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Why Don’t People Get Our E-Newsletter?

Posted by Willow Russell

Just the other day, a partner popped by the office to help me write a description for an event. She looked over my shoulder at the newsletter we were about to send out. “I don’t think I’m getting these,” she said scanning the page.

Blerg. Not what I wanted to hear – and all too familiar.

Vertical Response and other mass email systems are super convenient for reaching lots of people with SVP stories, events and other goodies. Unfortunately, they’re also imperfect and sometimes our carefully crafted emails don’t land.

What’s Going On?

If a partner is not getting your Vertical Response newsletter or email, the culprit is usually one of the following:

  1. Your newsletter got stuck in your partner’s spam filter
  2. Your newsletter bounced when it was sent to the partner’s email address
  3. The partner accidentally unsubscribed
  4. The partner’s Salesforce record is not current

Which culprit is it? Here’s a sleuthing guide. (View full screen version.)

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Great, I Know What’s Wrong. Now What?

Wrestling Spam Filters

Spam filters are slippery suckers. Every email provider has a different and evolving system. However, asking partners to add your Vertical Response email address to their “safe-sender list” can help. Find out how.

VR Safe Sender Image

Beat the Bounce

You can “debounce” a partner’s email address in Vertical Response. This won’t guarantee it won’t bounce again, but it’s worked for a number of partners here in Seattle. (View full screen here.)

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Accidental Unsubscribers (We All Make Mistakes)

If a partner unsubscribed accidentally (or intentionally, but realized the error in their ways) have them send you an email stating that they want to be subscribed again. You can then forward that email to the Vertical Response support team (info provided at the bottom of your Vertical Response page) and they will re-subscribe them.

Vertical Response Support Team

Outdated Record (What, You’re Human??)

It happens to the best of us. If the partner’s Salesforce record is outdated and does not match the query criteria you are using, simply update the record and run your query again so they are included on your newsletter distribution list.

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So … What If I Don’t KNOW They’re Not Getting Our Newsletters?

Yep. This is a problem. You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. But there IS a way to quickly see who’s not opening your emails as well as track bounces and unsubscribes. (See below or view the full screen here.)

Once you’ve figured out who’s not opening your newsletters, you can send a direct email (perhaps a mail merge once a year) and ask if they’re getting them. If not, you’ve got the tools to troubleshoot.


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Okay, That’s Nice. But They’re STILL Not Getting Our Newsletters! 

Like I said. Imperfect. Spam filters – slippery suckers. Even with the solutions above, you may still find yourself stumped. (I know I have.) This is why I recommend mixing up the way you share stories and events and not relying entirely on mass email systems. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

  • Have your executive director share a recent success story (one of my former colleagues calls these “Feel Good Friday Moments”) or a big event through periodic emails using a simple mail merge.
  • Have staff forward newsletters directly to partners with a personalized call out to the stories they would enjoy.
  • Work stories and event promotions into your board and partner meetings.

Have Other Tips or Tricks? Have More Questions about Vertical Response? Please Share Them Below!

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