Question: Will having contacts at the top ISPs get my e-mail delivered?

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Answer: Deliverability is not about who you know. It is about how satisfied your recipients are with your messages. If you send irrelevant content and the subscriber complains, the ISP will listen because their livelihood depends on it. Most ISPs use largely automated systems to sort spam, so by the time you pick up the phone to discuss a problem, your mail has already gone to a black hole.

Ensuring e-mail is delivered depends on several factors, the most important of which is delivering content that will bring value to the recipient. However, here are some deliverability tips to consider once you develop that relevant content:

  • Get added to your recipient’s address book. Encourage subscribers to list your e-mail address in their address book and safe lists.
  • Use your brand. Make sure your recipients know the message is from you.
  • Always use the same e-mail address. Once you’ve been added to your recipient’s address books, you don’t want to reduce your deliverability odds by throwing a new address into the mix.
  • Clearly state your intentions. Include a text message at the top of each e-mail that clearly identifies you as the sender and states the purpose of your message.
  • Remind them. You’ll definitely help your case if you remind the recipient where and when they originally subscribed.

Make it easy to opt out. Recipients will be less likely to hit the "spam" button if they can easily opt out.

Stephen Guerra is the director of deliverability and ISP relations at Silverpop (, a permission-based e-mail marketing provider that offers a full range of services, including e-mail marketing strategy, campaign management and execution, and campaign analytics.

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