Feedback Loops

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Feedback Loops For Email Deliverability

Being reported as spam by your subscribers will affect your ability to deliver to all your subscribers. A feedback loop is a service provided by ISPs where they will forward complaints made by email recipients to the original sender. ISPs collect these complaints through report spam pages on webmail pages, email clients, or through help desks. Joining feedback loops provides a way for you to clean your list and identify a problem that exists in your marketing strategy, e.g. subscribers do not know they subscribed to your list due to deceptive marketing material. If a subscribers email address appears in other subscriber lists then you can also add them to exclusion lists to prevent them from reporting you as spam multiple times. Every time a subscriber reports you as spam it effects your sender reputation. If you get enough complaints you could be blacklisted or have your site shut down by ISP.

Feedback Loops are Essential for Good List Hygiene

A mistake eager new email marketers make in their zeal to expand their subscriber base is that they're afraid to throw away any email addresses that they have. They don’t use bounce management to purge their lists of invalid email addresses and they ignore opt-in rules. Sometimes they’ll grab contacts from their outlook and use those “contacts” to send unsolicited newsletters. It’s only when they begin having deliverabilty issues that they realize what a mess they’ve gotten themselves into because it becomes impossible to distinguish legitimate and illegitimate subscribers in their lists.

If you’ve inherited a list of email addresses from a previous department or operator the problem becomes all the more compounded because you’re not sure where these email addresses came from. One option that I’ve frequently referred clients to is simply exporting and opting in all your subscribers. You’ll lose a lot of subscribers but you can be certain that you’ll receive very low spam complaints because you know that the subscribers you do have want to be a part of your list.

This option however may not be practical for many people. To those people I suggest joining a feedback loop. It’s a good way to monitor your list and make sure all your subscriber lists are clean. If a sizable portion of your list reports you as spam then it’s better to just throw away your old list and start from scratch. Any benefit from keeping such a list will be wiped away when you’re no longer able to deliver emails to anyone in your list.

The Analytics of Feedback Loops

Do you want to know what your subscribers are thinking? If you don’t then you should find another occupation because email marketing is all about list quality and targeted marketing. Monitoring what subscribers that are turned off by your newsletters will allow you to make adjustments in list frequency, marketing material, and any problems with your opt-out mechanisms. Feedback loops will allow you to quit repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Mistakes you cannot change unless you have some way of knowing. This will improve your delivery rates and in turn make both your subscribers and ISPs happy.

Where to Go to Join

Now that you are ready to be proactive and join a feedback loop here are some that you can join: