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What are the three most cost-effective ways for b-to-b e-mail marketers to improve delivery rates?

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Answer: The world of e-mail delivery can be tricky if not properly addressed; each company and ISP has its own rules and regulations. Here are some best practices you can follow to improve delivery rates.

1) Ensure your company is not operating an open relay. A common misconfiguration of Sender Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) servers is that of an open relay. Malicious Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE) senders will find the open relay and use it to spread UCE messages throughout the Internet. If you are currently operating an open relay, work with your network administrators to ensure that this is updated. Large e-mail service providers’ SMTP servers are locked down rather tight, but check with your account manager to make sure this is on their deliverability checklist.

2) Regularly monitor the most common real-time blacklists. Many businesses use blacklists as a way to help fight spam. A regularly scheduled check of the large blacklists, such as Spamhaus, MAPS and Spamcop, can help you avoid being blocked if you land on one of these. At a minimum check these blacklists once a month. If you are sending out one campaign a week then once a month is often enough, if you send out three to five campaigns per week, you should check these lists biweekly.

3) Remove spam trap addresses from all sources. Many times spam trap e-mail addresses are added to recipient lists to track activity. Spam trap e-mail addresses are most often defined as one of two types: distribution list e-mail addresses or e-mail addresses that use the word “spam” in the address. A regular review of your recipient list for any of these types of e-mail addresses can save you from getting reported on a real-time blacklist.

Some experts may lead you to believe that improving e-mail delivery will cost your organization a bundle. But that is true only if you don’t implement methods to address your delivery today.

Spencer Kollas is director of deliverability services for Premiere Global Services (www.premiereglobal.com), an outsource provider of business process solutions.

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