Malleable Musings

December 2, 2008

Sex sells – it just doesn’t email well

Filed under: Emails — Brendan @ 8:44 am

I’m signed up on quite a few mailing lists. Inevitably this means I get a lot of junk that I end up filtering, but occasionally it leads me into conversations related to my areas of interest that get me thinking about things in different ways.

A recent example was from an email I received from a self-help group that predominantly markets into UK schools.  A particularly vexed marketing manager from the Family Planning Association was asking,

As the country’s leading sexual health charity it is virtually impossible for us to avoid using words such as ‘sex’, ‘sexual’, ‘sexually’ etc in our promotional e-mails – even if I manage to not use them in e-mail message itself, our strapline is ‘putting sexual health on the agenda’ and it is embedded in the logo and therefore always goes out in every promo e-mail we do.

I’d really like to hear your views and advice on

1. how having a strapline like that impacts on the deliverability;

2. if you think a strapline containing word ‘sex’ would be worse one with ‘sexual’; and

3. if you think would it make big enough a difference if we were not to have the strapline in the logo in promo e-mails or even if we had a different strapline without any of these words.

This could almost be a textbook question on deliverability and spam filters, couldn’t it?

Plenty of good advice was given both in the form of links to other resources (one of the better ones surprisingly on the Microsoft Office site) and also verbally in relation to whitelisting, ensuring copy was as free as possible from language that would trigger spam filter rules, utilizing graphics for the logo and strapline without text, using very short snippets linking to web content, using spam scoring tools eg. Dotmailer’s spam tester, Spam-Assassin in advance of the mailing. Etc, etc.

However the best advice I think was bear all of the above in mind but test, test, test.

What the post did though was it got me thinking about what do I do to ensure deliverability.  OK I’m sending from a clean domain using SPF, where the MX records have been altered for DomainKeys and SenderID.  I usually include a link about adding our domain to a safe senders list.  I don’t segment my lists to see if we have deliverability issues with certain domains. I’ll occasionally run the email through a spam testing tool if ever I’m unsure but I probably don’t do enough to ensure that other people sending mail from this domain think in the same way.

So I guess I ought to more…

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1 Comment »

  1. For an excellent reminder for others see:
    http://blog.case.edu/webdev/2008/12/09/email.html

    Comment by Brendan — December 10, 2008 @ 11:14 pm


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