SPAM® as a product isn’t kosher, and neither is spam as it relates to email marketing. Engagement rates, marketing ROI, and (indirectly) referrals, all depend on physicians actually viewing your content. When your email messages get routed to spam folders, your content, however compelling, becomes invisible. If your content can’t be consumed, it’s worthless to the doctor; worse, it can pollute your entire email campaign.
To avoid this fate, it’s important to understand how even the most carefully designed email messages can end up as spam.
Don’t Get Caught in a Spam Trap
It starts with spam traps. A spam trap is an email address that isn’t used by an actual person, but that is closely monitored to identify malicious senders. Legitimate senders who have poor data hygiene often get caught as well.
A spam trap never opts-in to receive anything, so when an email arrives at that address its sender is automatically considered suspicious. The Internet service providers (ISPs), corporate email servers, and anti-spam organizations that monitor spam traps may start to view the sender as a spammer, which then limits your ability to get your messages delivered.
Bad Lists Are to Blame
Most messages that fall prey to spam traps were sent using a bad email list. Lists that contain email addresses that aren't verified and authenticated expose your campaign to a drastically higher number of hard and soft bounces. When you get enough of those, ISPs are likely to block you for months or even permanently.
How can you evaluate the quality of your email list? Start by looking for these red flags:
- Your list hasn’t been updated in 24 hours. If your list is more than 24 hours old, it’s probably outdated. Truly authenticated lists are maintained continuously, in real time. Even opt-outs are processed the same day.
- Your list is based on one source. No single source of opt-in emails, no matter how respected, covers the healthcare environment to the extent that health systems require. Even the National Provider (NPI) list, which is authenticated by the American Medical Association (AMA), can’t provide all the information marketers need. Instead, your list should integrate multiple primary sources.
Cheap, unauthenticated data that gets your email messages sent straight to the spam folder is never a bargain.
- Your list is pulled from secondary sources such as directories, phone books, and healthcare websites. These sources are often obsolete before they’re published and they rarely meet the requirement for an opt-in address.
- Your list has never been used for email marketing. Lists used for other purposes haven’t been optimized for email. While they may include correct physical addresses, the email addresses may be incorrect, infrequently used by the physician, or outdated.
- Your list hasn’t been verified by a third-party. BPA Worldwide is the leading auditing service for B2B communication. BPA certification guarantees that the physicians included in your list have opted in and confirmed their preferred email address.
Demand Email Authentication
Using an authenticated email database that obtains addresses from multiple first-party sources is the best way to avoid spam traps. Always ask your data provider about their testing practices and hold them to the highest standards of authentication and third-party validation.
Cheap, unauthenticated data that gets your email messages sent straight to the spam folder is never a bargain. You don’t want to consume anything that will make your company sick.