Email delivery in today’s internet can be frustrating and difficult to understand. Many of you may see bounce back messages from emails you have sent to your clients without fully knowing why your messages were not delivered. To help with this we’ve come up with some tips that will help you in improving the chance your message will be delivered and read by your clients.
Keep in mind that these are just tips, for a full understanding of federal spam laws, it is recommended you review the CAN SPAM ACT of 2003: http://www.legalarchiver.org/cs.htm.
First of all, there are two important points that need to be clarified:
Unsolicited email vs. Solicited email – Any email message where the recipient has not previously agreed to receive the email is considered an unsolicited email. This includes newsletters, announcements and general broadcasts. Unsolicited email is the legal definition of spam. This is in contrast to a solicited message, where the recipient has agreed to receive the email in question.
“Junk email” button vs. Unsubscribe link – The junk email button will tell the recipient’s email provider that the received message is unsolicited and should be considered as spam. Marking an email as “junk” will give the sending server a negative reputation, and in excessive cases, lead to that server being blacklisted.
The unsubscribe link or text in an email tells the sender of the message that their email is considered to be unsolicited or spam. In these cases, as long as the sender updates his subscribed/unsubscribed list, this will not give the sending server a negative reputation. Failing to ignore a recipients attempt to unsubscribe however, may result in the recipient marking the email as junk instead of unsubscribing.
With those points now clearly defined, here are some tips you can use to improve your email communication with your clients.
Don’t mix business and personal email
While it may seem easier to manage all of your incoming email through one address, it will often be more beneficial if personal and business emails are kept completely separate. Not only does this allow for better organization, and as well appears more professional seeing as you can brand a specific internet location to you and your business. But also, emails marked as spam or junk from either address will not negatively affect the other.
So if your personal email to your friend is mistakenly marked as spam, this won’t negatively affect your business email address’s reputation.
Keep your subject line professional
This generally means avoiding messages that have the appearance of a spam message. This is best accomplished by keeping the subject line relevant to the body of the email, and maintaining a formal business appearance.For example, many spammers will send out an email completely in uppercase letters or with unnecessary punctuation for emphasis.
While you may have a hot listing that many other agents or clients may seem interested in, many recipients that see a subject line of “!!!@#^ PLEASE READ, HOT LISTING GOING FAST!!!! MUST SELL!!!! ^@#!!!” will automatically mark the message as spam without reading any further than the subject line.The key to finding a good subject line can best be accomplished by thinking of how the recipient would think if they received the message.
It also helps to keep the subject specific to the contents of the body of the message. A better subject line for the same email might have been “New townhouse listing in eastern downtown area looking for buyer. Please inquire within”.
Keep the body of the message professional
You wouldn’t forward a chain letter via regular mail to one of your business clients; chain emails, jokes, and other material not relevant to your business should be avoided where possible. Emails such as these are better suited to your personal email address instead of your business email address.
Not only does a message like this have a better chance of being marked as spam by a recipient, but it also may seem unprofessional as recipients may be expecting the latest real estate news in your area.This again goes back to establishing a brand for yourself on the internet.
If the clients you email know that information coming from you is reliable, professional and always relevant to your area, you will have a much better chance of having these people read your emails and thus, respond to them.
Confirm your recipients would like to receive your emails
Sending out email blasts to imported email lists can be an effective method of attracting business (For example: if only 1% of 10000 clients respond, you have 100 responses). But with everything in life, there are two sides to the coin. The opposite side in this case is that email blasts to purchased lists accrue a very high amount of email marked as spam by these recipients. Sure, 100 people may have responded in interest, but 4000 people may have marked your email as spam and now you can’t email anyone because the server you emailed through is temporarily blacklisted.
The easiest (and at the same time, most difficult) way to avoid this, is to gain permission to email these clients right from the clients themselves. Any confirmation of the sort will do, be it electronic or verbal. At the same time, any clients who agree to receive your email messages should be encouraged to add you to their “safe” email list. Many providers will provide their users with a “safe list” to which they can specify who they want to receive emails from.
Asking someone’s permission can be seen as negative as it requires some work, and whittles down your list of clients you are emailing, but again (the other side of the coin if you will…) is the fact that you right away know exactly who is interested and who is not.
Send your email in smaller “bursts”
Some email providers have limits as to how many emails you can send to in a given period of time. If you’re having trouble sending email to a particular provider such as Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail, try sending the email over a greater length of time. So an email to 500 AOL subscribers could be sent in 2 250 person bursts over 3 days.
Pay attention to who has unsubscribed
This goes back to the “it is better to lose a subscriber than get a spam complaint” as outlined earlier. If one of your email recipients has gone out of their way to unsubscribe from your email message using the methods you have provided, then chances are future emails to this recipient are going to be marked as spam.
We’re all in this together as all Top Producer CRM users are in fact sending emails through the same email servers. This means that negative attention from one user affects all users. If we can all work towards more spam friendly emailing practices, then everyone in general will benefit from the greater reliability of our email servers.