How Email Actually Gets From You to Your Subscriber

How Email Works“Before I started my career in email delivery,” writes Art Quanstrom at the Emma blog, “I imagined sending emails looked like some sort of Rube Goldberg Machine: a bowling ball rolling down a track, opening a door that pushes a knife into a string, releasing a mouse that takes the cheese off of a scale, which then unweights and causes a small explosion … to propel said email to the other side of the Internet.”

We might chuckle at the low-tech visual, but Quanstrom says it’s not a bad way to envision the actual complicated process of sending your offer or newsletter to a subscriber. He maps out the typical route:

  • First, your email service provider (ESP) formats your message and sends it to a mailer (MTA). The MTA adds header information about the sender (RSVP address), the ESP (IP address) and the recipient (email address).
  • Next, the MTA connects with the MX record for the DNS of the domain (e.g., gmail, or companyname) to which you’re sending. “A domain’s DNS is a one-stop location that other machines use to communicate with the domain’s various servers, and the MX record is there to process any incoming mail,”  he notes.
  • If no connection can be made, it might indicate a permanent issue (e.g., the domain doesn’t exist) or a temporary issue (e.g., a bad connection).
  • A successful connection triggers the four-step Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) process: 1) Identifying the sending and receiving servers; 2) Identifying your RSVP address; 3) Identifying the recipient’s email address; and 4) Transferring the data.

Now, that’s a strong argument for keeping your email lists clean.

Consider the long and winding road. Sending a marketing message from Point A to Point B might take only a few seconds—but its journey is anything but simple.

Source: Emma.

Working Miracles, One By One

“Now more than ever, the email channel in particular is being asked to contribute higher revenue,” says Stephanie Miller in a post at the Daily Fix blog. “Yet, we all must make that happen with existing (or lower) resources.” Reaching that goal requires innovation, and Miller reports on a number of ways that panelists who took part in a discussion at the virtual MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World conference have managed to work a few miracles. Among their initiatives, they:

Customize landing pages. Wendy Croissant of Sierra Trading Post tailors offers for visitors linking from certain locations. “She’s seen a significant rise in response on those pages,” says Miller, “even when just the image and headline are unique to the audience.”

Reactivate subscribers. Winning back an uninterested subscriber can be difficult, but it can work. Sal Tripi of Publishers Clearinghouse “uses his direct mail to reach out,” notes Miller, “but does so within 90 days of the last email action, so he knows the subscriber is still … ‘warm.'”

Capture everywhere. Stephen Gilberg of Happy Hours invites customers to sign up for email alerts at every touch point. “We ask them if they want email reminders for this one event, or every event,” Gilberg says. “Choice helps them feel confident that we will respect their inbox,” he notes.

Innovate! According to Miller, you might face resistance from colleagues: “It takes courage and fortitude to advocate for a great subscriber experience when all everyone else wants to do is ‘blast’ the file over and over.” But happy customers will make it worth your effort.

Source: MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog.