Q: What steps can e-mail marketers take to ensure delivery as broadband becomes more widely used?

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A: Policies and procedures enforced at ISPs and mailbox providers continue to evolve, sometimes setting off sweeping changes in how e-mail is sent and received. This is increasingly evident across many of the local cable and DSL providers who also offer e-mail services.

As more e-mail users migrate to broadband, local cable and DSL providers appear to be rushing to compete with the major ISP's that have invested millions in their various anti-spam approaches. One of the more recent trends noted by Epsilon Interactive's ISP relations team has been the growing number of imposed volume and SMTP connection restrictions implemented across a growing number of local cable and DSL networks. These new policies are a part of an expanding effort to bolster anti-spam defenses inexpensively but pose additional delivery risks for marketers that fail to adapt to the new requirements.

Though the major ISPs still comprise the majority of e-mail accounts, best-in-class marketers should not ignore e-mail delivery into local cable/DSL accounts, which often represent 10% to 20% of their lists. Here are solutions to ensure and optimize delivery in consideration of recently observed trends:

1) Audit infrastructure capabilities. Review your e-mail solution to ensure it can be configured to adapt to new simultaneous SMTP connections and volume limitations across multiple receiving domains.

 2) Prioritize bounce management. Ensure your e-mail solution can identify bouncebacks and categorize these bounce codes by domain.

3) Segment your list. If your solution can't be configured around specific receiving domain requirements, consider creating smaller lists and sending campaigns in successive waves over a longer period.

4) Encourage “add to address book.” Maintain a preference center and use this point of contact to encourage your customers to add e-mail addresses to their safe lists or address books. Doing so can help your e-mail bypass certain filters.

5) Be proactive. Ask subscribers about their use of cable and DSL e-mail accounts through surveys, and review your lists for these domains.

6) Leverage the broadband advantage. Once consumers are on broadband, marketers can increasingly take advantage of new rich-media formats such as video to engage viewers and improve conversion rates.

7) Micro-monitor delivery. Analyze deliverability reporting across all domains that make up more than 1% of your list composition. Continue to monitor delivery at local cable/DSL domains. These users just may be your best customers!

Try these quick tips to ensure broadband doesn't slow your e-mail down.

Michael Della Penna is chief marketing officer of Epsilon ( ), a relationship marketing company.

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