PHUKET: Recently, my business partner and I have been analyzing email marketing and what came to light was quite a surprise.

He is a systems engineer so it is fair to say his level of knowledge of IT far surpasses my own. We were collaborating on our latest project and the issue of email marketing and whether it was effective came to light.

The concept is fairly simple. You collect potential customers’ email addresses through some kind of capture technique and enter them into your system. Once the addresses are in the system, you fire away emails to your heart’s content.

Sounds simple right? So what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, it seems.

We are very big on analytics. On a recent mail-out we conducted, we reviewed the open rates, links in the email ‘clicked on’, and interaction. The open rates were very low (we normally expect about 20 per cent minimum), so we started digging.

What we discovered was something unexpected – most of the emails were never even reaching the recipients’ inboxes.

I have written before how Google thinks it knows what we want to read, and sorts our emails on autopilot. This is based on a number of factors which include the sender, the past history, the content of the emails and whether any “spammy” words are used. This is now also the same for Live, Hotmail and most providers with a filter in place.

But they also analyze the server or platform that the emails are sent from. Most small and medium businesses are going to use a third party service provider like Aweber, GoDaddy, Infusionsoft and so on. Given the fees paid to these guys, you would think they would be assured of getting into the inbox.

Well, guess again.

We found that a very high percentage went straight to the Spam folder, where your clients will never see it. And that was because the providers were actually on blacklists themselves.

So what should you be taking away from this?

Firstly, don’t assume that your message is getting through – in fact it is more than likely not making it to the inbox. So don’t plan all of your marketing and customer acquisition around successful email campaigns without finding out.

Secondly, make sure your leads opt in to your system and “whitelist” your email address – this will make sure you get to the inbox.

Thirdly, run your email through a ‘spam test’ score to make sure that it is less likely to be blocked. The filters score emails and more of each factor results in instant spam, so if you can reduce other areas you might still have a chance. You can use a free service such as

“Finally, conduct a review of your system. For this, too, we recommend Glock.

The bottom line is that if you are reliant on email marketing to reach your customers, it is worth conducting a review or getting someone to do it for you. You can email [email protected] to get a free review.

Simon Wetherell is a social media expert, trainer and lawyer. He now resides in Thailand where he trains businesses and individuals on how to profit from the social media industry. For more information, visit or call 095-085 3355.

— Simon Wetherell

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017.