Landing in the Inbox

Chapter 1

Getting Started

There's a common myth that once you team up with an Email Service Provider (ESP) like Campaign Monitor to create and send email campaigns, you can leave all your list management and delivery concerns to them. As much as we all wish this was the case, getting into inboxes is very much a team effort - both senders and the companies that help create and deliver their emails must work together to ensure that as many messages as possible make it to recipients.

ESPs and ISPs - what are they?

ESP - Email Service Provider. A company that helps senders create and deliver email campaigns
ISP - Internet Service Provider. In the context of email, these are the companies that own the domains and/or mailboxes that emails get sent to, eg. Gmail, Outlook.com, Comcast

In this guide, we hope to show senders like yourself how they can maximize the return on their email marketing, by ensuring that their campaign content, subscriber lists and account settings are geared towards getting past Internet Service Provider (ISP) spam filters and ultimately, into inboxes. We also hope to show that this side of email marketing isn't the 'black art' that it's commonly made out to be - by following a few practical tips, it is possible to build and maintain a good reputation with your ESP, various ISPs and perhaps most importantly, your subscribers.

"You must be new around these parts..."

Now, we didn't use the word "reputation" by accident earlier on. Reputation is a common term in email marketing, used to describe the relationship a sender or ESP has with the other parties that handle an email - from the time it's sent, to the time it makes it to the recipient. The way this relationship affects your campaigns isn't entirely different from say, how the relationship you have with your work colleagues and clients influences how they treat your day-to-day email. For example, if you have a reputation for sending concise and informative messages, then the folks who receive your email are likely to give them more attention and care than if you have a knack for forwarding joke emails all day.

Likewise, if the emails you send include quality content and regularly get responded to (other than being marked as spam), then it's likely that you'll gain a good reputation with both your ESP and with ISPs like Gmail. All this contributes towards optimal delivery rates for your campaigns.

That said, things can still go wrong, even if you have a good track record. Sometimes, an ISP or spam filter en route will unexpectedly block or bounce incoming email for one of many reasons. But at least you can minimize the chances of this happening and worst comes to worst, be in a good position to get delivery issues resolved promptly with your ESP.

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