives – Our Chief Privacy Officer, Dennis Dayman brought the concept of the ‘Emotional Unsubscribe’ with him when he started here at Eloqua. This is the theory that if someone is continually being sent email and is never opening or clicking through, they have unsubscribed without taking the time to physically click the Unsubscribe link. These individuals pose a significant complaint risk (at some point, they will flag the email as SPAM out of annoyance). Inactives can also be SPAM Trap addresses. Either way – it’s best to get them out of your general marketing sends before they cause problems. To do this, use Eloqua Segments to check for contacts that have been sent a certain amount of email over a set period amount of time and have not opened or clicked through. My standard recommendation is three emails over three months. See the following Inactive segment example for Eloqua10: http://topliners.eloqua.com/community/do_it/blog/2011/01/12/understanding-who-in-your-database-is-inactive-in-e10.
There is also an Inactive Shared Filter template that you can add to any Segment. There is also a new best practice Reengagement Campaign template that you can access from the Best Practice Template library when you go to create a Campaign.
The resulting contacts can be sent a re-opt in or manage subscriptions campaign to re-engage them or allow them to explicitly unsubscribe. If that fails, they should be added to a group and the group added to the Master Exclude list. They can also be exported and vetted via an outside service such as those offered by Eloqua referral partner Fresh Address http://biz.freshaddress.com/.
Cheers to your good deliverability health!