Doing It Right: The Points Guy

One thing I’ve never understood is why senders often make subscribers wait until they’re sick of receiving the mail before giving them an option to adjust their frequency to something a bit less onerous (or “opt-down” in marketer-speak. Yuck.).

By the time senders deign to reveal that recipients could have opted for weekly or even monthly missives, it’s usually only after the subscriber is running for the door – way too late to salvage a valuable, permission-based relationship.  Continue reading

Talking Deliverability on the Cloudcast

cover170x170I recently had the pleasure of joining Heike Young and Joel Book on the popular Marketing Cloudcast, a regular podcast produced by the Salesforce team. I’m not sure I deserve the introduction Joel gave me, but I think I gave some solid advice. It was a ton of fun to do, and I think you can hear that, too.

Listeners can download the episode from iTunes, or if you’d rather just stream it in a desktop browser, it’s also been posted to Soundcloud.

The Skinny Talks Gmail and Deliverability on the Salesforce Blog


I recently did a Q&A session with the Salesforce Core team about deliverability, and it was published today on the blog. It’s a bit remedial because it’s geared to a fairly broad audience, but I’m pleased with the results. Continue reading

M3AAWG Publishes Reboot of Senders’ Best Common Practices Document

Today is another big day for email people: M3AAWG has announced the publication of the completely revised Best Common Practices document for Senders. I co-chair the Senders’ Committee along with my friend and colleague Tara Natanson of Constant Contact, and this document has been the Committee’s biggest project for the last 3 years or so.

I am honored to have been asked to write an introduction for publication on the M3AAWG public site. I think it came out well. An important part of understanding what the BCP is intended to do is understanding what it is not. Continue reading

One Man’s Spam is Another’s Ham

There’s a terrific piece at the MailUp Blog that describes a recent panel of the Big Four free inbox providers at the EEC meeting this week. It confirms what deliverability folks have been trying to communicate to their clients for a couple of years now. While the message may not be a new one, it carries far more weight to hear it directly from the horses’ mouths, so to speak. Continue reading

There’s Still (Barely) Time to Get Your CASL in Gear

It’s been five years in the coming, but the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is nearly here at last. The new requirements go into effect July 1st, so if you haven’t made preparations for compliance yet, now’s the time to get started.

The new law applies to anyone who sends mail to recipients in Canada, and requires senders of email to have or to obtain permission from those recipients to send them marketing messages. The problem, of course, is that unless senders have been collecting geographic data about their recipients at the time they gathered permission, it’s hard to know whether any particular recipient is in Canada. Furthermore, the burden rests on the sender to prove that they had consent should any action be brought under under the law. Continue reading

Five Steps to Optimizing for Engagement

One of the toughest challenges in deliverability is producing content that recipients are likely to find engaging, and to do it consistently. It’s common wisdom that the mail your recipients engage with has an easier time finding its way to the inbox – we can see it in our own deliverability stats, and in some cases, we have it first-hand from inbox providers (like Gmail and Hotmail) that the mail which generates the most user interaction is awarded preferential placement in the inbox. The trick is knowing before the send what content is likely to receive that kind of special treatment.

Part of the reason why it’s such a tough nut to crack is the disparity between senders’ and recipients’ perception of engagement. Senders invest a lot of time and energy producing their message, so we’re bound to find our own content extremely compelling. It’s difficult to disassociate ourselves from our own work, put ourselves in the shoes of recipients, and make a realistic judgement about whether they’re likely to want to read it, too.

The good news is that, like many aspects of marketing and deliverability, we can constrain the amount of guesswork by testing messages with small groups of recipients. And that which can be tested can be optimized. I’m producing a free webinar at the end of March for my employer, Real Magnet, to help senders optimize their e-mail for recipient engagement, with clear, easy action items they can implement right away. Here are a few tips to get started:

Continue reading