According to MediaPost, even when people opt in to your email list, 3.3% is sent to a “junk” or “bulk” email folder and 17.4% is not delivered at all. Not delivered at all?  Where’d it go?

Making sense of your email reports

Is your m@il really hitting the inbox?If you’re using an email service/listserve, ask how they calculate the “delivered” rate.  Why? Because a rate upwards of 90% may be giving you a false sense of  success.

According to the MediaPost report, in most cases the “delivered” metric is simply assumed.  Assumed?  Yes, they take the number of messages sent through the pipe and subtract for the number that return a hard bounce (which is what happens when the email address no longer works at all).  In other words, it does not reflect how many hit the actual inbox.

This brings up the point to ask your email email service if it cleans out hard bounces immediately (mine does).

Differences when mailing to business and personal addresses

The report found that it’s more difficult to reach business addresses than personal inboxes because corporations have sophisticated security software to scrub mail deemed outside the company’s business interests (always remember that Big Brother is watching).

The good news for commercial emailers, including business professionals sending e-newsletters, is that these corporate systems are more likely to deliver messages to a junk folder as compared to consumer Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which are more likely to simply vaporize your email than send it to the junk file.

Frequent readers of my blog already know this:  whether the ISP sends your email to the inbox, junk file or vaporizes it is based on a unique recipe of your reputation as its sender and other factors like the email service/listserve you use.

For more on this, click the “CAN-SPAM” tag to the right for a complete list of articles I’ve written on the topic or download this narrated presentation: [Download not found].

Here’s where the various ISPs stand in delivering commercial email all the way to the inbox:

Internet Service Provider (ISP) % Mail Not Delivered


8% 11%
Road Runner 12%


NetZero 14%
Yahoo! 15%
AOL 16%
Comcast 17%
MSN 20%
Hotmail 20%
Gmail 23%

*Source: Return Path, July 2009

It really helps to know which ISP the majority of your list uses, so that you can test your email against the filters that matter to your clientele.  What, your email provider doesn’t give you this information?  Your email provider doesn’t allow for pre-send testing?  We need to talk because mine does.

Avoid the blacklist

  • Don’t ever add someone to your list without their permission
  • Include a message reminding recipients to add your address to their “white list”
  • Don’t bombard your list; if you told them they’d get a monthly newsletter, send no more and no less than that
  • QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY content that makes recipients money or saves them time, money or effort
  • Be sure the majority of your content is text, not graphics.  You need both; just don’t send email with no text

And if you’re still sending email from your own outbox, here’s information on why you should stop doing so.

Ready to consider my email platform? Please call 704-907-2811.