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One of the benefits of using a dedicated email service provider (ESP) to send out your business email newsletter are the various statistics they will be able to provide to you. One of those you should pay particular attention to are

  • bounces and
  • bounce rate.

Your particular ESP may define these two slightly differently, but in essence, a bounce is an email address to which delivery of your email campaign was attempted but was unsuccessful.

Similarly the bounce rate is usually expressed as a percentage of undeliverable email addresses compared to the total number of emails in your list(s).

Types of email bounces

Hard Bounces: These are email addresses that are obsolete, expired, incorrect and will never be delivered to the intended recipient. Take a look at these as they may include obvious typos like name@mail.con (instead of .com), which you can easily update and correct. Others are most likely expired and should be removed from your list, either manually, or, most likely, automatically by your ESP.

Soft Bounces: These are email accounts that bounce because of full mailboxes, their domain is temporarily down, or for some other technical reason they’re currently not able to receive email. Most ESPs will retry delivery to these accounts within 24-48 hours from the time of the original broadcast. Some ESPs will remove email accounts from your active list after 5 consecutive soft bounces.

General Bounces: The most common reason for this type of bounce is a firewall that prevents these accounts from receiving email from outside their network, such as in the case of corporations that block email from unknown sources. Again, most ESPs will retry delivery to these accounts.

What should I do about bounces?

As most ESPs will retry bounces (except for Hard Bounces) again within 24-48 hours, you don’t need to do much about them. Additionally, your ESP will suppress all hard bounces right away, and also those soft and general bounces which continue to fail.If the re-sending is successful, bounces will be cleared for future broadcasts

The only thing you need to do is to correct any typos in Hard Bounces, and make sure that the bounce rate is lower than 1%, as some ESPs may block your account if your email broadcasts continue to suffer from high bounce rates.

You may also be interested in reading these related articles:
Email List Maintenance – Keeping it Lean and Clean
Email Delivery: Resending an Email to Non-Openers

I currently recommend these email service providers:
MadMimi– for ease of use, and the best customer support
GetResponse– for features, auto-responders and list management

Category: E-newsletter Publishing | Email Delivery Best Practices | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Tracking Email Opens
    Mad Mimi Email Marketing

    Over the years I’ve probably tried a dozen or so Email Service Providers, and for the last 2 years I’ve decided that iContact offers me the best mix of features for a very reasonable price.

    If you are contemplating using Email Marketing to boost your business, sign up for a 15-day free trial of iContact — but hurry, their 30% off promotion ends June 30.

    Email Marketing TipsI’ll make the deal even sweeter for you: Sign up and upgrade your account by June 30, 2010, and I will send you my 3+3+3 Email Marketing Tips for Solopreneurs and for Small Business, a $37 value. This CD contains 3 separate presentations, each 60+ minute long, for a total of over 3 hours of instructions, tips and insights that I’ve acquired over the last 4 years as an Email Marketing Consultant (mp3 audio and PDF transcript both available). To qualify for my free CD offer you must open a new iContact account and upgrade it to a paid one, then send me your account number so I can verify that you’ve signed up using my affiliate link. If you’d like to receive a physical CD then please provide your postal address, otherwise you will receive a link to download the product online.

    Why Choose iContact?
    With iContact’s extensive features, you can easily create Email Messages, send them to your subscribers, clients, or members, and track their performance. When you apply Autoresponders to your email marketing campaign, you can stay in the forefront of your customer’s mind with automatic messages based on timed sequences or customer actions. Surveying provides you a platform to collect data from your customers and iContact provides you with the real-time results of your data.

    Just recently I used the integrated survey tool to ask my networking group to vote on an important matter.

    If you have a blog, take advantage of the articles you write by harnessing the RSS Feed. Your customers will immediately receive your most recent messages when they sign up for you RSS feed.

    Category: Email Service Providers

      Over the years I’ve tried about a dozen or so Email Service Providers (ESPs), and now I regularly use iContact.

      If you’re thinking of switching ESPs, or are considering getting into opt-in email marketing for your small business or solo practice, iContact is making your decision a bit easier with their June 2010 promotion: save 15% when you upgrade your account (you start with a free trial account), and save an additional 15% if you also pre-pay for a year of service, for a total of 30% savings. Use the promo code June2010 to save now!

      I recommend iContact to my clients who are looking for a service that provides:

      • 99% deliverability rate
      • unlimited lists
      • unlimited auto-responders
      • unlimited signup forms
      • RSS-to-email (reuse your blog posts as emails)
      • 5 Mb of free image hosting for your email campaigns
      • integrated surveys
      • and more…

      In case you’re considering switching, I offer a service that does that for you and is included in my “ESP Account Setup” service. Please see my services page for more information.

      Category: Boris Recommends | E-newsletter Publishing | Email List Management | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers

        How to Handle Sending Emails to an Old Client List

        Posted by Comments Off on How to Handle Sending Emails to an Old Client List

        If you’ve been in business for 5-10 years, you have a hidden business asset that you may not be utilizing at all: the email list of your existing clients. If you’ve been smart to collect their email addresses then it’s time to start using the marketing channel with the highest return on investment: email marketing.

        One of the things you have to keep an eye on before you start sending email marketing campaigns to your existing contacts is to find a suitable Email Service Provider, because not all ESPs will accept old client lists.

        Once you’ve found an ESP (also know as web based email marketing systems), make sure you don’t upload all of your contacts into one big list, but rather, segment your contacts into:

        • current clients
        • old clients
        • trade show contacts
        • requests for quote
        • friends

        Also, remove all email addresses that begin with info@ sales@ admin@ as these may be flagged by your email marketing service as “suspicious.”

        When sending to a list that’s never been used, you will have a lot of expired email addresses that will bounce, so try sending your first promotion only to current clients, then a few days later, go through the lists in the order I listed them above.

        What is Optin Email Marketing?

        When uploading the list to your online email marketing service, you will have the option of sending your contacts a so-called confirmation email message. A confirmation message contains a link your subscribers will have to click in order to be added to your list. If you choose this option, you will only be able to send further messages and email marketing campaigns only to those contacts that have clicked the confirmation link. By sending your contacts a confirmation email you’ll be building a highly-responsive permission-based email marketing list. Be advised, though, that your list may end up being only 1/10th the original size, but that’s OK, because your will have a solid foundation on which to build your future email subscriber base.

        Category: Email Delivery Best Practices | Email List Management | Email Service Providers

          Have you noticed in Gmail that some URLs are clickable and some are not?

          Recently, email marketers, and other people who are using this powerful marketing channel, started noticing that some URLs are working and some are not! What’s the mystery?

          I sent a few test emails to my own Gmail account and here’s what one looks like in this screen shot:
          Gmail ruins some text URLs

          As you can see, links which contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, and no “www” are not functional links.

          I don’t know if this is a deliberate “feature” or a bug in the Gmail web client, but as email marketers we need to be aware of this quirk, and find a workaround, which is actually simple: if you like to use some caps in your URLs for emphasis, all you need to do is add “www.” and they will work just fine.

          Alternatively, you can use ALLCAPS.COM or onlylowercase.com and they should work as well.

          This is only a problem in plain text emails, which email marketers usually use in auto-responders. If you’re using HTML to format your e-newsletter or other email marketing messages, all your links will work fine in Gmail.

          Thanks to Denise Wakeman for alerting me to this problem.

          Category: Email Delivery Best Practices | Email Design | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Managing Email | Tracking and Split Testing

            One of two Email Service Providers that I use and recommend is MadMimi. Apart from having the best customer service I’ve ever had the pleasure dealing with, they have the most elegant, easy-to-use and powerfully simple email editor on the market.

            Ever since the initial release of their service the creative crew at MadMimi have been steadily adding new features and improving this already great product.

            The latest addition is the ability to add a set of icons that link to your favourite social networking sites. This simple feature will encourage your readers to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks. Just add your social media sites URLs and Mad Mimi will place specially designed icons to the bottom of your emails — no additional coding necessary!

            Here’s a set of sites that are currently supported:add social links in MadMimi

            MadMimi is still free to use for lists of up to 100 contacts, and prices start at only $8/month for unlimited emails to up to 500 contacts. Test drive MadMimi today!

            Check out also these related articles:
            Cool New Tool for MadMimi
            MadMimi Brings the Fun Back to Sending Email “Blasts”

            Category: E-newsletter Publishing | Email Design | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Social Media Marketing

              Client Testimonial: Jeanette Bugler on Web Marketing and Design

              Posted by Comments Off on Client Testimonial: Jeanette Bugler on Web Marketing and Design

              I am so grateful for all that Boris has done for my business. He has such an extensive knowledge in the field of web marketing and design, that I can rely on him for all my web-related needs. I have received countless comments on how good my web site looks and how functional it is. Thank you Boris!!

              Jeanette Bugler
              Cake Designer and Entrepreneur, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

              Note: This testimonial was originally published as a recommendation on Linkedin

              Please leave your own comment – Thanks!

              Category: Testimonials