I agree with the previous posters. The unexpected account reviews that shut down accounts are ridiculous. Many of us are busy with legitimate businesses that can be easily proven, yet we have to deal with this time-consuming and restrictive inconvenience. I am searching for another provider even it costs more because I am not going to deal with this every single time I send a press release to my proprietary database.
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These are great questions! The best first step to clean up your mailing list is to remove any of the bounced emails marked as "recommended for removal". Deleting contacts who never open your campaigns is another great step to take as well. You can find these contacts through our segment feature. We also have an article in our Help Center with further tips on how to clean up your contact lists.
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Well, here we are, getting ready to welcome another new year. I thought that for my final post of 2019, I’d go over some best practices to help start your 2020 marketing efforts off on the right foot. A lot goes into successfully delivering an email to the inbox, and these are just a few best practices to keep in mind.
I’ll be touching on some new topics, as well as some that I’ve previously written about such as bounces, spam complaints, and permissions.
DO: Get explicit/express permission
While implied/implicit permission is allowed within Constant Contact, getting some form of direct permission is considered a best practice (it’s also becoming more of a requirement and even the law within certain countries.)
DON’T: Purchase a list
Not only is it a violation of Constant Contact’s permission policy , but it’s frowned upon in the industry overall and could have a serious impact on your sending reputation.
DO: Use Double/Confirmed Opt-In
If getting explicit permission is a best practice, then a double opt-in is the king of best practices. This will ensure those signing up truly want your email, and also help protect your online sign-up forms from potential bot attacks.
DON’T: Scrape email addresses from websites
Contact emails are placed on websites for specific inquiries regarding their business, not to be added to marketing lists.
DO: Use your own domain
Not only does this look more professional than using a free email address (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), but it gives you greater control over your email setting and security.
DON’T: Ignore your bounces
Bounce management is one of the most important parts of keeping your list up to date. Continually mailing to addresses that are bouncing back reflects badly on you as a sender and can impact your ability to successfully deliver mail to the inbox.
DO: Make your email campaigns relevant to your contacts
When sending out emails, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is another person at the end of the line. Chances are if the email seems too generic or doesn’t connect with them on a personal level, they’re not going to engage with it.
DON’T: Neglect your subject line
A good subject line will not only affect your open rate, but your delivery as well! Using a clear, concise call to action or teasing something special in your email can entice your subscribers into opening. Just be sure to avoid using too many symbols, buzzwords, or all caps like: “All items 50% off!!!!” or “OPEN FOR A FREE GIFT”. You can also try A/B Testing to test multiple subject lines and find which is most effective.
DO: Segment your lists
This goes hand in hand with making your campaigns relevant, but segmenting is a great way to make sure you are personalizing your campaigns to your contacts. You could segment by items/services purchased, birthdate, interests, location, etc.
DON’T: Rely (only) on images
A few images can help your email campaigns pop, but using only images (or only one image ) is never recommended. Often, these will get filtered right to the spam folder. Even if they are delivered to the inbox, if your subscriber blocks images, they won’t see your content. It’s best to offset images with plenty of text.
DO: Keep track of engagement
It’s important to keep track of your opens and clicks since those are the contacts you know for sure are actively interested in your emails. One good practice is to save an ongoing list of these addresses, this will ensure that you always have a list of engaged contacts
DON’T: Send too often
This is a tough one since “too often” will all depend on what expectations are set when the contacts sign up. Whether you send monthly, weekly, or daily, make sure your contacts are aware from the start, but keep in mind that typically anything more than once a day will likely cause your engagement to go down. Once you set a frequency, do your best to stick to it.
DO: Remember we’re here to help!
Have a question? Need some recommendations? Constant Contact is here. You can check out our Help Center for Knowledge Base articles, tutorials, our online Community, as well as the different ways to contact our support department.
All of these points in one way or another can have an impact on your overall deliverability. I hope this is helpful in your 2020 marketing endeavors (and beyond)!
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We would love to send you some information about how to get started! You will want to start by picking a template that you like the most, and then you can insert a read more block that will help you talk about your blog in a professional and visually appealing way. Please make sure you take a look at our article about how designing works within your favorite template. Always remember you can post in here with specific questions and you can also call us so you can have a one on one conversation with a support agent that can walk through exactly how to create your first newsletter. Thank you!
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Well everyone, that just about wraps up our Q&A session! Thanks again to Nick and the Community team for giving me this opportunity, and a big thanks to all who sent in their questions.
If you didn't get the chance to ask a question, most answers can be found in our Knowledge Base. For anything else, our Account Review team is a great resource for all things Compliance/Delivery.
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We as email marketers tend to define spam as “unsolicited” or “unrequested” mail. While this is technically correct, it goes a bit beyond that. The truth is, spam is in the eye of the beholder. These days, people tend to consider any mail they don’t want as spam, whether they asked for it or not. As senders, we need to understand this and make sure we are mailing to interested and engaged contacts. Those who truly send unsolicited mail have forced ESPs and ISPs to implement ways to file complaints against such practices. These complaints, in turn, impact a sender’s online reputation. Get too many complaints, and your emails don’t get delivered; it’s as simple as that.
Constant Contact looks to adhere to a 0.1% spam complaint ratio (or 1 complaint per 1,000 contacts). In the past, I have discussed these spam complaints , how to view them within your reports, how they affect you (and us), and some best practices on how to avoid them. Today I’d like to focus more on the types of complaints that aren’t shown on your reporting screen.
Constant Contact is set up to receive spam complaint feedback from most of the major ISPs, and those complaints appear in the reporting for each campaign. Gmail does things a little differently though. Instead of automatically reporting individual spam to us the standard way, Gmail’s postmaster will notify us directly if a campaign's aggregate complaints exceed their threshold for complaints. If this happens, you may need to have a conversation with our Account Review team so that we can help improve your reputation with Gmail and lower complaints going forward.
Direct Abuse Complaints
There are times where Constant Contact will receive complaints directly from a customer’s contact. Usually, this occurs when a recipient’s email client doesn’t have a “Report as Spam” option, or if they feel strongly enough where a standard spam complaint may not be sufficient. In these cases, the Compliance team will discreetly unsubscribe the email address in question and review the account to see if additional action is warranted.
Some people will go beyond reporting an email as spam or emailing us and report the sender directly to a blocklist (or blacklist). Blocklists are services that track IP addresses or email domains that are suspected of sending unsolicited mail. Most major ISPs and ESPs incorporate some kind of blocklist in their filters, so these complaints have the most impact and are considered the most serious.
If Constant Contact receives a blocklisting complaint, then the account in question will trigger an Account Review so that we can work with the customer and bring their list back in good standing to avoid any potential harm to their or Constant Contact’s online reputation.
In a perfect world, anyone who doesn’t wish to receive emails from someone would unsubscribe, and that’d be that. Of course, we know that is not the case. Ultimately, because Constant Contact operates in a shared server environment, complaints against a handful of customers could potentially affect our delivery for all of our customers. The Compliance and Account Review teams work with customers who may not be in the best standing to make sure everyone’s emails get to the inbox. If you have a concern about reporting or complaints, we encourage you to be proactive in list maintenance. If you have any questions, we’re here to help!
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Back in October, I posted about some types of problematic email addresses and why they are cause for concern. Today, I will be covering a few more types of addresses that I didn’t get to discuss previous: dead domain addresses and spamtraps.
About Dead Domains:
Email has been around for a long time. In fact, it’s generally accepted that the first email was sent back in 1971, although, it didn’t really become widely used by the general public until the early to mid 90s. Since that time, many email domains have become obsolete. Remember those CDs you used to get in the mail or those prehistoric websites you visited back in the days of dial-up? There’s a good chance several of those domains are no longer in use.
Once a domain shuts down, any email address with that domain becomes invalid and will start bouncing. Within Constant Contact, bounces are easy to manage; however generating too many bounces can affect sending reputation. Moreover, once an address bounces long enough it can become a spamtrap.
Spamtraps (sometimes known as honeypot addresses) are email addresses often utilized by blocklists and security companies/individuals that are used for the sole purpose of catching unsolicited mail. There are several types of spamtraps:
Pristine Spamtraps- These are addresses that are created solely to catch spam. These are never used to sign up for a list or as a personal address. Often they are placed strategically on the Internet in places where people try to scrape or otherwise obtain email addresses. There is no scenario where this type of email address would be on a permission-based list.
Recycled Email Addresses- When an email address or domain has been out of use for a long time, it can be repurposed into a spamtrap. Presence of these on your contact list doesn’t necessarily mean that the list is non-permission based; it could be that it’s an older list in need of an update.
Typos/Misspelt domains- These are a bit trickier because there are times where a typo is an honest mistake, but could also result in accidentally mailing to a spamtrap. Some blocklists have created spamtraps from misspellings of major domains. These may look like “@gnail.com” instead of “@gmail.com”, or “@homail.com” instead of “@hotmail.com”.
Risks of Mailing to These Addresses:
The main reason that these addresses are cause for concern is the consequence that can occur when they are mailed to. Constant Contact runs the risk of having one or more of our sending IPs blocked, affecting delivery for all of our customers. Even more worrisome, it’s possible for the sender’s own domain to experience reputation issues, which could affect it’s ability to send mail even outside Constant Contact.
Due to this, importing any of these types of addresses will result in an Account Review.
How Can I Avoid These Addresses?
Spamtraps and dead domains can be scary because they usually look just like regular email addresses. Additionally, they need to remain undisclosed in order to be useful, so there is no good way to check an existing list for them. As long as you follow Constant Contact’s Terms and Conditions and Anti-Spam Policy, you should be just fine, but here are some best practices to follow:
Avoid purchased lists. These are a violation of our terms and conditions anyways, and are notorious for containing problematic addresses.
Avoid older contact lists. If you have a contact list that has been laying around for years that has not been mailed to then chances are the risks of mailing to it outweigh the reward, regardless of how it was collected.
Keep lists up to date. Be sure to properly manage your bounces to ensure that you are removing invalid email addresses.
Focus on engaged contacts. If contacts aren’t opening your email, they aren’t doing you any good. Be wary of hanging on to disengaged contacts for too long.
Consider using confirmed opt-in. This is a setting that can be turned on within your account and is a great tool for verifying that an email address is valid and that the subscriber truly wants to receive your mail.
For more recommendations, Constant Contact has a knowledge base on Collecting quality email addresses.
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Hi @SarahG437! Thank you for letting us know about this email. If you have any further questions or concerns, we ask that you contact our Account Review team who will be able to assist you.
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In previous posts, I have discussed List Reviews and Account Reviews, as well as why elevated spam reports will result in Account Reviews. Today, I’m going to go over a few of the problematic email address types that can also result in a Constant Contact account disabling for a review.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll only be discussing a few of the different types of addresses in this post, you can expect a follow-up post in a few weeks that will discuss some others. Today’s topic will be “role”, “transactional”, and “group” addresses
About Role Addresses:
True to their name, role addresses don’t necessarily belong to any one person as a personal email address would, but rather a specific role in the organization. Examples include admin@, jobs@, legal@, support@, among many others.
“So what’s wrong with those?” you may ask. The trouble comes when someone new takes on the role, or in the case of addresses like office@ or customerservice@, the address is owned by multiple people. If someone were to leave a company and take ownership of an address only to see marketing emails coming in, that could result in complaints against the sender. Additionally, if someone signs up with a role address that goes to their whole team, everyone who gets the email may not recognize the sender, resulting in multiple complaints.
Evan works for an e-commerce company and monitors the support@ email address. After he leaves the organization, Mary takes over his duties. Evan had used the support@ to sign up for some emails from an office supplies company they use. Mary, not knowing the company where they get their supplies from, files a complaint with the email sender for what she considers spam.
Jack manages a sales team of 20 people and attends some webinars that offer sales advice. Thinking his team could benefit from them, Jack uses the sales@ email address to sign up for their newsletter. The team, however, doesn’t recognize why they are getting these emails and marks them as spam in their inbox.
Similarly, if someone on that sales@ email address unsubscribes, it would unsubscribe the whole distribution list.
About Transactional Addresses:
Also known as anonymous email addresses, if you’ve ever used a site like Craigslist, you’re probably familiar with these. They are usually a long string of random letters and numbers followed by the domain for the specific website that they were generated from. These addresses are useful for protecting one’s identity during a sale or transaction online, however, they can sometimes end up in someone’s address book or contact list as a result.
By their nature, these are meant to be more temporary email addresses and not used for ongoing marketing emails. If you find these within your list, it’s highly unlikely that anyone actually provided it to you with the intent of signing up for emails.
About Group Addresses:
These are pretty similar to role addresses, however instead of being specific to an organization, they are specific to online groups, Usenet, or online forums. Two of the most common examples are Yahoo Groups and Google Groups.
Much like role addresses, emails sent to group addresses will go to anyone on that distribution list.
What Happens If I Upload These Addresses?
Due to their problematic nature, Constant Contact made the business decision long ago to block sending to these addresses through our system (with the exception of a very small number of role addresses). If a couple accidentally end up in your contact list, no big deal! Just move them to your unsubscribe folder and go about your day.
However, if a large number of these addresses are imported, it could indicate an issue with the collection of the list as a whole, and you may be asked to call in for an Account Review so we can set you (and us) up for success.
We have a Knowledge Base article about Role addresses as well as one detailing how to find and remove them.
As always, the experts on our Account Review team can answer any additional questions you may have.
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Thank you for reaching out to us. I can definitely understand your concerns in regards to the reports that you will be receiving upon your first blast. Here is an article that can possibly answer some of your questions about Spam. In regards to your bounces, this is definitely something we recommend managing from day one. If you would like to understand a little more about how and what our bounce report is, click here for an article that will go over several things that will be very useful for understanding your bounces. If you would like to discuss account specifics, I'd suggest reaching out to our Account Review department directly as this may also contain account sensitive information. Click here for their hours of operation and best contact phone numbers. Please let us know if there is anything else we can assist with today.
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We're sorry for any bounces and glad you reached out! As Robb mentioned in his article, valid email addresses can bounce as Non-Existent if there's a typo in the address, or if the receiving server tells us that the address in question does not exist. You can help avoid this by managing your Non-Existent bounces after each campaign. Please refer to this very helpful article for assistance with managing bounces!
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Most people know by now that in the world of email marketing, permission-based addresses are considered the gold standard; however, it’s not always clear just what exactly counts as “permission”. It gets even more confusing when you realize that there are different types of permission. In this post, I’m going to look at the two different types of permission: Implied and Explicit
Note: Depending on where you live, what you read, or who you speak to, the terms may be slightly different (such as “implicit” instead of “implied” or “express” instead of “explicit”, however, the definitions remain the same).
Implied permission is when someone provides you his or her email address through regular business communication, but without a direct request for ongoing communication. Some examples might include:
Filling out a Contact Us, Request a Quote, or other similar form
Inquiring about a product or service via email
Business card exchange or badge scan at a networking event
Purchasing a product or service (without there being any opt in option)
Registering for an event (without there being any opt in option)
Signing up for a contest or giveaway
Donating to a charity or political campaign
Requiring an email address to access website content, downloads, etc.
Pros Of Implied Permission:
Requires minimal effort
Generates the most amount of contacts while still falling under the “permission based” umbrella
Eliminates the potential for error on the subscriber’s end
Cons of Implied Permission:
Not considered an email marketing “best practice”
Many contacts may feel violated and complain, which can cause spam complaints, negatively affecting your online reputation
Implied permission lists tend to have lower engagement (Opens, Clicks, etc)
Some people who are savvy to the world of email marketing may have fake or junk email addresses that they use to avoid getting mail they didn’t request.
Some countries (such as Canada) have very strict regulations around implied permission contacts and how long you may use them. (For specific information regarding the Canadian Anti-Spam Laws [CASL] click here)
With Explicit Permission, the contact takes a direct action to request to be on an organization’s mailing list. With this method, there is no question as to whether or not they would like to receive your newsletters. Some examples include:
A newsletter subscription box on the website
An uncheck box on an online form or event registration
Paper and pen sign up form at physical location
Pros Of Explicit Permission:
Considered to be a best practice
Permissible with every current email marketing provider and law
Create a more engaged list of contact who are more likely to generate Opens, Clicks, and Forwards
Can be used in conjunction with a double opt in to create an even cleaner list.
Cons Of Explicit Permission:
Requires a bit more work to get off the ground than implied permission and has a slower growth rate
There is the risk of a potentially interested party not taking the action to fill in a sign up box or check an unchecked sign up box.
It has been my experience that many email marketers have a mix of both implied and explicit contacts. Constant Contact strongly encourages you to utilize explicit permission whenever possible. If you do have contacts that have given implied permission, try to mail to them separately from your explicit contacts. That way any Compliance issues that may occur will not affect your contacts that directly opted in. You may also want to consider trying to get explicit permission from your implied contacts.
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Updated January 2020
Here at Constant Contact, we are an industry leader in email delivery. This is no accident. Our Terms and Conditions are designed to ensure the best possible delivery rate for all of our customers.
That being said, it’s expected (read: absolutely normal) that most email campaigns will have some level of bounces. Knowing the cause and reasons behind these bounces can help you as a marketer to ensure you are mailing to the cleanest, most engaged list that you can. First, I covered Non-Existent and Suspended bounces, then Undeliverable and Blocked bounces; today I will be going over the remaining categories: Mailbox Full, Vacation/Auto-Reply, and Other.
What Is A Mailbox Full Bounce?
When an inbox reaches it’s maximum allowed storage, it will reject the message and bounce it back to Constant Contact as “Mailbox Full.”
If The Recipient Frees Up Space In Their Inbox, Will They Start Getting Mail Again?
Yes; however, I recommend removing these contacts. Here’s why- most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) provide more than enough inbox space for the average user. If someone’s inbox is so full that they can not accept mail, chances are they are not actively checking their mail and therefore are not an engaged contact.
What’s The Deal With The Vacation/Auto-Reply Bounces? When I Set An Auto-Reply, The Mail Waits For Me In My Inbox.
You’re right! This is the exception to the rest of the bounce rules. Messages that show in this category are delivered to the contact, no action on your part is necessary. We include these with the bounces to let you know that you may not see an open/response/click from this customer for a while.
Note: While most of these responses get sent to the actual sender (Constant Contact), some can be sent to the email address you selected as the “from” address for your campaign
What Is The “Other” Bounce Category?
As stated in a previous post, we sort our bounces based on information that the ISPs provide us. If the information they send back isn’t clear, it may get sorted into the “Other” category.
Should I Remove My “Other” Bounces?
That is a tough call. I recommend obtaining a secondary email address for the contact if possible. If the address continually bounces and you are confident that it is a valid contact, then please contact our Support Team to troubleshoot.
Where Can I Find These Bounces?
If you look at the reporting for a specific campaign, click on the number of bounces you have. Then select your choice from the “All types” drop down.
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