Our Email Delivery Manager Kiersti Esparza, recently contributed to our blog with Part 2 of our  ongoing email deliverability information which focused on Email Delivery: How Your Email Looks in Different Email Clients. Today she’ll be talking about delivering email to businesses.

Businesses that sell their products or services to other businesses could have it a bit more tricky when it comes to delivering email. Most Email Service Providers have good reputations with the ISPs where a lot of consumer mail is delivered, and most have good reputations with businesses. But businesses can add another gate for your email to get past.

Breaking It Up Can Help

Some businesses, usually larger ones, might begin to get suspicious about email getting through their doors when they see multiple messages that contain the same content. They’re likely to think it’s bulk marketing email and perhaps block it or use some sort of filtering mechanism. One way to test this is to segment your list into a smaller campaign and see if sending smaller chunks of email gets you a better response.

Getting Rid of “Dear”

Another big impact to B2B delivery is starting your email with “Dear” as a salutation.  You might try forgoing your salutation altogether because while they are polite, they aren’t really necessary in email.  The biggest problem with using “Dear” is that it can be flagged specifically in SpamAssassin and other filters as well and businesses may be using that tool.

Calm It Down

Be tempered in your content design.  Avoid using font sizes that are too big for your headlines.  Be conservative and only bump a headline up a font size or two, and highlight it with bold.  Don’t use unusual background or font colors.  Filters also flag this fancy formatting as a trait associated with bulk marketing email.

Clean Code

Make sure the HTML coding is clean since poorly formatted HTML could result in emails being bulk foldered or blocked.  Never use MS Word to design your email because when you copy and paste from MS Word there are additional characters that get automatically inserted. As a result it’s flagged as sloppy code and can get filtered.

Don’t code your emails using Cascading Style Sheets or CSS. MS Outlook 2007 does not render CSS and neither will the newer version of Outlook 2010. Your email will look messy and unprofessional not to mention get filtered.

Active Links

Make sure your links are active since broken or improperly entered links could cause filtering.  Also, make sure your links don’t end with .php – this has been shown to cause message filtering.  Just designate a new link for that page that doesn’t have that .php and you will be fine.

A Healthy Balance

Balance Text and Images. Filters look for image-only email messages. If you embed your text and graphics into a single image, you risk your message going straight to the junk folder.  And since most email clients suppress images by default – if your email is one big image it will like open as a blank email with no call to action. Even worse, the first thing your recipients might see is your unsubscribe message. Ouch.

If you intend on sending a text-only message, design it as a text only message from the start. If you design your message as text in an HTML document, this could also cause issues since filters will see the email unevenly weighted between html content and text content causing potential filtering.

Even if you’re not building your email for business to business, these are all good ideas for consumer driven emails as well.

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