eCampus.com achieves a near-perfect e-mail delivery rate

It adds more text with images and stays away from certain characters in subject lines.

Bill Siwicki

Deliverability is the bedrock of e-mail marketing: If a marketer cannot get an e-mail into a consumer’s inbox, then nothing else matters.

For the 12 months ending in April 2011, 5-8% of textbook e-retailer eCampus.com’s e-mails were not delivered, largely due to spam filters blocking the messages. That April, eCampus.com turned to Bronto Software for help, signing up for the e-mail marketing services provider’s Deliverability Monitoring service.

The e-retailer’s e-mails were very image-heavy, which is a red flag for spam at e-mail providers such as Yahoo and Google. These companies also are referred to as Internet service providers, a holdover from a bygone era when they often also provided a consumer’s Internet connection. Bronto worked with eCampus.com to add more text, and alternate text for when images are not rendered because e-mail software settings have images turned off.

Bronto also assigned the e-retailer a private Internet Protocol (IP) address from which e-mails are sent. The e-retailer previously was using a shared IP address, which means they also share the reputations of every other sender using that address.

Bronto also reviewed subject line language with eCampus.com, ensuring the merchant stopped using dollar signs, exclamation points, the word ‘Free,’ and other punctuation and words that to Internet service providers are indicators of spam, says Nikki Leonard, interactive marketing manager at eCampus.com.

“Omitting those from your subject line can help you achieve a high deliverability rate,” says Leonard, who adds that eCampus.com’s e-mail delivery rate now hovers between 99% and 100%. “Instead of saying ‘Free Shipping’ I’ll say ‘Save five off 50.’ It doesn’t say ‘free’ and it doesn’t use a dollar sign but it conveys a good message to the customer without a high chance of getting marked as spam. Year-over-year e-mail-driven revenue has increased 275% with improved deliverability being a major contributor.”


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