We have recently switched website providers. We took a couple months to research many options. About 7 weeks ago we made the switch and chose dealer.com for our needs. Everyone we talked to gave dealer.com rave reviews and everything we saw (demos and sites) looked extremely useful. After switching and using the new site we noticed something alarming. Upon initial email our customers would receive our autoresponse in their inbox. Then, our follow-up response would go directly to their junk box. Not just sometimes but ALL of the time. Are you kidding me?!?!? We tracked our leads well to find this happening all of the time and if the email address is all we recived from the customer it would result in a lost oppertunity all together. We then talked with support at dealer.com to find this to be a common problem with many website providers... (according to them) Again, are you kidding me?!?! I do not claim to be much of a computer wiz whatsoever. I thought I may find others having the same results with their provider OR folks with knowledge of a solution to our problem. Our lead to appointment penitration went way way down as soon as we were up and running with our new site. Any imput would be good input. Thank you!
More importantly , John, is the fact that most of these sites seem to be email black listed so most (or all) email responses go directly to junk. CRM's and Lead Machines. This can take away up to 50% of a persons business if all you get is email address for contact by a customer upon initial inquiry. Dealer.com thinks they will have a solution within 60 days, but they are fighting the brains at Google, Yahoo and more for this. Dealer.com dodge the subject with us making us feel it was something else we were doing and then admitted yesterday they know and are trying to repair this. WE are not waiting and are changing immediately! The CRM's and Dealer.com will not, of course , tell you of these types of problems. Thanks for the reply John!
Often it is the way the email is formatted. If you or the program uses an html editor when setting the email then there is a higher chance it will be seen as spam and hence dumped immediately. Hence where possible use rich-text format. This plain text format is typically not picked by spam folders.
Well.... Believe it or not, Dealer.com actually said they have this problem with ALL of the outgoing email put out by their dealers. Really! They have great motivation now to get it right as well as every other company like them. 10's of thousands of dealers with this problem (according to them). This is first light of a new problem affecting many of us. Thanks Stuart!
Best in Class for me is Aweber.com They really emphasize double "opt-in" meaning making sure your customers say "yes!" I want to subscribe...like maybe twice. It is worth it. It is also easier to set-up than you think. If you get a young associate on it - they might be the most computer savvy person on the lot! - just sayin! Aweber also encourages people to put your return address in their address books....by doing that - you do not hit the spam filters. Aweber also has a cool slide-up lightbox that magically appears on your site (of course you determine the timing) to capture email addresses and it is NOT abnoxious. Take a look at what they have....for the price it works amazing. (p.s. I am NOT an affliate for them....just truly like their product! Janet oh yes and watch out for certain WORDS in your subject letter....there are ones to avoid because, yes you will get dumped to spam if you use exclamation points and use the word "free" etc.....can't sound spammy!
I’m Matt Murray, Director of Digital Marketing at Dealer.com. I wanted to share some thoughts around this issue and hopefully help everyone understand the challenges that email providers face, regardless of industry.
First, the problem described is a recognized one. We have, in fact, dedicated a full team to understanding, tracking and acting proactively on these types of issues. Here are a couple reasons why:
1. There are email spam and bulk-sender watchdog services like Barracuda Networks and Spamhaus who monitor email traffic and tag email providers as spammers or senders of junk mail. When they do so, many other companies will follow their lead and subsequently mark all emails from the sender as spam.
a. We react to this by reaching out to all of the affected email hosts (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail) to help them understand who we are and what services we provide. We also go to the watchdog services to mitigate the issue at their level. This will move the issue to resolution and emails will send normally again.
2. The other scenario is that a single email host (Yahoo) will mark emails as spam.
a. We will reach out to them to resolve the issue
In any scenario, this is a very difficult situation for our clients and for us. We know how important it is that emails reach their intended final destination.
I also wanted to make sure that everyone knows that it is up to a single email host (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail) to make the decision to mark emails as spam. This means that when your Yahoo customers are not receiving your emails, there is a good chance that your Gmail customers still are. The chances that ALL email hosts have marked the sender as spam is highly unlikely as there are literally thousands of these types of services.
In the end, this is an issue that holds high priority within our organization. We have been working to find the best solution for our clients and will continue to do the work of reaching out to email hosts to let the emails flow properly for as long as need be.
Please fell free to reach out to me directly if you would like to discuss the issue further: 888.422.2006
Pat your IP address is on a server with 198 other dealerships all most likely sending out a decent volume of email so I could imagine the problems dealer.com faces. With that being said your IP address looks pretty clean so your problem may just be in the wording of the emails.
The main reasons you typically make it to the spam box is
A.) Your domain's IP is on a spam blacklist
B.) The words in your email are blacklisted.
C.) Use of excessive or dirty HTML
Here are some tools arm yourself with so you are not at the mercy of your web provider to give you straight answers :
First you will need to look up your IP address of your domain. You can find this by typing in your domain name here - http://www.mxtoolbox.com
So Pat would type in http://www.MADCITYSALES.NET and it would say his IP address is 220.127.116.11
In that same search box you can check to see if your domains IP address is on a spam list by typing blacklist:your-ip-address
If that looks clean then it is most likely the verbiage or html formatting of your email (like stuart says avoid html if you can or use very simple html). Try to stay away from words that sound like a sales pitch. Also the payday loan sector did a good job of blacklisting most loan and credit terms. Terms like buy, purchase, pricing, on sale, terms, approved, approval, easy financing, get approved, your approved, fast loans, auto loans, bad credit, etc ... I would even try to avoid the term appointment. (If you really want to include those words put them in a graphic.) You can also use this free site to check the content of your email and see if they pick up any problems http://www.americaint.com/spam-filter-messagetest/spam-checker.html. Or can manually check the big email servers by setting up your own email addresses and sending test emails to see how it behaves.
If all else fails you could try moving to text message confirmations like my dentist does. =)
I believe in the 4th quarter of 2008 I started getting notices from our ISP that we were in violation of their companies new policy with probibited us from sending more than 250 emails at a time. I have been doing email camapigns for years and apparently in that 4th quarter many of the ISP's cracked down on it as I was considering making a change.
Then it dawned on me that we actuall have two T1 providers on our campus. The one in question was a private local company. The other was Verizon. One of our stores is a Toyota Store and every Toyota dealer in North America has a Verizon Managed Network to enable them to communicate with Toyota's extranet site Dealer Daily.
So I called the Toyota network people out in Torrence, CA to see if we were authorized to use Verizons Outbound Mail Server relay.mail.uu.net and we were. I had already checked with Verizon and they had no limit on email sent.
So initially I set my Outlook up with the outbound server and everything worked perfectly. Then I made the change in our CRM Systems outbound server and I could not send email. As it turned out it was a simple fix. When ADP installed our DMS and CRM Systems a few years earlier they also installed a Cisco Router to control the netowrk traffic and they had set up the CRM and DMS systems to hit the Internet on the private T1 not the Verizon network. So I had ADP's network people re-configure the router so that Internet Traffic from the CRM System utilized the Verizon Managed Network and from that point forward the email worked fine and we are no longer getting any notices of being black listed.
When you send email campaigns be very careful as to what you put in the subject line of the email. Things like BlowOut Sale, Clearance Event, Save, Huge, are works that SPAM filters look for and if used, a lot of your work will go directly to the customers junk mail file.