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Welcome to Handy Croissant

Jul 4, 2014

“It’s only email”


At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, group member David Banes gave a presentation entitled “It’s only email”. Drawing on his experience in the IT industry, where his work encompassed IT security and anti-spam technology, David outlined:

  • Some of the ways in which people, especially in small business, abuse their business email accounts when sending marketing emails, and how to improve the situation.
  • The dangers posed by incoming email and some ways in which you can mitigate them.


Getting your outbound email delivered

This may seem a strange topic at first. After all – that’s what it’s for isn’t it: you send email and it gets delivered? As David explained, the answer is not always “Yes”. If you’re using your email system for general business communications then you are fine. If, however you’re using it for email blasts and “systems emails” (for example, payment, booking notifications, etc.) you risk landing on black lists and not only will your marketing email not get through but your business email will start to get blocked as well.

You see, when you send email, the recipients’ systems may well ask for your email to be routed via spam filters and other security systems. If one of these systems thinks you’ve been behaving badly then your reputation as a sender will suffer. In fact your real world reputation and pocket will suffer if you get pinged for spamming. Your domain name and possibly IP address (Internet Protocol, the machine readable address used to route your email across the internet) could be listed on as many as a dozen or more black or block lists. That’s not good.

So how should you send bulk email?

David said that the now well-established method is to use one of the many web-based services to send your marketing email. Something like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Constant Contact. These services enhance the process of email marketing in several ways. They:

  • Help you manage your subscriber lists and stay compliant with local anti-spam legislation.
  • Offer easy ways to create web-based subscription forms.
  • Track your mail blasts so you can see who opens and forwards your marketing email and which links in your email they’ve clicked on.

But most importantly they work hard to keep their own online reputation in tact to ensure your email gets to recipients in high numbers and in a timely manner.

David added that the above is also true when setting up business systems to send email triggered by processes such as event registration and payment systems. You should use a specialist email sender to route the email for you. Examples of these are SendGrid and Postmark. These systems are designed to effectively route large quantities of bulk email and charge just fractions of pence per email.

Inbound email

We’ve all received lots of spam and probably the odd virus or trojan by email. In fact said David, there’s also a whole industry around inbound email, not just outbound email. This started out as simple spam and virus filtering, but has now grown to include email archiving, business continuity (an emergency webmail service) and various other offers to tempt you into routing your inbound email via a service provider.

If your business runs its own email server it can be beneficial to sign up to one of these managed email service providers so that they sit between you and the internet of (bad) things. Once signed up your IT person can lock down the server so it only accepts email from this trusted provider thereby ensuring none of the bad stuff gets to you, and that your email is safely archived in the cloud.

Summary

What does all this mean? David summarised the benefits of adopting the recommended approach:

  • Business email to customers won’t get blocked.
  • A much larger percentage of marketing mail shots get through.
  • Alerts and notifications arrive at the recipients’ mailbox reliably.
  • Your inbox is protected and your business email archived.

For more information about selecting providers that fit your business or for assistance setting these up, contact us and we’ll be glad to help or refer you to one of our many business partners.

About David Banes

David runs Home Management Services (http://homemanagement.co.uk), which offers lifestyle property management for owner occupiers. Homeowners know their main residence and / or holiday home are in safe hands when they let Home Managements Services shoulder the burden. Services include:

  • Property check (internal and external inspections).
  • Property maintenance (source and manage tradesmen).
  • Garden and land care (all seasons cover; pools as well).
  • Home cleaning (inside and out to your schedule).
  • Home decoration (Decorcheck™ and creative assistance).
  • Holiday cover (frequent visits, post, fridge restock).
  • Home services (your virtual personal assistant).
  • Vehicle management (maintenance, cleaning, etc.).

Telephone 01494-453-985 or email sales@homemanagement.co.uk for more information.

David also has significant senior-level experience in the IT industry and still runs Cleartext Systems (http://cleartextsystems.com), which cloud collaboration, security and compliance.

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At a recent Handy Croissant meeting, group member David Banes gave a presentation entitled “It’s only email”. Drawing on his experience in the IT industry, where his work encompassed IT security and anti-spam technology, David outlined:

  • Some of the ways in which people, especially in small business, abuse their business email accounts when sending marketing emails, and how to improve the situation.
  • The dangers posed by incoming email and some ways in which you can mitigate them.
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