By Anne Holland, President
14 Microsoft employees who are signed up for MarketingSherpa emails aren't getting them. Seven Nortel staffers are in the same boat, not to mention three at Eagle Creek Travel Gear.
And while Nationwide may be on your side, it's not on Sherpa's. 15 Nationwide staffers currently are not getting Sherpa newsletters despite signing up for them.
Why? Mainly corporate email filters. If you, like Sherpa, email opt-ins at their work addresses, you're highly likely to be blocked by at least a few of them. It's not about permission, it's usually about content. Unlike public email services, such as AOL, which mainly filter based on mailer reputation, the filters companies use are more likely to filter partly based on old-fashioned content rules. (See below for link to stats on this.)
If they see certain words in an email, they leap to conclusions that this must be junk and block it from getting through. This is called a "false positive," and it's nuts-making for the person trying to get *wanted* mail through.
IT people who chose which filters their companies will use are for the most part blithely unconcerned about false positives. In fact, when I met with Sherpa's own IT guy a few weeks back to discuss filters, he was unaware of the problem.
He showed me a thick stack of brochures and CNET printouts detailing each of the filtering software solutions. Each had big fat headlines blaring about how much junk mail it stopped. He suggested choosing the one with the highest filter rate.
I suggested he squint at the fine print to see which software had the lowest false positive rate instead.
Want to know how much your sends are being filtered? Your email bounce report will not show you the complete picture. (It only shows which email recipient's systems replied with a message. The vast majority of filters do not reply; they just silently block.)
One way is to pull a list of your non-responsive names by domain. If 100% of your names at a particular domain have not opened and/or clicked anything you sent recently, you're probably filtered.
B-to-B marketers are most at risk and should be pro-active about pulling this report. Especially if you are marketing to large organizations and are relying on your email program to educate and warm prospects. You need to know if mail to a particular account simply isn't getting through.
Then, you take the next step, contact that organization's IT staffer via your connections or emails to "postmaster@". You'll need to assure the IT department that you are an opt-in mailer with permission. You'll also want to share a sample copy of a typical email sent to their company so they can see for themselves it's not junk.
If you'd like to add your own advice and/or comments, please click on the Post a Comment link below.Useful links related to this article
Here's a link to the presentation I mentioned above where our research team showed charts about how public and corporate email is filtered: