Forefront Online Protection for Exchange: Bulk E-mailing Best Practices for Senders



The background information and tips in this topic are meant to serve as guidelines for Forefront Online Protection for Exchange customers and end users who often conduct bulk e-mail campaigns and want to ensure that their e-mails arrive in a safe and timely manner.

1. Ensure that the From: name reflects who is sending the message.

In the same vein, the Subject should be a brief summary of what the message is about, and the message body should clearly and succinctly indicate what the offering, service, or product is about.

Examples:

OK

From: marketing@shoppershandbag.com

Subject: Updated catalog for the Christmas season!

NOT OK

From: frank@gmail.com

Subject: Catalogs

The easier you make it for people to know who you are and what you are doing, the less difficulty you will have delivering through most spam filters.

2.    Always include an unsubscribe option in campaign e-mails.

Marketing e-mails, especially newsletters, should always include a way of unsubscribing from future e-mails.

Example:

This email was sent to example@contoso.com by sender@fabrikam.com.

Update Profile/Email Address | Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe™ | Privacy Policy

Some senders have this option in the form of requiring recipients to send an e-mail to a certain alias with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.  This is not as preferable to the one-click example above.  If you do choose to do it this way, ensure that when the link is clicked, all the required fields are pre-populated.

3.    Use the double opt-in option for marketing e-mail or newsletter registration.

This industry best practice is recommended for use if your company requires or encourages customers to register their contact information in order to access your product or services.  Some companies make it a practice to automatically sign up their customers up for marketing e-mails or e-newsletters during the registration process, but this is considered a questionable marketing practice in the world of e-mail filtering.

For example, if during the registration process the Yes, please send me your newsletter or Yes, please send me special offers checkbox is automatically selected, customers who may not be paying close attention may unintentionally sign up for marketing e-mails or newsletters that they do not wish to receive.

That is why we recommend the double opt-in option instead, which means that the checkbox for marketing e-mails or newsletters is unchecked by default. Additionally, once the registration form has been submitted, a verification e-mail is sent to the customer with a URL that allows them to confirm their decision to receive marketing e-mails

This helps ensure that only those customers who wish to receive marketing e-mail are signed up for the e-mails, subsequently clearing the sending company of any questionable e-mail marketing practices.

4.    Ensure that e-mail message content is transparent and traceable.

Just as important as the way the e-mails are sent is the content they contain. When creating e-mail content, use the following best practices to ensure that your e-mails will not be flagged by e-mail filtering services:

Add sender vs guarantee of delivery

When the e-mail message requests that recipients add the sender to the address book, it should clearly state that such action is not a guarantee of delivery.

Redirects

  1. Redirects including in the body of the message should be similar and consistent, and not multiple and varied. A redirect in this context is anything that points away from the message, such as links and documents.  If you have a lot of advertising or Unsubscribe links or Update the Profile links, they should all point to the same place.

Examples:

OK

unsubscribe.bulkmailer.com

profile.bulkmailer.com

options.bulkmailer.com

Not OK

unsubscribe.bulkmailer.com

profiles.excite.com

options.yahoo.com

Large images

Content with large images and attachments, or messages that are solely composed of an image, should be avoided.

Tracking pixels

Tracking pixels (Web bugs or beacons) should clearly state their presence in your public privacy or P3P settings.

5.    Remove incorrect and non-existent e-mail aliases from databases.

Any e-mail alias in your database that creates a bounce-back is unnecessary and puts your outbound e-mails at risk for further scrutiny by e-mail filtering services. Ensure that your e-mail database is up-to-date and free of useless e-mail addresses.

6.    Learn about the delivery practices of major e-mail services (Hotmail, Yahoo!, Gmail, etc.).

Knowing how the major e-mail providers handle bulk inbound mail will help you ensure that your e-mails get through to the recipients faster. For example, Windows Live Mail (Hotmail), unlike other major e-mail providers, has a program called Smart Network Data Services. It offers bulk senders improved deliverability to Hotmail accounts if the senders agree to conduct good marketing e-mail practices.  It also keeps bulk senders accountable by allowing recipients to submit complaints when they receive junk e-mail.

For more information about the best way to send an outbound e-mail when using the FOPE filtering service, seeOutbound E-mailing Tips for Senders Using Forefront Online Protection for Exchange.

See also


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