ESP Mail Talk

Discussion in 'ESP Discussion' started by skrilla, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. skrilla

    skrilla VIP

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    Alrighty folks,

    I wanted to start a thread on mailing ads with ESPs. By ESPs I'm referring to managed email programs that follow all ISP rules, not high volume spitfire, anti-spam breaking platforms.

    Below, I'll share what we have been doing with hope of probing the board for ideas.

    We've been using an ESP to mail Big 4 (shall rename nameless for the moment) for the past 4 months with mixed results. Unless the ESP is a shared network, warming up the IPs/domains will take time. Almost all of them mention that clients WILL lose money at least for the first 3 months. We are almost at the breakeven point.

    Our system is AdStation integrated with about 6 different small mailings going out a day. The volume ranges from about 4k to 12k a drop. Again very small numbers. The data is the cleanest, best data I have and does not generate many removes, bounces, ISP complaints, scomps, or traps.

    An issue I have is no matter how good your data is or you think it is, if the system doesn't make money, the ESP will always blame on data quality. A great cop out if you ask me! Our biggest issue has been the whitelisting process. All things being equal, the time it SHOULD take to get whitelisted with majors:

    AOL: 30 - 60 days
    Hotmail/MSN: 30 - 60 days
    Yahoo - 4 - 6 months
    Gmail - No WL

    Currently we are on all FBLs, but still not whitelisted. I realize there are quicker solutions that cost a small fortune to speed up the process, but the costs negate the investment for the type of mailing I am doing.

    I plan on firing up some of my un-used Stedbs to split test some of the paid ESP services.

    THOUGHTS??
     
  2. roundabout

    roundabout VIP

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    Skrilla,

    I know you don't wish to disclose the ESP you're on, but there are many good, affordable ESPs out there that will allow you to begin right from the get-go on an iron-strength whitelisted IP. Of course, it's up to you to make it last!

    With regards to Yahoo, since their massive layoff months ago, they basically left the entire email infrastructure running on auto pilot, meaning there's little, if any, manual review anymore. Basically, they set their filters to "Maximum Damage" and laid off everyone. AOL is in a very similar boat.

    So what's this mean? If you stay within specific levels you should be able to ride out a whitelist for a very long time.

    You seem to be doing it the hard way (e.g. starting out on FBLs vs. going right to an ESP that has a stronger whitelisting in place) - ideally, you'd want both, with many FBLs on several ISPs, both warming and taking any "damage" and your actives on your stronger whitelist.

    The best thing you can do for your sends is to make sure you include the person's first name in the subject, so the personalization factor is there. It may not sound like a lot, but it lets the person think for a second, "This newsletter knows my name... maybe I signed up for it" vs. outright hitting the spam button.

    Even more important is to get some kind of branding in the subject line so the person sees that, and identifies. If you are promoting .EDU leads, your newsletter subject could be called EDU 4 YOU: (subject line after). By placing that little "token" at the beginning of your subjects, you'll get memory retention and a real user base of people.

    You need engagement to stay ahead of the game. Getting 500 clicks and 400 unsubs is not good engagement, and will factor as a penalty. Get an external unsub link in the body of your mailer, visible above the ad copy, so the user picks vs. opting out by the SPAM button.

    Every 3-4 days, run an offer not for the sake of making money, but causing engagement. Something that will yield enormous clicks. e.g. Joke of the Day offers, baby photo contests, etc. Ignore revenue, watch clicks. One or two of these solid clickers per week will zoom your IP rep and keep you ahead of the curve.

    I apologize if most of this is obvious, putting more in than you asked to spark some other topics as usual ;-)
     
  3. PushSend

    PushSend VIP

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    Solid advice and thread. I've always thought (and practiced) that sending mail with personalized subjects was the way to go in order to keep complaints low and opens/clicks high. To that point I've found that taking the personalization a little further than just inserting fname has a positive effect as well, i.e. ATTN: ##fname##, Get Your Degree

    By raising the recipients awareness that this message was intended for him/her rather than just 'blasted out there' has proven to be a great way to increase response for me. But in the end it really comes down to trial and error in that what works for edu might not be as effective for bizopp, etc.

    Personally, I try a lot of variables like this to optimize my campaigns.

    :top:
     
  4. wowfreedom

    wowfreedom VIP

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    Thanks, that's a nice bit of advice...
     
  5. skrilla

    skrilla VIP

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    In regards to subjects, as we are sending out advertisements, in our tests personalization hasn't made much of a difference. Engagement receives almost nil enhancement. However when I ran newsletters for branded companies it did help a bit, especially in the welcome emails.
     
  6. railfan

    railfan New Member

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    @roundabout,

    great advice and thank you..as a noob, this is extremely valuable inputs for me..

    I am looking at using an ESP...are there a few you could recommend where I could whitelisted IPs?

    RF
     
  7. emailjedi

    emailjedi VIP

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    This is great info.

    We have 12 generic personalization fields and 10 custom ones in our mailing platform. This allows our clients to personalize mailings which helps them get the opens and clicks they need.

    Of course I still see tons of them sending with subjects like: Hey or Re: your paypal receipt

    and I cringe.

    One of my best clients always personalizes location in the subject (example CITY) and does very well.

    Jedi
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

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