Published: 4 April, 2011

Email deliverability in Hedge Fund Marketing

On a daily basis, the emails that you send out have the potential to be blocked – at the corporate spam filter level or at the desktop filter level. Your email reputation is everything and no matter which email product you use there are some common truths and some little known facts that can make a huge difference to your emails and campaign deliverability.

The first level of engagement that you have with prospects, investors and clients that you email is making sure that your emails get delivered. With over 70% to 80% of inbound email traffic into financial institutions being potential SPAM, the best minds in the world are working to prevent the delivery of your email.

‘So all your emails relating to your fund and performance are being delivered – said the joker to the thief.’ Not exactly what Jimi said, but there is an element of false confidence in that statement that Messrs. Hendrix and the Experience would have gained some psychedelic interpretation from!

All along the watchtower

On a daily basis, the emails you send out have the potential to be blocked – at the corporate spam filter level or the desktop filter level. Your email reputation is everything and no matter which email product you use there are some common truths and little known facts that can make a huge difference to your emails and campaign deliverability.

The first level of engagement that you have with prospects, investors and clients is watching and making sure your emails get delivered. With over 70% to 80% of inbound email traffic into financial institutions being potential SPAM, the best technical minds in the world are working hard to prevent the delivery of your email.

It is not about the content, stupid

Reputation servers on the internet are the first port of call for your email. Over a period of time, if your emails are seen as opt-in and have a low SPAM threshold in relation to the content and are being sent by an email platform that is finance industry-specific, then your delivery reputation increases and your emails are more likely to be accepted.

Reputation and relevance

But reputation is not the silver bullet anymore.

Another new trend is inbox monitoring, so that even if your email does get delivered, if it is not opened then it is seen as less relevant and can be potentially marked as SPAM the next time it is sent from that particular sender or domain.

Silence is golden

A new trend for corporate and internet email servers is that when an email is seen as SPAM it is ‘silently bounced’ by not responding with a SPAM or bounce message – giving you the wrong impression that your email has been delivered to the correct person.

And the beat goes on
It does not end there. What started as “I know all my emails get delivered as we get very few bounces” is a false comfort. Email delivery is a function of:

  • Reputation
  • Relevance
  • Process

ProFundCom understands these are all issues for asset managers, hedge funds, wealth managers and private equity/ cap intro marketing teams. Having worked in this space for almost a decade, ProFundCom, as a specialist hedge fund marketing and asset management marketing platform, addresses all these issues from within the product as well as part of a service offering.

Here are some tips on how to boost deliverability:

  • Monitor your mailing results. If you notice a drop in response rates from a specific geography (ISP), or a specific domain name (somecompany.com, yahoo.com, aol.com), then you need to investigate. ProFundCom has the ability to check for SPAM results, even before the email has been sent, using advanced SPAM diagnostic tools.
  • Monitor blacklists to ensure your domain name and the IP address of your email server are not listed. Do not assume your mail server is immune from zombie or open relay ploys. All ProFundCom clients have this monitored in real-time.
  • Avoid high-volume continuous sending to ISPs and corporate networks (in B2B as few as fifty consecutive messages can trigger a block). ProFundCom only operates in the hedge fund and asset management space so is not contaminated with email traffic from low-end tools.
  • Avoid scripting and non-PDF attachments in your messages because virus filters will block your messages from delivery (#1 problem for emails with scripts or non-PDF attachments). ProFundCom manages and monitors this in real-time.
  • Secure your mail server’s IP address and make sure it’s configured for reverse DNS lookup. This may involve your email service provider if you use an ASP service. Again, all part of the ProFundCom service.
  • Beware of rented lists and only work with reputable sources. Rented lists are the #1 source of SPAM complaints. The ProFundCom agreement and business model forbids rented lists.
  • Keep your lists clean and avoid bounces. The more bounced messages a server sends, the more likely it is to be blacklisted. Email bounces are managed by the system and can be setup to prevent multiple bounced addresses being emailed after a certain threshold.
  • Make sure your “abuse@” and “postmaster@” addresses are valid and can receive email. Get access to those addresses and review the incoming mail. These addresses are recommended internet standards set by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for complaint reporting. This is part of the ProFundCom configuration process.
  • Stagger email delivery and do not send emails without any personalisation. This is a surefire way to be seen as SPAM. ProFundCom ensures that all emails are personalised and their delivery is managed.
  • Register your mail server address with abuse.net. It’s a clearinghouse for registered abuse addresses used by many network administrators and tools to route complaints to the proper destination. Again, this is part of the ProFundCom service.
  • Minimising complaints always starts with practices used to collect email addresses. It should be obvious by now that sending unsolicited email only gets you in trouble. Mailing lists with the lowest complaint rates are either confirmed opt-in or properly managed single opt-in. If you have a solid permission-based list but still find incoming complaints are higher than the optimal rate or rising, consider branding your subject lines. Mail systems with spam complaint buttons offer it at the inbox level. A recipient needs only to scan subject lines and decide which messages not to delete immediately. A subject line such as “Exciting offers for you, Bob!” will surely be marked as SPAM. Consider using your company or newsletter name in brackets at the beginning of your subject lines.
  • Include instructions for users to white list your domain. This prevents a user-based filter from mistaking your message for spam and either diverting it to the spam folder or prefixing ‘[SPAM]’ to the subject of the message. This is all configurable from ProFundCom.
  • Provide a preference update page. Disclose how your organisation will use a subscriber’s email addresses, and how often. Allow subscribers to select preferences on the opt-in form, and link from email to a preference or profile update page. This is also configurable from ProFundCom.

The list was composed by EmailReach (http://www.emailreach.com/) to ensure delivery of your emails and has been used as a benchmark for ProFundCom.

With thanks to © EmailReach.com, 2005-2008 All Rights Reserved. EmailReach PO Box 191 New York NY 10032. All copyrights and trademarks respected.

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