Why Aren't All Your Emails Delivered?

Not all emails sent are delivered. Yes, this may come as a surprise; we're sure that when we click the "send" button, that message will be received. We hit the send button and turn our backs with a feeling of satisfaction, a job well done.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Sending an email is very much like door-to-door sales in the old-fashioned sense. The emails you send are like the salespersons, and they go door-to-door (to different contacts), asking if the message can be delivered.

First, there's the famous "knock-knock", and then "Hello there, Mr. or Miss..." coming from the vacuum cleaner salesperson.Then, there are only three possible outcomes to knocking on the recipient's door:

1.The recipient is home, available, and the message is delivered:
Email Terminology: Available recipient.

2.The recipient is not home, and you try again later:
Email Terminology: Softbounce recipient.

3.The recipient is not home because the house is abandoned:
Email Terminology: Hardbounce recipient.

The first and the third outcomes (Available and Hardbounce) are easy to understand; the email is either good, or the email is dead.The interesting part of this story is what happens when your recipient's email is classified as a "softbounce".

To understand a "softbounce" better, I'll define it further:

A "softbounce" is an email that gets as far as the recipient's email server (front door), but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. Source.

Why do the emails softbounce?

The recipient's inbox is full, or the inbox memory is over quota.The recipient's mail server is busy and can't deal with your message right now.Your message is put on hold until the server has time to handle it appropriately.

What can be done to manage "softbounce" emails?

The first line of defense is to maintain a clean and up-to-date email list. This will reduce the amount of softbounces.

The second line of defense is to set a "softbounce management policy" at the email sending server level. What does this mean? Your IT person gives the email sending server instructions as to what to do with the returned softbounce email. For example, all the eNewsletters we produce for our clients that softbounce are redelivered every three hours for the next 72 hours, in an attempt to complete the delivery.

Do you have to worry about softbounces if you're sending one email to one recipient?

Probably not, unless it's a super important message and you want to ensure the recipient gets it. Softbounce emails really become a concern when you're communicating to a large group: you've spent time, money, and effort in creating a message, and you want to ensure that it reaches the largest number of recipients possible.

Keep in mind that the best thing you can do to manage softbounce emails is to keep your email list updated.I hope I was able to shed some light on the ever-changing and complex world of email communications.

As always, we are here to help. If you are interested in starting or improving on your eNewsletter program contact us.

Marcos J. Menendez

PresidentLoop Consulting Group, LLC


The 10 Best Practices for eNewsletters

Part of the reason our clients hire us to produce their eNewsletters (besides the fact that they don't want to do them because it's not an easy program to maintain) is because they perceive that we know how to best create their eNewsletters. Thank God for that!

Below I'm going to present the top 10 best practices for an eNewsletter Marketing and Communications Program.

1.Provide a Subscription Point in your eNewsletter.

a.Your eNewsletter gets forwarded on to other non-subscribers offering them the option to subscribe. This also helps you distinguish your business and eNewsletter from Spam.

2.Provide an Unsubscribe Point in your eNewsletter.

a.Not only is it required by the "Can Spam Act of 2003" but if someone does not want to receive your eNewsletter it makes no sense to keep sending it to them.

3.Provide a "Forward To A Friend" link.

a.Give readers the opportunity to send your eNewsletter onto others that may not be part of your email list. This expands your reach and assures that your eNewsletter is received by others as intended -- not as the garbled text and images that forwarding from the mail client can do.

4.Display a Sender's Physical Address.

a. It is required by the "Can Spam Act of 2003" and it lets new recipients know where they may contact you and that you are a legitimate business with nothing to hide.

5.Display your Website link.

a.No need to say why.

6.Provide a Contact Email address.

a.Part of the reason why you have an eNewsletter program is to open up a dialogue between you and your current and prospective customers. Your "contact" email address provides one of the ways for them to reach you.

7. Provide a Telephone contact number.

a.Some clients may want to talk to you right then and there. eNewsletter have an incredible ability to remind clients and prospective clients of you.

8. Remind recipients to add you to their "Safe- Sender" list.

a.Many email clients (like Hotmail and AOL) will not block email coming from people or organizations that are on their "safe-sender" list, also known as the recipients address book. For an example of this, see the message at the very top of this eNewsletter.

9. Provide a Web Version.

a.Some recipients cannot or will not allow for images to be displayed in their email. Provide this version for those that cannot see images by including a link to your online version of the eNewsletter.

10. Give your eNewsletter a Name.

a.You are creating a vehicle that provides value and resources to your readers. Give your eNewsletter a distinct identity by creating a name for it. An eNewsletter name helps recipients recognize your eNewsletter and sets it apart from other messages in their inbox.

These are the most fundamental best practices for any eNewsletter. Of course there are many more but these will help you cover your bases.

As always, we are here to help. If you are interested in starting or improving on your eNewsletter program
contact us.

Marcos J. Menendez
PresidentLoop Consulting Group, LLC