Email Marketing – Warning Signs You Have Outgrown Your SMTP Server

Email marketing continues to grow as a great alternative for not only marketing advertisements and product offers to your customers, but also as way to continue a dialog with your customers that keeps them engaged and coming back to your websites. This combination of offers, ads, and newsletters begins to increase your monthly email volume. It is at this point that you begin to experience some of the challenges of sending bulk email out into the Internet, especially to email addresses that belong to the large ISPs like Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL. You begin to realize that the infrastructure you have in place may now be inadequate to handle the level of email you are sending. Your email is getting stuck in queues for hours, or some email stops getting delivered altogether to your Hotmail addresses. If this is happening, you may need to consider an upgrade to a new level of commercially available email software.

One of the main pieces of an email marketing system is the SMTP server. Why is this server so important? Your SMTP server or MTA (mail transfer agent) is the sending engine of your bulk email system. This server receives generated email from your email marketing application, determines what email domains to deliver it to, and provides the transport and delivery of those messages to the various email domains on your list. Without the SMTP server, your email doesn’t make it out of your site Email1and1 . Picture a pile of un-delivered envelopes that just sit on your desk because there is no post office to sort and delivery them to their destination. In the early days of email marketing when volumes were much lower, many people turned to either their internal email servers like Exchange, or they used freely available SMTP servers like Sendmail, Postfix, or Microsoft IIS SMTP server.

But as the use of email for marketing purposes went up and volumes increased, two things began to happen. One was that using in-house email systems built for personal email communications began to break down because they were not built to handle large volumes of bulk email. Second, was that freely available SMTP servers were not able to adequately address the delivery challenges of sending bulk email to the large consumer ISP domains. These challenges include processing email bounces, throttling email to specific domains and the support for email authentication standards like DomainKeys, DKIM, SenderID and SPF.

Today, we all get and send email just as much and as easily as we use the telephone. In fact, email is sometimes more preferred that using a phone, even a cell phone. It’s easy to do (especially if you’re a fast typist) and provides the opportunity to really think through something you want to say, as opposed to spontaneous conversation.

And how we love to forward emails that we get! You know – those cute, funny, touching, or just provocative emails that we’re sure everyone in our Address Book or Contact List would enjoy just as much you we did.

Did you know that because you and I do this, we are contributing to receiving more and more unwanted emails? We may actually be perpetuating this.

Have you ever heard of chain letters or viral advertising? They work because of the beauty of their exponential factor. You see we forward that funny email to, lets say, ten of our friends (to make the math easy). Then each of those ten people forward the same email on to ten of their friends (up to 100 recipients now). And each of those hundred people now forward it to ten of their friends.

You see, just after three iterations of forwarding emails, 1,000 people have received that email you or I thought was “funny.” (Maybe some of those recipients thought it was funny – maybe not. But, that’s another topic in itself.)

The goal of this article is to help each of these future recipients to understand what can and does occur when we decide to pass along a funny or touching email. Not that we shouldn’t; just what happens when we do this the way that most people do it.

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