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Bulk Email

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

The challenges of delivering bulk email

What are the challenges of delivering bulk mail?

Internet spam filters

They can block you. They can block a lot of things that are still relevant. A lot of users have spam filters in place, and they sometimes catch things that are legitimate. They catch things that are, perhaps, your content. And it’s important for you to figure out the ways in which you get whitelisted and so you make your way through and past those spam filters, past those walls.

Bulk emails are categorized as spam

You don’t want your bulk emails to be categorized as spam. You might get emails like this, where it’s something you want to read, it’s valuable to you, and then you find it, perhaps, a day or two later, not in your inbox, but in your spam or junk folder. And, it’s something you’ve wanted to see, but your spam filter caught it for whatever reason. So, when you’re on the other end of that, as the email marketer, you want to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what’s getting your email to perhaps get tagged. You know, sometimes it has to do with coding. Sometimes it has to do with rich text versus plain text. Sometimes it has to do with the number of images that are in your email. Sometimes it has to do with the number of links that are in your email. A lot of factors at play here.

Unauthenticated spam

If your email isn’t authenticated by an email service provider, it’s going to go right into that spam folder. You want to partner and be in constant touch and have a relationship, a business relationship, with those email service providers.

A questionable IP address

This is those numbers that are sort of every single web device or email that gets sent out in terms of where it’s from and servers and whatnot. Everybody has an address on the web, and that’s your IP address. And, if there’s a questionable IP address, your message could look like it’s spam. It could sort of make this appearance like it’s going to be spam, even if it isn’t. And, some of that has to do with the address where it’s originating from. And so you want to make sure that your IP address is whitelisted as well.

Marked as spam rate

It’s the number of times people have marked your message as spam. Now, sometimes this has to do more so with your carefully curated list than your actual message because you want your list to be the people who want to read your messages, who want to read your emails, not people who maybe haven’t opted in or people that are getting irrelevant content. Those people might be the people who mark your email as spam. And, the more times your email is marked as spam, the higher chance that it’s actually not going to get past those spam filters, right. It adds more and more to that spam filter, and then, again, all of a sudden you’ve been marked as spam too many times, and your message won’t go through.

Using purchased lists

The validity and legitimacy of a purchased list is important. You don’t want to purchase a list of people who didn’t opt in, people who don’t want to read your content, or people who are not the right audience. It’s not relevant to them. It’s not curated to them. They’re not interested. And, again, they could mark you as spam. And, so you always want to make sure when you’re working with a vendor, when you’re purchasing email lists, that that content is relevant.

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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate inbound and outbound email marketing techniques and how they are used in marketing campaigns
  • Critically reflect on practices for managing email data and building an email subscriber base
  • Critically appraise how to optimise email delivery and email open rates for marketing campaigns

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      Email Marketing Strategy
      Eric Stoller
      Skills Expert

      The Email Marketing Strategy module will introduce the key concepts of email marketing and enable you to develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective email campaigns. You will learn how to think like an email marketer and recognize that your subscriber list growth and quality is a key metric for the success of your campaign. Finally, you will recognize the role of various email delivery techniques as well as the importance of balancing frequency and volume of email sends.